|Monday, 18 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-09-02
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>September 2, 2006
 Greek win over 'Dream Team' sends thousands of fans into frenzy; final with Spain on Sunday
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)Thousands of jubilant Greek fans took to the streets of major cities around the east Mediterranean country early Friday afternoon seconds after the men's national basketball team stunned a US national club comprised of NBA all-stars 101-95 in the semi-finals of the FIBA World Basketball Championship in Saitama, Japan.
The epicenter of celebrations was in Athens' central Omonia square and outside the landmark White Tower in the northern port city of Thessaloniki.
Practically all of Greece's leadership sent congratulations to the team's players and coaches, including President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou.
The win against the latest version of the United States' heralded "Dream Team" - Greece will face Spain in the Sunday's final - coincided with the team's crowning as European champions last year in Belgrade, Serbia during the Eurobasket 2005 finals.
 Thessaloniki celebrates national basketball team's success
THESSALONIKI, 02/09/2006 (ANA)Main streets in the city of Thessaloniki, Macedonia, were floodlit at nightfall on Friday, by order of Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, to celebrate the great success of the Greek national basketball team to qualify for the final of the World Basketball Championship in Japan.
The mayor of Thessaloniki congratulated the players and the national team's coach, Panayiotis Yiannakis, in a message he sent and wished them all the best in Sunday's final against Spain.
 FM Dora Bakoyannis stresses need for solution to Palestinian problem
LAPPEENRANTA, 02/09/2006 (ANA/MPA - M. Aroni)Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who represented Greece at the European Union's informal Council of Foreign Ministers here on Friday, stressed the need for a solution to the Palestinian problem.
She said that the informal Council focused on the issue of the Middle East, as well as on the way with which united Europe will be able to support a new peace effort in the region.
The minister termed the peace effort in the Middle East "absolutely necessary, adding that it must start from a solution to the major problem of Palestine.
She also expressed the hope that Europe will appear useful and strongly present politically in the Middle East issue.
As regards the issue of Iran, Bakoyannis said that disappointment is prevailing concerning the reply given by Tehran, but noted that there is always time for diplomatic efforts.
 Deputy FM Kassimis meets Melbourne's Greek community
MELBOURNE, 02/09/2006 (ANA-MPA/S. Aravopoulou)Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, who is currently on a visit to Australia, met with Melbourne's Greek community on Friday.
He told them: "The World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) must strengthen the cooperation of the Greek organizations and their expression at the centre. The government will not get involved at all in the internal affairs of SAE's elections."
Kassimis appealed for unity among Australia's Greek community and called on them to vote without partisan criteria.
He noted that who would win should not be of concern, to which party he belongs to or what his political beliefs are, "but should believe in the idea of SAE."
The deputy foreign minister noted that there are more than 400 Greek organizations in Australia "and all have a reason to exist and should exist."
 PASOK party leader to visit Nafpaktos, Patra and Sweden
NAFPAKTOS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou will visit the town of Nafpaktos on Saturday and hold talks with the prefectural candidate and mayoral candidates supported by the party in the prefecture of Etoloakarnania.
On Sunday, he will be addressing an event organized in Patra, western Greece, marking the 32nd anniversary of the founding of PASOK by Andreas Papandreou.
The PASOK party leader and President of the Socialist International will then be traveling to Sweden on Monday. At noon, Papandreou will be participating in a meeting of the Scandinavian countries' Foreign Policy and Security Group in Stockholm on developments in the Middle East.
Lastly, Papandreou will be meeting Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson on Tuesday morning.
 Gov't on hiring of Swiss lawyer to assist in TOR-M1 probe
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)The government on Friday flatly dismissed recent criticism by main opposition PASOK regarding charges by the latter that the justice minister has illegally hired a Swiss lawyer in the high-profile case involving the purchase of a Russian weapons system by the previous government.
"Who is to benefit from blocking the process to obtain information (regarding bank accounts) via Swiss authorities for the Greek state in regards to the TOR-M1 case?" government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos asked during his regular press briefing on Friday.
