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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-07-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

July 26, 2002


  • [01] Greece will not accept a renationalization of CAP, Simitis says
  • [02] Greece will ask EU permission to boost cotton subsidies using national funds
  • [03] Latest ''N17'' suspect formally charged
  • [04] FM, public order minister brief EU ambassadors on terrorism
  • [05] Greek authorities lauded by White House spokesman on 'N17' issue
  • [06] Blair congratulates Greek authorities for their efforts to stamp out 'N17'
  • [07] Turkish charge d’Affaires briefed on investigations into ''N17''
  • [08] Turkish FM claims Greece providing asylum to organizations harmful to Turkey
  • [09] British minister meets FM, alternate FM
  • [10] First Greek satellite to go into orbit in March 2003
  • [11] PM chairs meeting on progress of Thessaloniki projects
  • [12] Main opposition presents its candidates for the Attica prefectural elections
  • [13] President, Parliament president, receive new PADEE board
  • [14] Economy needs retention of stability policies, minister says
  • [15] Greek trade deficit falls 0.8 percent in 2001
  • [16] Industrial production index up 0.6 percent in May
  • [17] Greece, Yugoslavia sign reconstruction aid pact
  • [18] Competition Commission clears Greek airlines of price-fixing practices
  • [19] ASE follows international markets' recovery
  • [20] Marine researcher Jean-Michel Cousteau visits 'Athens 2004' headquarters
  • [21] Shell wins Athens 2004 Olympics sponsorship
  • [22] Gov't denies being lax over Olympic Village labor safety
  • [23] U.S. Congress resolution supports Cyprus' EU accession
  • [24] Kasoulides says time may not be right for peace plan

  • [01] Greece will not accept a renationalization of CAP, Simitis says

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    The Greek government's policy is to have a competitive and viable farm sector that will raise farmers' incomes, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Thursday.

    Speaking to reporters, after a cabinet meeting to discuss farm policy in the wake of European Commission's proposals to drastically review EU's Common Agriculture Policy, Mr. Simitis said that funds earmarked for the Greek farm sector in 2002 accounted for 20 percent of a Third Community Support Framework total program.

    ''We see a strengthening of financing towards farmers, while from October 16 we will begin payment of subsidies with no further delays,'' Simitis told reporters.

    The Greek premier said a number of integrated development programs was rapidly implemented and that the government has improved efficiency of mechanisms designed to support farm subsidies.

    Commenting on a recent decision by the EU's executive to reduce subsidies to cotton growers in Greece, Mr. Simitis said that the country's agriculture minister has asked his EU counterparts to accept national subsidies.

    ''In the Berlin EU summit in 1999, it was agreed to offers funds to European farmers so their interests are secured up to 2006. A CAP review refers to the period after 2006 and the Greek government will begin negotiations seeking for an agreement that will improve farmers' living conditions, will allow redistribution to the benefit of small- and medium-sized farmers and will protect subsidies,'' Simitis noted.

    ''Our aims is to strengthen social cohesion and ahead of a EU expansion to offer new funds to the farm sector. What we reject is a renationalization of CAP, either obvious or in disguise. Such a prospect will lead to a dangerous adventure for our farmers and we are not willing to accept this,'' he stressed.

    Mr. Simitis said that ''a Greek farmer is a productive citizen, contributing to the Greek economy, in difficult conditions. We are aware of this reality and the government will fight to ensure farmers' interests.''

    [02] Greece will ask EU permission to boost cotton subsidies using national funds

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greece intends to seek the European Union's permission to bump up low subsidies for cotton using national funds, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced on Thursday, while stressing that this request was in no way related to a renationalization of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

    He said the government's finance team had instructed Agriculture Minister George Drys to ask the EU agriculture ministers' council to allow national subsidies, an issue that would be discussed when the council next met.

    According to Protopapas, the EU had rejected government estimates of 1,148,000 tones for the overall Greek cotton crop, accepting a figure of 1,210,000 tones instead.

    The extra tonnage would greatly lower the 50 drachma per kilo return originally calculated by the government to just 8.5-12.5 drachmas per kilo, Protopapas explained.

