|Saturday, 25 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-10-17
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Athens cites 'severe violations' in Albanian run-off poll, EU briefing expected
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)Greece on Monday cited "severe violations of the electoral process" during run-off municipal elections on Sunday in a hotly contested race in a southern Albania town hosting a large ethnic Greek community.
"According to all the information we have received, serious violations of the electoral process have been ascertained in the town of Himarra, causing particular concern, as the Albanian government had guaranteed the smooth holding of elections," foreign ministry spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis said, adding that this demonstrated a "severe democratic deficit" in Albania.
He also said the Greek government would defend the democratic rights of the Greek minority of Albania in the EU and other international organizations.
On his part, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that Greek-Albanian relations are unavoidably influenced what occurred during the municipal run-off election, while he also referred to major violations of the election laws in the neighboring country.
Reppas also reiterated that the Greek government would take recourse to international organizations over the incidents and brief the EU over what he called violations of the ethnic Greek communitys human rights.
In reply to press questions, Beglitis said "irregularities and violations" centered in the municipality of Himarra, while in other municipalities with minority Greek populations the elections were carried out "smoothly and calmly".
He said that specifically with respect to Himarra, the Greek side had information from international observers - including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European Union, the Greek embassy in Tirana, the Greek consulates in Albania and the ethnic Greek minority organization "Omonia".
"All the information indicates serious violations of the electoral process," he said.
Beglitis warned that this matter influenced not only bilateral relations between Greece and Albania "but also Albania's relations with the EU and other international organizations", adding that Athens would announce specific steps and initiatives over this matter in the next few days.
The foreign ministry spokesman further warned Tirana government that "Greece's policy vis-a-vis Albania is not a one-way street ... the Albanian side must realize that it has obligations".
He said that last week Foreign Minister George Papandreou had been in contact on this issue with Albanian PM Ilir Meta, rather than with his Albanian counterpart Paskal Milo, given that the former is a member of the Albanian Socialist Party, whereas Milo is a member of the Albanian social-democratic party.
Finally, Beglitis noted that the Greek MPs who went to Albania - including parliamentarians from PASOK - had no observer status nor was there any order for their presence there, but simply "they went on their own initiative to follow the elections".
The PASOK deputies, who went, however, had informed the foreign minister of their intentions, Beglitis added.
Papazoi says Albania still has long distance to cover to approach Europe: Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi on Monday that Albania still has a long distance to cover before it approaches Europe.
"I think it is obvious that those who stated that Albania still has a long distance to cover before it approaches Europe are being vindicated unfortunately," she said.
In statements to reporters after talks with visiting Hungarian Deputy Foreign Minister Peter Gottfried, Papazoi also said: "We believe that Albania is aware that it benefits from Greece and has much more to benefit from Greece due to the latter's double role as a neighboring country receiving a big number of economic migrants from Albania and as a European Union country".
"We consider them (irregularities) a development which undermines Albania's relations with the countries of Europe and are also negative, of course, in Albania's relations with Greece itself. It is obvious that Greece cannot remain passive before such a clear violation of rules which each country wishing to have steadfast relations with the EU and, of course, steadfast relations with Greece should abide by. The issue of the (Greek) minority is very important for us. We cannot accept any violation," she said.
Papazoi, who said Greece has already briefed other European countries on the issue, added that the problem primarily concerns the region of the town of Himarra.
"We have an issue there, but this issue is very serious and it was not the election process by itself, it was its preparation as well," she said.
Papazoi said the OSCE has also been notified on processes, which must be applied.
 OSCE observers note "serious irregularities" in local elections in Albania
TIRANA, 17/10/2000 (ANA - I. Patso)Increased tension and serious irregularities marked the local elections process in Himara, Albania, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) early conclusions noted.
During a press conference, OSCE observers noted that "in Himara conditions were characterized by serious irregularities, in an environment of increased tension with a neighboring country".
"In Himara, where an ethnic Greek minority exists, the final phase of the pre-election campaign on a local and national level deteriorated by a nationalistic rhetoric, which was greatly manifested in the press even on the day of the elections, within an environment of increased tension with a neighboring country," they said.
