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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-09-23

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

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

September 23, 2005

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek president calls on EU hopeful Turkey to respect religious, minority rights
  • [02] Ecumenical Patriarch holds talks with foreign ministry on coordinating aid efforts
  • [03] Papandreou meets with Patriarch Vartholomeos
  • [04] Greek and French FMs discuss PM's talks with French President,
  • [05] Deputy FM Valynakis meets with officials on sidelines of UN's 60th General Assembly
  • [06] PM briefed over new administrative codes by interior minister
  • [07] Dep. FM Skandalakis in Ukraine, Georgia over the weekend
  • [08] PM Karamanlis, Serbia-Montenegro president Marovic discuss regional developments
  • [09] EU's counter-statement to Turkey on Cyprus recognition issue unilateral and of a political nature, Ankara says
  • [10] Gov't defends public order ministry's legal challenge over traffic cameras
  • [11] Greek gov't expresses deepest regrets for death of Simon Wiesenthal
  • [12] Outcome of Olympic Airlines sale tender due in two weeks
  • [13] OA sale process likely to end within three weeks
  • [14] Gov't says now critical PASOK considered closing OA when in gov't
  • [15] PASOK and Coalition of the Left party leaders discuss future of Olympic Airlines
  • [16] Former European Commission VP on Olympic Airlines
  • [17] Greece responding very satisfactorily to reformist initiatives, finance minister says
  • [18] Greece largest recipient of EU funds in 2004 in terms of %
  • [19] Gov't launches three-year action plan to spur small business
  • [20] Communist, Coalition parties criticise statements by employment minister on social insurance issue
  • [21] European Central Bank Vice President Loukas Papademos supports immediate implementation of structural changes in eurozone
  • [22] BA begins cargo flights between Athens and Hong-Kong
  • [23] Main opposition proposes heating oil subsidy bill
  • [24] OTE, Cosmote to announce plans for Cosmorom Friday
  • [25] Shipping foreign exchange inflows jump to 8.25 bln euros in Jan-July
  • [26] "Exclusive Yachting 2005" opens at Ag. Kosmas marina
  • [27] Greek stocks rebound on Thursday
  • [28] BBC filming Durrell's 'My Family and Other Animals' on Corfu
  • [29] Greek and Cypriot theatre groups to appear in Cairo experimental theatre festival
  • [30] President Karolos Papoulias accepts invitation to visit Limnos
  • [31] Greenpeace calls on Greeks to use cars less
  • [32] New Greek software for vetting porno Internet content soon to be released
  • [33] 59 illegals, eight alleged migrant smugglers detained in northern Evia
  • [34] Eighteen Albanian illegal immigrants intercepted in Ioannina
  • [35] Albanian police link teen to army officer's stabbing in Ioannina last month
  • [36] PM's jet used to transport infant to London for treatment
  • [37] HOC and local authorities prepare for 2006 Torino torch relay
  • [38] Greece beats Russia 66-61 in Eurobasket championship, qualifies for semifinals
  • [39] EP rapporteur says Turkey must implement protocol
  • [40] Cyprus notes Turkish ''fierce reaction'' to EU statement

  • [01] Greek president calls on EU hopeful Turkey to respect religious, minority rights

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Thursday reiterated his call to neighboring Turkey, a European Union hopeful, to unequivocally respect the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in the country if it wants to facilitate its course towards Europe.

    Papoulias, a former foreign minister, made the comments during his welcome for visiting Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, the head of the venerable Istanbul-based Patriarchate.

    "If it (Ankara) wants a sincere and substantive (EU) accession course ... on the basis of principles and values, then it must embrace basic tenets of democracy, and respect, without discrimination, religious and minority freedoms," Papoulias said.

    He also noted that the scheduled commencement of Turkey's accession talks with the Union (Oct. 3) should act as a catalyst for such issues, "if Turkey's European course is to have a successful conclusion."

    Moreover, the Greek president also referred to the obstacles placed last week by the Ankara government vis-a-vis a visit by the Pope the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    Finally, Papoulias listed off a handful of steps that he said comprise a condition for a further rapprochement in already improved Greek-Turkish relations, namely, Ankara's recognition of the Patriarchate's ecumenical stature;

    the re-opening of the Halki Orthodox seminary as well as the legal protection of ethnic Greek charitable foundations and endowments in the neighboring country.

    [02] Ecumenical Patriarch holds talks with foreign ministry on coordinating aid efforts

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I on Thursday had a meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Evripides Stylianidis that focused on coordinating the efforts of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanar, Istanbul and the Greek foreign ministry's developmental aid organisation Hellenic Aid in order to fight poverty.

    They said the talks were held in view of the reaffirmation of the Millenium Development Goals for halving poverty by 2015 at the United Nations a few days earlier.

    Stylianidis highlighted the Patriarchate's activities in issues concerning human values, poverty, disease and other problems of the developing world.

    The talks also covered Fanar's role in Turkey's rapprochement with the European Union, while the minister stressed that "issues of human rights and freedoms are on the European agenda and will constantly be raised during negotiations and dealt with".

    [03] Papandreou meets with Patriarch Vartholomeos

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou met on Thursday evening with visiting Ecumanical Patriarch Vartholomeos.

    The PASOK leader told reporters after the meeting that his party supported all efforts deployed by the Patriarch to protect the Patriarchate's rights in Turkey and the rights of the Greek orthodox minority. He added that Turkey should deal with these problems as soon as possible.

