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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-07-03

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

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

July 3, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Massive terrorism investigation continues; total of 5 suspects arrested
  • [02] State Department spokesman on terrorism in Greece
  • [03] Greek PM begins official visit to the Ukraine
  • [04] Powell says Greek-American relations on very good level
  • [05] Greek Alternate FM ends Baltic tour by visiting Lithuania
  • [06] Finance Minister briefs president on economic policy
  • [07] PM holds dinner for senior government and PASOK officials
  • [08] Gov't says allegations about problems in Rhodes ''unrealistic''
  • [09] Minister on Turkey's inclination on illegal immigration
  • [10] ND's Alogoskoufis: Greeks not sufficiently involved in dialogue on EU
  • [11] European Commission official on Cyprus's EU accession
  • [12] Legal measures against EU member-states on water quality
  • [13] Gov’t reports on progress of Third Community Support Framework projects
  • [14] Thessaloniki-Skopje oil pipeline inaugurated
  • [15] Next year's budget will be tight
  • [16] EU Commission approves Diamantopoulou's social, environmental initiative
  • [17] Attiko Metro SA says op revenues exceed Dr 3.0 bln Jan-May
  • [18] Development minister defends goal of full employment
  • [19] Macedonian Marbles announces Greek-Chinese joint venture
  • [20] Economic Confidence Index records slight increase in Greece
  • [21] Greek stocks fall 1.73 percent in ASE
  • [22] ATHOC president to brief prime minister on Olympic projects on Friday
  • [23] FIBA official visits ATHOC HQ in Athens
  • [24] Fossil trees recovered from Aegean seabed an important find, scientists say
  • [25] Greeks inadequately prepared for continuing education
  • [26] National Committee created for 'Future of Europe' dialogue
  • [27] Clerides and Denktash wrap up fourth round of talks
  • [28] Boucher: The US will continue to remain very active in Cyprus issue

  • [01] Massive terrorism investigation continues; total of 5 suspects arrested

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    Authorities did not confirm reports on Tuesday that four suspects are being held amid a massive terrorism-related investigation underway at present, all in the wake of a botched bombing attempt over the weekend that has apparently handed Greek police their first major breakthrough regarding the elusive “November 17” group, namely, a wounded bomber and a long-sought after handgun.

    Unlike the alleged bomber, 40-year-old Savvas Xiros, the names of the other four men have not been released. Conversely, police released the self-styled church mural and icon painter’s long-time companion, Spanish national Alicia Romero Cortez.

    The center of investigations has now focused on a warehouse in a central Athens working-class district that Xiros presented over the years as his studio, as well as the couple's remote semi-rural residence east of the Greek capital. Two of the unidentified suspects were arrested some 100 meters from the Kolonos district warehouse, according to neighbors, while the other two were apprehended inside the building a day after the botched bombing attempt Saturday evening in the port of Piraeus.

    According to press reports, police have reportedly found printed material with directions related to terrorist activities, while other arrests have not been ruled out.

    Additionally, the vehicles tied to Xiros - an Orthodox priest's son in a family of 10 brothers and sisters - are also the focus of authorities' ongoing probe, including a camper used by the couple to travel, as well as an old ambulance Xiros purchased.

    Greek police have directly linked the botched terrorist strike in Piraeus and the subsequent apprehension of the Thessaloniki native to the notorious "November 17" group.

    In reading out a brief statement broadcast live on national television Monday evening, the head of Greece's police force (EL.AS) called the case "extremely serious", before revealing that a revolver found near the injured body Xiros late Saturday evening was taken from a policeman killed during a 1984 Christmas Eve robbery in central Athens.

    Nasiakos told reporters that the weapon used to kill the police officer on Dec. 24, 1984 was not the same .38 revolver recovered at the port of Piraeus on Saturday evening, but another firearm reportedly used in attacks later claimed by "November 17".

    "November 17" later claimed responsibility for all six of the attacks.

    Gov't, ND on terrorism investigations: The government recommended "low tones and self-restraint towards all directions" on Tuesday, one day after authorities announced the first major breakthrough after decades of investigation into the notorious "November 17" terrorist group.