On the election day, on Sunday, "in Himara conditions were marked by several serious irregularities, by the intimidation of committee members, by a case of violence during which a ballot box was destroyed and by cases of fraud in another three election centers," they noted.
Also in "Himara an unusual alliance of parties took place, including the Democratic Party that supported a socialist candidate. Inflammatory language was used during the campaign against the Human Rights Union party candidate and as a result the last few days were marked by a nationalistic rhetoric on a local and national level, against the ethnic Greek minority," they added.
The OSCE observers held their press conference in Tirana, where they presented their assessment regarding the elections, stressing that despite irregularities the election process "made progress".
 Foreign ministry says Papandreou spoke to Cem over phone on Middle East crisis, postponement of meeting
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou had spoken with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem over the phone during the weekend and discussed the Middle East crisis and the postponement of a planned meeting between the two ministers on Rhodes and Marmaris, a foreign ministry announcement said on Monday.
Foreign ministry spokesman Panagiotis Beglitis said the two ministers had spoken on Sunday and confirmed that the postponement of the meeting had been at the request of the Turkish side, citing the Middle East crisis as the reason.
Beglitis added that Greece had earlier informed the Turkish side that it would ask for a postponement of the meeting itself if complications in the NATO exercise "Destined Glory" in Turkey were not resolved.
Greece has suspended its participation in the exercise after Turkey demanded the exclusion of the air corridors above the Greek islands of Limnos and Ikaria in the Aegean last week.
Asked if Papandreou had raised the issue in his conversation with Cem, Beglitis replied that it was not a bilateral issue but something that needed to be resolved through NATO channels.
Athens has vehemently criticized past attempts by Ankara over the years to exclude Greek territory, airspace and territorial waters from NATO planning, saying such actions aim to undermine Greek sovereignty in the Aegean.
 FM to brief Parliament Committee on Greek-Turkish relations, Cyprus
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou will brief Parliament's Permanent Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday on developments in Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue.
Papandreou will meet visiting Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Wednesday, who will also be attending a speech at Papandreou's invitation by American economist and Nobel Prize winner Howe at the Andreas Papandreou Foundation.
Papandreou will also be meeting United Democrats party leader and the head of Cyprus' negotiating team with the European Union George Vassiliou on Wednesday.
On the Thursday he will meet with the new President of Cyprus' Democratic Party (DHKO) Tasos Papadopoulos, completing a series of contacts with Cyprus' party leaders.
European Union Commissioner Gunter Verheugen, responsible for EU enlargement issues, will arrive in Athens on Thursday for talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Papandreou, and Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi.
Ensuing talks will focus on enlargement strategy, the shaping of the partnership relationship between Turkey and the EU and Cyprus' accession course to the EU.
 Premier, 2004 head confer over Olympics preparations
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)A much-anticipated meeting on Monday between Greek PM Costas Simitis and the head of the Athens 2004 organizing committee focused squarely on delineated responsibilities and even cooperation amongst ministries, organizers and other agencies involved in Olympic preparations and related infrastructure works.
The meeting reportedly dissipated, to a large extent, differences of opinion that have arisen recently between certain ministry leaderships and the organizing committee regarding specific responsibilities.
Following the two-hour meeting with Simitis, 2004 head Yianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki hinted that certain changes were still necessary in the organizing agency's structure.
"Any changes necessary prior to the Games will have to occur. That's how it's done in every country," she said.
Meanwhile, according to press reports, Simitis may soon appoint a high-ranking government official as a "liaison" between the inter-ministerial committee for the 2004 Games and Angelopoulos-Daskalaki's organizing committee.
"I'll be very happy as preparations for the Olympic Games of Athens proceed ... Not just me, but all the other individuals that are working for this. We continued an ongoing conversation we had with the prime minister regarding the development of all the issues and we're continuing our work," Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said when asked if she was satisfied with results from the meeting.
 EU intends to assist Athens Olympiad's success, EU Commissioner Barnier says
BRUSSELS, 17/10/2000 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)European Union Commissioner Michele Barnier on Monday stressed the EU's intention aid Greece for the successful organizing of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Barnier, Union's Commissioner on Regional Policy and the Intergovernmental Conference, statement came head of his Wednesday visit to Athens.
"Greece's success in the Olympic Games will be Europe's success," the French Commissioner said, adding that the EU's "interest" is limited to just this scope as the Union "has no lessons to give to anyone."