    Later in the evening the Patriarch was awarded an honourary distinction by the Athens Bar Association.

    [04] Greek and French FMs discuss PM's talks with French President,

    PM PARIS, 23/9/2005 (ANA - O. Tsipira)

    Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, who arrived in the French capital on Wednesday, held talks with his French counterpart Philippe Douste-Blazy on Thursday which focused, as he told reporters, on the preparation of meetings Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will be having on Friday with French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

    The two ministers discussed bilateral relations in the political, defence and economic sectors, as well as cooperation between the two countries in international organisations and the European Union in particular.

    Molyviatis said the issue of enlargement and Turkey were a special topic of discussion with his French counterpart.

    "We discussed France's position which is very well known on this issue, as well as Greece's position, which, in any case, were expressed in the text of Europe's counter-statement to the statement by Turkey. All the positions of our side were satisfied in this text. The text, indeed, gives a satisfactory reply to the problems caused by Turkey's statement," the Greek minister said.

    "The next and probably more important text which constituted an object of long negotiations in past weeks is the negotiating framework which determines, generally speaking, Turkey's course in Europe," he added.

    Molyviatis stressed that Greece carried out "tough negotiations" on this text and has already been closed as regards Greek issues. However, it has not yet received final approval because some countries have reservations on certain other issues.

    The foreign minister further said that provided that it is finally approved and negotiations with Turkey begin on October 3 "I believe that gradually, in stages, the path will be paved for a new era in relations between Greece and Turkey. An era of peace and cooperation which shall benefit the Greek people and the Turkish people, as well as peace and stability in our entire region. The issue of Cyprus will also find a solution in this framework. I believe that this is a great service offered to the Greek people by the government of Costas Karamanlis, as well as to peace and stability in our region."

    The French foreign ministry's spokesperson said the meeting between the two ministers was "excellent", since an agreement was ascertained between both sides both on bilateral issues and on European ones.

    "We are on the same lines which allow us to proceed together, particularly on the issues of Europe which are very important both for France and Greece," he stressed.

    The French spokesperson also said that the two ministers discussed the bilateral agreement on cooperation between the two countries on security and defence issues which will be signed on Friday.

    [05] Deputy FM Valynakis meets with officials on sidelines of UN's 60th General Assembly

    NEW YORK, 23/9/2005 (ANA/P.Panagiotou)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis continued his meetings in New York on Thursday on the sidelines of the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly before departing for Washington DC.

    Valynakis met with Montenegro's Foreign Minister Miodrag Vlahovic and both officials confirmed the excellent relations maintained traditionally between Greece and Serbia.

    Valynakis and Vlahovic discussed at length Serbia & Montenegro's European prospects.

    During his meeting with Bulgaria's Deputy Foreign Minister Gergana Grancharova, Valynakis noted that Greece considers Bulgaria a strategic partner in the region and reiterated Greece's support of Bulgaria's EU accession.

    The two officials also discussed other EU-related issues and agreed that both sides are looking to further strengthen bilateral ties.

    The deputy minister later addressed the conference on Implementation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

    He said that new emerging threats on an international level underline the need for containment of nuclear weapons proliferation. Valynakis expressed confidence that the treaty's signatories will promote it and will create an effective monitoring system.

    Before addressing the conference, Valynakis met with CTBTO Executive Secretary Tibor Toth assuring him of Greece's support of the organisation's efforts.

    Later on Thursday, Valynakis was due to depart for Washington DC where he will meet with US officials to discuss EU-US relations and the situation in Southeast Europe.

    [06] PM briefed over new administrative codes by interior minister

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday received Interior and Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos at his office for a briefing on two new administrative codes -- one for municipalities and communities, and the other for civil servants -- being drawn up by the ministry.

    Moreover, both men discussed wide-ranging public administration reforms and related dialogue with interested parties, an initiative announced by the prime minister roughly two weeks ago during his address at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).

    Pavlopoulos said drafts of the codes will be completed next month, with their tabling in Parliament expected by mid November.

    [07] Dep. FM Skandalakis in Ukraine, Georgia over the weekend

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Panayiotis Skandalakis, whose portfolio includes issues related to expatriate Greeks, will depart on Friday for a scheduled visit to the Ukraine and Georgia.

    His first stop will be the Azov Sea metropolis of Mariupol, a community that hosts a large and historic ethnic Greek community, for a series of contacts with expatriates' groups. He will also attend the inauguration of a new cathedral in the area.

    [08] PM Karamanlis, Serbia-Montenegro president Marovic discuss regional developments

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis met Thursday morning with visiting Serbia-Montenegro president Svetozar Marovic.

    The two men discussed developments in the region, and Kosovo.

    No statements were made after the meeting.

    Main opposition leader meets visiting Serbia and Montenegro president: Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Thursday received visiting Serbia and Montenegro President Svetozar Marovic, underlining PASOK's support for the European course of the western Balkans and of Serbia and Montenegro in particular.

    Papandreou said that Serbia and Montenegro was a key country in the general region and criticised the government, saying that it was acting like "an observer, a spectator of developments in Balkan affairs, even in matters of direct interest like that of the name issue [of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)] and had led Greece into an impasse.

