|Thursday, 26 November 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-07-11
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>July 11, 2002
 Police confirm DNA evidence in Xiros case, release photos
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)Greek police on Wednesday officially confirmed that the DNA of blood spots found outside the German ambassador's residence after an attack by ''November 17'' in May, 1999 matched that of blood spots collected at the scene of the Piraeus explosion in which suspected terrorist Savvas Xiros was injured.
They avoided saying that there was a definite DNA match to Xiros, however, because no tests have been carried out on blood samples taken directly from the injured man for legal reasons.
In addition, police released 32 photographs depicting the objects found within two N17 hideouts in Patissia and Pangrati, which spokesman Lefteris Economou said had all been transferred to crime labs for testing.
He also revealed that a number of guns and a sawn-off shotgun had been found among the other weapons and ammunition, indicating that the terrorist group may have been involved in common criminal activity. They said they expected forensics examinations to reveal that the group took part in armed robberies, through which it obtained the majority of its funds.
Regarding the explosion on Tuesday night outside the offices of Hellenic Flying Dolphins in Piraeus, Economou said it had been a relatively weak explosion that caused no injuries or damage. The explosion had been created by dynamite with a slow-burning fuse and no group had taken responsibility, he added.
Savvas Xiros, 40, was captured on June 29 after he was injured in an explosion, which police believe was caused when a bomb he was planning to set went off prematurely.
His capture led to the discovery of two N17 hideouts containing weapons, ammunition and propaganda material, as well as evidence linking Xiros to specific attacks by the group.
Public order minister briefs PM on terrorist investigations: Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis visited the Maximos Mansion on Wednesday and briefed Prime Minister Costas Simitis on investigations taking place in the effort to crack down on terrorism in the country.
''I briefed the prime minister on the course of investigations and investigations are continuing by the authorities in a careful manner and always in the framework of the laws of the democratic state,'' Chrysohoidis said afterwards, adding that this tactic will be continued to the end and that ''democracy must emerge with multiple benefits from the crackdown on terrorism.''
British PM congratulates Greece on N17 breakthrough: British Prime Minister Tony Blair has sent a letter congratulating the Greek government on the breakthrough it has achieved against the terrorist group ''November 17'', government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced on Wednesday.
In the letter received by Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Tuesday, Blair said that the success was a tribute to the Greek government's leadership while noting that much police and judicial work would be needed in order to fully exploit the evidence that had been collected.
''It is vital that those responsible for Stephen Saunders' murder should be brought to justice. I know that you share this objective,'' the British premier continued.
''I am delighted that the Metropolitan Police have been able to assist you in the investigation over the last two years,'' Blair noted and urged the Greek government to let him know if ''we can do more to achieve the common objective''.
Congratulations to the Greek government were also expressed by the French foreign ministry on Tuesday, which said that the French government's confidence in the Greek government's commitment to the fight against terrorism had been renewed.
Media minister accuses TV of 'terror fetish': Press and Media minister Christos Protopapas once again harangued the media for their handling of the November 17 story on Wednesday, accusing them of sacrificing their integrity and peddling in 'media spectacle' in the hunt for higher ratings.
Society could not stand by and tolerate this trade that led down "dangerous and dead-end paths," the minister said.
Protopapas noted that this was the fourth time he had appealed for more restraint and condemned the 'terror fetish' in the media, as well as the practice of naming people allegedly called in during the investigation, which interfered with the work being done by police and judicial authorities.
Asked whether his statements on Tuesday did not amount to interfering in the work of the independent broadcasting regulator, the National Radio and Television Council (ESR), Protopapas denied that this was the case.
His statement was not an intervention but an appeal for the ESR to take action, he said.
"The ESR judges when it must act and with what consequences. Its operation is not controlled by the government, which has no authority over this independent body. The ESR is controlled by the relevant parliamentary committee," he said.
The minister said he had been in touch with the chairman of the ESR to brief him on the announcement he had made.
Greek television has been dominated by programs focusing on the investigation into the terrorist group November 17 since the arrest of a suspected member of the group, Savvas Xiros.
Xiros was captured on June 29 after he was injured in an explosion, which police believe was caused when a bomb he had been planning to set went off prematurely. His arrest led to the discovery of two N17 hideouts and a large quantity of weapons, ammunition and propaganda, as well as evidence linking him to specific N17 attacks.