    Reporting on Thursday's cabinet meeting, the spokesman said that Prime Minister Costas Simitis had instructed the ministers to leave replacements from the at each of the ministries, so that they would all be fully operational during the 20-day holiday break in August.

    The prime minister presented his ministers with a list of regions in Greece that they should visit in view of the local government elections in order to answer the questions of the electorate.

    He also advised his cabinet to be particularly cautious in their statements on EU issues, pointing out that Greece had already taken the duties of the EU presidency for some issues and there was a risk of compromising the mediatory role the presidency was often required to play.

    Finally, Simitis noted that the government faced a tough time between now and the Autumn, during which time it would have to prepare the budget, make preparations for the Olympic Games and speed up the absorption of 3rd Community Support Framework funds. He also asked the ministers to support the government's economic policies in general.

    Regarding developments in the fight against terrorism, Simitis said that the investigation had created "good prospects" but underlined that the government, mainly, would have to answer the needs of Greek citizens.

    Greece to seek funding for farmers in wake of cotton subsidy cut: Agriculture Minister George Drys said on Thursday that he would seek support from his European Union counterparts to gain funding of 90 million euros for smaller farmers that would offset a reduction in cotton subsidies under an EU ruling a day earlier.

    Under EU rules, consensus would be needed among the 15-nation bloc's farm ministers in order to secure the funds.

    Drys also told reporters that the government would seek "legal procedures" to meet the EU's decision to lower cotton subsidies.

    Gov't under fire in wake of EU reduction in cotton subsidies: The main opposition New Democracy party on Thursday called on senior officials of the agriculture ministry to resign following a European Union ruling a day earlier lowering cotton subsidies.

    The party said in a statement that the government had failed to carry out its pledges to cotton farmers.

    Also criticizing the government was the Coalition of the Left and Progress, which held the predecessor of the current farm minister responsible for the loss of the subsidies.

    The GESASE, PASEGES AND SYDASE farmers' trade groups blamed the government and agriculture ministry for a poor cotton strategy overall, and for clumsy handling of the subsidies issue at the EU.

    [03] Latest ''N17'' suspect formally charged

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    Latest ''November 17'' suspect Pavlos Serifis was formally charged on Thursday by an Athens prosecutor.

    Serifis, who is believed to have taken part in the 1975 assassination of CIA station chief Richard Welch, was charged by prosecutor Elias Kolioussis with participation in a criminal organization and the manufacture, procurement and possession of explosives and arms.

    Two more suspected members of the November 17 terrorist group, Iraklis Kostaris and Kostas Karatsolis, were remanded in custody with the consent of the competent prosecutor. Earlier on Thursday, the pair had refused to testify before the 4th Examining Magistrate Theoni Bouri on grounds that the case had been assigned to a special magistrate by the appellate judges council and that Bouri was therefore no longer competent to hear their testimony.

    In a related development, sources said that the preliminary examination of alleged terrorist Savvas Xiros is expected to be completed by Wednesday.

    Xiros, 40, is being treated at a hospital under heavy guard after he was severely injured in an explosion during a botched terrorist attack last June that cost him his arm and one of his eyes. Police believe the explosion occurred when a bomb he had intended to set in Piraeus went off prematurely.

    Police say Serifis may been involved in first N17 hit in 1975: Pavlos Serifis, one of the latest suspected members of the terrorist group November 17 to fall into the hands of the police, is believed to have taken part in the first murder of CIA station chief Richard Welch on December 23, 1975, police announced on Thursday.

    Police spokesman Lefteris Economou said that the evidence arising from the preliminary interrogation pointed to Pavlos Serifis being a veteran member of N17 that used the codename 'Vangelis' or 'Nikitas,' who regularly received money from N17 and knew about its criminal activities and its decisions.

    Serifis denies the charges against him.

