|Tuesday, 1 December 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-07-12
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>July 12, 2002
 Cabinet meeting focuses on terrorism investigation
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis opened Thursday's cabinet meeting with a briefing on developments in the fight against terrorism and praised the work done by the Greek police in the ongoing investigation of the terrorist group ''November 17'', government spokesman Christos Protopapas said.
The prime minister stressed, however, that great care and much police work was now needed in order to fully exploit the evidence and find proof against those responsible, using procedures that were absolutely legal and reliable.
Simitis also noted that certain parties appeared to be trying to denigrate the successes and efficiency of the authorities and cast doubts as to whether the chief culprits would be brought to justice.
''I want to reply to them that we will catch all those responsible and that there will be full publicity. At the present juncture, however, what is needed is seriousness, restraint and identification.''
He also stressed that the laws would be fully implemented and everything would be done by the book, while expressing his support for the work of Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis.
Chrysohoidis then briefed the cabinet on the course of the investigations, stressing that the fight against terrorism would continue until the phenomenon had been eradicated and the terrorists had been brought to justice.
During the rest of the session, the cabinet approved the promotions of top judicial officials to the supreme court, the Council of State and the Comptrolling Council, after which Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Paschalidis presented preparations for Thessaloniki's bid to host the EXPO 2008 trade fair.
The cabinet also decided that Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou would represent the Greek government at the funerals of Cypriot National Guard chief Lieut. Gen. Evangelos Florakis and four other officers that were killed in a helicopter accident on Cyprus.
Finally, Environment, Planning and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou briefed the cabinet on the progress of inspections of damage caused by Monday's flooding in Athens and the processes set up to pay compensation to victims.
 Alleged ''November 17'' terrorist testifies on Thursday
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Alleged terrorist Savvas Xiros, reportedly linked to the ''November 17'' terrorist organization, testified on Thursday to a prosecutor assigned to the case, who reportedly informed him of the standing legal status concerning those involved in terrorist acts.
Xiros, 40, who was injured during a botched terrorist attack in Piraeus, agreed with security measures taken by the anti-terrorist squad, court sources said, as fears were raised for his life.
The same sources said that Xiros's testimony will require more than one session. The current testimony was taken at the Evangelismos Hospital in central Athens, where Xiros is being held under heavy guard.
On Thursday, Xiros was visited briefly by his father and his companion Alicia Romero and after the visit his father told the press that as of Monday family members will be allowed regular visits.
Anti-terrorist squad: According to the anti-terrorist squad, Xiros' confession is vitally important since evidence he gives about the notorious terrorist group ''November 17'' and its members under oath can then be used to issue arrest warrants and press charges.
The police also announced on Thursday that they had completed the transfer of evidence from the hideout in Damareos 73 in Pangrati to police crime labs, while forensics teams were investigating the rooms of the apartment.
Residents of the apartment building where the Pangrati hideout was found were allowed back into their homes on Thursday, though a section of the road outside the entrance is still closed to vehicle traffic.
Meanwhile, police spokesman Lefteris Economou announced that the transfer of evidence from the hideout on Patmos street in Patissia was continuing and that the apartment was not yet empty. According to the spokesman, a large number of items and evidence had been found within the apartment, which required systematic and exhaustive examination.
 Main opposition calls for ideological, operational crushing of terrorism
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Thursday called for the crushing of terrorism on both an ideological and an operational level in his address to the party's central committee.
''Society demands that this opportunity the authorities have should be utilized so as to enable the full uncovering of all the heinous crimes of terrorism, the uncovering and prosecution of all the culprits and their accomplices, their leaders and their financiers, as well as the final ideological crushing of the phenomenon,'' Karamanlis said.
''Nothing should remain in the dark and in this direction our support for the police is a given fact. We have already proven that we view the problem as a national issue and that our decisions are determined by the interests of the country,'' he stressed, adding ''we did not even consider using for petty party purposes the inability of the government to ratify a law against organized crime''.
Former public order minister and ND deputy Theodoros Anagnostopoulos said that it would not be right if all the blame was placed on alleged terrorist Savva Xiros and stressed that ''November 17'', with its proclamations showed that there was an ideological cloak and a manifesto for its heinous crimes.