    Marovic stresses friendly ties with Greece in statements to press: Visiting Serbia and Montenegro President Svetozar Marovic on Thursday said that the traditionally friendly ties between his country and Greece had been confirmed during his meetings in Athens with the Greek president and prime minister, as well as the leader of main opposition PASOK. He also noted the steady annual rise in bilateral economic activity.

    Turning to the issue of Kosovo, Marovic said that negotiations would probably begin at the end of the year and underlined the complexity of the problems in the area, pointing out that there were hundreds of thousands of non-Albanian refugees that were unable to return to their homes because of the lack of security and the low living standards of the region, which were a problem for the Albanian population as well.

    He called for improvements in the quality of life, decentralisation and the development of relations of trust.

    Marovic also referred to the start of negotiations for the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union in October, saying that this was an important milestone and thanking Greece for its help in accelerating the process.

    He conceded, however, that the rate of progress will depend on resolving the issue of former Bosnian general Ratko Mladic, who has been wanted for years by the UN Tribunal at The Hague in connection with atrocities during the Bosnian war.

    A solution of the "Mladic issue" by the end of the year would allow Serbia and Montenegro to join NATO's Partnership for Peace programme and accelerate negotiations with the EU, Marovic noted.

    The issue was also raised in talks between Marovic and Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, with Serbia and Montenegro pledging to make every possible effort to hand over General Mladic to the International Tribunal.

    With regard to the future of the union between Serbia and Montenegro, in view of a referendum for independence being sought by the Montenegrin side, Marovic said that this was an issue that must be decided democratically by its people.

    [09] EU's counter-statement to Turkey on Cyprus recognition issue unilateral and of a political nature, Ankara says

    ANKARA, 23/9/2005 (ANA/A. Ambatzis)

    The counter-statement made by the European Union on Turkey's statement regarding the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus is unilateral and of a political nature, Ankara said on Thursday and raises an issue of EU's obligations on the Cyprus problem.

    An announcement by the Turkish foreign ministry expresses "regret" over the EU's counter-statement, adopted on Wednesday, and stresses that "this proclamation contains some unfair approaches and some new elements in a spirit that does not coincide with the traditional cooperation which has been continuing for over 40 years between Turkey and the EU. This unilateral and of a political nature proclamation can create obstacles in the UN's process concerning the issue of Cyprus."

    It further said that "Turkey's policy on the issue of Cyprus is specific and clear", while with regard to the protocol between the EU and Turkey it said that "Turkey has repeatedly announced that it will implement its obligations emanating from the Ankara Agreement and the additional protocol without discriminations and towards all member-states"

    [10] Gov't defends public order ministry's legal challenge over traffic cameras

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    The government on Thursday defended a decision by the public order ministry, approved by Minister George Voulgarakis, to appeal a ruling by the independent Hellenic Data Protection Authority against the operation of traffic cameras, especially during protests, rallies and other street mobilisations.

    Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said the ministry's recourse to the Council of State, Greece's highest administrative court, is utterly legal. He added that the ministry's leadership is exercising a right granted to every citizen.

    The ministry this week provided a handful of reasons making such equipment, installed prior to the Athens 2004 Games, necessary.

    [11] Greek gov't expresses deepest regrets for death of Simon Wiesenthal

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Thursday expressed the Greek government's deepest condolences to the family of the late Simon Wiesenthal, saying that he had devoted his life to bring about justice for the victims of the Holocaust, after having himself survived the Nazi concentration camps in World War II.

    [12] Outcome of Olympic Airlines sale tender due in two weeks

    WASHINGTON, 23/9/2005 (ANA/C Ziotis)

    The outcome of a tender to privatise Olympic Airlines is due in two weeks, Greek finance ministry sources said on Thursday.

    Difficulties had emerged in the tender, rendering the outcome uncertain, the sources said.

    The government is studying plans that would keep Olympic afloat in the form of a new company possibly under joint ownership of private and public sector bodies. Such a solution would be in place by February 2006, the same sources said.

    Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis is currently visiting the US to attend a general assembly meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank at the weekend.

    [13] OA sale process likely to end within three weeks

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    A privatisation process underway for national carrier Olympic Airlines is likely to end within three weeks, Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis said on Thursday.

    If a sale agreement is reached, it will be sent to parliament for ratification, Liapis told a house committee.

    Liapis declined to say what the government would do if the sale attempt fell flat as he said any statements on OA's future could damage the current situation.

    Two deputies and former ministers of the main opposition PASOK party - Evangelos Venizelos and Christos Verelis - acknowledged that Liapis was making a genuine effort to revitalise Olympic.

    They added that his endeavour contrasted with statements by other senior government members, whose statements had undermined the airline's status.

    [14] Gov't says now critical PASOK considered closing OA when in gov't

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    The government on Thursday returned to the issue of national carrier Olympic Airways (OA) -- undoubtedly the top political story of the month -- with the government spokesman referring to a television news report, aired a day earlier, claiming that the previous PASOK government was considering a liquidation option for the debt-laden company.

    Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos told reporters that a document presented on the Alpha TV channel's newscast "demonstrates PASOK's hypocrisy."

    Roussopoulos, furthermore, cricitised the main opposition party's spokesman for what he called a continuing barrage of "lies" targeting the government over the contentious OA issue.

    "Let him now tell us how it's possible for PASOK to have proposed a liquidation scenario while today appearing as the critic."