PASOK deputy and former minister Andreas Loverdos on Thursday charged that the justice minister unlawfully hired the attorney without the consent or knowledge of Parliament and the independent judiciary investigating the contract for the purchase of the Russian-made anti-aircraft missile system.
In response, Roussopoulos countered that Parliament vice-president and ruling ND deputy Yiannis Tragakis had, in fact, briefed Parliament over the hiring.
 President meets new judicial leadership
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)Justice minister Anastasis Papaligouras on Friday presented the new judicial leadership to President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, during a visit to the Presidential Mansion.
Addressing the new justices, Papoulias wished them strength in their essential and difficult task. "The people are expecting much from you," he said.
He also said that the justice minister was on the front lines, adding that the bills that have been tabled in parliament by the justice ministry were very serious and of substance.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Papaligouras said that the President's sensitivity on issues of justice were well-known.
He said Papoulias had wished to have a personal contact with the new judicial leadership and wish then strength in the difficult task they have shouldered, including completion of the catharsis of the judicial sector, restoration of its credibility, and completion of major changes, such as acceleration of the process of serving justice, upgrading of the infrastructures, and making the correctional system more humane.
The modernization of the justice system was a major goal that was being effected methodically and on a daily basis, with the contribution of the judicial leadership, Papaligouras said.
 Papandreou meets with group representing disabled; criticizes gov't
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou met on Friday with a delegation of the National Confederation of Persons with a Disability, led by its president and president of the European Forum of Persons with a Disability, Yiannis Vardakastanis.
On his part, Papandreou initially stepped up his criticism of the government, charging that public investments have dropped due to a high-profile audit of the Greek economy ordered by the Karamanlis government months after it assumed power in March 2004.
He also returned to the construction and public works front, an issue that jumped onto the limelight this week, saying that unemployment in the sector has risen, EU funds have been lost and that various projects will either not be completed or be delivered in poor quality.
"The major issue for persons with disabilities is the heating subsidy," Vardakastanis told reporters after the meeting, which was in the context of the PASOK leader's discussions with social groups and producer classes ahead of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) this month.
Vardakastanis said the confederation also brought to Papandreou's attention the demand for a "guaranteed income for uninsured Greeks with a disability", as well as for returning expatriate Greeks and legal immigrants with a disability.
The delegation also referred to issues of welfare, "which is now a funded area of government policy", and to deficiencies in the health sector with respect to chronic illnesses, lack of medical and nursing personnel, and lack of molecular screening.
 SYN leader meets with Catholic Archbishop of Athens
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)Coalition of the Left, Movements and Progress (SYN) leader Alekos Alavanos on Friday met with Catholic Archbishop of Athens Nikolaos Foscolos, with whom he discussed matters of concern to the Catholic community of Greece.
Alavanaos said that we should be living in an era of rights, freedoms, without discrimination, for all Greek citizens, adding that "unfortunately, there are incidents that don't confirm this".
The SYN leader noted that no works have been carried out on the Catholic Metropolitan Church of St. Dionysius, in Athens, since the 1999 earthquakes, with the blame falling on the regional authorities and the ministry of culture.
 Archbishop Christodoulos receives ND's candidate for Athens mayor Kaklamanis
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Friday received ruling New Democracy (ND) party's candidate for Athens mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis.
The Archbishop referred to the particular cooperation which the Church of Greece has with the Athens Municipality in the Centre for the homeless.
Kaklamanis said that if he is elected Athens mayor in the October 15 local government elections, he will seek the signing of a cooperation protocol betweeen the Municipality and the Archbishopric in the sectors of volunteerism and social solidarity.
 FM Bakoyannis makes Forbes 100 list
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis has been named to the list of the world's "100 most powerful women in 2006", according to the Forbes magazine. Bakoyannis ranked 66th on the list.
At the top of the list was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, followed by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who topped the list in 2005), and Chinese Vice-Premier Wu Yi.
