|Wednesday, 22 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-07-18
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>July 18, 2002
 PM Simitis visits site of new railway line under construction
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)A new section of the main Athens-Thessaloniki double-track railway line will be completed within the next 18 months, at which time it will be ready for full operation with the simultaneous closure of the old single-track line covering the same distance.
The cost of the project, covering a distance of 35 kilometers, totals 478.9 million Euro (approximately 170 billion drachmas), while the construction project of the Evangelismos-Leptokaryes link in northern Greece is designed to reduce travel time and improve rail operation and safety conditions.
''This project represents a significant step forward toward the complete modernization of the country's railroad system'', Prime Minister Costas Simitis said during his visit to the project construction site on Wednesday.
''This is not simply a new railroad line. This project will finally let us enter the era of high-speed trains and it will reduce traveling time between Athens and Thessaloniki from today's five hours and 30 minutes to three hours and 50 minutes gradually by the year 2008'', he said.
"Greece is changing. Step by step we support new infrastructures, new ways of life. Step by step we are attaining that which we aspire to and which the entire Greek people want: Convergence with the other EU countries," Simitis added.
Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis, who accompanied Simitis on his visit, said that the government is targeting parallel completion by 2008 of the new PATHE highway and rail links linking Patras-Athens-Thessaloniki.
''Already, large portions of the new rail track are being constructed from the beginning, while the rest are under reconstruction'', Verelis said.
Designed to carry trains at 200 kilometers an hour, the new railroad link includes railway stations, underpasses, a parallel road network and high-speed tunnels.
 Police arrest professor in connection with November 17
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)The issue of terrorism and in particular of the November 17 terrorist group, took a dramatic turn on Wednesday night. A team of the Special Police Force arrested on the island of Lipsi, in the Dodecannese, professor Michalis Economou, about 60 years of age, in a villa and transported him by helicopter to the offices of the Anti-Terrorist Squad in Athens where he is being interrogated.
According to sources, police are investigating him as an important member of November 17, something that has not been confirmed.
Economou is married to a French woman, has studied in France and according to the same sources had traveled for some time in Cuba.
Police confirm finding the gun used against Saunders, hold three for questioning: Greek police on Wednesday confirmed that a 0.45 caliber pistol used by the terrorist group ''November 17'' in the murder of Brigadier Stephen Saunders was among those found in one the group's safe houses and also that they were holding three people for questioning in connection with the N17 investigation.
Police spokesman Lefteris Economou officially announced the names of three people who were flown in from Thessaloniki on Tuesday night, two of whom are brothers of suspected terrorist Savvas Xiros, who is now in police custody.
He identified the three as Christodoulos Xiros, 44, and Vassilis Xiros, 30, and 26-year-old Dionysis Georgiadis.
Even though Economou refused to talk about possible arrests, saying only that the three men were being questioned regarding N17's activities by the anti-terrorist squad, this is the first time that police have announced the names of people being questioned in connection with this case.
The spokesman then revealed that the legendary 0.45 caliber pistol used by N17 in a number of sensational murders, including those of MP Pavlos Bakoyiannis on September 29, 1989 and most recently Brigadier Stephen Saunders on June 8, 2000, had been shown by ballistics to be among those found in the safe house on 73 Damareos Street in Pangrati.
He said the gun was a model 1911 A1 whose registration number had been filed off and which had also been used in the following murders:
The killing of Pandelis Petrou and Sotiris Stamoulis on January 16, 1980, the killings of Nikos Momferatos and Panagiotis Rousetis on February 21, 1985, the murder of Alexandros Athanasiadis-Bodosakis on March 1, 1988.
The same gun was also used in an attack that injured New Democracy MP Lefteris Papadimitriou on December 21, 1993.
Economou said that further ballistics test might confirm whether another 0.45 caliber pistol used in the Petros, Stamoulis, Momferatos, Rousetis and Bakoyiannis hits was among those found in the Patmos Street safe house in Patissia, as well as a missing 0.38 caliber revolver used in the hit against Papadimitriou.