Constantopoulos on terrorism: The Coalition of Left and Progress (Synaspismos) on Wednesday said that the on-going investigations to disband "November 17" should continue and reach deep into this matter, with simultaneous respect for rights and the constitutional framework, unhindered by interior, exterior or communicational pressure and ulterior motives.
With a release issued by the Political Secretariat of the party and read by its leader Nikos Constantopoulos, Synaspismos said that "the Left, the same as the entire Greek community, has always viewed terrorism as a repulsive and criminal phenomenon; accordingly, we always were and still are prepared to support any steps taken within the framework of constitutional lawfulness toward effective action".
The elusive urban terrorist group called "November 17" has claimed responsibility for 22 slayings in Greece since 1975.
 Archbishop of America briefs President Bush on November 17
WASHINGTON, 11/07/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)U.S. President George W. Bush appeared satisfied with latest developments concerning the handling of the November 17 terrorist organization in Greece, according to Archbishop of America Dimitrios who briefed him in this respect on the sidelines of a meeting they had at the White House on Tuesday night.
The meeting took place shortly after a meeting between President Bush and leaders of Orthodox Churches in America, scheduled with the purpose of achieving better communication between the government, and the president himself, and the country's Orthodox population.
According to Archbishop Dimitrios, the 50-minute meeting was ''very cordial'', which was confirmed by the fact that ''he gave us much more time than had been initially planned.''
The primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America went on to say that ''the specific issue of terrorism in Greece was not raised as an issue for discussion but I mentioned it to him afterwards. In fact, I thanked him for the contribution of American services as well and told him that it is a very great success and I imagine that you have felt satisfied. And, indeed, President Bush showed his great satisfaction over the success of the Greek police on the issue of November 17.''
Archbishop Dimitrios added that the U.S. president appeared informed ''and I considered it my obligation to tell him that it was a very important step and he showed his truly great satisfaction.''
He also expressed the hope that such meetings will be repeated at regular intervals in the future.
 Greek-born Cyprus National Guard commander killed in helicopter crash in Paphos
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)The Greek-born commander of Cyprus' National Guard was killed early Wednesday in an army helicopter crash outside the Cypriot town of Paphos that also claimed the lives of the Cyprus Airforce commander and three other officers.
National Guard commander Lt.-Gen. Evangelos Florakis, a Greek national, was killed together with Cyprus airforce commander Brigadier Stelios Demenagas, Demenagas' adjutant Lt. Nikolas Georgiou, and the helicopter's two pilots, Flight Lieut. Paris Athanasiades and Flying Officer Michalis Siakallis, when their National Guard 'Bell 206' helicopter crashed into the Diarizos River bed at 4:20, for reasons as yet unknown, and burst into flames.
The helicopter was en route from Nicosia to Paphos when it crashed just four kilometers from the Andreas Papandreou airbase in Paphos, where it was scheduled to land.
The helicopter's last communication with the control tower at Larnaca airport was at 4:05 a.m., just 15 minutes before it crashed, but no problems were reported at the time.
A committee has been set up to investigate the causes of the accident, which was the first since the helicopter squadron was established in the National Guard.
Florakis was born in the Greek town of Arta in February 1943. He was admitted to Greece's Evelpidon Military Academy in 1962, ranking 7th among 120, and also studied at the Hellenic Armed Forces' national Defense Academy as well as at several other specialized military academies.
He served in several commands in Greece before being honorably discharged in May 2000, at which time he was recalled to active service to take over the command of the national Guard in Cyprus, succeeding Lt.-Gen. Dimitrios Dimou.
Florakis has been decorated with numerous military distinctions, including the Gold Cross of the Order of Honor.
Government condolences on Cyprus air crash that killed National Guard, Airforce chiefs: The Greek government on Wednesday expressed "deep grief" and its condolences to the government of Cyprus over a dawn helicopter crash in which the commanders of the Cyprus National Guard and Airforce and three other officers were killed.
The Greek-born commander of Cyprus' National Guard was killed early Wednesday in an army helicopter crash outside the Cypriot town of Paphos that also claimed the lives of the Cyprus Airforce commander, also Greek-born, and three other officers.
