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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-06-30

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Stephanopoulos calls for end to confrontation between Church and State
  • [02] Reppas denies that the government takes 'confrontational approach' to Church
  • [03] Spokesman Reppas says Greece not optimistic over new round of Cyprus
  • [04] Stephanopoulos to receive slain British officer's widow
  • [05] Press Office replies to criticism on terrorism
  • [06] Coalition of the Left holds congress
  • [07] Papoutsis says double crews for fast ferries are safer
  • [08] Greek EU Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou says EU accession a national target for Turkey
  • [09] Culture minister agrees to immediate implementation of educational protocol in meeting with Albanian ambassador
  • [10] Victoria state stands firm over 'Slavomacedonian' term for FYROM language
  • [11] PM Costas Simitis chairs meeting on development and competitiveness
  • [12] Greek stocks continue moving lower
  • [13] OTE to give Dr 220 dividend, create new subsidiaries
  • [14] Loulis acquires two wheat silos in Romania
  • [15] External Trade Organization dismisses talk of over its abolition
  • [16] Labor Minister Yiannitsis says lack of adjustment a danger for employment
  • [10] Athens hosts international financial conference
  • [18] Directors of Balkan news agencies to meet in Athens for 10th ABNA assembly
  • [19] Greece up two places in human development index since last year
  • [20] Seminar on the illegal trade and trafficking in women and children
  • [21] Issue of religion being listed in IDs not included in Orthodox Youth World Conference
  • [22] Only 8,000 out of 62,000 earthquake sufferers in Attica prefecture have applied for loans
  • [23] Karamanlis tours Nikaia public hospital
  • [24] Vathi and Kusadasi to become sister cities
  • [25] Lamia Cooperative Bank charged in fraud scam
  • [26] Communist Party official says multinational sponsors and Greek businessmen will stand to gain from Olympics
  • [27] UNFICYP to review measures announced by Denktash regime
  • [28] Foreign Office says measures unjustified

  • [01] Stephanopoulos calls for end to confrontation between Church and State

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    President Costis Stephanopoulos said on Thursday that wished to see an end to the confrontation between Church and State on the issue of the reference to citizens' religious persuasion on ID cards as soon as possible, as its continuation was against the country's interests.

    Speaking to reporters during the flight back to Athens from a four-day visit to Russia, he said that the issue should not have taken the dimensions that it has, and that he favored a rapprochement between the two sides through dialogue so that it might stop causing a division among the people.

    He said dialogue could start on the government's future plans, which caused apprehension in the Church, given that the government considered the ID issue closed and the Church's view that it was not the essential point of its concerns.

    Stephanopoulos again denied rumors that he had a health problem, saying to reporters, "when you stop dealing with this matter, they will stop, too," but without specifying who he meant

    Referring to his visit just-ended, he stated Greece and Russia coincided in their views on many issues and were very near on many others.

    The president said the two countries' economic relations held a huge potential for further development and described as the most interesting result of his contacts his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin's commitment to promote the issue of the construction of the Burgas -Alexandroupoli oil pipeline (connecting the Black Sea with the Aegean), which he was not acquainted with and was briefed by Putin.

    Before returning to Athens, Stephanopoulos visited St. Petersburg's historic Smolny Institute, accompanied by the city's governor, Vladimir Yakovlev. He described the city as perhaps the most beautiful in Russia and a tourist treasure, expressing his surprise that so few Greeks visited it.

    [02] Reppas denies that the government takes 'confrontational approach' to Church

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    The government has proved that it does not adopt "sharp and confrontational arguments" in dealing with the Church, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Thursday, commenting on a speech given by Piraeus Metropolitan Kallinikos, press spokesman for the Church leaders, at a church in Omonoia.

    Kallinikos had spoken on Thursday morning, in the presence of Orthodox Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, and had spoken about "atheists, deniers of the Church" who were trying to impose their will. Claiming that Greece was an "oligarchy," Kallinikos said that these groups were trying to weaken the religious identity of the country, while he also slammed the attitude of the mass media.