Gov't spokesman warns media against rushing to conclusions in N17 case: Government spokesman Christos Protopapas on Wednesday warned reporters against rushing to conclusions in the ongoing investigation of the terrorist group November 17, saying that it would take a long time for events spanning 27 years to be fully uncovered and explained.
''We are witnessing the unfolding of an affair that will last a while,'' he said.
He was reacting to questions that described the group as ''a family affair'' after two brothers of suspected terrorist Savvas Xiros were flown in on a military aircraft from Thessaloniki for questioning.
Protopapas also denied rumors of a shootout outside the home of Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis and once again urged the media to avoid propagating fictitious scenarios.
''We must be particularly careful because this information is disseminated to all society and the issue of terrorism is not suitable fodder for generating myth and spectacle,'' he stressed.
Finally, the spokesman dismissed as laughable a report that Dimitris Koufontinas, currently being sought by police as a suspected terrorist, may have campaigned for PASOK in the prefecture of Achaia.
Protopapas said the rumors were simply mud-slinging that originated in ''the same centers and political forces that have for the past 20 years tried to prove a link between November 17 and PASOK.''
 U.S. ambassador to Athens to brief State Department
WASHINGTON, 18/07/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)U.S. Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller will brief the State Department on the latest developments on the issue of terrorism in Greece when he visits Washington next week.
This weekend, Miller will be the main speaker at the annual conference of the American Hellenic Educational and Progressive Association (AHEPA), which started in New York on Wednesday.
Asked on Wednesday whether during his visit Miller will also discuss the issue of the November 17 terrorist group, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher answered affirmatively.
Asked to comment on investigations in progress to disband the November 17 group, Boucher reiterated that it was an operation conducted by the Greek authorities and for this reason any question should be directed to them. Boucher noted that the United States was interested in the specific issue and was cooperating ''very well'' with the Greek authorities handling it.
 ND leader meets Albanian PM and party leaders
TIRANA, 18/07/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, after visiting Yugoslavia, met on Wednesday with Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko, Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano, Democratic Party leader Sali Berisha and newly-elected President Alfred Mojsiu.
Karamanlis is visiting Albania for the first time and in the framework of the European Peoples' Party's (EPP) initiative for Democracy in the Western Balkans, which he heads.
''We had the opportunity of setting out our views on the need for stability in the Balkan region which has gone through a great deal in the past. I believe that a prospect exists now for it to become a region of security, stability, cooperation and economic development for all,'' he said at the end of his meetings.
Karamanlis further said Europe's door is open, the region should schedule its course towards Europe, while the future access for the incorporation of Albania, and of the other countries in the region, to the European Union is being encouraged.
Karamanlis also referred to relations between the EPP and Berisha's party and possibilities of further developing relations between the two parties, saying that ''there is a great deal of ground for the further improvement of relations and even more fruitful cooperation between Greece and Albania.''
He also commented on the Greeks living in Albania and said ''there is particular interest on our part on absolute respect and the good living conditions for the Greeks living in Albania. I had the opportunity of pointing this out to all of my interlocutors and, of course, to Mr. Berisha as well, who, I am certain, agrees.''
 EU FMs expected to approve text supporting Cyprus' EU accession
BRUSSELS, 18/07/2002 (ANA - G. Daratos)The EU foreign ministers are expected to approve here on Monday a text by the Danish EU presidency supporting Cyprus' accession to the European Union, based on the conclusions of the Helsinki summit in December 1999.
''The Danish (EU) presidency fully supports the efforts of the UN Secretary General and that of his special representative for the finding of a solution to the Cyprus problem. The conclusions of the Helsinki summit continue to remain as a key reference in the solution of this issue'' and Cyprus' accession to the European Union, the text said.
In the same text, the Danish EU presidency said about Turkey that ''in full alignment with the conclusions of the Seville summit (June 2002) the Danish presidency encourages and fully supports the efforts made by Turkey so that it carry out the priorities which are registered in its partnership relation'' with the EU. The next EU summit in Copenhagen (in December) could take new decisions for the next phase of the Turkish candidacy (for accession). The text added that Turkey must fully meet the political criteria of Copenhagen if it wants to start negotiations for its EU accession.
 Simitis briefed on local elections
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday met with Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Costas Skandalidis.