    In a related development, Roussopoulos declined to comment on a question referring to a purported statement by ruling New Democracy (ND) secretary Vangelis Meimarakis on Wednesday regarding OA, saying he did not hear or read the latter's comments.

    Moreover, the spokesman reiterated during his press briefing that his various statements over the past week on OA stand.

    [15] PASOK and Coalition of the Left party leaders discuss future of Olympic Airlines

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou and Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party leader Alekos Alavanos, heading party delegations, discussed the issue of the future of the Olympic Airlines company on Thursday.

    PASOK's National Council Secretary Mariliza Xenoyiannako-poulou said that during the meeting between the two leaders considerable convergences were ascertained, as well as different approaches.

    Xenoyiannakopoulou said "a viable, but at the same time competitive solution must be sought for Olympic. A solution that will secure public interest, a solution that will secure the prospects of employees, a solution that will secure the serving of citizens and of all the regions of our country. And at the same time a solution that will secure the safety of flights."

    Alavanos said he presented his proposals on maintaining Olympic's public character and the creation of a Parliamentary Factfinding Committee.

    He added that "the positions of the two parties are not common as regards Olympic's future", while on the issue of the Factfinding Committee he noted "positive scepticism" on the part of PASOK's leader.

    [16] Former European Commission VP on Olympic Airlines

    PARIS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    Loyola de Palacio, who served as Vice President of the European Commission between 1999-2004, lashed out at criticism regarding the handling of state carrier Olympic Airlines (then Olympic Airways) in a statement she made on Thursday.

    The former VP said that she will not allow anyone to slander the objective and transparent handling of the case during her tenure as commissioner responsible for transport.

    According to de Palacio, the Commission unanimously agreed in December 2002 on a case that had been pending for a decade and which was handled by three different commissioners and hundreds of capable Commission officials.

    She added that she is proud of all her associates with whom she worked during that time.

    [17] Greece responding very satisfactorily to reformist initiatives, finance minister says

    WASHINGTON, 23/9/2005 (ANA/C. Ziotis)

    Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis, addressing the conference organised here on Friday by the Euro-pean "World Club" Institute, said that "Greece is responding very satisfactorily to reformist initiatives."

    Alogoskoufis stressed that "the Greek economy is responding very satisfactorily to our reformist initiatives. Despite the high prices of oil, the economy's rate of development remains one of the highest in Europe and is expected to reach 3.6 percent this year."

    The finance minister appeared before the American audience as a staunch defender of reforms and of the gradual adoption of homogeneous fiscal policies between eurozone member-states, stressing that the lack of an autonomous monetary policy leaves national governments with only two other options:to regulate fiscal policy and to promote structural reforms.

    Alogoskoufis added that in this framework "it is clear, therefore, why many governments are seeking a more aggressive monetary policy."

    Placing responsibility for delays on previous governments, Alogoskoufis highlighted the responsible position of citizens.

    "Greece experienced an era of great state interventions. The state, in practice, was everywhere and careful handling was required for us to secure the greatest possible social consent. The Greek people support our reformist programme. They have understood the benefits that will be produced and they have understood that in order for our economy to reach the level of productivity and income of the EU, well-aimed reforms are necessary," he said.

    During his stay here, the finance minister had a series of contacts with senators, as well as with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. His main aim was to underline the possibilities of the Greek economy and the advantages which emanate from its geopolitical position.

    [18] Greece largest recipient of EU funds in 2004 in terms of %

    GNI BRUSSELS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    Greece was the largest recipient of EU funds in the 2004 budget in terms of percent of gross national income, with 5.8 billion euros or 3.52 percent of GNI, the European Commission said on Thursday. Greece is followed by Portugal (3.35%), Lithuania (2.81%), Estonia (2.50%) and Latvia (2.46%).

    The largest recipient of EU funds in 2004 was Spain ( 16.4 billion) ahead of the populous member-states, France ( 12.9 billion), Germany ( 11.7 billion), Italy ( 10.4 billion), and the UK ( 7.1 billion). Spain is the largest recipient of funds under structural operations, followed by Germany, Italy and Portugal.

    Funds for new member-states have only started to flow. Poland ( 2.7 billion) comes at the 10th place of EU-25. All new Member-States recorded a positive net balance, amounting to 2.9 billion for 2004, an increase of 1.3 billion compared with 2003, before they joined.

    Benefits spread across all Member States. The focus of spending is progressively shifting towards policies linked to competitiveness. The shares of different policy headings in 2004 have changed in comparison with previous year. Funds allocated to Member States for structural operations covering cohesion and regional development increased substantially from 28.5 billion to 34.1 billion (+19.8%), as well as for internal policies including internal market and research (from 4.9 billion in 2003 to 6 billion in 2004).

    Agriculture and rural development allocations to Member States constituted 47.5% ( 43.6 billion) of the total allocated expenditure in 2004, showing a decrease from 54.1% ( 44.4 billion) in 2003. In agriculture main beneficiaries remained the same. In absolute terms, France received the largest allocations, followed by Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK.

    Under internal policies, Germany received the largest amount, followed by France, Belgium, the UK and Italy.

    EU administrative expenditure was heavily concentrated. Most of the funds went to Belgium and Luxembourg, two of the seats of European Union institutions.

    National contributions (comprising VAT- and GNI-based contributions) were the largest source of revenue for the EU budget and totalled 82.9 billion in 2004. The remainder came from so-called traditional own resources (customs and agricultural duties), the surplus from 2003, and other revenues.