Also on the list, comprising leading women figures from the fields of politics, business, social contribution, and the mass media, are US Senator and former first lady Hilary Clinton, Princess Rania of Jordan, French Defence Minister Michelle Alliot-Marie, the co-founder of the Gates Foundation and wife of Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, broadcast journalist Christiane Amanpour and US television star Oprah Winfrey.
The final selection of the list, which appears annually, is on the basis of international projection of the candidate, and her activities and influence, in conjunction with her country's economic strength.
 PM continues contacts with social groups, producer classes
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday continued his ongoing round of meetings with representatives of social groups and producer classes.
He met with the leadership of PASEGES, the union of farm cooperatives, and the Union of Greek Commerce Enterprises.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, PASEGES president N. Karamihas said the meeting with the premier covered significant issues such as farmers' income, investments needed in the farm sector and subsidies.
Karamihas said farmers' incomes have shrunk by around 11 percent over the last two years and demanded a minimum pension, or income of around 500 euros per month to farmers. PASEGES also urged "focused" investments in the farm sector.
 Unions rally to coincide with PM's economy speech
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)Trade unions are to stage a protest rally in the northern port city of Thessaloniki on September 9 to coincide with the prime minister's annual economic policy speech.
Taking part in the peaceful rally to protest against current policy are the GSEE, the country's largest trade union umbrella group; the ADEDY civil servants union,; and the Thessaloniki labor centre, organizers said on Friday.
 Greece, Korea in port pact
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)Greece and Korea on Friday signed a memorandum of cooperation aimed at the development, management and operation of the port of Tymbaki on the island of Crete.
"This is a major step for creation of modern infrastructure that will reinforce competitiveness of the Greek port system and global market," the merchant marine ministry said in a statement.
"It is also one more step in the framework of implementation of the country's national port policy to develop ports by attracting foreign investment," the ministry said.
Cooperation in the project is to include a know-how exchange, feasibility studies, it added.
Signing the pact were Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis and Korea's minister of shipping and fisheries, Sung Jin.
 Greek-Korean Business Forum on Monday
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)The Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) is organizing a Greek-Korean Business Forum on Monday at a central Athens hotel in cooperation with Korean International Trade Center and the Federation of Korean Industries.
The forum is organized on the eve of an official state visit by the President of South Korea, Roh Moo Hyun, to Greece.
The South Korean president will be accompanied by more than 100 board chairmen and chief executives of large enterprises in the fields of electronics, telecommunications, energy, auto industry, shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, construction and building materials, air transport, textiles, banks, logistics and other business groups.
The South Korean president will also address the forum.
 Greek GDP grew 4.1 pct in second quarter, Eurostat
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)Greek economic growth totaled 4.1 pct in the second quarter of 2006, compared with the same period last year, Eurostat said on Friday.
The EU executive's statistics agency said GDP growth totaled 2.6 pct in the Eurozone and 2.8 pct in the EU-28, while economic growth was 3.6 pct in the US and 2.2 pct in Japan, over the same period.
Lithuania (9.0 pct), Slovakia (6.6 pct), Poland (5.6 pct) and Sweden (5.0 pct) recorded the highest GDP growth rates in the April-June quarter, while Italy (1.5 pct) the lowest growth rate.
Economic growth rate fell 0.4 pct in the second quarter from the first quarter of 2006, while the growth rate rose 0.9 pct in the Eurozone, 0.7 pct in the US and 0.2 pct in Japan.
 Cosmote gets final OK for Germanos buyout
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)Athens-quoted Cosmote announced on Friday that the Romanian Competition Council has unconditionally approved the acquisition by the Greek mobile phone operator of a controlling stake in Romanian subsidiaries of Germanos SA - Germanos Telecom Romania S.A. and Sunlight Romania Filiala Bucuresti S.R.L.
The acquisition of a 42% stake in Germanos has now received approval from regulators in Greece and abroad - Bulgaria, FYROM, Ukraine and Romania, Cosmote said in a statement.
The acquisition is due for completion by early October 2006. A public tender offer will then be launched for the acquisition of remaining shares in Germanos S.A, the statement said.
Cosmote owns 20.75% of Germanos' outstanding shares.