Cyprus' National Guard commander Lt.-Gen. Evangelos Florakis, Airforce commander Brigadier Stelios Demenagas, Demenagas' adjutant Lt. Nikolas Georgiou, and the helicopter's two pilots, Flight Lieut. Paris Athanasiades and Flying Officer Michalis Siakallis, were killed when their National Guard 'Bell 206' helicopter crashed into the Diarizos River bed at 4:20, for reasons as yet unknown, and exploded into flames.
In Athens, government spokesman Christos Protopapas expressed the government's deep grief and its condolences to the Nicosia government and the families of the five officers.
He said that according to all indications so far, the crash had been an accident, but added that an in-depth investigation would be made into the causes of the crash.
Protopapas said that two experts from Greece would leave in the afternoon for Cyprus on a military plane to help in the investigation.
Meanwhile, ruling PASOK MP and former national defense minister Gerassimos Arsenis also expressed his deepest grief at the loss of the five officers.
Papantoniou on helicopter accident in Cyprus: National Defense Minister Giannos Papantoniou on Wednesday expressed his condolences to the families of the five officers who lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Cyprus on Wednesday.
Asked to speculate on the helicopter accident in which the chief of the National Guard and four more members of the defense forces lost their lives, Papantoniou said that "it was a tragic event that took place in the line of duty while the five officers were on their way to a military exercise location".
"Greece and Hellenism is conducting a struggle for survival in Greece, the Aegean and in Cyprus" the minister said, adding that "the men and the women who lose their lives, fall in the line of duty. This is Greece's fate".
Brigadier-General Evangelos Florakis, Air-force Commander Stylianos Demenagas and three other officers were killed early Wednesday morning when their national guard helicopter crashed at Kouklia, close to Paphos.
Papantoniou was attending the national aeronautical exercise "Astrapi" conducted off the island of Hydra.
 DM watches aeronautical exercise off the island of Hydra
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)Defense Minister Giannos Papantoniou had the opportunity of ascertaining the navy's readiness when he watched the aeronautical exercise code-named ''Astrapi'' on Wednesday from on board the frigate ''Psara.'' The exercise was held off the island of Hydra.
Immediately afterwards, Papantoniou expressed full satisfaction over the navy's high level of training and technical sufficiency and said it is in absolute operational readiness to handle whatever threat.
He also congratulated the staff of the frigate ''Psara'' for its substantive participation, as the country's ambassador, in the international campaign against terrorism in Afghanistan.
Papantoniou further said that the provision of two Chinook-type helicopters to help cover the needs of the U.S. in Afghanistan exclusively concerns transport activities and in no way means the country's participation in military operations.
The exercise further involved three frigates, four torpedo boats, a submarine, a nautical cooperation aircraft, two helicopters and air force aircraft.
 Danish FM says Danish-Greek joint presidency could solve Euroforce issue
BRUSSELS, 11/07/2002 (ANA - V. Demiris)Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller on Wednesday said that Greece would try to provide a responsible solution on the Euroforce issue, during his briefing of the European Parliament foreign affairs committee, concerning the Danish presidency's program for the European Union's defense and security policy.
Responding to questions from Eurodeputies about the ''problems that may be created by this double EU presidency'' Moller said that ''Greece has a responsible government, with which we have a very good dialogue and have defined precisely which issues will be those that it will be responsible for''.
Denmark is not a member of the defense and security policy and so Greece is co-presiding over these matters for the next six-months, as it is the country to assume the EU's presidency in the first half of 2003.
Responding to a question by PASOK Eurodeputy Giannis Souladakis, Moller said that this type of dual presidency can be the successful example for future presidencies in the EU.
Regarding Cyprus, Moller said that the resolution of the long-standing political problem of the island republic is desirable, but it is not a precondition for its accession to the EU, while regarding Turkey he said that ''it is approaching the EU, but does not meet the criteria which apply for all the other candidate states''.
 Prime minister outlines government's plans for Piraeus
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)Visiting installations at Piraeus port where he inaugurated the new Vessel Traffic System (VTS) Center on Wednesday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis outlined the government's plans for the future of Greece's largest port, as well as plans to improve life for the inhabitants in the city of Piraeus and its suburbs.
The prime minister particularly stressed the important role in store for Piraeus during the Olympic Games in 2004, when a large number of cruise ships were expected to dock at the port, carrying thousands of official guests.