    The government spokesman confined himself to expressing doubt as to whether these statements referred to the government, saying only that all views and opinions could be voiced in Greece. Asked whether certain passages of the speech might target the Prime Minister, Reppas said only that Costas Simitis had been elected Prime Minister by the Greek people, and was one of the few that enjoyed this honor.

    Politicians, he went on to say, have their presence and actions judged by the Greek people and are not there for life. In this, he added, they are different from the representatives of any other body.

    Regarding the possibility of dialogue between the Church and the government, and what issues this might cover, Reppas once more reiterated that the government's position was clear and added that in Greece there was full and absolute respect for individual human rights, which were not an issue determined by the rules of majorities of minorities.

    To a question regarding the rights of minorities and the languages taught in Greek schools, the spokesman responded that the only minority in Greece was the Muslim religious minority. With regard to the teaching of minority languages, he said that all citizens have the right to learn the language that will give them the best access to knowledge.

    [03] Spokesman Reppas says Greece not optimistic over new round of Cyprus

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    Government Spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Thursday the Greek government was not optimistic over the outcome of the new round of proximity talks on the Cyprus issue.

    He said expectations were not high about the third round of UN-led proximity talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and this was due to the negative stance of the other side.

    Reppas also said that Clerides' visit to Athens next Monday and his meeting with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis in view of proximity talks to be resumed in Geneva on July 5, would be "substantive".

    Commenting on the prospects of the third round of talks, Reppas said: "I would say that nobody can talk about optimism. We cannot have high expectations because of the completely negative attitude of the other (Turkish) side" and added, "we should show the international community that the Turkish side is the one to blame for the deadlock" in efforts for a settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    Earlier on Thursday Denktashs spokesman Salih Miroglou announced in Nicosia that the Turkish leader would participate in the talks.

    Denktash had been threatening not to go to Geneva because of the non-inclusion of an addendum in the UN Secretary General's report with a Turkish Cypriot demand for separate consultations with the UN Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus(UNFICYP).

    [04] Stephanopoulos to receive slain British officer's widow

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos is scheduled to receive the widow of the slain British defense attache at the presidential mansion on Friday.

    Brig. Stephen Saunders was assassinated by the notorious November 17 terrorist group as he was driving alone on a congested Athens highway on the morning of June 8.

    Britains ambassador to Athens, David Madden, will accompany Heather Saunders during her meeting with Stephanopoulos, a press release by the British embassy noted.

    [05] Press Office replies to criticism on terrorism

    WASHINGTON, 30/06/2000 (ANA- T. Ellis)

    The Greek Press Office in the American capital has sent reply letters to criticism of Greece's record in dealing with terrorism, which appeared in the press recently.

    The two letters, signed by the director of the Press Office, Achilleas Paparsenos, have been published in USA Today, under the title "Greece is Dedicated to Fighting Terrorism," and in the Dallas Morning News, under the title, "Suppressing Terrorism is a Priority for Greece."

    In both, Paparsenos points out the popular outcry against the most recent terrorist strike -the killing of British military attache to Athens Brigadier Saunders, its condemnation by the country's entire political leadership, and the assumption of additional initiatives and measures to apprehend the terrorists.

    He also emphatically rejects allegations of a lack of political will among members of the Greek government to fight the phenomenon. He adds that Greece remains one of the safest countries in the world.

    [06] Coalition of the Left holds congress

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left leader Nikos Constantopoulos said on Thursday the shrinking of his party's strength in the last election was the result of three problems.

    First, a profile problem. The party, he said, had not clarified the basic elements forming the identity of an autonomous party of the modern Left. Second, the Coalition's policies in recent years had often been based on contradictory options. And third, the party's public image had shaken the confidence of its members and undermined its credibility. He expressed the view in his address to the party's congress in Athens.