The two-hour meeting focused on preparations for the upcoming municipality and local government elections in October, Public Sector hiring and various political issues associated with the government and the PASOK party.
Skandalidis briefed the prime minister on the progress of the revision of voters lists, the bill tabled by the Personnel Selection Supreme Council (ASEP) on Public sector personnel recruitment and retention, as well as on the operation of independent authorities.
The two men also discussed the new European Union guideline on the employment status of contract employees, already under consideration by the ministry of labor.
 DM Papantoniou inspects Air Force facilities
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)The Hellenic Air Force was capable of confronting any eventuality, particularly in the current 'sensitive' stage of Greece's national issues, national defense minister Yannos Papantoniou said Wednesday during an inspection tour of armed forces units.
Papantoniou on Wednesday inspected the 117th Battle Wing at Andravida and the Telecoms Technicians Training School, and expressed satisfaction with the work being carried out in the Air Force, after inspecting the modernized Phantom F-4 jetfighters and the Crotale small-range anti-aircraft missile system.
Papantoniou said the trial period for the F-4s would be completed soon, so that the new jetfighters could operationally cover the Andravida and Larissa military bases.
 Gov't presents online register of staff in wider public sector
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis on Wednesday presented the government's first electronic register of staff in local authorities and wider public sector organizations, that will be automatically updated online by local authorities, thus providing an overall picture of wider public sector staffing throughout Greece at any given time.
Skandalidis said that the details of up to 80 per cent of the workforce in the sector had so far been entered into the system, based on information submitted by 638 local authorities and by 40,807 staff from the largest municipalities in the country.
From the data collected so far, the government has drawn the following conclusions:
Staff in tertiary education (universities, technical colleges etc) are tending to increase faster than previously, with the rate of increase now standing at 20 per cent instead of 10 per cent in 1995.
The majority of staff employed by local authorities (83 per cent) have low-level educational qualifications and are employed in sanitation and maintenance.
Some 43 per cent of staff in wider public sector organizations have a degree, while the number of permanent employees has increased to 75 per cent. A further 70 per cent of staff has been employed for up to 15 years.
Skandalidis said the register would be fully complete before the elections in October and would assist central government decisions concerning local authority staffing, improve services, facilitate negotiations between various bodies and the ministry on staff issues and allow municipalities to be re-organized in order to meet new needs and demands.
 New EU treaties should secure national borders, Greek MEP tells ANA
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)The revision of European Union treaties should safeguard national borders as EU borders, Greek Euro-MP for PASOK Dimitris Tsatsos told the Athens News Agency in an interview on Wednesday.
Greece could help the Community achieve truly uniform foreign policy by supporting reforms that allowed decision-making and specific foreign policy measures and gave nation-states guarantees regarding their defense from without, he added.
According to Tsatsos, the reason that EU treaties had to be revised was that existing institutions would not work after the Community enlarged to 25 member-states and because attempts to correct this in the Nice Treaty had not fully succeeded.
Regarding the results of the new intergovern-mental conference and the discussions on the future of Europe, he said the emerging European Union could be a model for the rest of the world, provided the new treaties were able to reconcile deeper union, a community model and equality among member-states and had flexible institutions possessing the necessary legitimacy.
The MEP also said that the Greek government should introduce 'European studies' as a core subject in the school syllabus in order to help citizens 'feel closer' to EU decision-making centers and suggested that the political parties and media devote their efforts to informing the public on this issue.
On the efforts for deeper unification, he said each member-state had sensitive 'areas' where it was not ready to transfer powers to the center. Rushing this process would be counterproductive, Tsatsos argued, and premature unification legislation would actually cause delays and alienate citizens from a vision of unified Europe.
 Bakoyianni announces 46 of ND's candidates for Athens municipal council
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party Deputy Dora Bakoyianni, who is the ND's candidate for Athens Mayor, on Wednesday announced 46 of the party's candidates for the municipal council of Athens municipality.
Speaking at an event, Bakoyianni said that the future of Athens should be the result of a collective effort and of the creation of hard work by many people.
''We demand of ourselves effectiveness, relations of trust with the citizens, transparency, honesty and perfect technocratic planning. We want to send to the citizens of Athens a message of optimism and certainty for our city,'' Bakoyianni said.