In order to meet the demands during this period, work was currently underway to give the port a facelift and improve its facilities, environmental infrastructure and services, he said. Among these projects, Simitis listed the new passenger stations, the conversion of two warehouses into international shipping centers, moving the merchant marine ministry to Akti Vassiliadi, the new hotel at Palataki and the conversion of the Silo into a National Navy Museum.
Outside the port, the government had also initiated projects to improve Piraeus health services through a new wing in the Tzanneion hospital, to create more parking space, carry out improvements in the Karaiskaki and Drapetsona and create archaeological parks, Simitis added.
He also referred to the development of Piraeus' old industrial areas, after the culture ministry had selected a small number of buildings to be preserved through conservation orders. This would create space for more gentle forms of production, green spaces, sports facilities and other services in the city, Simitis said.
The prime minister also referred to more long-term plans for the port, in the framework of a national strategy for the shipping sector.
As the European Union sought to expand its trade ties with Asia and worked on plans to develop Mediterranean ports to receive goods from Asia and China through the Suez Canal, Greece should make preparations that would make Piraeus one of the most important ports in the EU, as the weight shifted more and more from the western coast of Europe to the Mediterranean, he said.
He also referred to a shift toward shipping as a more environ-mentally-friendly mode of transporting goods and a new emphasis on shipping for small distances, saying that these were the basis of government policies for Greece's ports.
Piraeus port was central to this new policy as the main gateway into Greece and a transport hub for goods and passengers. Within this policy, Piraeus and Thessaloniki ports would be companies listed on the Athens bourse, while the 10 most important ports in Greece would be SA companies. On a local level, he added, port funds would operate as municipal enterprises, Simitis said.
 Protopapas announces PM's agenda for the rest of the week
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis inspected the installations at Piraeus Port on Wednesday and is due to meet the leadership of the Press and Media ministry at 19:15, followed by a meeting with Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis at 20:15, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced.
Simitis will chair the regular cabinet meeting on Thursday, during which there will be a briefing by the public order minister on the course of the investigation into the terrorist group November 17, a briefing by Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos regarding the selection of supreme court judges and finally, a briefing by Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Paschalidis regarding Greece's bid for the EXPO 2008 trade fair.
At 14:00 on Thursday, the prime minister will meet Health Minister Costas Stefanis, while at 19:00 he is to meet PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Laliotis.
On Friday morning, Simitis will head a government committee on the development of the countryside and agrotourism, while at 13:30 he will meet with Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis, as well as the public order and justice ministers, to discuss the handling of illegal immigration.
 Parliament speaker to visit Belgrade
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis is to depart for Belgrade on Thursday, where he will inaugurate two new chambers in the Yugoslav Federal Parliament.
The two chambers had been destroyed during a Serb uprising in 2000 and were reconstructed using an 800-thousand dollar donation from the Greek Parliament.
During his two-day stay in Belgrade, Kaklamanis will be received by Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, federal government prime minister Dragisa Pesic, Yugoslav Parliament Chamber of Republics speaker Srdja Bozovic and Yugoslav Parliament Chamber of Citizens speaker Dragoljub Micunovic.
 Premier discusses relevant issues with press and media minister
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday discussed with Press and Media Minister Christos Protopapas issues exclusively pertaining to the latter's ministry.
''The premier provided direction and when we are ready we will provide information officially on some decisions, which we will take exclusively on issues of the ministry,'' Protopapas said.
According to sources the issue of terrorism was not discussed during the meeting.
 Economy minister to brief eurozone ministers on Greek EU presidency plans
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)National Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Thursday in Brussels will brief the members of the European Union's eurozone finance and economy ministers on Greece's program, as the Greek government undertook the presidency of the 12-member-eurozone, called Eurogroup.
According to sources the minister will focus on the recent developments in the world's economy and especially that of the United States, while then he will focus on the effects of those developments on the eurozone's economy.
He will also discuss the fiscal developments in the Union and the coordination of the economic policies of the member-states.
One of the major issues of talks in both the Eurogroup and ECOFIN will be that of the harmonization of the taxation systems of the Union's member-states, and especially those belonging to the Eurozone.
Greece undertook the presidency of the Eurogroup as Denmark is not part of the eurozone, thus Greece will hold this presidency for a full year. Denmark, however, will exercise the presidency of ECOFIN, which includes all member-states of the Union, for six months and then Greece will undertake this rotational presidency.
Denmark's policies will, reportedly, focus on the taxation harmonization, further economic policy coordination and regulation of financial markets.