    "There's no reason for scenarios, rumor-mongering and over-optimistic estimates," government spokesman Christos Protopapas told reporters.

    "Whatever is certain, checked out and ready for release will be announced by Greek police (EL.AS)," he said.

    Authorities have linked a botched terrorist strike in Piraeus on Saturday evening and the subsequent apprehension of the suspected bomber injured in the blast to the notorious "November 17" group.

    Reading out a brief statement broadcast live on national television Monday evening, the head of Greece's police force (EL.AS) called the case "extremely serious", before revealing that a revolver found near the injured body of Savvas Xiros, 40, was taken from a policeman killed during a 1984 Christmas Eve robbery in central Athens and later used in at least six incidents claimed by "November 17".

    Meanwhile, main opposition New Democracy spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos stressed, in a press release, that "from a chance incident several significant facts emerged. They must now be exploited with the best possible manner for a success to be achieved against the scourge of terrorism".

    Papantoniou, Constantopoulos comment on terrorism issue: National Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Tuesday visiting the northern Greek town of Kavala said that he believed the work of the Greek police would lead to the complete break-up of terrorism.

    On the opportunity of terrorism-related statements made earlier in the day by Coalition of Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos on a visit to the northern Greek prefecture of Drama, Papantoniou said that the Greek police was these days engaged in very systematic work and he believed that their efforts would result in the complete elimination of terrorism through cooperation with foreign agencies.

    Constantopoulos said that his party demanded unhindered authorities and services at work on the issue of terrorism and he criticized government policy in the health and social security sectors.

    Asked to comment on Saturday's bomb explosion at the port of Piraeus and the associated police arrest of an injured suspect, Constantopoulos said that "our party's position on the issue of terrorism is known. We do not agree with the creation of this climate attempted by certain individuals that are neither authorized or able to make any contributions in combatting terrorism."

    Constantopoulos met with the prefect of Drama who handed him a memo with the most significant concerns of the area.

    [02] State Department spokesman on terrorism in Greece

    WASHINGTON, 03/07/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Tuesday cooperation between Greek and U.S. authorities on handling terrorism was ''excellent.''

    Boucher was replying to a question from the Athens News Agency (ANA) on the assessment of the U.S. on the arrest of alleged terrorist Savvas Xiros who was injured in a bomb blast in Piraeus on Saturday night.

    He referred to Greek authorities for any information on investigations taking place and pointed out that Washington is ''ready to help'' in any way efforts to break up the November 17 organization.

    [03] Greek PM begins official visit to the Ukraine

    KIEV, 03/07/2002 (ANA - Ch. Poulidou)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis arrived in Kiev on Tuesday for an official visit that focused chiefly on ways to boost economic ties between Greece and the Ukraine.

    In talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Anatoliy Kinakh, Simitis pledged Athens' support for the Ukraine's efforts to join the World Trade Organization and to establish a closer relationship with NATO.

    He expressed some reservations, however, regarding Kiev's desire to join the European Union and said that the Community "would have to examine its next steps after enlargement was completed", indicating that completing the present phase of enlargement was the EU's first priority.

    Greece and the Ukraine also signed a bilateral agreement for mutual judicial assistance on Tuesday, which was signed by Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Ukrainian Justice Minister Oleksandr Lavrynoych.

    In a joint press conference after their meeting, the two prime ministers stressed the need to further develop economic ties between their two countries.

    International analysts give the Ukraine a low rating as a country to invest in, while an attempt is now being made to reinvigorate flagging trade transactions with Greece.

    Kinakh referred to plans for an Odessa-Gdansk oil pipeline and stressed that the Ukraine was capable of supplying oil and natural gas to the EU, while also promoting his country's shipyards.

    Simitis said that the EU-Ukraine Association and Cooperation Agreement should be reinforced with more "incentives" and that Greece would examine this issue during its EU presidency in the first half of 2003.

    Noting that the Ukraine should gradually harmonies its laws and institutions with those of the EU, Simitis pointed to telecommunications and shipyards as two promising sectors for bilateral cooperation. He also urged the Ukrainian government to press ahead with reforms that would allow the country to join the market economy.