Karamanlis then focused on the government's economic policy, saying that the targets of the state budget were out of the bounds of reality since income was lower than expenses, much more so than mandated by the European Union's eurozone regulations, while structural inflation was about 2 per cent higher than that of the eurozone's average.
The ND leader also responded to criticism by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who had said that PASOK should not let ND govern so as not to let it lead the country to third world conditions, saying ''even humor has its limits, he pretends not to remember who were connected with the third path to socialist choices and who were responsible for third world conditions which rank Greece bellow Namibia regarding corruption''.
''Do you forget that the public projects of the Spata Airport and the Athens Metro where choices of ND,'' he stressed.
 Journalistsí federation comments on terrorism and ethics
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)The board of the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists Unions (POESY) convened on Thursday to discuss the coverage of events related to terrorism in the country and in an announcement expressed absolute opposition to ''irresponsible talk of scenarios leading to the slandering of people and the smearing of reputations.''
POESY calls on journalists to meet requirements for reliable and substantive information for citizens in accordance with longstanding principles of ethics.
At the same time it explicitly condemns ''the regrettable phenomena of inconsiderately broadcasting information with the purpose of creating 'suspects' and 'culprits' for the making of a climate of informing in Greek society.''
Furthermore, it was added in the announcement that those playing other roles not belonging to them have nothing to do with journalism and its principles and that Greek journalism has its own contribution to the democratic struggles of the people.
 AHEPA hails government success in fight against terrorism
WASHINGTON, 12/07/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) on Thursday congratulated the Greek authorities on their recent achievements in the course of their efforts to disband the urban terrorist group "November 17".
In a release signed by AHEPA President Andrew Banis, the organization congratulated the Greek government and police forces on their recent achievements against groups such as "November 17", while making special mention of the work of Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis.
"We are encouraged by developments and we are hopeful that they will lead to the arrest, prosecution and punishment of the majority of the culprits, as well as the confiscation of the group's weaponry", the largest Greek American organization in the U.S. said.
 Foreign ministry denies there is deal with FYROM over name
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)The Greek foreign ministry on Thursday denied the existence of a deal with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) regarding the settlement of differences over the name of the neighboring state.
Commenting on an announcement by FYROM's foreign ministry that the two countries had decided to 'freeze' the process of finding a settlement, Greek foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis denied that any such agreement had been made and said that the process was continuing within the framework of the United Nations.
Beglitis said he was at a loss to understand the purpose of the statement, adding that the talks on the so-called 'name issue' would continue as usual after elections in FYROM were over.
Greece objects to the use of the name 'Macedonia' by FYROM, which is shared by a northern Greek province that borders the republic.
 Greece expects greater role for UN chief in Cyprus talks
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Greece expected the positive role of the United Nations Secretary-General in direct talks on the Cyprus issue to be reinforced, foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said on Thursday.
He said the intervention and observations made by the Security Council chief were positive for the development of the ongoing process.
Asked to comment on the latest developments in Turkey and the resignation of Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, the spokesman said that Athens was watching the situation closely and expressed hope that the neighboring country would soon emerge from the crisis and regain political stability.
Regarding channels of communication between the two countries, Beglitis said that this was based on political principles and that he was certain this would not be affected by domestic developments.
 Premier receives newly appointed healthcare minister
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Thursday received Healthcare Minister Costas Stephanis and discussed current conditions in the sector, deciding, according to sources, to continue with the policies set by previous healthcare minister Alekos Papadopoulos. This first meeting between the premier and the newly appointed minister focused on the priorities of the government in the healthcare sector, ensuring that plans of the government were implemented.
Following the meeting Stephanis said that they discussed all pertaining issues that there would be no significant changes in the implementation of the government's social policy concerning healthcare.
 PM and PASOK secretary discuss terrorism and local elections
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister and PASOK leader Costas Simitis and the party's Central Committee secretary Costas Laliotis held two-hour talks on Thursday night and, according to reports, discussed the fight against terrorism and the party's planning until October's local elections in the country.
The reports said that what was discussed regarding planning was the activation of both Simitis and Laliotis, particularly in regions where PASOK should throw its weight and where it is believed to be trailing the main opposition New Democracy party.