 High growth rates the advantage of Greek economy, government says
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)The Greek economy's big advantage was its high growth rates, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Mr. Christodoulakis stressed that a "growth target of 3.8 percent was fully achievable this year" while he said there were hopes of achieving even speedier growth rates this year.
The meeting focused on the course of the economy and of a Third Community Support Framework program.
Christodoulakis said the meeting also discussed global financial developments, an issue expected to be discussed in the euro group on Thursday.
He noted that all government efforts were now focusing on not only achieving the growth target but to create better conditions for improving the country's competitiveness, to restrain inflation and to create new jobs.
Christodoulakis said the Greek economy must avoid challenges of easy price increases in the near future, a move that was supposedly offer some comfort to businesses but did not solve any competitiveness or profitability problems.
He reiterated that Greek economy was strengthened with new rules and regulations aimed to impose stricter inspections on companies' accounting practices, to promote transparency and to combat fraud.
 ND leader expresses concern over state of economy
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday expressed concern over the course of the Greek economy, and chiefly its low competitiveness, which he said was reflected in high unemployment rates.
Karamanlis was speaking to reporters after his first meeting with the new Bank of Greece governor Nikolaos Garganas, who assumed the post in mid-June, replacing Lucas Papademos who in May took over as vice president of the European Central Bank.
Karamanlis said that inflation was running at a higher rate than the EU average, and expressed concern over the public finances.
The main opposition expressed concern over the high public debt, extensive use of what he called ''creative accounting'', and a lack of structural changes, calling for a new, different economic policy which he said the present government was not capable of implementing.
Garganas made no statement after the meeting.
Responding to the main opposition leader's comments, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said that Karamanlis was "as usual taking a line that showed that he either did not know the truth or did not want to know it".
Greece had a growth rate of 1.9 per cent of GDP, compared to a European Union average of 0.3 per cent of GDP, and Karamanlis' statements showed that he was deliberately uninformed or else deliberately misrepresenting the truth.
"This is not politics," the spokesman concluded.
 Greece did not lose a single drachma from Second CSF, government says
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)Economy and Finance Deputy Minister Christos Pahtas on Wednesday declared the final closure of a Second Community Support Framework program and said progress in a Third EU package was ''satisfactory.''
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis to review progress of a Third Community Support Framework program, Mr. Pahtas said that all projects were expected to be included in the Third package's actions by the end of 2003.
Pahtas reiterated that from a Second CSF ''the country did not lose a single drachma and that the same will happen with a Third package.'' He urged all government ministries and local authorities to monitor projects' progress more efficiently to ensure transparency and quality of projects.
Pahtas also announced approval of eight new projects of the agriculture ministry in a public investments program for the current year, along with a total of 400 co-funded projects of which 363 were characterized as of ''social nature''.
 Eight companies bid for Olympic Catering
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)The non-binding offers by private companies for the acquisition of 51 to 68 percent of Olympic Catering were announced on Wednesday and the list of eight companies includes both domestic and foreign firms.
The companies that expressed their willingness to bid for the majority stake of the state owned and operate enterprise, which supplies airlines with food, were: L.S.G. SKY-CHEFS, a Lufthansa subsidiary; Gate-Gourmet international; Eurest AE in-flight of Compass group; Everest SA, a domestic firm; Gregoris Mirkogeumata SA; Athens Golf Club; Tsatas Group of Canada; Veroukas Group of Companies.
 Transport minister outlines progress on Athens tram project
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis outlined on Wednesday progress achieved in building the Athens tram network, saying that all tenders have been completed, contractors have been selected and seven workshops have already been prepared.
Verelis said two extensions will be created. One stretching from Glyfada to the Voula hospital, having a length of about 1,000 meters, and the other from Zappeion to Syntagma Square about 500 meters long.
The total length of the tram lines, together with these extensions, will exceed 25 kilometers at this stage, while Verelis added that plans include extensions from Peace and Friendship stadium to the center of Piraeus and to regions not served by the Metro.
The total cost of building the project, including the two extensions, will amount to about 346 million euros. The first tram cars will go into circulation in April 2003 and will be fully developed at the end of March 2004.
 Special program for funding hotel renovation
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)The promotion of a special funding program amounting to 10 billion drachmas for renovating third and fourth class hotels in the Attica prefecture was decided during a meeting chaired by Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Wednesday.