Barnier said the EU is funding many infrastructure projects related to the Olympiad, without them concerning sports, such as road and airport projects.
His visit is also linked to the preparation of operational programs amounting to 23 billion euro, which Greece must promote as part of the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF).
Barnier will be holding talks with National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis and main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis.
 Greek Alternate FM meets with Hungarian deputy FM, focus on EU
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi on Monday met with Hungarian Deputy Foreign Minister Peter Gottfried and discussed issues of bilateral concern and Hungary's accession course to the European Union.
Following the meeting, Papazoi said that discussions included the course of the European Union committee charged with providing proposals for the Union's institutional reforms.
Speaking on Hungary's progress, she said that it had completed successfully 13 of the 29 negotiation chapters, adding that Greece would support that central European nation in its bid to enter the Union.
Gottfried, who heads Hungary's negotiation teams for accession to the Union, thanked Greece for its assistance and support for his country's accession efforts.
 Economic Committee on development,. restructuring of the Balkan Stability Pact to convene in Istanbul
ISTANBUL, 17/10/2000 (ANA - E. Aretaios)The Balkan Stability Pact Economic Committee is convening for the third time in Istanbul to examine the promotion of programs on the economic development of the Balkans amounting to 2.4 billion euro.
The meeting is being attended by representatives from European Union member-states, as well as from Balkan and central European countries, and EU, European Investments Bank and World Bank officials.
Speaking at the meeting, Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said "the Balkan stability Pact is an important effort by Europe to eradicate the region's economic problems and place the Balkans in a European orbit."
He further said "Turkey has historic, cultural and social ties with the Balkans", adding that "Ankara wishes to participate in programs on the construction of the region."
 Speaking to the Athens News Agency (ANA), Greece's representative at the meeting Ambassador Alexandros Miliaresis said "Greece's contribution to the region's economic development and reconstruction is very important" and that Greece can play a leading role in the restructuring of the Balkan countries' banking systems.The Balkan Stability Pact was founded on June 10, 1999 by the EU's foreign ministers in cooperation with the Balkan countries, the UN, the OSCE, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and NATO with the purpose of strengthening stability in the region through economic development and democratization.
 Greece and Italy should cooperate for peace and development in the Balkans, Italian deputy FM says
ROME, 17/10/2000 (ANA-L. Hatzikyriakos)"The cooperation of Greece and Italy in the Balkans is a basic precondition for reducing tensions, for stability and development in that region," Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Uberto Ranieri said during his address to an one-day conference entitled "Italy and Greece in the Balkans".
The conference, organized by the Greek embassy in Rome and the Italian magazine "Limes", took place at the chambers of the Italian Senate and focused on the geopolitical interests of Greece and Italy in the Balkans, as well as security, immigration and organized crime.
Ranieri said that the cooperation of Greece and Italy are very important for stability in the Balkans as the two countries stood on the front lines of the European Union, adding that their border in essence constitute the Union's external borders where the battle with organized crime was waged.
Addressing the problems and the special conditions in the Balkans, Greek Press and Media Ministry General Secretary Yiannis Nikolaou said Italian and Greek media's aim should focus at creating conditions of stability and development in the Balkan countries.
He underlined the difficulties of other countries, such as the United States, to comprehend what is actually happening in the region and thus they enforce decisions that prove to be wrong.
On his part, Greek economic crime squad special secretary Giorgos Kanellopoulos said that the Balkans were the "crossroads" of every kind of illegal activity, and for this reason countries of the region should be given aid to clime out of poverty.
He also said that Greece and Italy should cooperate closely and called on the EU to undertake a joint stance and contribute to the Greco-Italian effort.
 Greek envoy says absolute coordination of movements exists between Athens and Nicosia
NICOSIA, 17/10/2000 (ANA/G. Leonidas)Cyprus government spokesman Mihalis Papapetrou reiterated on Monday that Greece was the sole support in the struggle being waged by the people of Cyprus to reverse the faits accomplis of the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of the island republic's northern part.
Papapetrou was speaking after an acquaintance meeting with Greece's new Ambassador to Cyprus Christos Panagopoulos, who said that "such absolute coordination in movements and identity rarely existed in the past if not never".
