|Thursday, 26 November 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-02-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>February 9, 2002
 IOC satisfied with Athens 2004 preparations, FM saysSALT LAKE CITY, 09/02/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)
Most of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) members were satisfied with Greece's preparations for the 2004 Games so far, and believed that the Athens Games would be "very good" ones, foreign minister George Papandreou said late Thursday in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the 2002 Winter Games open on Saturday.
Speaking to ANA after talks with IOC members in Utah for the Winter Games, Papandreou said in response to questions on IOC concerns over delays in 2004 preparations and the hotel accommodations problem that "they've seen this before in other cities that have organized Olympics in the past".
Papandreou said he had met with a number of prominent IOC members "with whom I have maintained contact for several years, since the time we has submitted Athens candidacy", and also had a lengthy conversation with former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch on the Greek presence but also on his impressions regarding the upcoming Athens Olympics, "which were positive".
There was a possibility the Greek foreign minister would also meet with UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who was due to arrive in Salt Lake City later in the day to attend the Winter Games opening ceremony.
Papandreou was further promoting his initiative for an Olympic Truce in his contacts in Salt Lake City.
"The idea (of an Olympic Truce) is being greeted in a positive spirit. Indeed, the Olympic Movement warmly backs it, and we will try to project it also via the media," Papandreou said, and described the Salt Lake City Games as the springboard of Greece's effort, over the next 2 1/2 years to the Athens Games, to "cement this idea and have some result".
Papandreou was due to discuss the Olympic Truce initiative later in the day with the representatives of China, which will host the 2008 Games.
ATHOC Chief: Security top priority for Athens 2004 Games: Security was the top priority of Greece's preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games, Athens organizing committee (ATHOC) chief Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said Friday in a televised interview on CNN from Salt Lake City, venue of the 2002 Winter Olympics, adding that this was true of all Olympics host cities, particularly after the September 11 hijacked airplane terrorist attacks in the US.
Angelopoulos noted that ATHOC members were in Salt Lake City to obtain "useful experience' from the organization of the Winter Games, while another 30 officers of Greek security services were also in attendance to "observe" and "learn from" their American colleagues.
The ATHOC chief also noted the enthusiasm in Greece and also the rest of the world for the return of the Olympic Games to their birth land in 2004 and pledged that Athens would prove that it was capable of organizing Games that not only projected history and civilization but would also be impeccable from the technical aspect.
Greek foreign, culture ministers brief journalists on Olympic Truce initiative: Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, during a working luncheon, briefed American and other foreign journalists in Salt Lake City on Friday on the idea of the Olympic Truce which Greece is promoting and on the country's preparations for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games in the sectors of security and projects.
Speaking on the Olympic Truce, Papandreou stressed Greece's initiative for the collection of signatures from personalities from all over the world, the adoption of the relevant United Nations resolution, as well as the contribution to this effort by his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem.
The details of the Greek initiative was expounded by the director of the International Olympic Truce Centre, Stavros Lambrinidis, who was present at the luncheon along with Greek Ambassador to Washington Alexandros Philon.
Concerning preparations in the security sector, Papandreou said that Greek security service officers, who are present at the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, will obtain useful experience for the Athens 2004 Games.
Venizelos referred at length to the course of the Olympic Games projects and to the Cultural Olympiad, stressing that the 2004 Athens Games will provide Greece with a unique opportunity to modernize and to project a positive image of the country worldwide.
The culture minister admitted that problems still existed, but hastened to add that this occurred in every country which hosted the Olympic Games. He noted that these problems are confronted on a daily basis.
Referring to the issue of security, Venizelos said that Greece has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe and is cooperating with the United States and other countries to combat terrorism
 PM condemns 'phenomena of misinformation' in newscasts
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday condemned what he called “misinformation from newscasts staged to sensationalize”, while he referred to ongoing mobilizations by Greek farmers as politically inspired, in statements on Friday during an address to the ruling PASOK youth wing’s 5th conference in Athens.
Regarding the recent furor over illegal “video slot machines” and an avalanche of subsequent news programs focusing on corruption in the public sector, Simitis said:
“You heard over the past few days that there is a political problem; that there is a likelihood of (early) elections; that our political system is facing problems. We gave a clear answer: Our democracy is strong; our system is strong and is in position to deal with any problem. Some people underestimate the Greek people’s intelligence; they believe that with newscasts staged to sensationalize they can lead things elsewhere.
“We have phenomena of misinformation. The people, however, have the ability to see the truth,” he said.
In terms of the ongoing farmers’ blockades and protests throughout parts of central and northern Greece, Simitis said “certain farmers continue to protest.
"There’s a feeling that the rural areas are being wronged, despite the fact that in 1981, with PASOK’s policy, farm incomes increased. Yes, but the subsidies for one product or another aren’t an issue for which to block traffic on the roads. The Greek government applied a policy so that, within the framework of the Common Agriculture Policy, farmers cultivating cotton would earn the highest subsidies,” the PM said.
