|Sunday, 19 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-06-26
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Papantoniou launches Greece Day at Expo 2000HANOVER, 26-06-2000 (ANA-M. Tsivgeli)
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Sunday launched Greece Day at Expo 2000, a major international exhibition being held in this German city.
"Greece's participation in Expo 2000, which coincides with the decision for its entry into the euro zone, will be an opportunity for the country to show that the values of Greek civilisation are timeless," Papantoniou said.
Among themes covered at the Greek pavillion are ancient Greek technology, the country's ancient theatres, tourism and the 2004 Olympics in Athens, the use of environmentally friendly technology, and developments in research and technology.
Supervising Greece's participation at Expo 2000 is the national economy ministry. Organization of the pavilion was handled by the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board.
Taking part in Expo 2000, which lasts for five months, are 190 countries and international organizations. Its theme is man, nature and technology.
 Clinton says Greece can defeat terrorismAthens, 26-06-2000 (ANA)
US President Bill Clinton said that Greece could defeat terrorism if it showed courage and decisiveness.
"I know terrorism can be defeated in Greece with the courage and decisiveness of the Greek people," Clinton told the Sunday "To Vima" newspaper in an interview.
Terrorists needed to be arrested and tried with the phenomenon of terrorism lasting far too long in Greece, he said.
Clinton underlined that he had offered his full support for efforts by the Greek government to combat terrorism.
Turning to Greek ties with Turkey, the US president said he welcomed the climate of rapprochement with steps taken by both sides indicating that Athens and Ankara wished to move ahead.
"We still have hard work before us, including the attainment of a just, comprehensive and conclusive solution to the Cyprus problem. But we believe that the Greek and Turkish leaders can achieve progress," Clinton added.
On Kosovo, he said it was far too soon to form hypotheses on the final form of government to emerge. First, democratic institutions had to be developed in the region and its economy restored.
The US president added that he believed peace and stability could not be achieved if Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic remained in power, and the people of Serbia lacked democracy.
Finally, Clinton described Greece as a model of democracy for the Balkans, as well as being a major strategic ally of the US.
"We have built a more positive and productive partnership between the two countries, which is based on tackling common problems such as those in southeastern Europe, and maximising trade and investments," he said.
 Greek president on official visit to RussiaMOSCOW, 26-06-2000 (ANA - D. Konstantakopoulos)
Greek head of state Kostis Stephanopoulos on Monday begins an official four-day visit to Russia, invited by newly elected Russian President Vladimir Putin.
President Stephanopoulos arrived in Moscow on Sunday afternoon.
Foreign Minister George Papandreou will accompany Stephanopoulos, who is to hold talks with Putin on bilateral ties and international issues -- including the Balkans --.
Papandreou, who joins Stephanopoulos in Moscow on Monday, is to hold consultations with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov.
Also accompanying Stephanopoulos is Deputy National Economy Minister Yiannis Zafiropoulos -- who will meet the economics ministers of the Russian government -- and a Greek business delegation.
Stephanopoulos, whose visit ends on June 29, told the Itar-Tass news agency in an interview that Greece and Russia backed efforts to maintain stability and develop cooperation in southeastern Europe as part of a stability pact for the region.
The Greek president also said that the outlook was good for expansion of economic ties between the two countries.
Links so far were natural gas supplies from Russia, construction of an oil pipeline connecting the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to Greece's north Aegean outlet of Alexandroupoli, joint ventures and investments by Greek firms in Russia, Stephanopoulos was quoted as saying.
The issue of Russia's provision of natural gas to Greece should also be discussed, as both sides are expected to air their differences over terms in the supply contract.
Stephanopoulos will also sign an agreement on the abolition of double taxation.
Besides Putin, Stephanopoulos will meet with Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov, other political leaders, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexiy II.
Additionally, he will address a Greek-Russian business forum in the Russian capital and inaugurate an art exhibition at the famed Pushkin Museum, entitled "The Greek World in Russian Art", before travelling to St. Petersburg.
 President Stephanopoulos to visit IrelandAthens, 26-06-2000 (ANA)
President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos is to pay an official visit to Ireland on July 3-6 at the invitation of his counterpart, Mary McAleese.