No statements were made by either Simitis or Laliotis after the meeting.
 Greek MP elected vice-president of OSCE committee
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Greek MP Panos Kammenos has been elected vice-president of the General Committee for Civilian Affairs and Security at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Kammenos was elected on Wednesday at the OSCE parliamentary assembly taking place in Berlin on the subject "Dealing with terrorism, a wager for the planet in the 21st century". He was supported by the European Peoples' Party and is the first Greek MP to be elected to this post.
The OSCE assembly is made up to 317 MPs and senators from 54 member-states, while Kammenos has represented Greece at the OSCE since 1999.
 Sorrow over Cyprus helicopter accident
NICOSIA, 12/07/2002 (ANA)President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Thursday said that the Greek people felt shock and grief over the loss of National Guard Commander Brigadier-General Evangelos Florakis and four more officers.
In a letter addressed to Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides, Stephanopoulos said that Greece and Cyprus were deeply sorrowed and that everyone was sharing the grief of the lost officers' families.
On his part, Foreign Minister George Papandreou in a letter addressed to his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides expressed his "deep sorrow over the sudden death of the officers who fell in the line of duty".
National Guard Commander 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.
 Main opposition demands an explanation for flooding in Metro
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy on Thursday demanded explanations from the government regarding the floods and transport problems caused ''by a few hours of rain'' earlier in the week.
Thirteen ND deputies tabled a question to the ministers involved asking for an investigation into who was to blame, inspection reports and for explanations from Attiko Metro, the company operating the Athens metro system.
The MPs noted that the Omonia-Sepolia line had closed down for more than 24 hours and that the modern Metaxourgio and Larisis stations had flooded due to construction faults that allowed water to enter onto the lines and through ventilation shafts.
They also noted that Attiko Metro appeared completely unprepared and had to obtain portable pumps from third parties to remove the water.
 Assembly on future of Europe probes EU's foreign activities
BRUSSELS, 12/07/2002 (ANA - V. Demiris)An Assembly on the future of Europe plenum, taking place here on Thursday and Friday, is probing the ''European Union's foreign activities.''
Addressing the meeting, Greek government representative and the head of the PASOK party's Eurodeputies George Katiforis said that over 70 percent of European citizens want a strong international presence for Europe.
He explained that this is due to the fact that the European citizen is seeing that the cultural and economic superpower of Europe is not being translated into a corresponding diplomatic international presence.
Katiforis said that, on the contrary, ''the Europeans are seeing the EU overshadowed by the United States and sometimes to be handled offensively by governments of small countries whose only quality is their great audacity.''
He went on to say that ''the European citizens' feeling of displeasure is intensified by the ostentatious and irrational differentiation of the U.S. on a series of issues such as the international criminal court, one-sidedness in the Middle East, the unilateral abandonment of the Kyoto Treaty on the greenhouse phenomenon and the selfish infringement of fundamental principles of free trade.''
 IGC assembly endorses deeper unification, EKEM chairman Ioakeimidis says
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)The majority of the members of the Assembly preparing the new Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) endorse deepening EU unification in the areas of common foreign and defense policy, protection of the EU's external borders, and in economic policy, Professor P. Ioakeimidis, Greece's alternate representative to the Assembly, said Thursday.
In an interview with the Athens News Agency (ANA), Ioakeimidis, who is also chairman of the Hellenic Center for European Studies (EKEM), further proposed changes to the manner of governance of the EU through reinforcement of the European Parliament's authorities.
According to Ioakeimidis, a new Inter-Governmental Conference on revising the EU treaties was decided due to the need to ''deepen'' the 15-nation bloc's unification and also in light of the EU's imminent enlargement.
He explained that over the past decade, the foundations were placed for a political unification, while cooperation commenced in the sectors of social policy, employment, asylum, migration, police, justice, foreign policy and a common security and defense policy.
Europe, he said, was on the way to evolving into a Political Union, which evolution required a different approach than that followed by the six founding members half a century ago. In addition, a revision of the EU's treaties was necessary for the Union to approach the European citizens, who frequently feel that decisions are taken in their absence and desire more democratic control.
With respect to enlargement, it was not possible for a 25-member Union to use the same decision-taking procedures as that at the time of the six founding members, as it would be time-consuming and ineffective, Ioakeimidis added.