In criticizing main opposition New Democracy (ND), he said ND negated the fact that Greece was progressing.
Further into his address, the Greek premier outlined his opposition to what he called “conservatism”, offering a definition beyond the strictly political sense.
“Conservatism doesn’t just have a political coloring, but a social expression as well. We cannot consider conservatism just conservative political solutions. Moreover, conservatism is also narrow-mindedness, selfish behaviors, and a lack of evaluation we see being demanded in certain mobilizations ... We’re striking out at this conservatism and we’ll hit it on all fronts and in all its expressions,” he stressed.
In a theme directly to his audience, Simitis also referred to what he called “the end of the political confrontation” between ruling PASOK’s leadership and the party’s youth wing during the recent past.
The Greek premier and president of PASOK said the youth wing’s clash with the party’s majority trend is strictly a thing of the past.
“The past two years have been productive, (characterized) by a period in which the youth wing mobilized, moved forward and changed several things in a truly impressive manner ... With your action, all of you made the PASOK youth wing stronger and the largest youth group in Greece.”
 Development minister stresses need for new policy
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, addressing the congress of the ruling PASOK party's youth wing on Friday, stressed the need for a programmed agreement on policies leading to a new policy and a social progressive majority, while also referring to criticism aimed at PASOK for its policy towards farmers.
"There is the wear and tear. Clearly, one does not accept all the criticism made. However, there are bases of truth for some very critical positions concerning us," he said.
"We can forge ahead, young men and women of PASOK, and show the promising tomorrow for society, for the people, for the citizens, submitting new political proposals guaranteeing success in this course of the people and creating the basis for the political unity among us," he added.
 PM: We are determined to stamp out illegal gambling, corruption
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)The government was determined to stamp out corruption and illegal activities in the electronic gambling sector, Prime Minister Costas Simitis underlined on Friday in Parliament.
The prime minister was responding to a question tabled by Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos on the need to take measures against the phenomenon of illegal video-slot 'fruit' machines.
Simitis also denied that the government's policy on gambling sought to increase tax revenues (by some 58.6 million euros a year) and said that the policy in Greece was similar to that in most European countries.
Responding to a demand by Constantopoulos for a total ban on gambling, the prime minister said that this would drive gambling underground and lead to illegal and uncontrollable situations.
In the medium term, Simitis said, the phenomenon would be dealt with through stricter controls, with the possibility of permanently removing operating licenses for transgressors, while leaving open the possibility of a total ban in the more distant future.
The Coalition leader, on his part, said that a total ban on games of chance, the recall of licenses and severe penalties were the only solution. According to Constantopoulos, the way proposed by the government left open the possibility that gambling machines might be legalized on the criteria of controlled profit, ultimately leading to a scenario in which one or a handful of 'godfathers' exercised complete control over the entire sector.
Conversely, he added, an on-line link between electronic gaming machines and tax offices would "subjugate these to the big-time supplier".
Responding, the prime minister ruled out the prospect of legalizing games of chance and said that tighter controls of legal gambling would be introduced.
"The best way is not always to ban but to exercise control in a restrictive framework," he said.
As examples of such controls, he mentioned operating licenses with a fixed expiry date, which would only be renewed if the holder adhered to the rules, the use of criteria relating to population and distance from places of mass gathering, the immediate and permanent closure of businesses breaking the law and frequent checks by municipalities, police and tax offices.
Simitis said the government was working on a bill that incorporated these proposals, and that all the political parties would be able to contribute in discussion of this.
He dismissed talk of crisis in the political system because an MP had been caught playing an illegal electronic gambling machine.
"The Greek political system is neither threatened nor blackmailed and can react to impose the law and solution that are in keeping with a developed society, for the good of the Greek people, the common interest and the interests of us all," the prime minister concluded.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga, meanwhile, predicted that the government would seek only to legalize what was now considered illegal gambling in order to earn more money.
She said KKE was against both legal and illegal gambling as a matter of principle and a life attitude.
"In order to strike against corruption and decay, you must first of all strike the rationale of capitalization, profit, profiteering and parasitism that derive from this," she said.
 Karamanlis lashes out at public sector corruption, criticizes gov't
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Friday referred to “phenomena of decay and decadence” emanating from what he called the “unrestrained and illegal activity of organized interests, as well as from corruption that corrodes the public sector”.
Furthermore, Karamanlis laid the blame squarely on the government, noting that the primary reason for the proliferation of corruption is the “invasion of partisan politics (in the public sector), one which overrides every notion of hierarchy, meritocracy and evaluation in the public administration.”
Regarding the recent and ongoing furor over illegal “video slot machines” and their effect on Greek society, Karamanlis said that “those who wanted to turn Greece into a vast casino can’t persuade us that they can solve the problem.”
Additionally, he said ND is re-tabling its proposals for the quashing of intertwined business interests – especially in the public works, state contracts, mass media and party financing sectors – as the basis for dialogue with other parties.
In other comments, Karamanlis said ND is proposing none other than the “re-establishment” of the state and its public sector on principles such as legality and transparency, among others, leading as he said, to a “new relationship between the state and the citizen”.