Accompanying Stephanopoulos will be Alternate Foreign Minister Elisavet Papazoi and Deputy National Economy Minister Yiannis Zafiropoulos.
 Church hierarchy continues vocal campaign over IDs issueAthens, 26-06-2000 (ANA)
The Greek Church's hierarchy on Sunday continued direct attacks from the pulpits against the government over the divisive IDs issue, even as the public order ministry announced that a circular is ready to be sent to police stations over the issuance of new identification cards.
New police-issued ID cards will exclude religious affiliation and fingerprints, the circular notes.
Sunday's sermons followed a massive rally in downtown Athens on Wednesday in front of the country's Parliament, the second such gathering after a rally of Orthodox faithful in Thessaloniki earlier in the month.
Speaking at a cathedral in the Athens district of Kallithea, Orthodox Church Prelate Christodoulos, the "point man" behind much of the tide of opposition against the decision, referred to an "era where the forces of evil are in rank against the Church... with a target of pushing the Church into marginalisation."
"It is our obligation to declare that this nation, the Greek people, are destined to live, and this is a lesson some ignore, the same people that are ignorant of our history. They ignore the fact that our people are loyal to the Church and its prelates, and they can't believe their eyes when they see this nation at the side of the Church," Christodoulos, the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, said in his sermon.
The outspoken Archbishop also reiterated that Orthodoxy and Hellenism have enjoyed a common course over the past 2,000 years, while "no power can... make the faithful godless, greedy and ungrateful towards their Church, in which they owe so much."
In the nearby port city of Piraeus, Christodoulos' confessor, Metropolitan Kallinikos, also criticised the government on Sunday from the pulpit and charged that it is "ignoring the people's will".
In a letter sent to the Ecumenical Patriarch last week, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis underlined that "the information written on identity cards is the sole responsibility of the state," adding that he believes the issue has been blown up out of proportion by the Greek Church.
"No one can seriously claim that to not write down one's religion (on an identity card) in any way compromises the faith of Greek Orthodox Christians," Simitis wrote.
The Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Greece's Holy Synod is due to convene on Monday, with discussions expected to focus on the collection of signatures nationwide to force the government to rescind its decision on the IDs issue.
 Justice minister says decision finalAthens, 26-06-2000 (ANA)
Meanwhile, amid the furor over the divisive ID issue, Justice Minister Mihalis Stathopoulos was quoted in an Athens Sunday newspaper as willing to "meet, even tomorrow, with Archbishop Christodoulos."
However, in referring to the heart of the matter, Stathopoulos reiterated that dialogue over the IDs is without reason, as "the decision has been made."
"The issue was unsettled for some 14 years, and at some point a decision needed to be made," Stathopoulos was quoted as saying by the "Vima" newspaper.
However, he cautioned that the issue of excluding religious affiliation from state IDs in the predominately Orthodox Christian nation was by no means "simply the iceberg" of the government's intentions for Church-state relations. "There is no agenda on the part of the government," he added.
Stathopoulos also said that his was willing to contact the Archbishop or even to "meet with him tomorrow".
Finally, both the national defence minister and ruling PASOK's party secretary also touched on the identification card uproar in statements on Sunday.
From Thessaloniki, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos simply noted that there's a "difference of opinion between the representatives of the Church and state" over the IDs, while calling for an "institutionally consolidated dialogue" for the resolution of problems.
On his part, PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis said from the town of Xanthi that a dialogue between the government and Church hierarchy could begin, but only after the latter accepts that the ID issue is over.
 George Papandreou to UN conference in WarsawAthens, 26-06-2000 (ANA)
Foreign Minister George Papandreou left for Warsaw on Sunday to attend an international United Nations conference on democracy.
Taking part in the conference will be foreign ministers from about 100 countries.
Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou was also due to attend. The conference is organised by the UN with assistance from the US, Poland, Chile, the Czech Republic, India, Mali and Korea.
The Greek foreign minister will fly to Moscow on Monday to join President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos, who is paying an official visit to Russia.