Papapetrou expressed gratitude to Greece and its government for its steadfast and consistent support for a course, which "can give the people of Cyprus real hope for better days."
 Samaras files slander suit against Mitsotakis
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)Former Foreign Minister Antonis Samaras on Monday filed a slander suit against former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis after the latter was quoted by a Sunday paper as charging that Samaras was "bought off" in order to topple his New Democracy government (1990-93).
Samaras, who served as foreign minister in the Mitsotakis government, was fired by the latter in April 1992 and resigned his MP seat in the summer of 1993 to form the Political Spring (Pol.An) party just before national elections in the Autumn. During the Oct. 10, 1993 poll Pol.An garnered almost 5 percent of the vote and returned Samaras to Parliament as a political party leader.
In filing his lawsuit, Samaras called on Mitsotakis - the honorary ND president - to relinquish his Parliament deputy's immunity from prosecution so that a civil court can try the lawsuit.
In response, Mitsotakis on Monday said that in his comments to the "Vima" newspaper, "I didn't say anything new, but it took seven years before Mr. Samaras felt aggrieved."
Samaras and Pol.An fared appreciably worse in the following two national elections - 1996 and 2000 -- by failing to top the 3-percent mark needed by a political party for representation in Greece's Parliament.
 Prime minister, PASOK secretary discuss current political issues
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday received ruling PASOK party Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis and discussed the functioning of the political system and parties in Greece.
Skandalidis said he made proposals to the prime minister for changes to the functioning of the political system, which will aim at combating corruption by vested interests.
He said that any changes to the political system would have an unavoidable impact on the political parties of the country, which would then "enter a new era of Democracy".
"Democracy in 2000 is different" than that of the years, which followed the collapse of the colonels seven-year dictatorial rule, Skandalidis, added.
 Prime minister to chair meeting of Athens 2004 Olympic Games
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Tuesday will chair a meeting of ministers that will deal with the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, while on Wednesday he will meet with President Kostis Stephanopoulos.
On Thursday he chair the meeting of the government's inner cabinet and on Friday will receive a group of ruling PASOK deputies,
 Australian ambassador to thank Paros locals for rescue effort after ferry shipwreck
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)Australian ambassador in Athens Ross Burns will visit the islands of Paros and Antiparos to thank the locals for their help in rescue efforts following a ferry shipwreck that cost the lives of 80 people, the embassy announced Monday.
Ambassador Burns will visit Paros and Antiparos on Tuesday "to thank fishermen and local crewmen for their crucial role in the rescue effort following the sinking of the 'Express Samina'", the announcement said.
The ambassador said he would personally deliver a message to the Fishermen's Associations of Paros and Antiparos from the 14 Australian survivors of the shipwreck that says:
"...You risked your lives and boats to save us and your bravery and commitment will be forever appreciated. We can't begin to describe the relief we felt when you appeared out of the darkness. We are sure that we, and many others, owe our lives to you."
Burns added that the Australian prime minister had written to Greek counterpart Costas Simitis expressing his sincere condolences to the victims, and praising "the courage and readiness of local fishermen, as well as the Greek authorities, to help those in distress".
 GSEE responds with memorandum to government invitation to discuss employment reform
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)With wording closer to a manifesto than a memorandum, the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) trade union organization on Monday sent a written response to the government regarding its proposals for increasing employment.
GSEE leader Christos Polyzogopoulos said that GSEE would seek to meet with the ministers involved on the basis of the positions it sets out in its memorandum, but that this should not be confused with participation in the government-sponsored dialogue on employment reforms.
In the letter addressed to National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and Labor Minister Tassos Giannitsis, the union once again reiterated its demand for a 35-hour week without reductions in pay, while warning that the "flexible" forms of employment proposed by the government would not reduce unemployment or make the Greek economy more competitive. They also said that following Greece's entry into the eurozone, they would now seek "a constant redistribution of wealth in favor of salaried workers."
GSEE further claimed that the government's budget does not allocate enough funds for employment, while charging that the huge sums made available under the first and second Community Support Framework were not used effectively. They note, for example, that the budget only allocates 18.5 billion drachmas to the OAED employment organization, which pays out 45 billion drachmas a year just on salaries. It also notes that the main social insurance fund IKA owes OAED 332 billion drachmas.