Finally, it was announced that the main opposition party plans to organize a one-day seminar focusing on media and journalism ethics.
 Protopapas reports on Thursday's cabinet meeting
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Price increases during the first month of the circulation of the euro had not been excessive according to the findings of the euro committee, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Friday.
The spokesman was commenting on the conclusions of a cabinet meeting on Thursday chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
According to Protopapas, the premier had also outlined the results of his meetings in Brussels, especially his meeting with European Commission President Romano Prodi, and noted that Greece had a positive image in Europe.
Referring to his meeting with European Commissioner for agriculture Franz Fischler, meanwhile, Simitis said that there had been positive results for Greek cotton farmers, while noting that the Commission had stressed the need to strictly implement inspection procedures.
Turning to foreign policy, Simitis had then discussed the initiatives by Foreign Minister George Papandreou with respect to Turkey and said that these followed up earlier cabinet decisions.
Simitis also informed the cabinet that he had spoken with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides twice over the phone and conveyed his impressions from his visits to Bulgaria and Romania.
Regarding the fight against corruption, the prime minister told the meeting that he would avoid sensational announcements and point to the government's successes when these happened, after the implementation of the measures now being worked on by the four ministers responsible for these issues.
Finally, the premier said that dialogue on social insurance reforms would begin on March 20, to give time for the right solutions to be found, while the next meeting of the cabinet on Thursday will deal with issues concerning the media.
 Farmers block Tempi for 12 hours as protests continue
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)The members of the Communist Party of Greece who were at the head of the farmers' protest movement should face their responsibilities and answer whether mobilization at the expense of the rest of society was justified, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Friday, as protesting farmers started a blockade of the national highway at Tempi from 10:00 am until 22:00 at night.
The government, he continued, had given positive solutions to the entire issue, which reflected a substantial increase in farming incomes. The right to protest was legitimate but obstructing economic and social life was unacceptable, he added.
KKE General Secretary Aleka Papariga, in response to questions about farmers' protests on Friday, said the main issue was not the ways in which farmers chose to protest.
"The question is since when and until when cotton producers, olive growers and livestock breeders will be punished instead of compensated for growing quantities needed by our country and the working classes," she said.
Papariga said that EU regulations and market deregulation were actually directed against workers, and that KKE accepted neither EU regulations nor the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Meanwhile, farmers' protests continued unabated as they neared the end of their second consecutive week, including the 12-hour roadblock by farmers at Tempi.
Traffic was being diverted to Elassona at Gyrtoni throughout the day, after which unlucky motorists heading for Thessaloniki had to negotiate another roadblock at Malgara.
Farmers in northern Greece, meanwhile, continued earlier tactics of partial or surprise roadblocks maintained for limited periods of time.
Roads into and out of Thessaloniki toward Kavala and other destinations were briefly closed around the middle of the day, while more serious problems arose from a lengthy blockade at the Kerdyllia junction in Serres that cut off traffic heading toward Thessaloniki and to Thrace and the Middle East.
Other farmers maintained an alternating roadblock on the road to the Promahonas customs post on the Bulgarian border, impeding
the flow of traffic to and from the border from Thessaloniki, Kavala and Serres.
Thousands more farmers are now expected to join the protests in northeastern Greece, including olive growers, livestock breeders and bee keepers on the island of Thassos, who will be joining their counterparts in Kavala.
A nationwide meeting of farmers is to take place on Saturday at Tempi to decide how the protests will continue in the coming week, while a similar meeting of Thessaly farmers will also be held at Tempi on Sunday.
According to sources, farmers are considering making their way to Athens in buses and tractors from Schimatari on Monday or Tuesday for a rally outside the agriculture ministry, after which they may end this cycle of protests.
 ESHEA reports high turnout for Thursday's strike by journalists
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)A 24-hour strike called by the Athens union of journalists (ESHEA) had been completely successful and had a very high turnout, the union announced on Friday.
The strike was called for Thursday and extended throughout Greece by the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists Unions (POESY). Throughout Thursday, radio and television stations did not broadcast news programs, nor was news put out on the Internet, while there were no newspapers on Friday as a result of the strike.
 Coalition leader calls for participation of parties in European Convention
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party leader Nikos Constantopoulos, addressing a pre-congress party meeting on "The Left for Europe" on Friday, expressed support for the participation of all parliamentary parties in the European Convention on Europe.
Constantopoulos said the same proposal will be submitted in the parliaments of European Union countries by leftist and ecological parties with the argument that the restriction of pluralism constitutes a revocation of Europe's political history and democratic achievements.
He said in his address that Greece will be unable to claim an appropriate position and utilize the sacrifices of its people and its comparative advantages with the situation prevailing in public life, the managing of funds, the functioning of the state and the government and political system.
Constantopoulos assessed that one is being faced with major problems which will preoccupy Europe, adding that the Left cannot be absent from this historic process and, on the contrary, it must find ways of playing an active and important role.