 Patriarch Vartholomeos receives DiamantopoulouISTANBUL, 26-06-2000 (ANA-A.Kourkoulas)
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Saturday received Anna Diamantopoulou, the European Union's employment and social affairs commissioner, who is paying an official visit to Turkey.
The Patriarch welcomed assistance given by Diamantopoulou in Turkey's bid to join the 15-nation bloc; and the Greek commissioner informed him that the Turkish government was making noteworthy efforts to prepare for the EU membership it is seeking.
 Athens event focuses on Greek-Turkish trade prospectsAthens, 26-06-2000 (ANA)
Greek-Turkish relations within the prism of southeastern Europe was the subject of a gathering over the weekend in the Greek capital, organised by the Athens-based ELIAMEP think tank.
Discussions focused around on the trade and business aspects of an ever-improving climate of Greek-Turkish relations.
Held on the sidelines of the annual "Money Show" exhibition at a downtown Athens hotel, participants heard that turnover (total bilateral exports and imports) between the two countries reached the $720-million mark in 1997; dropping slightly to $710 million in 1998 and 690 million last year. However, much more optimistic projections were made for the following years, beginning with a forecast of $1.2 billion for this year.
If projections pan out, Greece could become Turkey's fourth or fifth largest exporter, with Turkey conceivably turning into Greece's third or fourth top exporter.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, more than 70 Turkish motorcycle riders arrived at the Evros border post on Sunday for a tour of mainland Greece, the islands and finally the coastal regions of Turkey. The Turkish riders, members of a Harley Davidson club in the neighbouring country, were greeted by members of the corresponding Greek club, who will tour with the Turkey group.
 Water board to hike price by 4.7 pctAthens, 26-06-2000 (ANA)
Capital Water Supply and Drainage Company (EYDAP)is to raise its rates for water consumption by 4.7 percent, effective on July 1, it said in a statement on Saturday.
Also set for an increase are drainage charges, which are to rise by 8.0 percent from the current 40 percent on the value of water consumed, the statement said.
It is the first major hike in prices ordered by the state-run water utility since 1992.
EYDAP, which recently gained listing on the Athens Stock Exchange, is to make investments of 417 billion drachmas by 2008.
Its president, Yorgos Papavasiliou, told shareholders on Thursday that the firm planned to enter the telecommunications sector, focuing on fibre optics.
The move is part of a strategic plan in 2000 for the company to break into new sectors including energy and the transfer of knowhow to the Balkans and Mediterranean in order to boost turnover and profits.
In 1999, the company's turnover rose by 4.7 percent from the previous year to 78.1 billion drachmas. Pre-tax profits totalled 21.2 billion drachmas, up 31.8 percent from 1998.
In the first quarter, EYDAP showed turnover of 17,920 million drachmas, up from 17.0 billion drachmas in the same period of 1999.
Profits this year are expected to total 30 billion drachmas.
 State railways get new presidentAthens, 26-06-2000 (ANA)
The government on Saturday appointed a new president for Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) and is shortly expected to appoint a managing director for the state-owned company.
Appointed as OSE's president was Andreas Lambrinopoulos to replace Nikos Gratsias, who resigned, the transport ministry said in a statement.
The decision on the appointment was taken by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Transport Minister Christos Verelis, it added
 Two men nabbed after alleged gang rape of schoolgirlAthens, 26-06-2000 (ANA)
Two 19-year-old men were arrested and four more youths are wanted in connection with the gang rape of a 15-year-old schoolgirl, police said on Saturday.
Arrested were Georgios Pantazidis and Ioannis Nikolaidis, both of Greek origin from Khazakstan.
The schoolgirl told police that the two men, and a third, had forcibly removed her from a cafeteria in Menidi on Thursday evening and taken her by car to the beach at Tzitzifies, where they raped her with another three men who arrived in a different vehicle.
The men then forced her into a car and drove to Kavouri where they again raped her, said the girl, also of Greek origin from Khazakstan.
She was then left her outside her home.
The two arrested youths were taken to a public prosecutor to hear rape charges.
 Greek, Norwegian ships collide in Malacca straitAthens, 26-06-2000 (ANA)
A Greek-owned, Bahamas-flagged tanker on Saturday collided with a Norwegian-flagged gas tanker in the straits of Malacca off Singapore, the merchant marine ministry said.