The remaining candidates on her ticket are expected to be announced next month.
 Greek inflation among three highest in the EU in June
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)Greek inflation eased to 3.6 percent in June from 3.8 percent in May, on a year-on-year basis, but it remained among the three highest rates in the European Union, Eurostat said on Wednesday.
In its monthly report, the EU's statistics agency, said that Ireland (4.5 percent), the Netherlands (3.9 percent) and Greece (3.6 percent), recorded the highest inflation rates in June, while the UK (0.6 percent), Germany (0.7 percent) and Belgium (0.8 percent), the lowest rates.
The inflation rate eased to 1.8 percent in June from 2.0 percent in May in the eurozone, down from 3.0 percent a year ago. In the EU-15, inflation dropped to 1.6 percent from 1.8 percent, over the same period. It stood at 2.8 percent in June 2001.
In comparison with May, annual inflation fell in nine EU member-states, it was unchanged in France, Sweden and Luxembourg and rose in the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark.
Compared with June 2001, Ireland was the only country to record an increase (4.5 percent from 4.3 percent), while Germany (0.7 percent from 3.1 percent), Belgium (0.8 percent from 3.0 percent) and the UK (0.6 percent and 1.7 percent) recorded the biggest annual declines.
UK, Luxembourg and Germany recorded the lowest average inflation rates in June, while the Netherlands, Ireland and Greece and highest rates.
Annual inflation eased to 0.3 percent in June from 0.6 percent in May in Switzerland.
 Industrialists see no drop in demand until 2005
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)The Association of Greek Industry said on Wednesday that a survey it commissioned forecast no drop in demand for industrial products until at least 2005 as Greek households were not heavily indebted.
The indebtedness ratio of households to gross domestic products was 17.8 percent, substantially lower than its eurozone equivalent of 50 percent, the survey said.
In addition, the total volume of borrowing by Greek households was about 18.7 of disposable income against 70 percent in France, 35 percent in Italy and over 100 percent in the US, it added.
 Privatization process continues at satisfactory rate, govít says
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)A privatization process continues at a very satisfactory rate, Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting chaired by Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis to review the privatization process and financial support to small- and medium-sized enterprises, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the Public Power Corporate was a strong and large enterprise that has decided a share capital increase to raise money for its investment program.
 Govít presents National Action Plan on organic farming
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)Agriculture Minister George Drys on Wednesday announced the promotion of a National Action Plan to further develop organic farming in Greece.
Addressing two-day seminar on organic farm produce, organized by the agriculture ministry, Mr. Drys said a National Action Plan would envisage:
-training and briefing of young farmers and stock breeders, both on developments over an international market of organic products and over developments in science, technology and management of a modern agriculture production,
-systematic briefing of all parties involved in organic production and,
-organizing a wide-spread social dialogue between the state, manufacturers and producers on price policy issues, in the light of developments in a World Trade Organization.
"The times of fragmentation and amateurishness with no further strategy planning are gone with the past...the time has come to reset the structure, function and targets of our agricultural economy based on the terms of a modern farm enterprise," Mr. Drys said.
"Organizing this modern farm enterprises needs a restructuring of farming, a modernization of production methods. This new organization, however, does not mean changing the family nature of farming, or changing their sizes. It means a better orientation and a more efficient production," he noted.
Drys stressed that in a country like Greece, where farming was a main occupation for a significant part of the population, organic production could boost employment, combat unemployment and deal with a phenomenon of deserting the countryside.
 Farm minister meets Mediterranean peers on EU policy review
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)Agriculture Minister George Drys has held meetings with his European Union counterparts in the Mediterranean area on adopting a joint line for revision of the 15-nation bloc's farm policy.
The meetings with the farm ministers of Italy, Portugal, Spain and France took place in Brussels and Paris, Drys' office said in a statement on Wednesday.
 Trade unions oppose gov't's interpretation of EU directive
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)Representatives of 27 trade unions, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, expressed their opposition to the way the government interprets European Union directive 70/99 on changing contracts of a specific duration to ones of an indefinite duration in cases where workers cover longstanding and continuous needs.