Press conference on World Social Forum: Representatives of the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party, who attended the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, addressed a press conference on Friday, noting that the slogan "a different world is feasible" is appearing to be attracting many movements and organizations.
In an impressively rich program registered in 62 huge pages, delegates at the Social Forum had the opportunity of exchanging information and proposals and beginning to shape certain guidelines on what should be done in the world.
It was decided at the Social Forum that a European Social Forum should be held in Italy in 2002 and France in 2003, while Greece's 15 delegates proposed the holding of a series of events in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, in the framework of the European Union's Greek presidency in 2003 and as a supplement of the Social Forum in France.
 EU high commissioner to focus on NATO-EU relations during Istanbul visit
CACERES 09/03/2002 (ANA - M. Savva)European Union High Commissioner for common foreign policy and defense Javier Solana will discuss with Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem the issue of NATO-EU relations during his visit to Istanbul on Monday, sources at the European Union's informal foreign ministers' council said on Friday.
The information came on the heels of a postponement of the decision on a proposal warmly supported by the Spanish EU presidency and Solana, which suggested that European Union military forces replace NATO forces in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Greece, represented by Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis, was positively disposed toward the proposal, along with Italy, but further discussion on the proposal showed the need for NATO forces to remain in FYROM in light of expected developments in the small landlocked Balkan country.
Earlier, Yiannitsis had stated that Greece's primary interest was to maintain stability in the wider region and this stability should be secured before the first mission and presence of the EU in such missions. He had also clarified that should such a decision be adopted "it would regard the specific area of FYROM and it cannot become leverage in the institutional arrangement for relations between the EU and NATO".
The same sources noted that the discussion on the issue would concern, from this point on, the activation of the Euroforce in September.
The Finnish and German representatives, however, maintained a more reserved attitude toward this proposal, as they pointed to concerns regarding a speedy withdrawal of NATO from FYROM.
As the "15" ministers discussed nuclear power generator safety - with their focus on the Czech Republic and Estonia - Yiannitsis noted that Greece was also positively disposed toward the funding of such initiatives, as in the case of the Bulgarian nuclear plant's safety in Kozlodui.
Greece was also positive toward the proposal of the European Commission to fund programs in the occupied north of Cyprus after the island republic's accession to the EU, he said.
The "15" ministers also focused on conditions in Bosnia, as the NATO force there is preparing to withdraw and be replaced by an international police force.
They also discussed developments in Albania and the timing for negotiations concerning the Albania-EU association agreement.
On Saturday, the 15 ministers will be discussing developments in the Middle East.
Informal council of ministers on Turkey's European course: An off the agenda reference to Turkey's European course was made on Friday at the European Union's informal Foreign Ministers Council with ministers terming reforms made a positive development.
However, all expressed the expectation of greater changes and steps of progress being taken by Ankara in the direction of safeguarding freedom of expression and regarding articles 312 and 159 of the penal code in particular.
Replying to a question by the Athens News Agency (ANA), Council President Jose Pique said the issue of the Turkish foreign minister's letter to the "15" was not discussed, but pointed out that "all of us in Europe are interested in the promotion of Turkey's European course, while all that was agreed at Laecken still holds and it is necessary for reforms to go ahead to enable this country to follow the appropriate path."
Finnish Foreign Minister Erky Tuomiyoya, replying to a relevant question, said that the EU remains bent on the strict observance of Copenhagen's political criteria, adding that Turkey should still go ahead with deep changes.
 Turkish FM Cem: Don't expect 'quick, miraculous solutions'
ISTANBUL 09/03/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Turkish foreign minister Ismail Cem on Friday warned against expecting 'miraculous and quick solutions' on issues relating to the Aegean in the course of the Greek-Turkish exploratory talks.
"No one expects miraculous and speedy solutions", Cem said on NTV television, adding that the issues had a "technical" dimension in addition to the political aspect, and called on the press to "act responsibly and not create obstacles in the handling of these matters".
He said that even if the way to a solution was not found from within the present process, "we should not consider that there will be particularly negative consequences".
He said the two foreign ministries held informal discussions in order to explore each other's views on the Aegean continental shelf issue, and "now we are working to see how we can approach the Aegean issues, how we can determine the matters on which we agree, and how we can outline the points of convergence".
"For the time being, there is nothing more," Cem said.
He pointed out that "the Aegean issues are particularly problematic, so much so that for 40 years we have been unable to touch them. We will carefully explore whether we can achieve something positive".
Asked whether Turkey would discuss such issues as airspace and territorial waters, Cem said that "we will see in time", reiterating the position that "Turkey insists on international law and particularly Article 33 of the UN Charter, and the June 1999 EU's Agenda 2000".
"We will look at, discuss and explore all the possibilities. In my opinion, we should not dwell on what the past positions were and who is changing his stance," Cem said. "The goal is to determine whether we can resolve all the issues we consider to be problems in the Aegean".
Asked whether there existed an "agreement on principles", Cem cited statements by his Greek counterpart George Papandreou referring to international law and the principle of territorial integrity, adding that "these principles are recognized by all of us".