    Greece has traditionally had good ties with the Ukraine, which has been home to flourishing ethnic Greek communities in the past. Apart from the Greek foreign minister, Simitis was also accompanied on his trip to Kiev by Deputy Press Minister Telemachos Chytiris, Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos and a large delegation of Greek business people.

    [04] Powell says Greek-American relations on very good level

    WASHINGTON, 03/07/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    Newly appointed Greek Ambassador to Washington George Savvaides met here on Tuesday with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

    At the meeting, during which Ambassador Savvaides presented Secretary Powell with his credentials, the US official said that Greek-American relations were "on a very good level" and he referred to prospects for the further development of bilateral ties, making special reference to his Greek counterpart George Papandreou, diplomatic sources said.

    Powell made very positive references to the upcoming EU Greek presidency during the first half of 2003, as well as to the Olympic Games to be hosted by Athens in 2004, the same sources said.

    Ambassador Savvaides agreed that Greek-American relations were very good and on an upward trend, reiterating Greece's steady position as a US ally in dealing with terrorism and the situation that followed the events of September 11.

    A date will be scheduled shortly for Ambassador Savvaides to present his credentials to President Bush

    [05] Greek Alternate FM ends Baltic tour by visiting Lithuania

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis concluded his tour of Baltic States on Tuesday by visiting Lithuania, a foreign ministry announcement said.

    He was received in the capital Vilnius by Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, and had successive meetings with the head of the Lithuanian Parliament's European Affairs Committee Vytenis Andriukaitis, Deputy Foreign Minister Rytis Martikonis and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis.

    Talks focused on European issues and particularly EU enlargement, Lithuania's progress toward EU accession and the future of Europe.

    The Lithuanian side expressed its interest in the EU Common Agricultural Policy, outlined its positions regarding the Kaliningrad enclave and stressed the importance it attributes to the funding of the Ignalia nuclear power plant.

    The two sides also discussed Lithuania's efforts to join NATO, for which it requested Greece's support.

    Giannitsis said Greece would support Lithuania's bid to join both the EU and NATO, while he also referred to Cyprus' EU accession.

    On Tuesday afternoon, Giannitsis addressed an event organized by the Lithuanian Forum for the Future of Europe at the Science Academy.

    [06] Finance Minister briefs president on economic policy

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    Convergence of the Greek economy with those of its European Union partners remained a strategic goal of Greece's economic policy, Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Tuesday after briefing President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on the latest domestic and international economic developments.

    Christodoulakis said that convergence was a new national target that could only be achieved by boosting the competitiveness of the Greek economy, increasing productivity and pushing on with structural reforms.

    The finance minister said the president had discussed the country's progress toward convergence during a difficult time for the world economy at length, particularly the reforms currently being attempted in education, competitiveness and privatization.

    Finally, Christodoulakis briefed the president on the plans for Greece's informal presidency of EU 'eurozone' issues and the problems faced by the European economy.

    [07] PM holds dinner for senior government and PASOK officials

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis gave a dinner at the Maximos Mansion on Monday night during which the inner cabinet held an informal meeting, while government officials and ruling PASOK party's Central Committee secretary also participated.

    Talks lasted for over four hours during the dinner, while government spokesman Christos Protopapas said early on Tuesday that ''all agreed that PASOK has all the possibilities to fully meet the expectations of the Greek people and, of course, having achieved its goal, to create the conditions for victory in the elections of 2004 as well.''

    According to reports, talks focused on all current issues, as well as terrorism in the wake of recent developments and Simitis briefed the government and party officials on the issue. He called on officials to observe a responsible stance and be reserved on statements concerning terrorism, adding that only evidence, which have been substantiated will be publicized. According to all indications, Simitis is determined to handle the issue personally.

    An example of this is the announcement by Greek Police chief Fotis Nasiakos Monday night, which, according to information from associates of the prime minister, took place at Simitis' orders.

    Protopapas said the main targets of government policy remain real economic and social convergence, the creation of prosperity for the Greek people, the successful holding of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, the promotion of national issues and the successful holding of the European Union's Greek presidency in the first half of 2003.