    N17 suspects refuse to testify before 4th Examining magistrate: Two suspected members of the terrorist group November 17, Iraklis Kostaris and Kostas Karatsolis, on Thursday refused to testify before 4th Examining Magistrate Theoni Bouri on the grounds that the case had been assigned to a special magistrate by the appellate judges council and that she was therefore no longer competent hear their testimony.

    The pair outlined their objections to the proceedings in a document submitted by their lawyer Yiannis Stamoulis to the examining magistrates' office on Thursday. They are due to testify before Bouri on Thursday afternoon.

    Kostaris and Karatsolis said they will testify when they are called before the appellate magistrate.

    Another suspected terrorist arrested: Another suspected member of the 'November 17' terrorist organization, known by the codename ''Alekos'', was arrested shortly before noon on Thursday, police said.

    The man, identified as Patroklos Tselentis, 42, was located in a house in the Attica prefecture and taken to the counter-terrorism squad headquarters, where he was being questioned.

    Tselentis is believed to be the man identified by the codename ''Alekos o Tainias'' by other detainees.

    No further details were immediately available.

    Meanwhile, Thomas Serifis, a relative of Pavlos Serifis (codename Nikitas), has been given an extension to Friday to testify, following a request by his lawyer to the investigating magistrate, while Pavlos Serifis was due to appear later in the day before the public prosecutor.

    Thomas Serifis is accused of a series of felonies and of participation in 17N.

    Two other detainees, Iraklis Kostaris and Costas Karatsolis, were due to be brought before the examining magistrate at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday. Both men were expected to refuse to give testimony, according to reliable sources.

    Radio & TV Council advises sensibility: The National Radio and Television Council on Thursday issued a stern release prompted by a series of television broadcasts that continue outside the parameters of ethical codes and standards.

    ''The incrimination of certain individuals or even suspects, abuses the citizens' right to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, creating a climate of public ridicule and stigmatization of citizens,'' the release said.

    The council advised the Media to ''exhibit sensibility to prevent transforming the information sector into a theatrical stage of self-proclaimed public prosecutors''.

    [04] FM, public order minister brief EU ambassadors on terrorism

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis briefed European Union ambassadors on Thursday on developments regarding the crackdown on terrorism, underlining the government's determination to stamp out terrorism and expressing thanks for cooperation shown by the European factor over the issue.

    The two ministers appeared optimistic over the outcome of investigations on the November 17 terrorist group and conveyed a message of security in light of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Papandreou congratulated the public order ministry and Chrysohoidis for their work and for close cooperation between the two ministries.

    Chrysohoidis said cooperation between European countries is of particular value, which is not only based on the police aspect, but also on values and ideals and European democratic traditions.

    He added that throughout all the years the great effort to confront terrorism took place, there was close, constructive and beneficial cooperation with the foreign ministry and Papandreou.

    [05] Greek authorities lauded by White House spokesman on 'N17' issue

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    Recent developments on the terrorism front and the successes scored by Greek authorities on the ''N17'' issue prompted renewed lauds on the part of the US, this time from the White House.

    Asked to comment on the course of investigations and the arrests of suspects in connection with the urban terrorist group November 17, White House National Security Spokesman Sean McCormack on Thursday said ''We would like to commend the Greek authorities for the actions that they have taken, both their investigation and the apprehension of these suspects. We hope that this spells the end to the 17 November terrorist group, which has taken many lives, including that of American citizens. They have been operating for the past three decades and they've brutally murdered people in terrorist acts''.

    McCormack said that ''this is only part of the significant actions that the Greek government has taken in the war against terrorism. We've been working very closely with Greece on counter-terrorism and in the war against terrorism. And we're confident that this cooperation will continue and even deepen as we approach the 2004 summer games, which will be happening in Athens''.

    Finally, referring to the issue of terrorist acts having taken place back in the past, the White House spokesman said that ''These arrests are actually all the more significant for the fact that it sends a message to terrorists and those who harbor terrorists around the world that it doesn't matter how long ago the terrorist act was committed, we will continue to hunt you down and we will find you and we will bring you to justice. And I think that that's the case here''.

    [06] Blair congratulates Greek authorities for their efforts to stamp out 'N17'

    LONDON, 26/07/2002 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday congratulated the Greek authorities on their efforts to stamp out terrorism.