Naturally, he explained, Greece and Turkey had their own interests, and "no country can abandon its own vital interests", adding that "no one expects that".
"The two ministries are exploring whether we can open up a road for a solution to the existing problems," Cem added.
 U.S. ambassador tours Thrace, heading business delegation
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)U.S. Ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller on Friday began a two-day tour of Thrace, northeastern Greece, accompanied by members of the Hellenic-American Chamber of Industry.
This is the second visit by a U.S. ambassador to Thrace in the past 10 months, as previous ambassador Nicholas Burns had visited the region aiming to investigate the economic potential of Thrace, which has had a high rate of Greek and foreign investments over the past few years.
Following meetings with local leaders in Xanthi, Thrace, Miller said that his country and more specifically U.S. businesses were interested in developing investment programs in the region.
On Saturday the ambassador will visit the city of Komotini, Thrace.
 Greek troops to depart for Afghanistan next week
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Greek troops are to depart from a Nea Santa Kilkis army base in Thessaloniki prefecture for Afghanistan next week, to take up stations in an area controlled by NATO forces just outside Kabul.
The force of 132 troops awaits orders to depart after Monday and will be transported to Afghanistan in a C-130 transport plane.
 Kaklamanis attends meeting of national parliaments on money laundering issues
STRASBURG 09/03/2002 (ANA - O. Tsipira)The national parliaments of the European Union's member-states began to mobilize against money laundering and at the initiative of the French National Assembly Raymond Forni a two-day conference was held on the issue with the participation of representatives from the member-states' parliaments.
Greece was represented by Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis.
The conference concluded with the signing of a text, which will be the base for future action by the national parliaments and it is entitled "Paris Declaration against the legalization of income from criminal activities".
"A good beginning was made with this declaration," Kaklamanis said, adding that "because all the problems related to money laundering are now transferred to the national parliaments' level, that is at the level of the representatives of the people and they are not limited within the confines of some services or some experts".
"In this manner, I hope that some results will come out of this, some more effective measures, which will cover the void that globalization has created in the financial system, allowing to people that commit financial crimes to move money in such high speeds, that law enforcement is impossible," he noted.
 Public order minister pays one-day visit to Cyprus
NICOSIA 09/03/2002 (ANA-G.Leonidas)Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis, who paid a one-day visit to Cyprus, was received on Friday by President Glafcos Clerides and also had separate meetings with House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias, Justice and Public Order Minister Nicos Koshis, and Archbishop Chrysostomos.
In remarks to the press, Chrysohoidis said in relation to Cyprus'
European Union accession course that the present period was very important for the island, noting that its course was "very rapid, and wholly successful", and that Greece and Cyprus were working together to overcome any obstacles on the bilateral and European level.
"I wish and hope", he said, "that very soon Cyprus will be a full member of the EU, incorporating the acquis communautaire, and of course all Hellenism will contribute to the promotion of the national issue for which we are all struggling".
Chrysohoidis said his visit was within the framework of bilateral contacts between his ministry and the Cyprus ministry of justice, and the close cooperation existing between them in public security, confronting crime, illegal immigration and also in the sector of natural disasters.
He added that there was no bilateral cooperation on terrorism, but that there was cooperation within the framework of the EU in all policies developed recently, after the September 11 attacks on New York, mainly on international terrorism.
Asked about the lifting of bank confidentiality in Greece in order to look into the bank accounts of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, he said Greece was now adhering to the decisions of the EU on this matter.
 Protopapas: Greece has delivered evidence for Milosevic trial to Hague court
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Greece has supplied information requested by the International Court of Justice at The Hague for use as evidence in the trial of former Serb strongman Slobodan Milosevic for genocide against Kosovo Albanians, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced on Friday.
Protopapas said that the request had been made by Carla del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the UN war crimes tribunal trying Milosevic, on August 13. In response, the Athens Misdemeanors Council had ordered that specific accounts be opened and had delivered the resulting report to the justice ministry, which then sent it to The Hague court via the foreign ministry.
The spokesman refused to reveal the findings of the report, saying that they were now part of the evidence in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic and their publication was left to the discretion of Carla del Ponte.
Milosevic was handed over to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague last June. His trial on charges of crimes against humanity against Kosovo Albanians in the first half of 1999 is scheduled to start on February 12.
 Meeting on development of defense industry
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Issues concerning the development of the Greek defense industry were examined Friday in a meeting between national defense minister Yannos Papantoniou, national economy and finance minister Nikos Christodoulakis, and development minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.
The meeting focused on ways to increase the proportion of Greek-manufactured procurements for the Hellenic Armed Forces, increasing the local defense industry's competitiveness, and expanding its horizons to encompass customers abroad.
Papantoniou said afterwards it had been decided to speed up the merger of the EBO Hellenic Arms Industry and the PYRKAL state-run Powder and Cartridges Company, which would entail acceleration of the process of establishing a joint management for the two companies and of appraisal of the two companies' assets.