    He further said that Simitis also referred to PASOK's Organizing Conference this week, calling on all to contribute ''to a positive climate and a climate of unity and success.''

    According to initial reports after the dinner, government and party officials agreed that there should be a better promotion of the government's work and that PASOK can reverse the negative climate and win the next elections, on condition that it will get rid of the climate of introversion.

    Referring to this issue, Simitis said there is a great deal of ground to reverse the negative image, but a struggle and an effort are required.

    He also called on those present to make at least three tours each as of September 1 and until the municipal and prefectural elections in October. Participants at the dinner agreed that the municipal elections do not constitute a referendum for the government.

    Also important is the conviction of all that there should be a ''central agreement’’, which will be informally countersigned, by all of the party's senior members on PASOK's unobstructed course until the elections in 2004.

    [08] Gov't says allegations about problems in Rhodes ''unrealistic''

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    The government on Tuesday called allegations published by the British media about attempted-rape incidents in the area of Faliraki on the resort island of Rhodes "unrealistic".

    A press release issued by the Ministry of Development said that each year over 460,000 Britons and hundreds of thousands of other tourists visit the island without any problems. "Greece is the only Mediterranean country with an increasing number of British tourists each year during the past five years ... the time of the year selected by a segment of the British press to make allegations about problems that female tourists allegedly face in Rhodes is naturally questionable", the release said.

    "On the contrary, young Britons are often observed in Faliraki to be engaged in alcohol-fuelled antics, creating problems to the authorities and interfering with the holidays of thousands of law-abiding visitors", the release continued.

    Deputy Development Minister Dimitrios Georgakopoulos instructed the branch director of the Hellenic Tourism Organization in Great Britain to intervene every time adverse comments or misconstrued situations are reported in the British media.

    Analogous intervention was also made by the Greek embassy in London.

    [09] Minister on Turkey's inclination on illegal immigration

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis said on Tuesday Ankara's inclination to handle the problem of illegal immigration will be tried now. He was speaking in parliament on the recent ratification of the Greek-Turkish protocol on the re-entry of illegal immigrants.

    Replying to a question from main opposition New Democracy party Deputy Vyron Polydoras on the taking of measures to contain the wave of illegal immigrants from Turkey, Chrysohoidis said the government is awaiting the results of the creation, in coming days, of the joint Greek-Turkish committee on the issue of illegal immigration and, if there is no response, Greece will make necessary demarches to international organizations.

    Chrysohoidis reiterated that uncontrolled illegal immigration can cause ''social outbursts'', adding that Greece ''has reached its limits.''

    On his part, Polydoras said immigrants in Greece account for 10 percent of the population, while in the rest of the European countries the percentage is 3.4, and called for a scientific study on how many immigrants the country can cope with.

    [10] ND's Alogoskoufis: Greeks not sufficiently involved in dialogue on EU

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    The participation of Greek citizens in the dialogue on the future of Europe was not satisfactory, main opposition economy sector coordinator George Alogoskoufis said during an interview with the ANA on Tuesday.

    He also said that Greece might have more influence in this process if it submitted proposals that were better documented and by forming the right alliances that would give it a more important presence in European affairs.

    He agreed that one of the major reasons for the new Convention for the Future of Europe were the plans for 10 new members of the union by 2004, as well as outstanding issues not settled in previous discussions.

    Regarding the main direction of the institutional changes, he stressed the need to create a ''Europe for citizens'' with political institutions that were more representative and more effective without compromising vital national interests.

    Asked whether Greek citizens were sufficiently informed regarding the dialogue for the EU's future, he pointed to the findings of a Eurobarometer poll showing that 77.9 per cent of Greeks got most of their information on EU issues from television and a large proportion (27.7 per cent) from friends, family and acquaintances.

    He said this highlighted the dearth of information from official sources and said that fuller information could be provided through high schools, universities and special information campaigns.

    Not only were Greek citizens not sufficiently involved in dialogue for Europe's future, he noted, but they had increasing reservations regarding EU expansion, European common security and defense policy and a common EU foreign policy.