Consequently, there was an urgent need to set out the institutional manner with which the Union could better determine its targets and priorities and ensure their better implementation so as to improve the efficiency of the decision-taking process and function of the institutions, he said.
In that direction, he added, the Assembly, which in its majority comprised representatives of the member-states' parliaments rather than the national governments, hoped to formulate a draft Constitutional Treaty for the IGC.
According to the discussions so far, the Assembly appeared pro-union, with the majority of its members endorsing and arguing in favor of deepening unification in such sectors as common foreign and security policy, economic policy, and protection of the external borders in order to create a genuine area of freedom, security and justice.
On the new international conditions following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US and the imposition of certain restrictions and regulations, Ioakeimidis explained that the EU was trying to maintain a coordinated and multi-sided approach to confronting terrorism through reinforcing its political dialogue with third countries and by adopting an integrated approach as regarded police and penal cooperation.
He said the member-states were unable to individually tackle the problem of illegal immigration and internal security, and therefore better police cooperation would enable better supervision of the EUís external borders by the European Border Guards Corps, reinforcement of Europol, and the institution of information exchanges among the European secret services, with the ultimate goal of creating a European police force that could efficiently carry out the struggle against international terrorism.
Asked what role Greece could play in reinforcing the Balkan countries preparing for EU accession, Ioakeimidis noted first of all that Greece clearly had every interest in the Balkan countries joining the EU after fulfilling the required political and economic conditions and criteria.
''Greece is the only EU member-state bordering with the Union's 'area of instability' and, consequently, has a strong interest in seeing the integration system extending to the wider region of the Balkans and the Greek borders becoming EU 'internal borders' from the present external borders,'' Ioakeimidis said, adding that the accession of all the Balkan states in the EU would comprise a factor leading to stability, democracy and prosperity.
 Supreme Court justice appointments
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)The ministerial cabinet on Thursday, acting on the recommendation of Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, went ahead with the promotion of high-ranking court officials to posts in the country's supreme courts.
George Kapos was promoted to Supreme Court "Areios Pagos" president, Evangelos Kroustalakis was promoted to the position of Public Investigator, while Petros Kakkalis, Constantinos Tsamados, Arhontis Dovas, Panayiotis Philippopoulos, Dimitrios Soultanias and Dimitrios Linos were promoted to the posts of vice-president.
The post of the general State Commissioner was assigned to Vasilios Hasapogiannis, while Efstathios Rondogiannis and Georgios Shiniotakis were promoted to Auditing Council vice-presidents and George Anemogiannis was promoted to the office of State Council vice-president.
The Cabinet has the right to appoint one of the Supreme Court justices to the presidency or vice-presidency of the Supreme Court following confirmation by Parliament.
 Greek budget revenues up 7.8 percent in first half 2002
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Greece's regular budget revenues rose 7.8 percent in the first half of 2002 to 18 billion euros from 16.7 billion in the same period last year, exceeding an annual budget target for an increase of 6.1 percent, Economy and Finance Ministry said on Thursday.
Value Added Tax revenues totalled 5,998,398,000 euros in the January-June period from 5,303,453,000 last year, an increase of 13.1 percent.
Income tax revenues rose 7.7 percent to 5,752,691,000 euros, tax revenues from securities' transactions dropped 49.4 percent to 48,549,000 euros, while other category revenues increased 4.0 percent to 6,200,491,000 euros.
 Greece needs national export strategy
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)The Greek government and the country's largest chambers of commerce and industry on Thursday agreed on a need to draft a national strategy to promote Greek exports after seeing exports declining 16 percent in 2001.
Speaking to reporters, at a news conference, Foreign Deputy Minister Andreas Loverdos, the chairman of Greek Chambers' Central Union George Kasimatis and the chairman of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry Drakoulis Fountoukakos, stressed the need for a national export strategy.
Mr. Loverdos noted that the country needed an institutional agency that, operating under free market rules, could implement decisions taken in national level and presented six measures already taken by the foreign ministry, such as setting-up commercial attache offices in Shanghai, Thessaloniki, Bosnia-Herzegovina, launching an Internet data network for businesses, improving business delegations accompanying state leaders in travels abroad and promoting a list of brand names in certain Greek products.