    Speaking at a press conference before departing for his summer holidays, Blair said ''it is a fact there was a great degree of concern here that Greece would not act satisfactorily in this issue. I think that the vigor and the determination which the Greek authorities have shown on the issue of terrorism is very welcome.''

    Also discussed in Britain now is the version, which was formulated in the ''Times'' newspaper, that the November 17 terrorist group accidentally killed British Military Attache Brigadier Stephen Saunders. The real target, the article says, was a high-ranking American officer with the same surname, Saunders, who served with NATO in Aviano, Italy and who had direct involvement in the coordination of NATO attacks in Kosovo.

    The article further said that the ''N17'' proclamation which followed the murder of Stephen Saunders had two inaccuracies. Firstly, it referred to the British military attache as a high-ranking naval officer, while he was a brigadier in the army. Secondly, the ''N17'' proclamation said that he was responsible for the coordination of NATO operation in Kosovo, something which has been categorically denied both by the British government and Saunders' widow.

    [07] Turkish charge d’Affaires briefed on investigations into ''N17''

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    The Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Major-General Stelios Syros, accompanied by ambassador Anastasios Skopelitis, on Thursday briefed the Turkish charge d’Affaires on investigations into the ''November 17'' terrorist group.

    The Turkish ambassador was absent from Athens and therefore Syros briefed the Turkish charge d’Affaires on results to date of investigations related to the ''N17'' terrorist attacks which targeted Turkish diplomats.

    [08] Turkish FM claims Greece providing asylum to organizations harmful to Turkey

    ISTANBUL, 26/07/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel has accused Greece of ''offering asylum to organizations which are trying to dismember Turkey'' and noted that he will raise the issue in his forthcoming meeting with his Greek counterpart George Papandreou.

    Gurel made the statements to Turkish television in reference to Athens newspaper reports, which stated that the alleged leader of the illegal organization ''DHKP-C'', Dursun Caratas, is in Athens.

    ''We asked Athens to confirm the information,'' the Turkish minister said, adding that ''if this information is true, Caratas should be arrested and handed over to Turkey.''

    Gurel also launched a verbal attack on the European Union, saying that ''if the EU member countries are sincere in that they share the same objectives and views with Turkey on the issue of terrorism, then they will hear our warnings.''

    [09] British minister meets FM, alternate FM

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis held talks on Thursday with British Alternate European Affairs Minister Peter Hain who congratulated the Greek government on its efforts to crack down on terrorism.

    ''I wish to warmly congratulate the Greek government for the excellent work being done by the Greek police with the detection and arrest of November 17 terrorists. Indeed, it is an excellent job which deserves congratulations,'' Hain told reporters after the meeting.

    Hain added that ''we gladly helped in this case since it was requested of us. However, it is a very pleasant event and very positive for the reputation of Greece. We are aware that the issue of terrorism is an international problem, a problem necessitating international cooperation.''

    Giannitsis expressed his thanks for the assistance given to Greece by Britain on the issue of breaking up the November 17 terrorist group, saying that Scotland Yard's contribution to the issue is known.

    Giannitsis and Hain discussed issues concerning the European Union's Greek presidency in the first half of 2003, matters concerning EU enlargement, particularly the aspect of the intermediate revision of Common Agricultural Policy, immigration policy in the EU, the common asylum policy, issues regarding the discussion on the future of Europe and the question of Cyprus' EU accession.

    Giannitsis said the steadfast position taken in the EU was ascertained once again that the Helsinki agreement still stands that Cyprus will join the EU regardless of a solution to the Cyprus issue.

    Hain said ''I can agree that while we are awaiting the successful outcome of the talks taking place in Cyprus, we are also awaiting the accession of Cyprus to the EU, together with the other countries, in December. Of course, it would be very important for negotiations to be crowned with success before the Copenhagen summit, if possible, and for a united Cyprus to join the European Union and not a divided Cyprus which would convey the problems linked to the issue.''