    The Coalition of the Left only just managed to clear the minimum three percent requirement for parliamentary representation in the April 9 election.

    Speaking at the congress as a guest, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis said that all political formations were useful in a pluralist democratic system and that his party had often adopted ideas put forth by the Coalition, such as the creation of a National Foreign Policy Council which was now more imperative than ever.

    Ruling PASOK party Secretary Costas Skandalidis called for the formation of a new progressive, political and social majority as a counterweight to the empty logic of the "middle-ground". He said PASOK was open to dialogue for the evolution of the political system in view of the planned constitutional revision.

    [07] Papoutsis says double crews for fast ferries are safer

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis on Thursday stressed the need for passenger safety through the use of double crews by fast ferries, adding that passenger shippers, with the exception of one, have agreed to double crews, while there is no problem with conventional vessels.

    "It is exhausting for seamen to work continuously for 15 or 17 hours on fast ferries. We should safeguard safety. Many hours of work are inhuman and are an affront to our country," he said.

    "The companies, with the exception of one, have accepted double crews. I am not a company to enter the arena of competition. I am responsible for a ministry, which has the responsibility of defining rules of competition. It seems that competition is not liked very much and so some waves are being created since we are in a transitional phase," Papoutsis added.

    Commenting on double crews, the main opposition New Democracy party's spokesman responsible for shipping Yiannis Papathanasiou stressed the need for dialogue and the prevalence of a climate of goodwill to enable the problem to be resolved. He also criticized the government for failing to clarify the institutional environment in time and deregulate markets for the benefit of passengers and tourism.

    [08] Greek EU Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou says EU accession a national target for Turkey

    BRUSSELS, 30/06/2000 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    European Union Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou said accession to the European Union is a national target for Turkey and mentioned the Turkish authorities' great displeasure over the decision taken at the EU summit in Feira, Portugal, which excluded joint decision-making by NATO member-states which are not EU members (including Turkey) on European defense issues.

    Diamantopoulou, who made her first official visit to Turkey on June 22-23 in her capacity as EU commissioner, did not refer to bilateral Greek-Turkish relations and her contacts focused on reforms required for convergence with the EU.

    Her contacts indicated that certain circles in Turkey are hoping for discreet handling for political reasons, sidestepping categorical statements by EU officials that compliance with criteria set in Copenhagen (democratization and respect for human rights) and harmonization with EU acquired rights are essential for EU accession.

    Referring to the situation prevailing in Turkey, Diamantopoulou said 50 percent of the population is under 25, while the country's population is expected to increase to 96-99 million by 2070. On the question of illiteracy, it reaches 70 percent in certain regions, while a big rift is ascertained between the "elite" and wider social classes.

    Diamantopoulou added that great efforts should be made in the framework of rapprochement with EU legislation and pointed to Turkey's insurance system, as an example, which currently anticipates pensioning at the age of 38, a limit, which should be extended in principle to 55.

    [09] Culture minister agrees to immediate implementation of educational protocol in meeting with Albanian ambassador

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos held talks with the Albanian ambassador to Athens on Wednesday and agreed to the immediate implementation of the educational protocol existing between Greece and Albania.

    In this context, Greek presence will be strengthened in Vouthroto and the region of Korce where, in cooperation with the Archdiocese of Albania and Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios, the plan to preserve all the Byzantine churches and monuments will be developed.

    [10] Victoria state stands firm over 'Slavomacedonian' term for FYROM language

    MELBOURNE, 30/06/2000 (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis)

    An organization representing self-described Macedonian educators of Australia has again taken recourse to that countrys human rights committee in order to force the state of Victoria not

    to identify their language as Slavomacedonian.

    The state government in Melbourne has refused to satisfy the groups demand following a recent decision by Australias high court. Immigrants from the region of the former Yugoslavia today comprising the Former Yugoslav Republic of Yugoslavia (FYROM) have increasingly demanded over the past decade that the idiom spoken in the landlocked state be identified as Macedonian in Australia.