Mr. Fountoukakos and Kasimatis recommended a series of measures aimed to strengthen export activity in the country.
Mr. Fountoukakos attributed a decline in exports to a lack of national strategy and urged for drafting of a long-term action plan with the close cooperation between the public and private sectors under the coordination of the foreign ministry.
Mr. Kasimatis recommended an annual Panhellenic Exporting Conference to promote measures and actions in the sector.
 Greece prepares action against Commission's CAP reform proposals
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Greece's Agriculture Minister George Drys on Thursday announced a series of initiatives aimed to form a common Greek stance towards a European Commission's proposal to reform a Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).
Speaking to reporters, during a news conference, Mr. Drys said he would call a meeting with all Greek political parties and all Greek Euro-deputies, while he would seek coordination of reactions with other EU member-states sharing the same goals (Mediterranean countries).
Drys said that a National Commission of Agricultural Policy would convene in an extraordinary meeting on Friday, 19 July, to review the Commission's proposals.
The Greek minister noted that the EU executive's proposals exceeded a mandate given by the Berlin EU summit in 1999, diverged from Greek positions submitted to the EU's Farm council and would cause problems to several Greek products, such as wheat and rice.
Drys said that the government was determined to defend the incomes of small- and medium-sized farmers.
Agriculture minister reassuring on CAP revision: Agriculture Minister George Drys was once again reassuring on the revision of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), while appearing on Thursday before Parliament's Production and Trade Committee.
Drys admitted that the countries of the agricultural south are experiencing strong pressures from the north, and Scandinavian countries in particular.
He added that these pressures are also reflected in recent statements by Agriculture Commissioner Fischler, but which in no way constitute the content of the CAP's new revision. He further said that the Mediterranean countries have created a joint front against these beliefs.
Drys also reiterated that Greece desires the CAP's revision and the strengthening of its second pylon, believing that its content is compatible with the competitiveness of Greek products.
 Greece tops EU list in capital commitments
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Greece tops the list of EU member-states in capital commitments through a Third Community Support Framework program, Economy and Finance Deputy Minister Christos Pahtas said on Thursday.
Referring to official figures submitted to European Parliament by EU Commissioner Michel Barnier, Pahtas said that a total of 7,118 project plans have been submitted, with 5,211 projects already included, in the program.
Pahtas noted that inspections by EU's institutional agencies were expected to increase and urged for a timely and correct implementation of projects.
He stressed that EU authorities could impose fines up to 2.0 percent of a project's total budget in case of faulty progress of a project.
"We have taken all measures to ensure a timely and correct execution of projects," he said.
Pahtas acknowledged that a total of 34 projects included in a Second Community Support Framework program were declared faulty and that these cases would be brought to justice.
 European Commission warns Greece on car taxation practices
BRUSSELS, 12/07/2002 (ANA - V. Demiris)The European Commission issued a warning to Greece on Thursday, the last stage before resorting to the European Court, calling for the amendment of taxation practices imposed on the final import of personal effects belonging to private individuals and the import of cars in particular.
The issue concerns directive 83/183/EOK anticipating the exemption of turnover taxes, consumption taxes and other taxes paid during the final import by a private individual of his personal effects from one member-state to another place of residence.
The European Commission claims that Greek authorities are implementing the directive badly. It believes that instead of providing the ''franchise'' anticipated by the directive for cars, Greece is currently imposing taxes on vehicles in the event a person moves to Greece from another member-state, which amount to 20 percent of the tax to be paid normally for circulating a car in Greece.
In addition, the advantage of reduced taxation is only recognized for one vehicle for each family. However, the directive anticipates the granting of a franchise for each car used, in the place of the previous permanent residence, by a member of a family transferring his ''usual residence'' to another member-state.
 European Commission on staff participation in companies
BRUSSELS, 12/07/2002 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)The European Commission, following a relevant initiative by Greek Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, called on the governments of European Union member-states on Thursday to improve conditions for the economic participation of staff in companies working through the establishment of participation systems in share capital, the right to purchase shares or the allocation of profits.
The term ''economic participation'' means the implementation of systems linking a company's staff with its profits or its results, either directly with participation in profits or indirectly with the participation of staff in the share capital.