The two vessels were damaged but no-one was injured in the collision, whose cause was being investigated, the ministry said.
The "Greek Fighter", which is operated by Universe Maritime Ltd, was sailing from China to the Gulf in the Middle East with no cargo aboard.
 Three shipwrecked Albanians rescued off CorfuAthens, 26-06-2000 (ANA)
A coastguard patrol sighted and rescued three shipwrecked Albanians in waters off Corfu, officials said on Saturday.
The Albanians, who were travelling in a small wooden boat found water-logged nearby, were found late on Friday, the officials said.
The three were quoted as saying that a fourth man operating the vessel swam to the Albanian shore.
No further details were available.
 Carreras to give unique Athens concert on July 5Athens, 26-06-2000 (ANA)
World famous tenor Jose Carreras will headline a concert in Athens on Wednesday, July 5 at the ancient Herod Atticus Odeon, located at the foot of the Acropolis.
Carreras will be accompanied by soprano Isabelle Rey and Greek Radio-Television's (ERT) National Symphony Orchestra, in works by Verdi, Lehar, Puccini, Strauss and others.
Proceeds from the concert will go towards the creation of a state-of-the-art performing and visual arts centre at the campus of the American Community Schools (ACS) of Athens.
The Mytilineos group is the sole sponsor of the concert.
The Spanish opera star will give a press conference on Tuesday, July 4 at the Grande Bretagne hotel in downtown Athens.
 Patriarch Vartholomeos officiates at liturgy for youthISTANBUL, 26-06-2000 (ANA-A.Kourkoulas)
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Saturday officiated at a liturgy for delegates to an international conference in Istanbul for Orthodox youth.
The Patriarch underlined to 550 young people who attended the importance of unity in the Orthodox Church.
Debated at the weeklong conference, which ended on Saturday, were drug abuse, AIDS, the environment, unemployment, human rights and challenges for the new millennium.
The conference, the third of its kind, was held under the auspices of the Patriarch.
 EU enlargement will be kept within agreed framework - British officialLONDON, 26-06-2000 (CNA/ANA)
European Union enlargement will be kept within the framework agreed upon, a British Foreign Office spokesman said Friday night, noting that Cyprus will be among the first to enter the EU as its economy is well ahead that of other candidate countries.
The spokesman was commenting on reports after the European Council meeting in Portugal according to which the 15 members will not be able to reach agreement on structural changes within the EU by the end of this year and therefore the entry negotiation for the six will be delayed.
Britain feels confident that the Intergovernmental Conference scheduled for next autumn will be able to reach agreement on core problems, he said, noting that when the EU sorts out its own problems the way will be open for the negotiations with the first six countries to proceed to their conclusion.
The Spokesman added that France, which presides over the EU as from July, also believes agreement over structural changes will be reached by the end of this year.
The time of entry for each of the six first candidates depends on how its own negotiations will proceed, he said, pointing out that Cyprus because of its advantageous position as regards to its economy will be among the first to enter the Union.
 EU CommissionerNICOSIA, 26-06-2000 (CNA/ANA)
European Union Commissioner in charge of enlargement Gunter Ferheugen has said the approval of institutional changes during the French Presidency of the EU will indicate the time of the accession of candidate countries.
Ferheugen who was speaking in Brussels late last week during a joint meeting of the Committee of Agriculture, Rural Development and Food of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the European Parliament also described negotiations with the candidate countries, especially the Luxembourg group, which include Cyprus, as the greatest effort for cooperation ever made by European countries.
On his part Cyprus deputy and First Vice-President of the Committee of Agriculture of PACE Takis Hadjidemetriou said harmonisation in the field of agriculture will cost Cyprus more than 500 million pounds (about one billion US dollars) and noted that Cyprus receives no financial assistance as is the case with other candidate countries.
He also said that Cyprus asks for exemptions, especially in subsidising water, as prolonged draught has resulted in rising costs.
Ferheugen confirmed Cyprus and Malta do not receive any financial assistance, adding that efforts will be made for assistance to be provided through other funds.