    [19] Gov't launches three-year action plan to spur small business

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    The government is to launch a three-year rolling action plan to help spur smaller enterprises, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Thursday.

    The move is part of a wider strategy to help small and medium-sized enterprises, which form the backbone of the country's economy.

    "These firms make a decisive contribution to job creation. Our aim is to liberate their massive potential to improve competitiveness, tone up employment, boost economic growth and encourage social cohesion," Sioufas said.

    Addressing the first meeting of the newly created National Council for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, the minister also announced that two new research institutes would be created: one for smaller firms and the other for commercial and services companies.

    In addition, a sector consultancy service will be set up staffed by retired corporate executives, modelled on institutions in the USA and France.

    A support programme would also be created for the textiles, apparel, footwear and leather sector that will be submitted to the European Union, Sioufas said.

    [20] Communist, Coalition parties criticise statements by employment minister on social insurance issue

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party on Thursday criticised statements made on Wednesday by Employment and Social Protection Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos that the social insurance system needed revitalisation.

    "The new attack has been decided in advance, it is concerted and will be more universal and tougher. In the framework of the Lisbon Strategy on the increase in profit-making and of the competitiveness of capital, both the government of New Democracy and PASOK have adopted and committed themselves to a further decrease in the value of labour power," KKE said.

    "The disgraceful social dialogue being announced by the government constitutes a copy of the known deception by PASOK. The pretext again is the restructuring of the social insurance system," it added.

    Referring to the same issue, the Coalition party's Political Bureau member Dimitris Stratoulis said "public social insurance does not need demolition, but the support and substantive improvement of pensions and of health benefits for the insured of our country. The Coalition party will not participate in any pretext dialogue on undermining social insurance, but will support the struggles of working people to defend and upgrade their social insurance rights."

    [21] European Central Bank Vice President Loukas Papademos supports immediate implementation of structural changes in eurozone

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    European Central Bank Vice President Loukas Papademos, addressing an event organised by the Greco-German Chamber of Commerce in Athens on Thursday, expressed support for the immediate implementation of structural changes in the eurozone to enable development to increase at a speedier rate and its economy to become more competitive.

    "Structural reforms in the labour markets are of vital importance to enable these markets to become more flexible and adjustable so that new jobs can be created and the use of labour potential to be improved," he said.

    Papadimos further said "it is expedient for the institutional framework concerning the price determination apparatuses, including the index-linked adjustment of salaries which continues to be in force in certain countries, to be reconsidered."

    He went on to say that an adequate degree of differentiation in the development of salaries is useful in order to secure that salary adjustments reflect differences in productivity in accordance with regions and sectors.

    Papademos expressed his optimism that the eurozone will succeed in improving its development rates in a stable macroeconomic environment.

    [22] BA begins cargo flights between Athens and Hong-Kong

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    British Airways on Thursday announced the beginning of a new cargo airline service linking Stansted with Oporto, Athens and Hong-Kong.

    The cargo aircraft will land at the Athens International Airport every Wednesday (21.00 local time) and will depart to Hong-Kong at 23.00 the same day. The aircraft will carry mainly spare parts, mechanical equipment and clothing.

    "This particular flight comes to help Greek exports to the Far East, mainly with the aircraft's huge cargo capacity, very competitive prices and the ability to transport cargo that was impossible to be carried by standard aircraft," Lefteris Levenderis, British Airway's cargo manager in Greece and Cyprus told reporters.

    [23] Main opposition proposes heating oil subsidy bill

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK MPs submitted a bill on Thursday calling for the provision of a heating oil subsidy of 180- 300 to economically vulnerable groups.

    According to the 57 MPs submitting the bill, households' heating bills will be 38% higher than last year.

    They noted that France, Belgium, Italy and Poland have taken measures to help lower economic classes.

    They also noted that when PASOK was in government it gave a subsidy of 30,000 drs. - 50,000 drs. during 2000-2001 to economically vulnerable groups when the price of oil per barrel stood at $32.

    According to the PASOK MPs, the government has significantly increased its revenues through taxation and can therefore afford to pay out the subsidy.

    The PASOK MPs propose that retired farmers, pensioners who also receive a supplementary pension EKAS and the long-term unemployed should receive the subsidy.

    [24] OTE, Cosmote to announce plans for Cosmorom Friday

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    Executives from Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) and its mobile subsidiary, Cosmote, are to announce details of a business plan for Cosmorom on Friday.

    Cosmote, which is to take over management of the firm from its parent, aims to make Cosmorom profitable within four years, according to sources.

    The executives will announce the business plan in Bucharest, Romania, where Cosmorom is based.

    OTE and Cosmote are both quoted on the Athens bourse.

    [25] Shipping foreign exchange inflows jump to 8.25 bln euros in Jan-July

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    Shipping exchange inflows totaled 8.248 billion euros in the seven-month period from January to July, up from 7.659 billion euros in the corresponding period last year, the Bank of Greece said on Thursday.

    According to the central bank's provisional data, shipping foreign exchange inflows totaled 1.173 billion euros in July, from 1.146 billion euros in July 2004, an increase of 2.32 percent.

    [26] "Exclusive Yachting 2005" opens at Ag. Kosmas marina

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    "Exclusive Yachting 2005" opened in the Agios Kosmas Marina, previously an Olympic venue, on Thursday giving visitors a chance to see some of the most impressive watercraft in the world.