It was further ascertained during the meeting that the rate of progress in the policy of modernizing, renewing and creating new hotels in Attica, in light of the requirements of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, is satisfactory.
According to an announcement by the development ministry, concerning the 2004 Paralympics, a special apparatus has already been activated at the ministry to support issues regarding their preparation and aim at securing accessibility to hotels for people with special needs.
Moreover, it was decided that the ministry's civil leadership, as well as administration officials, will make systematic visits to all regions in the country with the purpose of promoting the integrated functioning of Regional Tourism Departments in the direction of supporting the process of renewing, modernizing and qualitatively upgrading tourist infrastructures throughout the country.
 Development ministry to approve medicine price increases
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)The Greek government plans to approve price increases for the cheapest medicines (up to three euros per item) in the domestic market on the condition that they will not exceed the cheapest prices in Europe, in a move designed to support Greek pharmaceutical companies.
The new prices are expected to be announced by development ministry by July 25. Under the plan, price increases are also envisaged for a limited number of medicines, worth more than three euros per item, which are mainly exported.
Meanwhile, public hospitals' debt to medicine suppliers exceeded 125 billion drachmas, a development that could lead to disruptions of hospital supplies, ministry officials said on Wednesday.
Greece's Health ministry approved payment for medicine supplies to state hospitals delayed for the past three years, while the Institute of Medicine Research and Technology gave a "green light" for payment of debt up to 10 billion drachmas.
 Greek households more pessimistic over their finances
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)Greek households are more pessimistic over their finances in 2002 compared with previous years, an ICAP survey said on Wednesday.
A total of 43 percent of Greek households included in the survey said they expected their financial condition to worsen this year, another 29 percent said they expected their finances to remain flat while only 14 percent expected an improvement in 2002. Another 14 percent of surveyed households said they were uncertain over their finances this year.
The ICAP survey showed that only 13.3 percent of Greek households said their finances improved in 2001.
An ICAP analysis, based trends in the last three years, showed that the number of households expecting a worsening of their finances was constantly increasing, while at the same time the number of those expecting improvement was steadily falling. In 2000, the rate of pessimistic households was 20 percent, in 2001 the rate was 34 percent, climbing to 43 percent this year. On the other hand, the rate of optimistic households dropped from 27 percent in 2000, to 15 percent in 2001 and to 14 percent this year.
Inflation was the main cause of concern for Greek households this year, the report said. Despite significant successes in the 1990s in the inflation front, persisting high inflation rates in the last two years, above the 2.0 percent target set by the EU stability and growth pact in the eurozone, has negatively affected prosperity and households' expectations.
Greek households also reported a worsening of their savings levels, while a sharp fall in equity prices in the Athens Stock Exchange contributed in boosting pessimism. The report showed that 97 percent of households did not intend to invest in the market, 1.0 percent answered positively and 2.0 percent said they were uncertain over their intentions.
The survey was conducted on a sample of 1,000 households in the period between March 20-April 30, 2002.
 Greek stocks drop 1.06 percent on Wednesday
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)Greek stocks ended sharply lower on Wednesday hit by lack of liquidity in the market and a negative climate in other European bourses.
The general index fell 1.06 percent to end at 2,162.29 points, reflecting losses in blue chip stocks, like Alpha Bank, National Bank and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization.
The Cement and Industrials sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (0.65 percent and 0.29 percent, respectively), while the Telecommunications, Banks and Insurance sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (1.86 percent, 1.77 percent and 1.76 percent).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks dropped 1.41 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.58 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.52 percent lower.
Turnover was a low 64.9 million euros, while broadly decliners led advancers by 204 to 99 with another 49 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded shares in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Coca Cola, Football Pools Organization, Sex Form, Alpha Bank and AXON Holding.
Equity index futures finish lower: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Wednesday, with contracts on the high capitalization index showing a premium of 0.40 percent.
Turnover was 65.8 million euros.
The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips shed 1.41 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks dropped by 0.58 percent.
Bond prices finish unchanged in heavy trade
Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Wednesday finished almost unchanged in a heavy trade day, focusing on new issue ten-year paper.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.2 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bond was 32 basis points.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totaled 2.6 billion euros.
Buy orders accounted for half of the trade.
 ATHOC expects positive outcome of government- IOC cut-back deals
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)Sources from the Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee (ATHOC) on Wednesday said they were convinced over the positive outcome of the agreements between the government and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the Olympic installation cut-backs.