    On his part, a local Greek-Australian official praised the state of Victorias decision, saying Melbourne kept its promise and didnt reverse its initial circular terming the language Slavomacedonian.

    Conversely, some press dispatches criticized the state government for spending taxpayers money in court battles over the issue.

    The language spoken in FYROM is written with a Cyrillic script and is a distinct Slavic tongue, whereas an outstanding bilateral difference between Skopje and neighboring Bulgaria lies in the fact that the latter considers FYROMs language simply as a Bulgarian dialect.

    [11] PM Costas Simitis chairs meeting on development and competitiveness

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis chaired a three-hour meeting on Thursday on development, competitiveness, the Public Power Corporation (DEH), small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and consumer protection.

    The meeting was attended by Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and his two Deputy Ministers Milena Apostolaki and Alexandros Kalafatis.

    "The focal target of our policy is development," Simitis said referring to each sector of activity.

    On the question of energy, Simitis said DEH would take on a different form.

    "We must see how we will materialize this other form. How DEH will move in the framework of a deregulated market," he said.

    "The floatation of DEH will be attempted in 2000, but in general floatations also depend on the wider environment, such as the Stock Exchange, etc. As I said previously, we should always take a step knowing that it will give us the best result. Therefore, our target is to have this floatation take place in 2000, but we are not dogmatic and absolute on anything," Simitis said.

    The Prime Minister said "we are all aware that we have a new source of energy: natural gas. We must see how we will exploit natural gas, how we will create the preconditions to allow for a cheap cost and for it to reach every consumer."

    Addressing the issue of the policy and measures aimed at backing SMEs, he said " we must help to enable SMEs to have funding. Therefore, institutions existing on the granting of guarantees should be perfected and, at the same time, we should create an environment for their development."

    On the issue of the market and consumer protection, Simitis said "the market is always complicated. The consumer should know what he is buying, that what he is buying has quality and quality should be safeguarded. And, of course, he should not fall victim

    to advertisements or commercial tactics which lead him to buying products which are worthless. We have already started this effort with the creation of the Unified Foodstuffs Control Agency and we will continue it with determination."

    On competitiveness the premier said an investigation would be held at the ministry to ascertain shortcomings and to considerably improve the competitiveness of businesses and the economy by intervening in specific points where shortcomings exist.

    [12] Greek stocks continue moving lower

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    Equity prices continued moving lower on Thursday, but at a more moderate pace this time in subdued turnover on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Analysts said that the market would find support at the 4,000 level currently.

    The general index ended at 4,071.40 points, off 0.65 percent, but off the day's lows of 4,019.46 points. Turnover was a low 120 billion drachmas.

    Traders said the index recovered with the help of a late buying intervention focused on selective blue chip stocks.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended at 2,251.77 points, off 0.30 percent and the FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 1.87 percent to 579.86 points.

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended at 761.18 points, down 2.03 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 271 to 63 with another 12 issues unchanged.

    Frigoglass, Fanco, Naoussa Spinning, Hellenic Telecoms, Intracom and Germanos were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Equity futures end down in line with market: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Thursday, tracking the two indices on which they are based.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 closed 0.30 percent down, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 1.87 percent lower.

    Turnover was 10.9 billion drachmas from 11.8 billion drachmas a day earlier.

    A total of 1,122 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index with turnover at 5.01 billion drachmas.

    Changing hands on the FTSE/ASE 40 were 2,603 futures on turnover of 5.9 billion drachmas.

    Bond prices edge up in dull trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Thursday finished slightly higher in light trade.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.087 percent from 6.094 percent for two straight sessions; and the yield on the equivalent German bund was 5.216 percent.

    The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 87 basis points from 85 basis points for two straight sessions.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 56 billion drachmas from 68 billion drachmas in the previous session.

    Buy orders accounted for about 41 billion drachmas of turnover.