    More than 50 companies will be showcasing some 150 watercraft.

    The exhibit, organised by EuroPartners and Exclusive Travel and sponsored by Audi Pazaropoulos, will run through September 25.

    [27] Greek stocks rebound on Thursday

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended a several-day decline on Thursday as buyers reappeared in the Athens Stock Exchange pushig the composite index 0.14 percent higher to 3,215.48 points.

    Turnover was a healthy 264.5 million euros.

    Sector indices ended higher with the Food-Beverage (2.04 pct), Industrials (1.04 pct), Constructions (0.91 pct) and Retail (0.65 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains, while the IT Solutions (1.53 pct), Textiles (1.26 pct), Cement (0.99 pct) and Telecommunications (0.93 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.11 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index fell 0.11 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index fell 0.31 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 163 to 98 with another 67 issues unchanged.

    The stocks with the highest turnover were OTE, Eurobank, OPAP, PPC and National Bank of Greece.

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: +0.11%

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

  • Underlying Index: -0.11%

  • Total derivatives market turnover: 116.0 million euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers lag sellers

  • Greek benchmark 10-year bond (exp. 20.7.2015): 3.24% yield

  • Spread over German benchmark 10-year bund: 21 bps

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-year bond, expiring 20.7.2015 (1.0 bln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 5.1 bln euros

    Foreign Exchange Rates: Friday

    Reference buying rates per euro released

    by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.232

    [28] BBC filming Durrell's 'My Family and Other Animals' on Corfu

    CORFU, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    A BBC crew is currently on the Greek island of Corfu, in the Ionian Sea, filming a new adaptation, by Simon Nye, of Gerald Durrell's famous 1956 autobiography "My Family and Other Animals", which recounts his adventures while growing up on Corfu with his mother and three siblings.

    Durrell was born in India, but after his father died in 1928, his mother, Dixie, decided to move back to England, and then to the sunny island of Corfu.

    Thus, the budding naturalist and animal conservationist Gerald Durrell (1925-1995) and his family moved to Corfu in 1935, when he was ten years old, where he spent the next five years, until 1939. 'My Family and Other Animals' is the first and most famous of a trilogy -- that also includes "Birds, Beasts and Relatives" (1969) and "The Garden of The Gods" (1978) -- which recount the family's Corfu years.

    Award-winning actress Imelda Staunton stars in the BBC's new TV drama film, a remake of the BBC drama mini-series in the 1980s, in the role of the mother. Gerald is played by Eugene Simon, with Tamzin Merchant featured as his sister Margot, Russel Tovey as his brother Larry, and Matthew Goode as the third brother, Larry (Lawrence), while Omid Djalili holds the role of larger-than-life taxi driver and devoted family friend Spiro. Chris Langham is featured as Theodore Stephanidis, a biologist who played an important role in introducing young Gerald to Corfu's abundant marine and insect life, as well as its rich cultural beauty.

    'My Family and Other Animals' is directed by Sheree Folkson, and produced by Simon Lewis, while Susan Hogg is the executive producer.

    [29] Greek and Cypriot theatre groups to appear in Cairo experimental theatre festival

    CAIRO, 23/9/2005 (ANA - N. Katsikas)

    Greece and Cyprus will be participating in the 17th International Experimental Theatre Festival of Cairo, with performances starting on Thursday and Friday night.

    The Greek theatre group "Road Theatre -Elix" will be competing with a variation of the classic work "Prometheus Bound" at Cairo's Theatre of the Pyramids, with one of the seven wonders of the ancient world as a backdrop.

    On Sunday and Monday, the Art Syndicate group from Greece will put on Samuel Beckett's "First Love".

    The Cairo theatre festival is one of the largest and most prestigious in the Middle East and the Arab world generally, attracting participation by some 40 countries. Greek theatre groups have won prizes three times in the last six years at this festival, which is being held under the auspices of Egyptian Culture Minister Farouq Hosni.

    Cyprus is being represented by the Organisation of Cypriot Theatre.

    [30] President Karolos Papoulias accepts invitation to visit Limnos

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    President Karolos Papoulias has accepted an invitation by Lesvos Prefect Pavlos Voyiadzis to attend events scheduled to take place in the town of Myrina on October 8, to celebrate the anniversary of the island's liberation from Turkish rule.

    The prefect of Lesvos expressed his satisfaction over the acceptance of his invitation by President Papoulias, stressing that it is a great honour for the island to welcome the country's first citizen.

    "The visit to Limnos by the President of the Republic is an extremely important event for our prefecture since, indeed, we have a great need in our border islands of splendid presences such as that of Mr. Papoulias," Voyiadzis said in his statement.

    [31] Greenpeace calls on Greeks to use cars less

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    The environmental organisation Greenpeace urged Greek politicians and citizens to change attitudes regarding the use of cars in a statement it issued on Thursday on occasion of European Car Free Day.

    According to Greenpeace, there are 5 million vehicles (cars and motorcycles) registered in Greece which are responsible for 80% of air pollution in Athens and other urban centres during the year's hot months.

    Furthermore, Greenpeace noted that Greeks bought 290,000 new cars last year, while auto manufacturers spent more than 140 million in advertising.

    Numerous Greek cities have high levels of PM10, fine particles which to a great extent are created by the burning of fossil fuels in cars and are hazardous to human health.