The unionists announced that as of September they will go ahead, with coverage by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), with mobilizations and during the summer they will seek a series of contacts with political parties, mayors and prefects.
The representatives of the 27 unions said they will dynamically claim the retroactive and universal implementation of the directive.
European Union Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, replying to a question by main opposition New Democracy (ND) party Eurodeputy Costas Hatzidakis, said the directive can be applied for the 5,500 Social Security Foundation (IKA) doctors employed by contract.
 OTE telecom in restructuring
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), a heavily traded stock on the Athens bourse, is undertaking a restructuring of its group, chairman Lefteris Antonakopoulos said on Wednesday.
Under the three-phase plan, operations will be divided into four main divisions - global operations, fixed-line services, mobile telephones and Internet activities, Antonakopoulos told a news conference.
He said the move to make the group more flexible and speed up decision-making was needed in order to meet fierce competition.
 Informatics Society program to be implemented
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)The labor ministry's Informatics Society program, concerning the computerization and modernization of all social security funds, will be implemented through a decision taken by Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas.
The utilization of funds from the Informatics Society program is aimed at enabling the development of a set of services in turn enabling the utilization of information produced throughout the entire length of the ministry's sectors of responsibility, as well as those of public administration in their entirety.
Actions concerning the social security sector aim, among others, at improving services provided by social security bodies, the speeding up of pensioning processes and the gradual decrease and minimization of certificates required in the citizen's transactions with such bodies.
Two business information centers set up in Bulgaria SOFIA, 18/07/2002 (B. Borisov)
Two business information centers have been set up in Bulgaria as part of cooperation between the Greek External Trade Organization and its local counterpart.
The move falls under a development aid plan offered by Greece to Bulgaria and 26 other countries in its capacity as a member of an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development committee.
 Two bidders for stake in Hellenic Duty Free Shops
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)Two binding bids were received for a 40 percent holding in Hellenic Duty Free Shops SA, which is quoted on the Athens bourse, its main shareholder said on Wednesday.
The first consortium comprises Athens-quoted Folli-Follie SA and Germanos SA, joined by individual investors; and the second is Aldeasa of Spain, Agricultural Bank of Greece said in a statement.
The Greek consortium offered the highest bid for the stock, the statement added.
Evaluating the bids are Agricultural Bank and its advisors in the tender, PricewaterhouseCoopers Asset Management.
 Bill on seller's responsibility for product quality tabled
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)The justice ministry on Wednesday tabled in a bill in Parliament regulating the responsibility of sellers for defects or other problems with the quality of the products they sell.
The bill seeks to harmonies existing legislation with European Union directives and also speed up litigation on these issues in the courts.
 ASE, ADEX approve merger plan
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)An Athens Stock Exchange and an Athens Derivatives Exchange joint general shareholders' meetings on Wednesday approved a merger plan between the two markets and a reform plan of the Athens Stock Exchange SA statute.
Under the merger plan, pending approval from Development ministry agencies, the new company will be named Athens Exchange SA.
The merger plan is part of a wider restructuring plan of the group Hellenic Stock Markets SA, a listed company, and in the framework of a consolidation trend in international markets aimed to reduce operating cost and to contribute in a more effective coordination between the two markets.
The new company will organize, support and monitor transactions in equities, derivatives and other financial products, will ensure a smooth operation of the market, and protecting investors.
 Stockbrokers propose measures to aid flagging stock market
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)The Association of Athens Stock Exchange Members on Wednesday released proposals that could help to lift the market out of a long-term decline whose impact has hit the broader economy.
Among the proposals are lower taxes and social insurance contributions by employers, steps that would bring down costs and boost competitiveness.
The brokers also asked for the abolition of a 0.30 percent transactions tax on sales.
In addition, the trade group called for the introduction of international accounting standards as soon as possible, and a mandatory release of earnings forecasts by quoted firms when major divergences occurred, in order to help protect investors.
Also dampening the market were unbridled entry into the bourse, high prices set by underwriters, privileges enjoyed by certain sectors, and major share capital increases, coupled with a decline in earnings.
Those factors had served to curb liquidity, leading to crisis conditions in the market, the trade group said in a statement.