    Drachma down vs. euro, up vs. dollar: The drachma on Thursday fell against the euro and rose versus the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.

    At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 336.760 drachmas from 336.580 drachmas in the previous session.

    Also at the fixing, the US dollar was set at 354.110 drachmas from 357.750 drachmas a day earlier.

    [13] OTE to give Dr 220 dividend, create new subsidiaries

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    Shareholders of Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), a heavily traded stock on the Athens bourse, on Thursday approved management's proposal of a 220 drachma dividend per share on 1999 profits.

    OTE's president and managing director, Nikolaos Manasis, told the state-owned company's annual general meeting that five new subsidiaries would be created.

    The first would meet demand from Internet firms for lower costs on the international circuit; the second to handle OTE's real estate, whose book value is 125 billion drachmas; the third to handle modernisation systems for the national systems of banks and companies in order to cut costs; the fourth to exploit a platform for digital TV; and the fifth to undertake e-commerce.

    OTE will divest itself of three existing subsidiaries - Foreign Exchange SA, OTE Insurance and OTE Leasing, Manasis said.

    Finally, OTE has the option for a year and a half of buying back 10 percent of its stock, he added.

    [14] Loulis acquires two wheat silos in Romania

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    Loulis Group, a listed Greek flour mills company, on Thursday announced the acquisition of two cement-built wheat storage silos in Romania for an undisclosed sum, raising the group's total storage capacity to 300,000 tons in Greece, Bulgaria and Romania.

    The contracts were signed by the group's chairman, Costas Loulis, in Bucharest on Thursday.

    The first storage facility unit, with a capacity of 70,000 tons built in 1980, is located 280 km southwest of Bucharest, near the Danube river and the second, with a storage capacity of 50,000 tons, is located in central Romania, next to Transylvania flour mills, owned by Loulis.

    [15] External Trade Organization dismisses talk of over its abolition

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    Greece's External Trade Organization (OPE) on Thursday rejected recent press reports over its abolition, saying they were "inaccurate and completely opposed to the reality".

    "The truth is that currently and in the framework of international and domestic developments, an overall upgrading of the country's international economic relations is drafted, along with efforts to support the role of agencies, like OPE, in enriching and improving services offered to Greek exporters," a statement said.

    [16] Labor Minister Yiannitsis says lack of adjustment a danger for employment

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    Labor and Social Insurances Minister Tasos Yiannitsis said on Thursday new technologies were not a danger for employment but the lack of adjustment to new needs created by changes in production.

    Yiannitsis, who was addressing a conference on vocational training, ascertained that after several years of experience in continuing vocational training the linkage of vocational training with the needs of the labor market continued to be the desired target while, at the same time, trainees did not acquire a qualitatively higher access to employment.

    Yiannitsis announced a number of measures expected to change the field of action for owners of vocational training centers. They include the creation of a trainers' register, determination of the necessary number of vocational training centers, according to law, and the certification of a specific number of such centers which will undertake training related to the 2004 Athens

    Olympic Games.

    [10] Athens hosts international financial conference

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    University professors and financial organizations' executives from around the world are participating in an international financial conference held in an Athens from Thursday, June 29 to Saturday, July 1.

    It is the 9th conference of the European Financial Management Company, held under the auspices of the Greek ALBA institute and chaired by professor Nikos Travlos.

    The conference discusses the most contemporary developments in the theory and practice in finance and banking in connection with current developments in international capital and money markets.

    [18] Directors of Balkan news agencies to meet in Athens for 10th ABNA assembly

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    The 10th General Assembly of the Association of Balkan News Agencies (ABNA) is to take place in Athens on July 1-3, at the Divani-Caravel hotel.

    It will be attended by the general directors of the national news agencies of Albania (ATA), Bulgaria (BTA), Yugoslavia (TANJUG), Greece (ANA and MPA), FYROM (MIA), Romania (ROMPRESS) and Turkey (AA), while the Moldova news agency (MOLDPRESS) and the private IHA news agency in Turkey will be sending observers.