    According to Greenpeace, Thessaloniki's PM10 levels exceed the permissible level of 50 g/m3 two days out of three; Athens one out of two days; followed by Larissa and Patras.

    [32] New Greek software for vetting porno Internet content soon to be released

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    A new Greek-designed software programme based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) methods that will be able to vet Internet content and block porno sites is soon to be released, IT researchers in Thessaloniki told the ANA-MPA on Thursday.

    The new 'smart' programme will be named FilterX and was created at the Democritos' IT and Communications Institute. It is designed for installation in PCs or servers, where it will vet pages with pornographic content before these appear on a user's screen and block access to them if they are found unsuitable.

    This is a completely different approach to existing filters in use today, which are based exclusively on lists of illegal or suspect sites but are unable to track new sites as these are created.

    Research team head Costas Handrinos said that the programme will be able to examine the real content of a site, making decisions based on a combination of information contained in the text and the images and even the structure of a web-page. It is capable of processing the contents of each web-page in less than 0.009 seconds, determining whether it is pornographic or not with a 97 per cent success rate.

    FilterX has already been selected for funding by the European Union and has been operating on a pilot basis in schools throughout Europe and Greece, while its installation is no more complicated than the installation of anti-virus software and at a similar cost.

    The research team is now making plans to further extend the programme as a filter for other types of offensive material, such as racist content, narcotics and electronic gambling.

    Interested parties can temporarily test the product at the website http://www.i-sieve.com.

    [33] 59 illegals, eight alleged migrant smugglers detained in northern Evia

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    A total of 59 illegal immigrants along with eight foreign migrant smugglers were arrested by police and coast guard officers on Wednesday, following a coordinated land-sea dragnet in northern Evia island, which straddles much of the central Greek mainland's eastern coast.

    According to reports early Thursday morning, 20 out of the 59 illegals that were left on a remote corner of northern Evia (Sarakiniko promontory) were apprehended when police intercepted four separate vehicles transporting them towards Athens. The four drivers, all foreign nationals, were also arrested.

    The remaining group of 39 was subsequently picked up after a search of the entire region.

    Additionally, the vessel allegedly used to transport the would-be migrants onto Greek territory, identified as the yacht "Rainbow", was later spotted east of the island by the coast guard. All four crew-members aboard were arrested.

    Authorities said the group of 59 illegal immigrants was taken for a temporary shelter, while the eight migrant-smuggling suspects are due to face a local prosecutor. No information was given as to the nationalities of the suspects.

    [34] Eighteen Albanian illegal immigrants intercepted in Ioannina

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    Eighteen Albanian illegal immigrants were intercepted by chance on the Ioannina-Igoumenitsa road on Thursday, when the drivers of the two trucks transporting them panicked at the sight of a police car called out to the scene of a road accident.

    The two men, who were driving trucks stolen in Athens, saw the police car driving at speed down the road with its siren on and believed they had been spotted. They stopped the trucks and escaped on foot, taking advantage of the dense undergrowth and woodland at the roadside.

    The police car stopped to investigate the two trucks, which their drivers had abandoned practically in the middle of the road, and thus discovered the 18 Albanian illegal immigrants concealed within them.

    The illegal immigrants were led before a public prosecutor, while police are now searching for the drivers of the two vehicles.

    [35] Albanian police link teen to army officer's stabbing in Ioannina last month

    GJIROKASTR, 23/9/2005, Albania (ANA - P. Barkas)

    A 17-year-old Albanian teenager was taken into custody on Wednesday by police in the port town of Durres in connection with stabbing death of a 35-year-old Greek army officer on Aug. 19 in Ioannina, northern Greece.

    According to local authorities, the 17-year-old - whose name was released by police - allegedly admitted to stabbing Marinos Maniatis 40 times with a knife in the victim's apartment. He also claimed that the attack was prompted by the victim's "sexual advances", police stated.

    The suspect surrendered to police in Durres on Wednesday.

    Other information states that the teen had illegally crossed into Greece before returning to his native country shortly after the reported incident.

    Albanian police were quoted as saying they will request additional information from Greek authorities regarding the case.

    [36] PM's jet used to transport infant to London for treatment

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    The prime minister's official corporate jet was used to transfer a six-month-old kidney patient from Thessaloniki to London Wednesday afternoon, as the child, reported in critical condition, was taken to the British capital's King's Hospital for a possible transplant.

    The infant boy was suffering from kidney and respiratory failure since being admitted to a Thessaloniki hospital in early Sept.

    [37] HOC and local authorities prepare for 2006 Torino torch relay

    ATHENS, 23/9/2005 (ANA)

    Hellenic Olympic Committee President Minos Kyriakou met on Thursday with the mayors and presidents of municipalities through which the Olympic torch relay for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino will pass.

    Kyriakou briefed local government officials on the procedures related to the relay, such as selection of torch bearers, enlisting volunteers, and facilitating the passage of the Olympic Flame.

    The Olympic Flame will be lit in Ancient Olympia on November 27 and will pass through 66 municipalities and eight ski centres in Greece.

    [38] Greece beats Russia 66-61 in Eurobasket championship, qualifies for semifinals

    BELGRADE, 23/9/2005 (ANA - A. Velonaki)

    The Greek national basketball team beat Russia 66-61 on Thursday night and qualified for the semifinals of the men's 34th Eurobasket championship. It is the first time in eight years that the national team manages to reach the semifinals, since the last time was in the Eurobasket championship held in Barcelona in 1997.