At the same time, contracts worth 100 billion dr. would be signed in the next few months to boost productivity.
It was further decided to boost the EAB Hellenic Aerospace Industry's collaborations with European and global organizations and companies to increase its profitability, which Papantoniou said was a necessary element to enable examination of the prospect of issuing another tender for its privatization.
Regarding the ELBO Hellenic Vehicles Industry, it was decided that the Greek state would acquire the 4 percent share capital in the company currently held by the Hellenic Industrial Development Bank (ETBA) so that the Greek state would maintain its majority holdings.
It was further decided to examine assigning ELBO to manufacture the armored personnel carrier Kentavros, the 'next generation' of the Leonidas tank.
 Aegean Cronus denies bid for Olympic Airways
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Aegean Cronus, a Greek airline company, on Friday denied reports that it had submitted a bid in a government tender to sell Olympic Airways, the national carrier.
A company statement said that Aegean Cronus "looks forward to a positive outcome in OA's selling procedure and its conversion into a private company. This move is necessary in the framework of a wider restructuring of the airline industry in Greece."
Aegean Cronus said it has focused its efforts on preserving its credibility, service quality and to drastically cut operating costs to improve its competitiveness.
 Tourist industry calls for measures to deal with crisis
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Representatives from the Greek tourism industry on Friday unanimously called for an urgent meeting of a tourism emergency management committee with Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Tourism Deputy Minister Dimitrios Georgakopoulos, in a last effort to coordinate actions and decide measures "to avoid unpredictable consequences and developments for the country's tourism industry and for the Greek economy in general."
The warning came during a meeting of a tourism emergency management committee, chaired by development ministry officials and Greek Tourism Organization president Y. Patelis.
Representatives from the tourist industry noted that "five months after the September 11 events, no measures have been taken to deal with a crisis in the tourism sector."
Tourism firms oppose recruitment as investment incentive: The Association of Tourism Enterprises of Greece (SETE) said on Friday that it opposed the inclusion of recruitment as an incentive to investment under the government's development law.
In a letter to Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, the trade group said the link would deter investment in tourism, a sector that in any case spurred employment across the board.
The incentive applies to companies in all sectors seeking investment aid.
 Marinopoulos signs deal with Starbucks Coffee Intl
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Marinopoulos Brothers SA and Starbucks Coffee International on Thursday signed a strategic alliance deal to open a chain of Starbucks coffee shops in Athens and other big cities in the country.
Starbucks has already announced plans to open its first shops in Germany and Spain, after opening its first shop in Vienna at the end of 2001. The US company made its debut in the European market in March 2000, opening its first shop in Switzerland.
Starbucks Coffee International is a subsidiary of Starbucks Coffee Company, a worldwide leader in distribution and processing of coffee, with more than 5,000 shops in North America, Europe, Middle East and East Asia. The company is listed in the Nasdaq market.
 Protopapas: Athens radio licenses due out by end February
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Licenses for radio stations for the Athens area would be signed and issued by the end of February, Press and Media Minister Christos Protopapas said on Friday.
The National Radio and Television Council (ERS) had completed processing the applications for Athens radio stations and would now begin processing applications for nationwide TV licenses, he added.
Regarding a draft bill regulating media ownership and the 'main shareholder' incompatibility clause, Protopapas said discussion on this would begin at the order of the inner Cabinet.
"I hope the parties will contribute to this dialogue," he added, pointing out that the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) had already agreed while main opposition New Democracy had declined.
On the issue of a code of practice for journalists, the minister stressed that this chiefly concerned the broadcast media that utilized the airwaves, which were a public commodity and where the government could legitimately support a framework of rules in the name of the Greek public.
He also stressed that the code had been proposed by the ERS and would take the form of a presidential decree, as the previous code had done.
"Our efforts are focused on systematizing, modernizing and completing the existing framework, while the main innovation is that the monitoring of the code will be carried out by a completely independent body, the ERS, which will be appointed by Parliament," he added.
 Eleftheri Tileorasi to get stake in new cable TV company
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Eleftheri Tileorasi is to acquire a 40 percent stake in a company being created to set up Alter Pay TV, a cable channel.
Eleftheri will seek one of two cable television permits being tendered by the press and media ministry, the company said in a statement on Friday.
 EU commission food safety director to arrive in Athens on Thursday
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)The European Commission's Health and Consumer protection General Director Coleman will arrive in Athens on Thursday for a two day working visit with the leadership of the agriculture ministry.
Coleman's visit would follow up on the meeting between the ministry's leadership and Commissioner in charge of food safety and consumer protection David Byrne last September.
The agenda of the meeting includes public health and the safety of foodstuffs issues, the health of animals, the correct treatment of animals, the health of the plants under cultivation and the controls on imports.
Greece believes that the European Union should rethink its policies, setting new priorities in the security of the Union in general and of Greece more specifically against diseases such as small pox, which are endemic in neighboring countries.