    He also noted widespread anxiety among Greeks, more than among other Europeans, that EU enlargement would bring a tide of immigrants from the new member-states that would have a detrimental effect on the Greek economy.

    Asked whether Greek positions had equal weight in the dialogue for Europe's future, Alogoskoufis tended toward a negative answer.

    The majority of Greeks believed that the country had a smaller influence than other countries in the Community, while this opinion was backed up by a belief in the remaining 14 EU member-states that Greece and Portugal had less leverage in negotiations. This did not augur well for Greece's ability to present its views and positions and have them accepted, he said.

    The majority of Europeans believed that the course of the European Union was decided, in descending order of importance, by Germany, France, Britain and Holland, he added.

    [11] European Commission official on Cyprus's EU accession

    VIENNA, 03/07/2002 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    European Commission chief negotiator on Cyprus's accession to the European Union Leopold Maurer said on Tuesday references in the Helsinki summit's text to Cyprus's EU accession, even without a previous solution to the political problem, constitute a milestone in the history of Cyprus-EU relations.

    Maurer was speaking at an event on ''The course of Cyprus in the European Union'', held here at the ''Bruno Kraisky Forum on International Dialogue.''

    Referring to the timetable of Cyprus's accession course, Maurer said the agreement on the accession of Cyprus and other candidate countries will be signed in the first half of 2003 and, after being ratified by the European Parliament, will be enforced as of 2004.

    Legally speaking, and after the accession of Cyprus, the EU will consider the whole island a member but EU law will only be applied in the free parts of Cyprus. On the other hand, the equal handling of all of Cyprus's inhabitants, both Greek and Turkish Cypriots, will be applied.

    [12] Legal measures against EU member-states on water quality

    BRUSSELS, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    The European Commission announced the taking of legal measures against nine European Union member-states, including Greece, here on Tuesday for the non-observance of EU legislation on the quality of water.

    The Commission will be taking legal action against Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and France.

    Regarding Greece, the Commission has decided to send a written warning due to the Greek authorities' failure to provide specific information on the ways with which the EU's directive on sewage treatment is applied.

    According to the Commission, the member-states in question have not applied EU directives on criteria on the quality of waters, which are suitable for swimming, as well as on those concerning drinking water.

    Commenting on the decision, Environmental Affairs Commissioner Margot Valstrom said ''the European Commission should respond to society's interest in high-level protection of water, ensuring that member-states comply with EU legislation adopted for this purpose.''

    She further said that ''it is basic that all member-states fully apply the legislation in question to enable us to secure the viable management of the quality of water in Europe.''

    [13] Gov’t reports on progress of Third Community Support Framework projects

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    A total of 5,069 projects already have been included in a Third Community Support Framework, with the number of total submitted projects exceeding 6,890, Economy and Finance Deputy Minister Christos Pahtas said on Tuesday.

    Pahtas expressed his satisfaction of progress in a ''third package'' and added that already 67 percent of total Third CSF budget has been auctioned, with the remaining projects expected to be auctioned by the end of 2002.

    Pahtas noted that one-third of total projects have secured funding and that 20 percent of total projects in a Third CSF were already in an implementation procedure.

    Economy and Finance Deputy Minister also said that from a total 2,842 inspections on 1,589 project so far, 67.7 percent of projects were declared faultless, another 31 percent were declared acceptable but needed improvement while an 1.3 percent of projects were declared unacceptable.

    [14] Thessaloniki-Skopje oil pipeline inaugurated

    SKOPJE, 03/07/2002 (ANA - N. Frangopoulos)

    The new Thessaloniki-Skopje oil pipeline 214 km long, 70 km of which pass through Greek territory, was inaugurated with two parallel ceremonies at the OKTA refineries in Skopje, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), and in Kalohori in Thessaloniki on Tuesday.

    In Thessaloniki, the project was jointly inaugurated by FYROM Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski and Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

    Georgievski said that ''a great dream has come true'', adding that the construction of the pipeline is only the beginning of cooperation between the two countries, cooperation which is unbreakable now.