    Referring to EU enlargement, Hain said all countries completing the accession process will join the EU in mid-December, adding that he means that the decision will be taken then because these countries will become full EU members in 2004.

    Hain also met with Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    [10] First Greek satellite to go into orbit in March 2003

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    The first Greek satellite, due to serve the needs of Greece and Cyprus, will go into orbit in March 2003. The relevant agreement for the procurement of the satellite, to be named ''Hellas-Sat'', was signed on Thursday between the Hellas Sat joint venture and the French Astrium company.

    The satellite will remain in orbit for 15 years, which is its total life expectancy, and will then be replaced by another one. It is one of the most powerful in the market, it has wide geographical coverage and is placed at 39 degrees east.

    It can transmit a digital television program all over Europe with a dish of a size of 60 cm. It also has 30 transmitters capable of transmitting 300 television channels.

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) President Lefteris Antonakopoulos said in a statement that the satellite will open the horizons of space, ranking Greece among those having a presence in space.

    He added that it secures the television broadcasting of the Olympic Games, due to take place in august 2004, to the world and, in parallel, will constitute the main body of communication between overseas Hellenism with Greece and Cyprus.

    The satellite is 4.9 meters high, 1.7 meters long and 2.5 meters wide, while its weight during launching will amount to 3,250 kilos.

    [11] PM chairs meeting on progress of Thessaloniki projects

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis chaired a meeting of ministers on Thursday to assess the government's work and the progress of projects being carried out in Thessaloniki, northern Greece.

    The meeting, taking place after a cabinet meeting on agricultural policy, was attended, among others, by Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Minister of Macedonia and Thrace George Paschalidis.

    Paschalidis, in a statement to the Athens News Agency (ANA), said the government cares about Thessaloniki and for this reason regular checks to assess the progress of the government's work are conducted.

    [12] Main opposition presents its candidates for the Attica prefectural elections

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy on Thursday presented the three candidates it will be backing in the prefectural elections in Attica - journalist Yiannis Tzannetakos for the Attica super-prefecture, Thanassis Vezyrgiannis for the Athens prefecture and Maria Tsanaki-Sorotou for Piraeus prefecture.

    Tsanaki-Sorotou is currently the Piraeus prefect and is the only one of the three standing for re-election in her district.

    ND spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos made the announcement after the three candidates visited party leader Costas Karamanlis at ND's party headquarters.

    Roussopoulos also thanked current Attica super-prefect Theodoros Katrivanos and Athens prefect Eleni Besbea, both of whom were elected on an ND ticket, for their efforts while in office. Katrivanos and Besbea had a meeting with ND Central Committee Secretary Vangelis Meimarakis earlier on Thursday, who again thanked them for their cooperation with the party and said this would continue until the end of their term.

    [13] President, Parliament president, receive new PADEE board

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Thursday received the members of the World Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Hellenes (PADEE) who are in Athens within the framework of their 4th General Assembly.

    Earlier, the members of the new PADEE board visited Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis.

    Receiving them, Kaklamanis said ''we are happy because an effort which started six years ago with hard work by expatriate politicians from 5 continents has reached an extremely important milestone.''

    [14] Economy needs retention of stability policies, minister says

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Thursday that maintenance of "recipes for stability" were needed for the economy.

    The same policy mix should be strictly adhered to so that gains made by the economy could be maintained and expanded, Christodoulakis told reporters after a meeting with the prime minister.

    High growth rates should remain, and inflation needed to drop, he added.

    [15] Greek trade deficit falls 0.8 percent in 2001

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's trade deficit fell by 0.8 percent in 2001 compared with the previous year, according to provisional figures released by the National Statistics Service on Thursday.

    The trade shortfall fell to 16.8 billion US dollars last year from 17.631 billion in 2000.

    [16] Industrial production index up 0.6 percent in May

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's composite industrial production index, including mining, manufacturing and electricity-natural gas-water production, rose 0.6 percent in May compared with the same month last year, National Statistics Service said on Thursday.