    During the meeting, the Balkan news agencies will discuss joint actions to improve the flow of information to the mass media in their countries, joint participation in European programs and using new technologies to set up a regional data base.

    The ABNA presidency is currently held by the Athens News Agency (ANA).

    On July 3, the ANA and Turkey's Anatolian Agency (AA) will sign the first agreement for cooperation between them, including the exchange of news items and photographs, as well as for more general cooperation and exchange of know-how.

    [19] Greece up two places in human development index since last year

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    Greece ranked 25th among 174 countries in the United Nations' human development index for the year 2000, which was presented by the UN office in Athens on Thursday.

    Last year Greece had come 27th.

    This is the 10th such report, which ranks countries based on a calculation that combines such factors as income levels, health and education levels and life expectancy, among others.

    Canada tops the list for the seventh consecutive year, with Norway and the US taking second and third place respectively.

    Cyprus ranks 22nd and the last two places go to Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

    [20] Seminar on the illegal trade and trafficking in women and children

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    The rapid rise of the modern-day slave trade in southeast Europe, involving the exploitation of women and children for cheap sex and forced labor - and its links to organized crime - were the subject of an international seminar that began in Athens on Thursday.

    The seminar was attended by 85 women from countries of southeast Europe, all of them members of state and non-governmental organizations involved in the fight against the illegal trade and trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation.

    Speakers stressed that the phenomenon was spreading extremely rapidly and was directly linked with global economic inequalities, immigration policies and the demand for "cheap sex" by people in the richer nations.

    The aim of the seminar is to explore ways of setting up programs that, without enforcing them, offer solutions to these problems that are practical, dignified and based on human rights. Speakers also stressed the need for programs that will improve the image of womens' role and position in modern society, which has suffered from rising pornography and prostitution.

    Other speakers noted the connection with organized crime, and noted that the trade in women was "the crime that knows no borders."

    Among the institutions represented at the conference were the European Parliament, the UN High Commission for Human Rights, UNICEF, the Balkan nations' Stability Pact, the London Metropolitan Police, the Council of Europe, the International Immigration Organization and non-governmental organizations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo, Yugoslavia and other countries.

    According to the interior ministry's General Secretary for Equality Efi Bekou, Greece is one of the main destinations in Europe for the illegal trade and traffic in women, due to its geographic position and other economic and cultural factors.

    Bekou said that a ministerial committee was being set up by the General Secretariat for Equality to process and coordinate the activities of the various organs involved in combatting violence against women.

    Finally, all participants agreed that foreign women who manage to report the violence committed against them should be protected from prosecution for their illegal entry into the countries where they are forced into prostitution and crime.

    [21] Issue of religion being listed in IDs not included in Orthodox Youth World Conference

    ISTANBUL, 30/06/2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    The 3rd Orthodox Youth World Conference was held in Istanbul, Turkey, between June 18-25 under the sponsorship of Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos. The listing of religion in identity cards was not among issues preoccupying the conference.

    Nicole Malek, who lives in the United States, commented that "we know very little about the issue of identity cards in Greece, but I believe that religion should not be listed in identity cards."

    "The religion of each one is something personal and the state has no reason to know it," said Elena Beverige from Hong Kong.

    Opposing this view, Sofia Zamani from Sweden said "religion should be listed in identity cards because we should know who is Orthodox and who is not."

    Stavros Skonis from Kalymnos said "the identity cards are not the problem, but the harassment launched against the Church."

    [22] Only 8,000 out of 62,000 earthquake sufferers in Attica prefecture have applied for loans

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    Only 8,000 earthquake sufferers resulting from the killer earthquake which struck the Attica prefecture on September 7 last year have applied for loans for repairs and despite the fact that their numbers total 62,000.