The trade unionists also warn that "a review of the protective nucleus for the workforce," will be toughly fought while announcing that specific decisions on union tactics would be taken next Thursday, when the GSEE Executive Committee convenes.
Council of State ruling: Meanwhile, in a related development, on Monday Polyzogopoulos commented on a Council of State ruling which said that civil servants' mandatory army service terms did not count toward pension.
Despite statements by Deputy Social Security Minister Nikos Farmakis that the ruling was not a backdoor way of extending the age of retirement but a loophole for civil servants wanting to postpone their retirement in order to get promotions and higher pensions, Polyzogopoulos said that unions would take measures to ensure the ruling did not have unforeseen repercussions.
The courts, Polyzogopoulos said, should enforce laws not create them, and he said that the demand for retirement at 35 years without age limits should not be undermined "even semantically" at a sensitive time when the ground was being prepared for dramatic changes in social insurance systems.
 Greek contracts with World Bank total $24.3 mln over 3 yrs
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)Greece's contracts with the World Bank totalled 24.3 million dollars over the last three years, Jules Garcia, an official of the bank's Europe bureau, said on Monday.
Speaking in Thessaloniki, Garcia said the sum covered 22 major investment programs that were implemented outside Greece, representing 60 percent of all Greek programs whose loan needs were endorsed by the World Bank.
The largest project of the 22 was a 5.7 million dollar scheme by Euro-Express Trading Co. involving the health system in Russia.
Garcia was addressing a joint event of the World Bank's business office, the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the bank's IFC and MIGA subsidiaries.
 3rd CSF focuses on the creation of new jobs, Giannitsis says
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)The creation of new job opportunities and the increased competitiveness of the Greek economy were the focus of Labor and Social Insurance Minister Tasos Giannitsis' address to a one-day conference entitled "Employment and Training 2000-2006" on Monday.
He added that the target of the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF) is to place emphasis on programs aiming to decrease unemployment, to improve the types of jobs offered in the market, to build confidence in the potential of employees and to strengthen of the economy's competitiveness.
A total of 1,964 billion drachmas will be provided for vocational training from the 3rd CSF, a figure which is double that provided by the 2nd CSF.
Giannitsis said a minimum of 200,000 new jobs would be created during the implementation of the 3rd CSF.
 Greek stocks rebound strongly on ASE
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)Equity prices rebounded strongly on the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday following a recovery in international stock markets on Friday.
Trader said hopes of an end to the Middle East crisis also boosted sentiment on the market.
The general index ended 2.42 percent higher at 3,790.98 points, off the day's highs of 3,830.70 points, recovering a small part of its 8.09 percent loss recorded in the previous five sessions. Turnover, however, remained a low 60.15 billion drachmas, denting hopes for a short-term recovery in the market.
Shares in the construction sector scored the biggest percentage gains, while smaller capitalization stocks also benefited from comments that the sector was undervalued following an 18.7 percent drop the previous week and a 70 percent decline since the start of the year.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 2.22 percent higher at 2,159.89 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index rose 3.18 percent to 567.78 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended 5.70 percent higher at 482.39 points.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 338 to 13 with another four issues unchanged.
Lambropoulos, National Bank, Notos Holdings, Hellenic Telecoms and Panafon were the most heavily traded stocks.
Equity futures end up, tracking Athens bourse: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished higher on Monday, in line with the indices on which they are based.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 2.22 percent up, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 3.18 percent higher.
Turnover was 17.2 billion drachmas.
A total of 3,082 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 with turnover at 13.45 billion drachmas.
On the FTSE/ASE 40 index, 2,004 contracts changed hands on turnover of 3.7 billion drachmas.
Bond prices rise in thin trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Monday finished higher in scant, lackluster trade.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.965 percent from 5.949 percent a day earlier.
The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 74-75 basis points from 76 basis points in the previous session.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 22 billion drachmas from 92 billion drachmas in the trading day before.
Of the total, sell orders accounted for 6.0 billion drachmas of trade.
Drachma up vs. euro, down vs. dollar: The drachma on Monday ended higher against the euro and lower versus the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.
At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 339.350 drachmas from 339.440 drachmas in the previous session.