    Tsohatzopoulos referred on his part to the two new pipelines for the transportation of ready products being planned by the OKTA refineries. One to Kosovo and the other to southeastern Serbia.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis represented the Greek government at the inauguration in Skopje, saying the project constitutes a very important Greek investment in FYROM and is proof of the close cooperation developed between the two countries.

    ''It is known that Greece has always and continues, of course, to adhere to stability and to the development of our region and your country,'' Magriotis said.

    He expressed the hope the project will signal the implementation of more similar projects which will consolidate and strengthen bilateral cooperation for the benefit of citizens.

    On the part of FYROM's government, the inauguration ceremony in Skopje was attended by Transport and Communications Minister Ljupco Balkoski, Education Minister Nenad Novkovski and Health Minister Gjorgi Orovcanec.

    The project cost 110 million dollars and has an annual transportation capacity of 2.5 million tones. The Greek Petroleum company ELPE Balkaniki controls 80 percent of the pipeline and the state of FYROM the remaining 20 percent. Construction of the project began in 1999 and it officially began operating on Tuesday.

    [15] Next year's budget will be tight

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    A decision by Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and Deputy Minister George Floridis to cut spending in this year's budget is evidence that next year's budget will be a tight one as well.

    Mr. Christodoulakis will chair a meeting of economy and finance ministry's deputy ministers and secretary-generals on Wednesday to agree on a timetable of talks with all government ministries on a ceiling in 2003 budget spending.

    Ministry officials said that the target for spending increases next year would be 2.0 percent and noted that the 2003 budget would aim at spending cuts.

    The ministry said that spending in this year's budget were cut by up to 25 percent for the second half of 2002, although it noted that cuts did not affect spending on health, welfare and education.

    Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis urged all ministries and regional authorities to spend up to 60 percent of their total budget spending by September 15.

    [16] EU Commission approves Diamantopoulou's social, environmental initiative

    BRUSSELS, 03/07/2002 (ANA - B. Demiris)

    The European Commission approved on Tuesday an initiative by Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou concerning the European Union's new strategy for the social responsibility of companies, which aims at making European businesses more sensitive toward the environment and society, thus promoting the idea of sustainable development.

    This strategy promotes the creation of a ''European forum of all interested parties'' where they will meet to outline a code of ethics for the social responsibility of companies.

    The results of the forum will be announced by the Commission in 2004.

    This initiative also aims at complementing the relevant actions of private firms and those of the United Nations.

    ''The social responsibility of companies can play a significant role in the progress of viable development. Many companies have already recognized that this initiative can be profitable and so the relevant systems have progressed rapidly,'' Diamantopoulou said.

    [17] Attiko Metro SA says op revenues exceed Dr 3.0 bln Jan-May

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    Attiko Metro Operating Company SA on Tuesday reported an operating surplus of 4.2 billion drachmas last year and said it expected this year’s financial results to improve further based on figures from the first five months of 2002.

    Attiko Metro SA said its operating surplus exceeded three billion drachmas in the period January-May.

    The results were presented by Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis and the company's management.

    Attiko Metro said its ticket was the second cheaper in Europe after Portugal and noted that it was the only mass transportation company that it contributed in repayment of loans for its construction and received no state subsidies.

    Its management said passenger traffic was steadily rising, reflecting citizens' confidence in its services, offering security, speed, credibility and comfort. Daily traffic was 277,000 passengers in 2000, rising to 415,000 in 2001 and already reaching 472,000 this year. Average speed was 80 km per hour, one of the highest in Europe.

    Attiko Metro said it was starting a program for the commercial use of its facilities with specially fitted advertisement boards, resulting to revenues of around three million drachmas per unit per month. The company said it would install air conditioning systems in all metro stations, starting with Syntagma station in 2003.

    Mr. Verelis, replying to questions, said there was no plan to raise ticket prices.

    [18] Development minister defends goal of full employment

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    Achieving a goal of full employment is an one-way street for Greece's strategic development, Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Tuesday.

    Addressing a forum of business activity in Athens, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that "full employment is a midsummer's night dream for those who cannot realize that full employment is an one-way street for Greece." He was referring to criticism by Greek industrialists on the government's employment policy.