The purpose of the initiative, according to an announcement by the Commission, is to facilitate companies to provide economic participation systems and, consequently, to benefit from the increased engagement of staff in the business, while giving in parallel a share of resulting productivity profits to staff individually.
''We need a new business model. The economic participation systems for staff, participation in share capital, the right to purchase shares or the distribution of profits can contribute to this,'' Diamantopoulou said in statements to the press.
 Steps taken in support of Thessaloniki's EXPO 2008 bid
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Thessaloniki's bid to host the international EXPO fair of 2008 was the focus of a cabinet meeting on Thursday in Athens.
Taking significant steps in the course of the bid, the top government officials appointed Helexpo S.A. in charge of all bid-related actions, they decided on the establishment of a Bid Coordination Commission and approved an initial bid-expenses budget of 600 billion drachmas.
The area of TEI Sindou was picked as the EXPO-site, while "Human Networks" was decided as the theme for the fair.
Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Paschalidis on his way out the meeting said that if the bid to bring the international EXPO fair to Thessaloniki is successful, this would translate into thousands of jobs for the northern port city, as well as sustained infrastructure growth for the city and the entire region.
For the realization of the event, the state has earmarked 200 billion drachmas (586.94 million euros) for the fair (100 billion drachmas have been earmarked for the EXPO site), 40 billion drachmas (117.39 million euros) for associated infrastructure and approximately 60 billion drachmas for running costs.
The formal bid to hold the event will be submitted to the Paris-based International Fairs Bureau early in 2003, while the final selection of the host city is scheduled for the Fall 2003.
 7.7 million euros for the upgrade of five border checkpoints
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)The state owned Hellenic Tourist Real Estate Company on Thursday presented the proposals of architects for the aesthetic upgrade of the country's border entrance checkpoints, ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
The company presented the three finalists of a relevant tender, which involves five border checkpoints and will cost some 7.7 million euros.
 Delays in Olympics flights continue as OA fires striking temps
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Delays of up to one hour continued for Olympic Airways passengers on Thursday, following labor action initiated by temporary staff demanding permanent positions with the airline.
The 800 employees are all employed on the basis of eight-month contracts and are protesting at not being included in a labor ministry bill that gives permanent positions to public sector contract workers, in accordance with European Union regulations.
Taking a tough stance, OA's management terminated the contracts of 70 contract workers on Thursday, on the grounds that their action was illegal, came in the midst of the tourist season and that the airline did not have the authority to grant their demands.
 Greek stocks continue moving lower
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Greek stocks continued moving lower on Thursday following losses in international markets with the general index falling to an intra-session record low for the year at 2,135 points.
The index ended 0.88 percent lower at 2,143.21 points, with turnover a low 61.2 million euros.
The Telecommunications sector was the only one to score gains (up 0.15 percent), while the Bank, Construction and Textile sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (1.94 percent, 1.80 percent and 1.56 percent, respectively).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 1.23 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.14 percent down and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index eased 0.87 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 244 to 62 with another 47 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded shares in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Coca Cola, Football Pools Organization, Techniki Olympiaki and Commercial Bank of Greece.
Equity index futures finish lower: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Thursday, with contracts on the high capitalization index showing a premium.
Turnover was 87.8 million euros.
The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips shed 1.23 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks dropped by 1.15 percent.
Bond prices finish unchanged in heavy trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Thursday 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 bund was 32 basis points.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totaled 2.4 billion euros.
Sell orders accounted for almost two-thirds of the trade.
 2004 Olympic Games mascots to begin promotion campaign
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Phoebus and Athena, the mascots of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, will begin a campaign to promote the Games, discovering the 35 events to be held in Athens in August 2004.
The mascots, originating from ancient Greece, will be making a full tour of all events included in the Olympic program and examining them with humor and laughter.
Phoebus and Athena, two symbols of the Olympic Ideal, will promote the human factor and remind us that the focal point and heart of the Olympic Games is and will always remain the human being.
 Iphigenia at Aulis at the ancient theater of Epidauros
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)The National Theatre group is giving its first summer performance this year at the ancient theatre of Epidauros on 2 and 3 August with Iphigenia at Aulis.