Also at the fix, the dollar was set at 398.450 drachmas from 392.330 drachmas a trading day earlier.
 Cardico buys out French firm
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)Cardico announced on Monday that it had wholly acquired Echalie SA of France, aided by Piraeus Prime Bank, a strategic investor in the Greek dried fruit and nut-processing group.
Echalie, which is in the same line of business as Cardico, will become a member of the Greek group that has been created through a string of acquisitions and the creation of new companies, Nikos Kardasilaris, its president, told a news conference.
The French acquisition represents a breakthrough into the European market, Kardasilaris added.
Cardico is already active in countries including the US, Argentina, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Moldova, Georgia, the Czech Republic and Romania.
 Car registrations up 22.2 percent in September
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)New car registrations in Greece totalled 31,622 vehicles in September, up 22.2 percent compared with the same month last year, official figures showed on Monday.
Out of the total 31,622 vehicles, 24,668 were cars, 3,579 trucks, 127 buses and the rest were motorcycles with engines more than 50 cc.
 Household consumer expenses rise
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)The monthly consumer expenses of an average household in Greece have rose 22 percent in the period November 1998-October 1999 against the period 1993/94, according to research data released Monday by the national statistics bureau ESYE.
ESYE said that, in a sampling among 6,258 households throughout Greece for the period November 1998-October 1999, monthly consumer expenses for an average household rose to 471,339 drachma against 387,422 dr. in the period November 1993-October 1994.
The top household expenditure was foodstuffs, accounting for 17.4 percent of the overall expenditure, followed by transports with 12.2 percent, while the smallest expense, according to official data, was for education at 2.8 percent.
The survey also showed that home ownership had jumped by 79.6 percent against the 1993/94 survey.
Also, on the basis of indices used at European level concerning living conditions, an ever-increasing number of households in Greece own color television, mobile phones, a second home, video players, central heating and a car.
 8.6 per cent of Greeks use the Internet, survey says
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)About 700,000 persons use Internet in Greece, representing 8.6 per cent of the population, according to a recent survey, published on Monday by electronic news service flash.gr.
The survey noted that 39 per cent of users were between the ages of 18 and 24 years of age, while 21.7 per cent are university graduates and 38.5 per cent were university students.
More than 60 per cent of users in Greece, connected to the Internet from their home computers and 31 per cent used their work place computers, while only one in three users connected at least once per day.
The survey also noted Internet use did not seem to influence use of other mass media, as 33.3 per cent of users read newspapers and 70.2 per cent listened to radio news broadcasts on daily basis.
 Hotel overnight stays edge down in August
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)Overnight stays in hotels throughout Greece edged down by 1.67 percent in August against the same month last year, according to data released Monday by the national statistics service ESYE.
ESYE said that overnight stays in August fell to 2,776,346 from 2,823,419 in August 1999, marking a 1.67 percent decline.
It said the figures resulted from a broad sampling among 291 hotels throughout the country.
Conversely, tourist arrivals by charter plane to the country's major airports rose slightly during August to 1,004,304 from 1,000,465 in August 1999, ESYE said.
 Christodoulakis visits China
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis is paying an official visit to China in order to sign a cooperation protocol between the two countries covering research and technology.
On his agenda is a visit to China International Travel Mark 2000 in Shanghai, a major tourism trade fair.
 Proposals to undertake broadcasting of Athens 2004 Games opened
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)Financial proposals for the selection of the organization to undertake the broadcasting of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games were opened on Monday in a public meeting held with the participation of the Olympic Games Organizing Committee's Negotiation Committee, according to a press release by the Organizing Committee.
An overall evaluation of the proposals and negotiations will follow to finalize the relevant contract.
Legal representatives of International Sports Broadcasting and European Broadcasting Consortium were present at the meeting, the press release added.
 Greek Network of Fighting Poverty holds press conference in view of World Day against poverty
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)Ten per cent of Greeks live in constant poverty, the Greek Network for Fighting Poverty announced during a press conference on Monday, as opposed to 7 per cent of Europeans, despite the fact that Greece had been a member of the European social charter for 14 years, under which it is obliged to guarantee a minimum income necessary for survival to its citizens.
The conference was held to mark the World Day for Eradicating Poverty on Tuesday.