 Greek stocks extend losing streak for sixth session
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Equity prices remained under pressures for the sixth consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, hit by lack of domestic demand and a negative climate in international markets.
The general index ended 0.77 percent lower at 2,527.34 points, reflecting a 3.07 percent plunge in the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization’s share price, with turnover a low Dr 49.8 billion, or 146.2 million euros.
The Telecoms, Holdings and Investment sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (2.15 percent, 1.53 percent and 1.14 percent, respectively), while the Insurance, Food-Beverage and Cement sectors scored gains.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.70 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.54 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.47 percent lower.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 222 to 88 with another 48 issues unchanged.
The general index ended the week with a net loss of 2.63 percent.
The most heavily traded shares were Kekrops, Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Hellenic Technodomiki, Grigoris, Agricultural Life and Spider.
Equity FTSE/ASE-20 futures at premium: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange ended higher on Friday with trades in the FTSE/ASE-20 ending at a premium.
Changing hands were 4,514 contracts on turnover of 27.4 million euros.
The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips shed 0.70 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks lost 0.54 percent.
Bond prices rise in moderate trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Friday finished higher in moderate trade focusing on 10-year paper.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.32 percent, and the spread over German bunds was 37 basis points.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 1.8 billion euros.
Buy orders accounted for the lion's share of turnover.
 Culture minister meets IOC president in Salt Lake City
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos met with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge on Friday in the framework of his contacts in Salt Lake City.
Venizelos said later "we have regular contact with Mr. Rogge. Sometimes personal and sometimes by telephone. We had met in Rome in December and we continued our discussion here and also in the wake of the presentation made to the IOC's Executive Committee by the 2004 Organizing Committee."
He added that out of a list of about 100 issues examined on each occasion natural problems are found in four or five issues which, however, are in a position to be tackled.
Venizelos further said that two issues were focused on, that of hospitality for the 2004 Olympic Games, noting that a meeting will be held on the issue on February 26, and the question of works on Kifisias Avenue in Athens.
Meanwhile, a day before the opening of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in the city, Venizelos visited the International Broadcasting Centre, as well as the city's International Press Centre and contacted officials of the NBC television network, which has the rights of the 2002 games, as well as of those in Athens in 2004.
"I visited the entire premises. I saw all the infrastructures, the functions, the broadcasting places, the method of filing and how NBC operates, which is the biggest American network covering the games and employing about 2,000 staff in Salt Lake City," he said in a statement to the Athens News Agency (ANA).
 ATHOC publishes first issue of its magazine "Athens.04"
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)"Athens.04" the magazine of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) circulated on Friday its first issue hosting an article by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and an interview by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Dr. Jacques Rogge. The publication includes news concerning the Olympic movement, interviews and news of the preparations for the Athens Games in 2004.
In his article, which the Athens News Agency released exclusively a few days ago, Simitis underlined the immense importance of organizing the Games in Athens, stressing that the Olympic Games began already, as Greece is at the center of international attention and notes that the consent and cooperation of all political forces is needed.
Rogge in his interview stressed that IOC's priority is the security during the Games.
 Worldwide events for Greek author and poet Nikos Kazantzakis
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)In the framework of the effort to promote the works and thoughts of the world known Greek author and poet Nikos Kazantzakis, the International Society of Friends of Kazantzakis has announced a list of events as well as its priorities for 2002.
The Society has programmed events in Denmark and Norway this weekend and in Romania, France and Australia on February 16-17.
Its priorities include the holding of regional events aimed at promoting the works of Kazantzakis. These regional events will be held in Toledo, Spain on May 4-5, in Caracas, Venezuela on September 14-15, in Johannesburg, South Africa on October 5-6, Odessa, Ukraine October 12-13 and Sydney, Australia on November 24.
At the same time the Society is to organize competitions at Greek-language schools in Belgium and in Paris in April, as well as music and poetry evenings.
Greek metzo-soprano Myrto Georgiadou will give recitals in autumn and spring in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Cyprus, Slovakia, England and France, singing songs of Kazantzakis-Kalomoiris and Kazantzakis-Hatzidakis.
Finally, the Society aims at organizing for the first time events in China on March 20, Lithuania on April 6, Jordan on May 12, Iceland on July 15, the United States on April 9 and October 25 and in Saudi Arabia on November 7.
The Society of Friends of Kazantzakis was founded in Geneva on December 14, 1988.
 Turkish retired vice admiral proposed for special Ipekci award
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Turkish retired vice admiral Attila Kiyat will be proposed for the "Special Abdi Ipekci Peace and Friendship Award", by decision of the award's secretariat and following his very positive words on Greek-Turkish relations in an interview with the Turkish newspaper "Radikal".
Kiyat expressed his emotion at his proposed awarding, saying that "I sincerely believe that Turkey and Greece have no other choice than to become friends. It is the offering of a service for the preparation of a happy future for both countries."
He added that even if he does not receive the award, this letter "will take its position among the most noble and valuable moral values" of its children.
The 23rd anniversary of Abdi Ipekci's assassination and the founding of the award by Greeks took place last week.