Following the first reaction of the international sport federations in connection with Olympic installation cut-backs announced during the recent visit of IOC officials in Athens, the time has come for talks with the Greek side to resolve any dispute that might have developed.
Government sources said that the Greek side was displeased with last week's strong letter that IOC Coordinating Committee President Denis Oswald had sent to Culture Minister Venizelos on the issue, since the specific cut-backs had been agreed a few weeks ago, but Oswald had failed to inform the federations.
A second, however smaller, wave of cut-backs was not out of the question, although any talk about possible new cut-backs was viewed as premature since discussions with the international federations were still on-going, the sources said.
Denis Oswald, a Swiss lawyer who heads the 44-member IOC Coordinating Committee that serves both as liaison and inspection crew for the Athens Games, in a letter last week addressed to Venizelos expressed his concerns about the fashion that certain Olympic installation cut-backs had been reported.
 Agios Kosmas Olympic projects to be ready by end of August
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)Deputy Sports Minister Giannis Kourakis on Wednesday said that the Olympic installation projects at Agios Kosmas will be completed by the end of August.
"There was a small delay with construction, owed to daily design adjustments indicated by the interested federations. Everything that has taken place here has been done with their consent", Kourakis said.
A 78-hectare seaside area at Agios Kosmas, southern Attica, is slated to host the 2004 Olympics sailing event.
 Youth assembly on future of Europe gets underway
BRUSSELS, 11/07/2002 (ANA)The ''Youth assembly on the future of Europe'' opened officially in the halls of the European Parliament here on Wednesday with addresses by Assembly of Europe President Valery Giscard d' Estaing and other officials.
According to a relevant announcement, 210 young people aged between 18 and 25 will be discussing the future of Europe for three days in the framework of the ''Assembly on the future of Europe'' which began its work in February this year.
Issues to be discussed in three working groups are the European Union's future role, democracy and the citizens' participation in the EU's decision-making process and, lastly, the EU's role in globalization conditions and, more specifically, how it will be able to contribute to peace, stability and sustainable growth.
The ''Youth Assembly'' plenum will then reach its conclusions which it will be presenting on Friday before the members of the Assembly on the future of Europe.
Representatives from the EU's 15 member-states and from candidate countries, selected from the regular and substitute members of the Assembly on the future of Europe, are participating in the ''Youth Assembly.''
Also participating is a number of young people selected as representatives from the European Parliament, the European Commission and the president and vice-presidents of the Assembly on Europe.
 Roman-era marble statues found in Thessaloniki
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)Two marble Roman-era statues and one marble head were spotted on Wednesday by members of a private contractor at the central "Olympiados" street in the northern port city of Thessaloniki.
Contractor representatives, who spotted the statues during the course of a project sponsored by the city's Water & Sewage Company, initially informed the media and later the competent archaeological authorities where the findings were delivered for evaluation and dating.
Specialists said an early evaluation of the statues, which are in very good condition, indicated that they belong to the late Roman era, while one of them is possibly depicting the god of Dionysus.
Roman-era statues and other findings have been occasionally spotted in that area of Thessaloniki, which is located very near the city's ancient agora.
 Bridges, orphanage built by S.E. Europe's multinational brigade
SOFIA, 11/07/2002 (ANA - B. Borisov)The troops of the Southeastern European Multinational Brigade were constructing two bridges near Plovdiv and a shelter for orphans near the city of Bracikovo, both in Bulgaria.
The construction projects are expected to be concluded at the end of July, when the military exercise ''Cornerstone'' concludes, according to the Brigade's commander Athanassios Kouzelis.
Troops and officers from Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Romania and Turkey in cooperation with U.S. troops were taking part in this peacemaking exercise.
Political and military leaders of the countries participating visited the sites of the construction projects on Wednesday, among them Greek Deputy Defense Minister Loukas Apostolidis, who was the godfather of the project in Plovdiv, naming it ''Bridges of peace and cooperation''.
 Ministerial conference on environment ends in Athens
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)The three-day second ministerial conference on the environment, organized in the framework of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, came to an end in Athens on Wednesday with the endorsement of a political proclamation to be promoted at the Johannesburg summit on sustainable growth in August and September.
The political proclamation, named the proclamation of Athens, stresses that sustainable growth constitutes a primary target in Euro-Mediterranean cooperation.
Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou, who chaired the conference, said that an essential precondition for safeguarding and protecting the environment and the incorporation of the environmental and social dimension in development policies is securing funds which will support and promote sustainable growth.
She added that what is necessary is a greater mobilization of the private sector and the better managing of funds by the public sector.
 Bomb explodes outside Hellas Flying Dolphin offices in Piraeus, minor damage
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)A home-made bomb exploded shortly before midnight Tuesday outside the offices of Hellas Flying Dolphins ferry company, causing minor damage but no injuries.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the explosion.
The blast occurred at 11:44 p.m. in a trash bin outside the building housing the company offices, causing minor material damage.
Police have cordoned off the area and bomb disposal experts were investigating the scene of the explosion.
 Georgian ''Greek Diaspora'' receives best Greek expatriate mass media award
Athens, 11/07/2002 (ANA)The press and media ministry on Wednesday awarded the Greek language newspaper ''Greek Diaspora'' published in the Republic of Georgia, with the annual Best Greek Expatriate Mass Medium of the Year for 2001.
 Experts to come from Greece to investigate tragic accident
NICOSIA, 11/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said the Cyprus government had requested Greece to send experts to help investigations for the circumstances under which a National Guard helicopter crashed early Wednesday morning near Paphos. Five army officers on board, among whom National Guard Commander, Lieutenant General Evangelos Florakis, were killed.
President Clerides, who earlier Wednesday visited the area of the accident, said Florakis' death was ''a great loss both for the National Guard and Cyprus, especially at this period of time.''
Answering a question, Clerides said he did not think the accident was caused by a sabotage, noting that ''the helicopter landed but due to the fact that it was night it landed at a spot above a cliff and then overturned and plunged.''
''I visited the spot and I came to the conclusion the a survey must be conducted,'' Clerides said at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia.
''We have asked Greece to send experts to verify what exactly happened, because approximately ten minutes before landing, the helicopter contacted the Control Tower,'' he added.
Government declares three days of mourning: The Cyprus government on Wednesday declared three days of mourning for the death of National Guard Commander, Lieutenant General Evangelos Florakis, and four other army officers killed early Wednesday morning when their helicopter crashed near Paphos.
Flags will fly at half-mast at all public buildings and National Guard camps.
Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said after a meeting at the Presidential Palace, presided over by President Glafcos Clerides, that procedures to name a new National Guard chief were under way.
He said Cypriot experts have already begun investigating the circumstances under which the accident occurred. Greek experts will join their Cypriot colleagues in the investigations.
Invited to say whether the possibility of a sabotage has been ruled out, the spokesman said ''since an investigation is being conducted we have to look into all possibilities.''
He added, however, that all evidence indicate that it was an accident.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.
Papapetrou said the Cyprus government was in constant touch with the Greek authorities since the very first moment of the helicopter crash.
The National Guard Chief and Cyprus Air Force Commander, Brigadier Stelios Demenagas, were of Greek origin.
The other three officers, Lieutenant Nikos Georgiou, Flight Lieutenant Paris Athanasiades and Flank Officer Michalis Shiakallis, were of Cypriot origin.
 Cypriot parties discuss Security Council statement on Cyprus
NICOSIA, 11/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parties met here on Wednesday and discussed, among other matters, Tuesday's UN
Security Council statement on the situation in Cyprus.
The Security Council's statement said that the Turkish Cypriot side has been ''less constructive'' than the Greek Cypriot side in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.
In a joint communiqué, issued after an hour and a half long meeting, the Cypriot parties asked the subcommittee of the political parties ''to continue its activities and the preparation of bicommunal events''.
Speaking after the meeting, Democratic Party (DIKO) MP Nicos Kleanthous said that the party representatives also discussed Cyprus' European Union accession course and the political situation in Turkey.
Asked what the reaction of the Turkish Cypriot parties was regarding the Security Council statement, Kleanthous said they expected that the Turkish Cypriot side would be considered responsible for the deadlock in the direct talks, as it insists on reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem, outside the framework of the UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus.
The Cypriot party leaders and representatives will meet again on September 4 at Ledra Palace Hotel, in the UN-controlled buffer zone.
Seven Greek Cypriot parties and four Turkish Cypriot parties were represented at Wednesday's meeting.
The meetings take place under the aegis of t