 ASE chairman says Greek bourse shows resilience in current int'l decline
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)''Figures showing an increased participation of foreign investors in the Greek stock market is proof of foreign investors' confidence to the Greek economy and Greek enterprises, and also a message to Greek investors,'' Athens Stock Exchange chairman Panayiotis Alexakis said on Wednesday.
Mr. Alexakis stressed that negative developments in international markets were affecting sentiment in the domestic market, but noted that the Greek bourse was showing more resilience.
He said that the Greek market was currently witnessing a second declining trend that started in the mid-2001 (the first declining cycle ended in the first half of 2001) that was almost exclusively attributed to a fall in international markets.
Mr. Alexakis said that macro-economic data were particularly positive in both sides of the Atlantic and noted that a series of accounting scandals have undermined investors' confidence. ASE chairman said he did not believe that such phenomena existed in the Greek market.
Alexakis said that market authorities would present the recommendations of a 15-member committee on introducing International Accounting Standards in Greece and that listed companies would be given enough time to be prepared awaiting a directive by the European Commission.
Alexakis said that a recent survey showed that investors were intending to pay up to 20 percent more to buy shares of companies that have adopted IAS in the books.
Commenting on a decline in daily turnover in the Greek bourse, Alexakis said that this was not just a Greek phenomenon as many European stock market were showing a 50 percent decline in trading volumes.
Alexakis urged for a continuation of new quality listings in the market despite limited liquidity conditions.
 Greek stocks end up; resist international pressures
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)Greek stocks ended Wednesday's session moderately higher as the Athens Stock Exchange was showing more resilience to a turmoil hitting international markets this week.
The general index rose 0.58 percent to end at 2,136.58 points, after spending only two minutes in negative territory during the entire session.
Turnover was an improved 573.8 million euros, boosted by the listing of OPAP's shares after a successful flotation of an additional 19 percent of its equity capital.
The Holding, Construction and Retail sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (1.99 percent, 1.30 percent and 1.10 percent, respectively), while the Insurance, Metals and Cement sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (0.84 percent, 0.67 percent and 0.28 percent).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.53 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0.48 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 0.25 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 186 to 103 with another 65 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecoms, EFG Eurobank Ergasias, Football Pools, Coca Cola HCB, and National Bank of Greece.
Derivatives Market Close: Equity index futures perk up: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished brighter on Wednesday, with contracts on the high capitalization index showing a premium of 0.50 percent.
Turnover was 92.0 million euros.
The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips gained 0.53 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks rose 0.48 percent.
Bond Market Close: Prices down in brisk trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Wednesday finished lower in heavy trade focusing on ten-year paper.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.26 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 33 basis points.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 2.5 billion euros.
Sell orders accounted for about half of trade.
 ATHOC president to meet construction workers' union
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)Athens 2004 Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos Daskalaki will meet members of the construction workers' union on Thursday for a briefing on working conditions at the Olympic Village where four workers have been killed.
Daskalaki expressed great concern over fatal labor accidents at the Olympic Village during Tuesday's Interministerial Commit-tee's meeting and proposed the taking of immediate measures, which Prime Minister Costas Simitis accepted, calling for the dismissal from projects of contractors failing to observe security measures in workplaces.
In another development, ATHOC's board convened on Wednesday and decided to proclaim a tender to be provided with at least 1,100 50-seater buses to serve transport for the Olympic Family. The duration of the lease will range between 25 and 60 days to cover the period of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
 Beach on Crete wins Internet vote as 'best and cleanest'
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)Falasarna beach in Hania on the island of Crete was voted the best and cleanest in the country by visitors hitting the environment ministry's website www.thalassa.gr, out of a total of 50,000 votes.
Apart from Falasarna, the rest of the Greek top 10 were Myrtos on the Ionian island of Cephallonia, Porto Katsiki on the Ionian island of Lefkas, Agios Prokopios on the island of Naxos in the Cyclades, Koukounaries on the Aegean island of Skiathos, Chryse at Lasithi, Crete, Agios Nikolaos on the Aegean island of Karpathos, Vai at Lasithi, Crete, Vatera on the Aegean island of Lesvos and Kathisma on Lefkas.