    The national team's top scorer in the match was Thodoris Papaloukas who scored 23 points in the quarterfinal played at the Beogradcka Arena stadium in Belgrade.

    Greece's opponent in the semifinals will be the winner of the match between Lithuania and France.

    The 10-minute scores in the match were 13-2, 33-26, 40-44, 61-66.

    [39] EP rapporteur says Turkey must implement protocol

    NICOSIA, 23/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    European Parliament Dutch rapporteur on Turkey Camiel Eurlings said on Thursday that Turkey must fully implement the Ankara Agreement protocol as soon as possible, not at some very late date in the accession negotiations with Turkey.

    Eurlings, who is in Cyprus in the framework of preparing a report on the protocol extending Turkey's customs union with the EU to the ten new member states, expressed the regret of the European Peoples' Party regarding Turkey's declaration that it does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus and described the implementation of the protocol with all member states as of ''utmost importance,'' because ''we say it doesn't only touch Cyprus with Turkey, but it touches the credibility of the EU as such.''

    Speaking after a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou, Eurlings said that the EU and the UN should both exert pressure for a Cyprus settlement.

    ''For us is very important that when you sign a protocol you also implement it. That is why we do not accept the position of the Turkish government that not allowing vessels carrying a Cypriot flag into the Turkish ports, not granting over-flight rights for Cypriot airplanes that is a vision that would not be necessary that is not accepted by the European Commission, that is not accepted by the European Parliament,'' he said.

    Eurlings noted that ''we will have to give our consent on the Ankara Protocol and we want to know before we vote next week that the declaration is not a formal part of the protocol ratification, because if it is, there could be a juridical problem and we already stated if there would be no clarity at least my party in the European Parliament will try to push for a advisory opinion of the European Court on this.''

    Asked if the European Parliament had any means of convincing Turkey to implement the Ankara Agreement with the Republic of Cyprus,

    Eurlings said ''we can exert a lot of political pressure because at the end of the accession process by Turkey, we will have to give an assent otherwise Turkey cannot enter, and I think everybody knows that very clearly in Brussels.''

    To a question if there was any possibility for the European Parliament not to ratify the protocol, Eurlings said ''yes, of course, and we could also postpone the ratification of the protocol.''

    Referring to his meetings with Iacovou and earlier with President Tassos Papadopoulos, Eurlings said it was ''very good to hear from both persons the real drive to restart a negotiation for a solution on the island, a reunification.''

    ''It was positive to find some hope here on the Cypriot side that there could be a restart of talks on the real solution for the island very soon. I hope that will happen and we will push as a European Parliament for the implementation of the Ankara protocol because that would be a first step to normalise the relationships between Turkey and Cyprus,'' he added.

    ''We will try to push for that and much more we will try to push for a re-energising of the negotiation process to find a real solution on this island to get a reunited Cyprus because we believe for the real solution, not just UN need to push for, but also the EU needs to push for because the Republic of Cyprus being a member of the EU there is now a responsibility for Europe to be active in this process and to push for a solution,'' he said.

    [40] Cyprus notes Turkish ''fierce reaction'' to EU statement

    NICOSIA, 23/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides spoke of a ''fierce reaction'' on behalf of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots to the content of the EU counterstatement in response to a declaration issued by Ankara that it did not recognise the Republic of Cyprus.

    ''There is a fierce reaction on behalf of Turkey for the counterstatement,'' he said, adding that the counterstatement and Ankara's negotiating framework ''have the same political and legal importance and it is impossible to separate them.''

    He noted that there are many positive elements in the negotiating framework, which were added by the Cypriot side and in combination

    with the counterstatement set out the clear obligations of Turkey towards Cyprus.

    ''With Turkey tied to the EU carriage, we seek ways to promote efforts to solve the Cyprus problem because that is where the weight has been placed in relation with the broader efforts of the United Nations,'' he added.

    The spokesman said that the paragraphs of the negotiating framework concerning the Cyprus problem and the normalisation of relations between Turkey and Cyprus are ''especially important.''

    Regarding the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Ankara, Chrysostomides said this was a necessity in the context of Turkey's EU accession negotiations.

    Referring to statements by Turkish Cypriot ''prime minister'' Ferdi Sabit Soyer that even if the whole world recognised it, the Turkish Cypriot side would never recognise the Republic of Cyprus, Chrysostomides said Soyer's remarks contained a mistake of a legal, political and logical nature.

    He said the Republic of Cyprus was recognised by the whole world and ''if the Turkish Cypriots do so or not is not that important.''

    ''The Turkish Cypriot administration is nothing but a subject administration of the occupation force and this is known worldwide,'' he added.

    Chrysostomides noted that both Soyer's remarks as well as those by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan regarding a confederation, ''proved once again the pursuits of the Turkish side for secessionist tendencies'' and called on the Turkish side to abort such positions so that the two communities on the island could promote joint efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.

    The spokesman said that the Greek Cypriot side was seeking the more active involvement of the EU in UN efforts to reach a settlement without moving away from the UN.

    He added that Turkey's stance during its EU course will be evaluated by the EU and, if there are any negative actions or remarks on behalf of Turkey, then the EU 25 will deal with this development collectively.


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