    He noted that full employment was necessary for a country like Greece where unemployment exceeded 10 percent and stressed that "we are at the bottom of the innovation list in Europe."

    Tsohatzopoulos said the introduction of new technologies in the economy was a priority in improving economic competitiveness and stressed that Greece "is condemned to maintain growth rates of more than 4.0 percent in the next decade."

    "The crucial issue for the development of the public sector is not the state's ownership rates. What's important, is whether the wider public sector continues to operate in the service of the society based on terms of competitiveness and partnerships to benefit from any resulting synergies."

    [19] Macedonian Marbles announces Greek-Chinese joint venture

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    Macedonian Marbles announced the inauguration of a joint venture in China with Jamushi SA, the first Greek-Chinese marble factory based in Jamushi, an area around 100 km from the northeastern borders with Russia.

    The two companies have an equal share in the joint venture, named JAMA.

    Macedonian Marbles SA chairman, Mr. Dimitris Toulis, said the project's investment totalled two billion euros and that the company aimed to reach a turnover around 1.5 million euros in the first year of operation.

    Under the agreement, Macedonian Marbles will send semi-processed marble products to Jamushi. The Greek-Chinese company will process and distribute marble products to the local and the Russian markets.

    Toulis said that marble was the second largest export product to China after fertilizers, accounting for 32 percent all exports in the last two years.

    [20] Economic Confidence Index records slight increase in Greece

    BRUSSELS, 03/07/2002 (ANA - B. Demiris)

    The European Commission on Wednesday announced a slight increase of the economic confidence index in Greece for the month of June, compared to May.

    The recorded increase was 0.1 per cent in Greece, which was among the six EU member-states that recorded an increase, with Spain, Finland and Sweden leading the pack with 0.3 per cent of an increase.

    This composite index recorded an increase in the industry's confidence and retail trade, but also accounted for a decrease in consumer confidence.

    [21] Greek stocks fall 1.73 percent in ASE

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greek stocks suffered heavy losses on Tuesday reflecting investors' disappointment over analysts' gloomy forecasts over first half profits while a negative climate in other European markets also discouraged sentiment in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index ended 1.73 percent lower at 2,180.69 points, with turnover a low 58.9 million euros, remaining near its Monday's record-lows of the year.

    The Textile, Insurance and Retail sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (4.48 percent, 3.32 percent and 3.15 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 2.18 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index fell 1.25 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index dropped 1.89 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 310 to 23 with another 21 issues unchanged.

    The most heavily traded shares in value were Hellenic Telecoms, National Bank, Olympiaki Techniki, Alpha Bank and Commercial Bank.

    Equity index futures finish lower: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Tuesday, with contracts on the high capitalization index showing a slight discount.

    Turnover was 73.2 million euros.

    The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips lost 2.18 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks dropped by 1.24 percent.

    Bond prices down in heavy trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Tuesday finished lower in heavy trade focusing on ten-year paper.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.2 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 31 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totaled 2.1 billion euros.

    Buy orders accounted for more than half of trade.

    [22] ATHOC president to brief prime minister on Olympic projects on Friday

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) president Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki will brief Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday on the results of International Olympic Coordinating Committee President Denis Oswald's visit to Greece.

    According to ATHOC sources, Simitis and Angelopoulos-Daskalaki will discuss the cuts of several athletic facilities, which were firstly announced during Oswald's visit last week, as well as the economic benefits from those cuts.

    [23] FIBA official visits ATHOC HQ in Athens

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    FIBA construction coordinator Pier Luigi Marzorati on Tuesday visited the headquarters of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) and was briefed on the course of the preparations of the facilities for the basketball games of the Athens Olympics.

    He visited the construction sites at Hellenikon, Peristeri, Zofrias and Marousi.

    [24] Fossil trees recovered from Aegean seabed an important find, scientists say

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    The three fossil tree trunks recovered from the seabed near the Aegean island of Lesvos were a major find that helped shed new light on the paleoflora of Lesvos' Petrified Forest, paleobotanist and Petrified Forest Museum president Evangelos Velitzelos said on Tuesday.