The mayors of the municipalities to which these beaches belong were given a prize by Environment Minister Vasso Papandreou on Wednesday during a ceremony in Zappeion.
In her speech, Papandreou stressed that Greece had some of the best beaches in the Mediterranean and the highest percentage of beaches that qualified for the Community's 'blue flag' in the European Union. Specifically, she said that 99.4 per cent of all Greek beaches were considered suitable for swimming and 97.1 per cent had waters of very exceptionally high quality.
 Sessions of Harvard Olympia Summer School begin in Ancient Olympia
Athens, 18/07/2002 (ANA)The sessions of the Harvard Olympia Summer School, organized by the Olympic Center for the Study of Ancient Greek Culture, got underway at Ancient Olympia on Wednesday.
Present at the opening ceremony were Education Minister Petros Efthymiou, U.S. Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller, Patra University Rector Nikolaos Zoumbos, the Kokkalis Foundation board member Eleni Kokkali, academics, politicians and local officials.
 Instability in Turkey not helpful for Cyprus peace talks, gov't spokesman says
NICOSIA, 18/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)The political instability in Turkey does not facilitate the process of the UN-led direct talks, aiming at the settlement of the Cyprus question, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said here on Wednesday.
Asked after Wednesday's Cabinet meeting whether the political uncertainty in Turkey affects direct talks, held between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Papapetrou said that ''uncertainty surely is not helpful for the talks'' and pointed out ''the issue at stake now that the developments have been finalized - namely that the country will proceed with elections - is what will come out of this crisis and not the crisis itself''.
Papapetrou also noted that the government follows the situation in Turkey. Clerides and Denktash have been engaged in UN-led direct talks with a view to solve the Cyprus problem since mid January this year. The fifth round of talks commenced here on Tuesday.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.
 Kasoulides says his visit to Israel was very useful
NICOSIA, 18/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said his official visit to Israel and Palestinian territories was very useful.
Speaking to the press on his arrival to Cyprus on Wednesday morning, Kasoulides said that during his meetings with Israeli officials and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, he had the opportunity to reiterate Cyprus' willingness to maintain friendly relations with all countries of the region.
''Within this framework, Cyprus could contribute to the peace efforts in the Middle East'', Kasoulides added. He also said that Cyprus would continue to follow developments in the Middle East.
Israelís President Moshe Katsav and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon received Kasoulides.
He also met with Israeli Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Jerusalem's Patriarch Irineos, Knesset Speaker Avraam Burg, Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer and opposition leader Yossi Sarid.
 US Ambassador says solution not easy but within grasp
NICOSIA, 18/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)US Ambassador to Cyprus Donald Bandler said here on Wednesday that finding a solution to the Cyprus problem is not easy but within grasp.
Speaking here at a press conference, Bandler, who leaves the island soon, pointed out that there is still much work to be done in the process of the UN-led direct talks for Cyprus, noting that ''it is doable''.
The American ambassador urged Cypriots and their leaders to work hard for a solution to the Cyprus problem and noted that ''for better or worse the decisions Cypriots take leading up to the Copenhagen EU
Summit in December will have an important impact on Cyprus for years to come.''
Replying to questions, Bandler pointed out that ''an agreement by definition, is not going to be 100% pleasing for either side'', noting that there would be difficulties.
''Everyone knows a settlement will require compromise and hard decisions. But decisions will have to be taken and this is the time to do it'', he added.
He also pointed out that a settlement in Cyprus will not only affect the future of the people of Cyprus, but ''will also make a contribution to the process of Greek-Turkish rapprochement and security in the Mediterranean basin''.
Bandler expressed the conviction that ''Greek and Turkish Cypriots realize they have before them a better opportunity than ever before to reshape a common future''.
Asked whether the political situation in Turkey would affect talks on Cyprus, Bandler said that ''there are interests and important things about Turkey's future that are in a twine with the Cyprus issue and Turkey's interest in Cyprus'', adding that only time would tell how things will work out.
Bandler stressed his country's powerful commitment to efforts for a comprehensive, just and durable solution to the Cyprus problem.
Referring to the relations between the US and Cyprus he said they are on a very sound and positive footing.