Speakers noted that Greece had the second highest percentage of constant poverty in Europe after Portugal and that up to one million Greeks had lived in a condition of poverty for three consecutive years.
They also highlighted the vulnerability of older people, women and youth, saying that the last two were worst hit by unemployment and that Greek citizens over 55 were twice as much at risk from constant poverty than other Europeans.
While noting that unemployment was probably the biggest contributing factor to poverty, simply increasing the number of jobs would not provide a safety net, particularly if those jobs were precarious and badly paid, speakers said.
They supported the need for an organized campaign to persuade government to institute a poverty limit and a minimum income and to let people have recourse to justice to demand financial assistance for covering basic needs, such as food, clothing, housing, lighting, heating and healthy living conditions.
The Network stressed the need for a redistribution of income through generalized tax reforms in order to achieve this.
 Karamanou and Giannakou-Koutsikou speak at Caritas seminar on problems of refugees and immigrants
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)PASOK Euro-MP Anna Karamanou and New Democracy deputy Marietta Giannakou-Koutsikou were both guest speakers at a seminar organized by the Catholic Church's Philanthropic Committees Union "Caritas Hellas" on Monday, focusing on the problems faced by refugees in their host-countries.
Karamanou stressed that one of the most important problems faced by refugees in EU countries was their access to health services, complicated by language and cultural barriers, inadequate information on how the national health system operates and lack of training among health workers in dealing with refugees coupled with distrust felt by the latter.
Giannakou-Koutsikou noted that the term refugee was now used much more widely than before and described people that had left their country for a variety of reasons, including economic survival and environmental or natural catastrophes. She stressed the need for policies that focus on respect for human life and dignity.
Caritas Hellas director Spyros Laganas, meanwhile, spoke about the need for various practical initiatives to help and support immigrants and refugees.
The rest of the seminar focused on legal aspects relating to the issue of permits to refugees and immigrants and a bill for immigration due to be tabled in Parliament by the interior ministry.
 Patra university announces progress toward AIDS vaccine
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)Patra University Chemistry Department Prof. Kleomenis Barlos announced on Monday that his department concluded research toward an HIV vaccine and ways to produce large volumes.
He said that the DNA based research used already published knowledge on peptides and proteins used by the human body and the HIV virus, which infects humans causing AIDS and eventually death.
He added that his research also focused on sub-protein level substances and managed to produce them in chemical ways instead of biochemical, thus allowing for cheaper and larger production with smaller installations.
 Byzantine art exhibition showcases "Madona" in Athens' Benaki Museum
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Friday will inaugurate a Byzantine art exhibition, showcasing icons of the Mother of God, at the Benaki Museum in Athens.
Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and Archbishop of Sinai Damianos will also be present at the inauguration ceremony of the "Mother of God-Icons of All Holy Mother in Byzantine Art" exhibition.
Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos welcomed the exhibition that includes 86 works dating from the 4th century to the 15th century and took four years to prepare, as several of the pieces to be exhibited were parts of private collections and of foreign museums.
The exhibition will run through Jan. 14, 2001.
 President Stephanopoulos inaugurates exhibition on "The sacrifices of Greece in WWII"
Athens, 17/10/2000 (ANA)President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Monday inaugurated a photographic exhibition on "The sacrifices of Greece in World War Two", at the Zappeion Mansion.
The president was given a guided tour of the exhibition by the President of the Foreign Press Association Evangelos Antonaros, and said later "it is only with silence and respect that one can visit this exhibition."
The ceremony was attended by Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, Coalition of the Left and Progress party leader Nicos Konstantopoulos, Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas and other officials.
The exhibition, comprising 250 photographs, will be open to the public until October 22.
 US military exercise to be held west of Cyprus
NICOSIA, 17/10/2000 (CNA/ANA)The US has informed the Cyprus authorities that they will hold military exercises west of the island with warplanes that will be using its aircraft carrier "George Washington" which is already on its way here, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said on Monday.
The spokesman also said the American exercise has no relation to the annual National Guard exercise code-named "Nikiforos", beginning on Tuesday.
He said the American exercise will be held within the period October 15 to 25, west of the island, and the planes will be flying on the outskirts of the Nicosia Flight Information Region.