    The two trunks were brought to the surface on Monday, in an operation funded by the Aegean ministry. The trees date back 20 million years, to the Lower Miocene era, when that section of the Aegean was land rather than sea. They were covered with volcanic ash and became submerged about five million years ago, during the intense tectonic activity of the upper Miocene.

    One of the two fossils brought to the surface is that of an early angiosperm (flowering plant), with a total length of 4.85 meters and a perimeter of 2.15 meters and a well-preserved internal structure.

    The second is a fossil of a coniferous tree four meters long and a perimeter of about two meters, while the third trunk has a total length of 3.8 meters.

    All the finds were brought up in sections, created naturally as the fossil was freed from the volcanic rock in which it was embedded by the action of the waves.

    Aegean Minister Nikos Sifounakis, who was present during the operation to bring up the fossils, later said that its success showed that the underwater sections of the island's unique Petrified Forest could also be preserved and added to the Museum's collection.

    He said the ministry would support the second phase of the project as well, and the recovery in September of fossil trees with a total length of 10 meters submerged near the Nisiopi islet.

    Museum curator Nikos Zouros, who was in charge of the entire operation, pointed out that the Museum had shown the international scientific community the existence of an under-water geopark to match the 150 thousand acre Petrified Forest park on the island of Lesvos.

    [25] Greeks inadequately prepared for continuing education

    BRUSSELS, 03/07/2002 (ANA - B. Demiris)

    Greek 15-year-old children appear to be inadequately prepared to participate in continuing education and training programs, compared to Europeans of the same age. In addition, the percentage participation of Greeks in the 25-64 age bracket in education and training programs is the lowest in Europe.

    This is inferred by the first report containing indicators on the quality of knowledge and qualifications necessary for participation in continuing education and training programs in 35 European countries publicized by the European Commission here on Tuesday.

    It appears that 27 percent of Greeks are expected to face difficulties in professional activities requiring a good knowledge of mathematics. It is the highest percentage among the 35 European countries. Portugal and Latvia follow with 22 percent.

    [26] National Committee created for 'Future of Europe' dialogue

    Athens, 03/07/2002 (ANA)

    A Greek National Committee of representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has been set up in the framework of the ''Future of Europe'' dialogue.

    The foreign ministry's ''Committee for Non-Governmental Organizations'' is organizing regular meetings between Greek NGO's of European orientation.

    The purpose of the meetings is a briefing on the ''Assembly'' processing ''The Future of Europe'' and organizing the participation of NGOs in all stages of its work.

    [27] Clerides and Denktash wrap up fourth round of talks

    NICOSIA, 03/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    ’he fourth round of UN-led direct talks aiming to solve the protracted Cyprus problem was wrapped up on Tuesday. Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides met here this morning with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    CNA has learned that no particular issue was discussed during Tuesday's meeting. The next meeting between Clerides and Denktash will be held on July 16.

    The talks are held in the presence of the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, who will fly on Wednesday to Vienna where he will meet and brief the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on the course of the direct talks.

    He then flies on to New York where Tuesday, 9th July, he will brief the Security Council, whose current president, Britain's permanent representative Sir Jeremy Greenstock, will make a statement after the briefing.

    President Clerides is accompanied at the talks by Attorney General Alecos Markides, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou and Undersecretary to the President Pantelis Kouros.

    The leaders of the two communities on the island launched direct talks in January, this year, with a view to solve the problem of Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    [28] Boucher: The US will continue to remain very active in Cyprus issue

    WASHINGTON, 03/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Although the target date for reaching an agreement in the Cyprus question by the end of June was not met, the US will continue to remain very active in their efforts to help reach a solution to the Cyprus problem, US State Department's spokesman Richard Boucher said on Monday.

    ''The goal of getting some kind of agreement by the end of the month of June was not met,'' Boucher told his press briefing, adding that the US continues to consider the Cyprus question ''a very important issue and one that we want to pursue in conjunction with the United Nations''.

    ''You will continue to find the United States, as well as the United Nations, very active in that regard'', US State Department's spokesman said.


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