Work of great ancient tragic Euripides, the play is centered on the story of Iphigenia, best known as the daughter of Agamemnon, leader of the Greek forces at Troy, who had to be sacrificed in order to appease goddess Artemis, who was holding the Greek fleet in the bay of Aulis. At the last minute Iphigenia is transformed into a deer and she is saved.
Translated by director Costas Tsianos, the National Theatre production will depict Iphigenia as an innocent, vulnerable victim, repulsed by the cowardice behavior of the Greek generals, who with her transformation gives a way out to the impasse of the Greek expedition against Troy.
 Permanent photo exhibition of statesman El. Venizelos at Athens Int'l Airport
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)The life and work of the late Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos are depicted in a permanent photo exhibition on display at Athens' new international airport at Spata, which has been named after him, it was announced Thursday.
The exhibition, permanently on display at the Main Terminal Building, Entrance 3, Departures Level, is jointly organized by the Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport and the Eleftherios K. Venizelos National Research Foundation.
The aim is to acquaint travelers and visitors to the airport of the decisive role played by Venizelos in the history and social development of Greece, an airport announcement said.
Aspects of Venizelos' work and personality are illustrated in the remarkable photographic material, which was meticulously selected for this exhibition, which also comprises a tribute to the visionary who, during his political career, founded the 'Ministry of Aviation' and established civil aviation in Greece.
The material used mainly originates from the photographic archive of the Venizelos National Research Foundation based in Hania, Crete, birthplace of the statesman, while several photographs have also been contributed by the Hania Municipal Library, the Hellenic Literary & Historical Archive, the Benaki Museum, and the Liberal Society.
The bust of Venizelos that dominates the exhibition area was donated by Electra Vassiliou hi memory of her husband, sculptor Theodore Vassiliou.
The exhibition is open to passengers and visitors 24 hours a day.
 New terrorist group claims responsibility for Tuesday bomb
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Officers in the anti-terrorist squad on Thursday said that a group which claimed responsibility for the bomb explosion in Piraeus on Tuesday night was unknown to them and dismissed the attack as a spasmodic reaction to the breakthrough achieved against "November 17".
A group calling itself the "New Revolutionary Popular Struggle (NELA)" claimed responsibility for the bomb outside the offices of Hellenic Flying Dolphins in a call to the Greek newspaper "Eleftherotypia".
The explosive device, comprised of three sticks of dynamite and a slow-burning fuse, caused no injuries and limited damage.
Regarding the ongoing investigation of N17, police sources said that the evidence found in the two hideouts was now being checked for fingerprints that might lead to an arrest and that police were still looking for the man who had rented the group's hideout in Pangrati, who is believed to be a high-ranking member of the organization.
The discovery of sawn-off shotguns and other weapons preferred by common criminals, meanwhile, leads police to conclude that the group was self-funded, raising its money through armed robberies.
 Abandoned weaponry found on beach in Corfu
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Harbor authorities on Thursday found an abandoned arms cache in thick shrubs on a beach in Corfu.
The harbor authorities said they had found three Kalashnikov automatic rifles, several hand-grenades, and ammunition, abandoned in brush on Kontogialos beach, and were combing the area for more weapons.
They said that the weaponry appeared to have been in the shrubs for a length of time, as they were lightly oxidized.
 Five fields of cannabis discovered in Rethymno, Crete
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Police in Rethymno, Crete on Thursday announced that they had discovered five fields of cannabis containing 2,410 individual plants in remote locations outside Mylopotamos with the help of a helicopter.
None of the cannabis growers have been apprehended, though evidence such as hoses has been found at each site.
 Christodoulos sends condolences over Cyprus helicopter crash
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, on Thursday sent his condolences to Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides over the death of Lieut. Gen. Evangelos Florakis, chief of the Cypriot National Guard, and four other officers that were killed in a helicopter crash.
 Romanian journalists visit Patras
Athens, 12/07/2002 (ANA)A fifteen-member delegation of Romanian journalists from the Brasov region began a three-day visit in Patras, invited by their Greek colleagues of the Peloponnese.
This visit is part of a wider cooperation that began some months ago between the prefecture of Achaia and Brasov.