 Homicide suspected in Passaris accomplice's death
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Authorities suspect murder in the death of a jailed Albanian convict -- an alleged accomplice of one-time outlaw Costas Passaris -- whose body was found hanging in a prison cell late Thursday, according to sources a day later.
Konstantin Papa, 34, was arrested on Aug. 30 and charged with eight bank robberies, including one incident where videotape detailed Passaris' involvement. Initial reports said Papa was found hanging from a noose made of bed sheets.
At press time, two inmates a convicted robber and a Greek-American man charged with manslaughter were being investigated in relation to the incident, although both men have reportedly denied any involvement.
 Firebombs thrown at bank branch, PASOK local organization offices
Athens, 09/03/2002 (ANA)Unknown persons threw homemade bombs at a National Bank branch and two ruling PASOK local organization offices in different parts of Athens early Friday, causing minor damage but no injuries.
In the first of three apparently unrelated incidents, a makeshift bomb comprising small propane canisters exploded at 2:28 a.m. beneath a National Bank ATM in the Kypseli residential district. Two minutes later, a similar bomb exploded outside the PASOK local organization office in the Galatsi suburb, while a third explosion took place at 4:40 a.m. outside another PASOK local organization office in the Exarchia residential district in central Athens.
Police were investigating.
 Clerides and Denktash continue direct talks
NICOSIA 09/03/2002 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash met for the eleventh time since January 16 in Nicosia on Friday afternoon, in the context of direct talks taking place in the presence of the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto.
The meeting, which took place in a building near the UN-controlled Nicosia airport, lasted about two hours. Discussions were expected to touch on territorial issues.
Direct talks, under UN auspices, are taking place without any preconditions, with all issues on the table, and on the under-standing that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
 Spokesman says EU considers a timely settlement urgent
NICOSIA 09/03/2002 (CNA/ANA)Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said here on Friday that each day that passes by, it becomes even more urgent for the European Union that a solution to the Cyprus problem is reached prior to the country's accession to the EU.
Invited to comment on remarks by Denmark's Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller, who was on the island for a two-day official visit, the spokesman said the country that will hold the EU presidency at the end of this year has every reason to consider such a settlement even more urgent.
Noting that the Helsinki conclusions on Cyprus, which provide that a political settlement is not a precondition for the island's accession to the EU, the Spokesman expressed hope that a change in Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's position would lead the ongoing direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash to a point where the Cyprus problem would be settled prior to the country's accession.
Invited to comment on a statement made here yesterday by the Director General of the Enlargement Directorate of the EU Michael Leigh that any constitutional arrangements agreed upon by the two communities would be acceptable by the EU, the spokesman said that this issue has been clarified by the Commission's President Romano Prodi himself during his recent visit to the island, by the former President of the European Parliament Nicole Fontaine and other officials.
"Surely the European Union will not interfere with the Constitution's structure, but it has been clarified that those provisions and arrangements cannot be outside the framework of the acquis communautaire," the Spokesman said.
 Greek and Turkish Cypriot parties surge for federation
NICOSIA 09/03/2002 (CNA/ANA)Greek Cypriot Democratic Party (DIKO) and Turkish Cypriot Patriotic Unity Movement (YBH) urge those involved in the direct talks on the Cyprus problem to reach a settlement based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation that will safeguard the independence and the indivisible sovereignty of Cyprus.
DIKO leader Tassos Papadopoulos and YBH General Secretary Izzet Izcan met on Friday and issued a joint statement, in which they agree that "a unified Cyprus within a framework satisfying the concerns of both communities will be for the common and separate benefit of both communities", adding that the current status quo on the island is "unacceptable".
"Any solution should safeguard the independence, territorial integrity, one and indivisible sovereignty, an effective government, a single and sole international personality, citizenship and constitutional supremacy, excluding ethnical cleansed areas, the union of Cyprus or of any part of Cyprus with any other country and prohibiting any direct or indirect form of partition, annexation or secession", the joint statement reads.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, Izcan expressed his party's support towards a solution based on the relevant UN resolutions, and said that a solution to the Cyprus question should safeguard the unity of the island, adding that his party will do everything in its power to promote a Cyprus settlement and lead the island to the EU.
In case a solution to the Cyprus question is not reached, Turkish Cypriots will face many of difficulties, risks, political and economical problems, and isolation from Europe and the free areas of the Republic, Izcan said, adding that "we would not like to see that happen".
 US Congress asks for 15 million dollars for Cyprus
WASHINGTON 09/03/2002 (CNA/ANA)The American Congress has asked the US Administration to include in its budget 15 million dollars for Cyprus, to be used in various programs.
Specifically, within the framework of "International Security Aid" Congress has stated that not less than 15 million dollars from the appropriations for this purpose should be allocated to Cyprus, to be used only for scholarships, administrative support of the scholarship program, bicommunal programs and measures which have as their target the reunification of the island and are drawn up with the aim of lessening tension and promoting peace and cooperation between the two communities in Cyprus.