 Funds approved for innovation projects
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Friday approved innovation projects budgeted at 6.4 million euros with public spending of 5.7 million euros.
The projects involve education and research institutes and companies in an exchange of know-how and research resources, the ministry said in a statement.
 Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise, led by National Bank
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)The Athens share index closed at 3,918.19 points, showing a rise of 1.28%, in the wake of an intra-day 3.09% jump led by trade in National Bank of Greece. Turnover was 347.3 million euros.
 Parliament president receives 'Youth Parliament' members
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki on Friday received pupils from Greece, Cyprus and overseas Hellenism who will participate in the "Youth Parliament" session taking place between September 1-4.
Speaking in an atmosphere of joy, following the Greek national basketball team's reaching the final of the World Basketball Championship in Japan, Psarouda-Benaki said "I am welcoming you on the Parliament's premises with double joy since your arrival coincides with the great victory of our national team and its qualifying, for the first time, for the final."
She also referred to "the difficult moments being experienced by our country, just as in the case of southern Europe, as a result of the recent forest fires, noting that "apart from destruction to property and the natural environment, it appears that we citizens are still failing to realize our obligations."
 Greece remembers Beslan massacre, school construction progressing
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)On the second anniversary of the September 1, 2004 terrorist attack on a school in the Russian town of Beslan, in which more than half of the 333 people killed were children, Greece's foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said that the event had shocked the Greek people at the time, and continued to touch them.
Koumoutsakos, noting that the Greek people had expressed solidarity with the Russian people over the terrorist attack, the worst in Russia's history, said that Greece had symbolically pledged to build a school complex and boarding facility in Beslan, in an active display of this solidarity.
Construction of the school was already underway and continuing, Koumoutsakos said, adding that it would be dedicated to the memory of the school's Greek teacher, Ioannis Kanidis, "who gave his life to protect his pupils".
Several dozen Islamic militants took more than 1,100 pupils, teachers and parents' hostage at Beslan's School No. 1 on September 1, 2004. A total of 333 people died in the three-day ordeal, which ended in a bloodbath after two powerful explosions rocked the school as security forces launched a chaotic rescue effort.
More than half the 333 victims were children. Most of the victims were killed by the blasts and ensuing gunfire or died in a fire caused by the explosions.
 Illegal immigrants detained on Crete, 7 feared missing
CHANIA, 02/09/2006 (ANA)Local residents spotted 119 illegal immigrants, all men of Palestinian origin, on the Stomio beach at Chrysoskalitisa village, south of Chania, on Friday, while an airborne search was underway for a possible 7 more who may be missing, after their small wooden boat crashed into rocks as it approached the shore in turbulent weather in the early morning.
The illegal immigrants were spotted on the beach early Friday by locals, who alerted the local police.
The illegal immigrants had been on a 12-metre-long wooden boat, possibly headed for Italy, but turbulent weather pushed their boat toward the shores of Crete, where it crashed into rocks, at approximately 4:30 a.m.
The illegal immigrants said they were Palestinian.
One of the men, who spoke Greek, said a total of 126 persons, all men aged 25-40, were on the boat.
A helicopter was scouring the area, searching for possible missing illegal immigrants.
The illegal immigrants, who were all well in health, were detained by police and would be put up at a local facility.
 Slight earth tremor in northern Greece
THESSALONIKI, 02/09/2006 (ANA)An earth tremor measuring 3.5 points on the Richter scale occurred in the prefecture of Imathia, northern Greece, at 9.05 on Friday night.
According to the Geophysics Laboratory of the Aristotelio University in Thessaloniki, the epicenter was located to the south of the town of Alexandria and at a distance of 40 kilometres from Thessaloniki.
The phenomenon is considered an isolated one and is no cause for concern.
 Landmine, grenades found in trash bin
ATHENS, 02/09/2006 (ANA)An anti-personnel landmine and three hand grenades were found on Thursday evening in a trash can in the northern Athens suburb of Pefki when a rubbish collector spotted the ordnance.