 Kasoulides says UN losing patience over lack of progress
NICOSIA, 12/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Kasoulides has said that the recent UN Security Council statement on Cyprus gives the message that it is losing its patience over lack of progress in talks to solve the Cyprus problem, and clarifies the responsibility of the Turkish Cypriot side, saying it is ''less constructive'' in efforts to reach a settlement.
Kasoulides noted the Council's clear position that the effort made by de Soto to determine the component parts of a comprehensive settlement should take fully into consideration the relevant UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus but most importantly that the Turkish side should orientate its views, which obviously are not in line with the UN resolutions.
The Security Council issued a statement three days ago saying that the Turkish Cypriot side has been ''less constructive'' than the Greek Cypriot side in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.
The statement was issued after the Council was briefed by the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, about the course of the UN-led direct talks aiming to solve the Cyprus problem.
Kasoulides expressed the view that the time left for a solution to the Cyprus issue, regarding the opportunities offered this period, is narrowing.
''It is not possible for us to continue (with the talks) after October without any constructive and significant effort on the four core issues of the Cyprus problem (governance, security, territory and property)'', Kasoulides said.
Referring to the political situation in Turkey, the minister said the government is following developments very closely.
He added that the EU would accept Cyprus as a full EU member state regardless of the developments in Turkey.
''The political instability, uncertainty and the possibility for early elections in Turkey do not help, since there is a possibility that they give Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash the chance to hide behind those developments and continue with his intransigent stance'', he added.
Kasoulides further noted that the government should carefully follow developments in Turkey to see whether there will be a new government, a new premier and if the new government will be in favor of the EU.
''In such a case, things may change'', he noted. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash launched direct UN-led talks in January, with a view to solve the problem. The talks enter their fifth round in mid-July.
 Cyprus House amends legislation to be in line with EU law
NICOSIA, 12/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)The Cyprus House of Representatives approved Thursday afternoon a bill amending the Penal Code, abolishing any discrimination between men and women regarding offences of a sexual nature, thus bringing the island in line with EU law.
Deputy President of the House Law Committee, Ionas Nicolaou, told CNA that the legislation approved allows homosexual sex at 17 instead of 18 and raises the age of consent for heterosexuals from 16 to 17.
Some Euro MPs had threatened to vote against the island's EU accession unless changes were made on the age of consent for homosexuals.
Member states in the European Union are allowed to set their own age of consent, as long as it is the same for homosexuals and heterosexuals.
Cyprus scrapped British colonial-era laws making homosexual sex illegal in 1998 despite sustained church opposition.
 House pays tribute to army officers killed in helicopter crash
NICOSIA, 12/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus House of Representatives plenary observed on Thursday morning a minute's silence in memory of the five officers of the National Guard, killed on Wednesday at a helicopter crash.
The five men killed while on duty are National Guard Commander, Lieutenant General Evangelos Florakis, Air Force Commander, Brigadier Stelios Demenagas, Lieutenant Nikos Georgiou and the two helicopter pilots, Flight Lieutenant Paris Athanasiades and Flank Officer Michalis Shiakallis.
Addressing the plenary of the 56-seat Cypriot parliament, House President Demetris Christofias said the death of the army officers
was a great loss for the nation.
He noted that the five officers sacrificed their lives while on duty serving their country.
Christofias made special reference to army chief Florakis. He praised his character, approach and devotion to the struggle of Cyprus.
''He devoted his life to Cyprus whom he loved so much. He was a man of deeds,'' Christofias said.
The House President expressed the parliament's condolences and sympathy to the relatives of the five officers, who were killed when their Bell 206 helicopter crashed near the western coastal town of Paphos early Wednesday morning.
Present at Thursday's House plenary were Defense Minister Socratis Hasikos and senior army officers.
Earlier Thursday Hasikos told the press that a six-member investigating committee has been set up to look into the circumstances of the helicopter crash.
Two Greek experts arrived in Cyprus Wednesday night to join in the investigations. Experts of the Bell manufacturers, the American Textron, and of the Rolls-Royce engine manufacturers were also on their way to Cyprus.
Cypriot officials have ruled out sabotage as the cause of the crash.
Minister Hasikos said ''it appears the helicopter was forced to land because of a fault, or fire.''