    This was announced on Thursday by Deputy Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Nasos Alevras who added that so far a third of applications for repairs have been approved and 64 percent of applications for reconstruction work.

    Alevras said the ministry is examining the creation of a register for earthquake-stricken buildings to protect unsuspecting buyers.

    The measure may be ready in October.

    In addition, the possibility is being examined of compulsory confirmation being requested from civil engineers that repairs have taken place to all buildings considered "yellow" by second-stage committees.

    Alevras reiterated the ministry's intention to have a state building insurance organization being created, which will function in cooperation with private bodies.

    [23] Karamanlis tours Nikaia public hospital

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis visited a public hospital in the Nikaia district of Piraeus on Thursday, where he was briefed by administrators and employees representatives over the facilitys problems.

    Karamanlis also toured the outpatient wards and briefly spoke with patients and medical staff.

    Afterwards, he told accompanying reporters that health care sector problems would only be lessened if petty political influence, a lack of transparency and ineffective government policies were tackled.

    [24] Vathi and Kusadasi to become sister cities

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    The town of Vathi on the island of Samos and the Turkish town of Kusadasi will become sister cities, it was announced Thursday.

    A delegation of the Vathi municipality, headed by Mayor Filippos Petrouskas, leaves Thursday evening for Kusadasi for the two-day twinning ceremony in the Turkish town.

    [25] Lamia Cooperative Bank charged in fraud scam

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    A Lamia public prosecutor on Thursday brought criminal charges against the Lamia Cooperative Bank for alleged fraud, breach of faith and forgery.

    The prosecutor ordered an investigating magistrate to conduct an inquiry into which of the bank's officials may have been involved in the scam.

    The charges were brought after the government's financial crimes squad conducted a lengthy investigation into transactions at the bank, citing numerous instances of fraud and forgery.

    [26] Communist Party official says multinational sponsors and Greek businessmen will stand to gain from Olympics

    Athens, 30/06/2000 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Central Committee Politburo member Spyros Halvatzis said on Thursday multinational sponsors and "those Greek businessmen who will cooperate with them will stand to gain from the Athens 2004 Olympic Games".

    Halvatzis, who was addressing a party conference on the Athens 2004 Olympiad, said "the Olympic Games are a sports event whose preparation and carrying out will have multifaceted and long-term repercussions for the people and the country", adding that "the commercialization of sport will be intensified with the people and youth being the spectators of a commercial event."

    [27] UNFICYP to review measures announced by Denktash regime

    NICOSIA, 30/06/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    The UN Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus is reviewing the measures announced on Thursday by the Turkish occupation regime in the northern part of the island in relation to UNFICYP in collaboration with the UN headquarters.

    Asked by CNA to comment on the measures, announced earlier in the day in retaliation to the non-inclusion of an addendum to the UN Secretary General's report with a Turkish Cypriot demand for separate consultations with UNFICYP, spokeswoman of the peace-keeping force Sarah Russell replied they were reviewing them in consultation with the UN headquarters and "will be responding in due course".

    The measures were announced shortly before Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said he would be participating in the third round of UN-led proximity talks to be held in Geneva on July 5.

    The illegal regime unilaterally declared in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus and recognized only by Turkey demands that UN soldiers cross to the Turkish-occupied areas through a single point at Ledra Palace in Nicosia, insure their vehicles with T/C insurance companies and pay the puppet regime for the water and electricity they use in camps north of the UN buffer zone.

    Russell told CNA, so far, UNFICYP paid "people in the north" for water and the Cyprus Electricity Authority in the government controlled areas for electricity.

    [28] Foreign Office says measures unjustified

    LONDON, 30/06/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Britain considers the measures announced by the illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus against UNFICYP as unjustified and stress the need for the UN Peace-keeping Force to be able to carry out its mandate.

    Asked to comment on the measures, a spokesman of the British Foreign Office said:

    "We regret these measures which we do not consider to be justified, The key consideration is for UNFICYP to be able to carry out its mandate."


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