According to reports, all three of the hand grenades were deactivated.
 Danish prime minister to pay two-day official visit to Cyprus
NICOSIA, 02/09/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Denmark Anders Fogh Rasmussen arrives in Cyprus on September 4 for a two-day official visit, during which he will hold talks with President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos.
According to the program of the visit, Rasmussen arrives at Larnaca Airport on September 4 at 18:40 local time (15:40 GMT) on a special flight. He will be welcomed by Foreign Minister George Lillikas and will then depart for Nicosia.
At 21:00 Rasmussen will be attending a private dinner hosted by President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos at the latter's residence.
On September 5 at 09:00 an official welcoming ceremony will be held at the Presidential Palace, during which the Danish prime minister and the Cypriot president will take up positions facing the flags of their two countries, while the band plays the National Anthems of the Kingdom of Denmark and of the Republic of Cyprus.
Rasmussen will then proceed to the inspection of the Guard of Honor and lay a wreath at the statue of the late President of the Republic of Cyprus Archbishop Makarios III. A moment of silence will be observed.
President Papadopoulos and Rasmussen will then introduce each other their delegations and will enter the Presidential Palace, where at 09:15 they will have a brief meeting.
Official talks will begin at 09:30 between the Danish prime minister, the Cypriot president and their delegations.
On the Danish side, the talks will be attended by Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark to the Republic of Cyprus Svend Waever, Permanent Under-Secretary of State Ambassador Bo Lidegaard, Chief Adviser, EU Affairs Thomas Ahrenkiel, Head of the Prime Minister's Private Office
Kasper Hoeg-Jensen, Special Adviser Carsten Gronbech-Jensen, the Prime Minister's Press Secretary Michael Helbo, and Deputy Head of Foreign Policy Department at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lars Bo Moller.
From the Cypriot side, the President of the Republic will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs George Lillikas, Deputy Minister to the President of the Republic Christodoulos Pasiardis, Director of the Diplomatic Office of the President of the Republic Ambassador Tasos Tzionis, Director of the Cyprus Question Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the Kingdom of Denmark Antonis Toumazis, and Attache at the Diplomatic Office of the President Andrea Petranyi.
Statements to the press will be made at 10:30, after which Rasmussen will depart from the House of Representatives, where at 11:15 he will meet with House President Demetris Christofias.
At 12:00 he will visit the headquarters of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), where he will meet with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Chief of Mission
Michael Moller to be followed by a guided tour in the buffer zone.
At 14:40 Rasmussen will have a brief meeting at the Presidential Palace with President Papadopoulos, after which an official seeing off ceremony will be held with the band playing the National Anthems of the Republic of Cyprus and of the Kingdom of Denmark and an inspection of the Guard of Honor by the Danish prime minister.
Rasmussen will arrive at Larnaca Airport at 15:40, where Lillikas will bid him farewell. The Danish prime minister departs on a special flight scheduled for 16:00 local time.
 Reference to Cyprus in UNSG 2005 report
UNITED NATIONS, 02/09/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has made a short reference to efforts for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem in his annual report for 2005 on the work of the organization.
Annan said "in Cyprus, United Nations efforts aimed at encouraging a resumption of negotiations for a comprehensive settlement."
The UN has for years acted as facilitator between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities in a bid to help them reach a negotiated settlement to reunify their country, divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.
The most recent UN attempt in this direction in 2004, a proposed solution called the Annan plan, has become null and void, in that the Greek Cypriots rejected it with an overwhelming majority and the Turkish Cypriot approved it.
 Papadopoulos and Christofias congratulate Greek basketball team
NICOSIA, 02/09/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias have congratulated the Greek national basketball team for its victory over the US team.
President Papadopoulos said in statements ''bravo'' to the members of the team and wished the best for them.
Christofias sent a message on Friday to Greek Parliament Speaker Anna Psarouda-Benaki, expressing his congratulations for the Greek team's victory.
He also wished the national team would win the finals.
The Greek team beat the US team 101-95 in Friday's semi-finals and will play in the final against Spain.