    The rise in the composite index reflected an 11.3 percent jump in mining production, a 0.6 percent decline in manufacturing and a 2.0 percent increase in electricity-natural gas-water production over the month.

    NSS said the industrial production index rose 0.9 percent in the first five months of 2002 compared with the same period last year.

    The rise reflected an 11.6 percent increase in mining production, a 0.2 percent fall in manufacturing and an 1.6 percent rise in electricity-natural gas-water production.

    [17] Greece, Yugoslavia sign reconstruction aid pact

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greece and Yugoslavia on Thursday signed an agreement on aid that Athens will give to Belgrade under its Balkan reconstruction plan.

    The funding is to total 250 million euros over five years, the bulk of which will be used to spur investments and business activity.

    In addition, another 15 million euros is to be allocated for Kosovo.

    Signing for Greece was Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos and deputy president of the receiving country's federal government, Miroljub Labus.

    ''Today, formation of the program's legal base has been completed. Remaining is implementation, which is simpler and more substantive,'' Loverdos told the signing ceremony.

    Labus said that in the first two years of implementation of the plan for Serbia and Montenegro the bulk of monies would be spent on reconstructing a major highway, homebuilding, and health sector infrastructure.

    Greece's reconstruction plan spanning a total of six Balkan countries totals 550 million euros, with Yugoslavia receiving the lion's share.

    [18] Competition Commission clears Greek airlines of price-fixing practices

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's Competition Commission on Thursday said it had rejected a demand by the country's travel agencies to issue a restraining order against Olympic Airways, Aegean Airways and Axon Airlines, which were accused of harmonized practices and abuse of market position.

    Travel agencies protested against the three Greek airlines' decision to end a cheap fare policy, to raise fares on domestic flights and to reduce travel agencies' commission to a net 6.94 percent from 9.25 percent.

    Competition authorities, however, said the move did not have a severe impact on travel agencies' activities.

    [19] ASE follows international markets' recovery

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended sharply higher on Thursday, dramatically reversing a several-day decline in the Athens Stock Exchange supported by a substantial recovery in international markets.

    The general index ended 2.22 percent higher at 2,072.41 points, with turnover a low 86.1 million euros.

    The IT Solutions, IT, Banks and Publication sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (3.20 percent, 2.83 percent, 2.58 percent and 2.48 percent, respectively), while the Holding and Food-Beverage sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (0.48 percent and 0.13 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 2.16 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 2.14 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 2.36 percent up.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 309 to 25 with another 29 issues unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecoms, Football Pools, National Bank of Greece, and Alpha Bank.

    Bond Market Close: Prices drop in active trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Thursday finished lower in heavy trade focusing on ten-year paper.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.06 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 34 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 2.8 billion euros.

    Sell orders accounted for over half of trade.

    Derivatives Market Close: Equity index futures slump: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Thursday, with contracts on the high capitalization index showing a discount of over 1.5 percent in heavy selling, and on the mid-cap index topping 2.0 percent.

    Turnover was 78.7 million euros.

    The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips gained 2.16 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks rose 2.14 percent.

    [20] Marine researcher Jean-Michel Cousteau visits 'Athens 2004' headquarters

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of renowned oceanographer Jacques Yves-Cousteau, on Thursday visited the headquarters of the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC).

    Cousteau, distinguished marine researcher and member of the world environment movement, met with ATHOC adviser Spyros Kapralos and Environment director G. Kazantzopoulos, who briefed him on the environmental activities which ATHOC has undertaken in view of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    Cousteau said that he was pleased with the fact that ''Athens 2004 ''is showing real interest for the improvement of the environment.''

    [21] Shell wins Athens 2004 Olympics sponsorship

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    Shell, the multinational petroleum corporation, was declared sponsor on Thursday of the Athens 2004 Olympics for its sector, offering 5.56 million euros in cash and refueling installations for vehicles run by organizers of the event.

    The national organizing committee said in a statement that it had so far raised 109 percent of its target in sponsorships from nine categories of a total of 40 that are to be tendered.

    [22] Gov't denies being lax over Olympic Village labor safety

    Athens, 26/07/2002 (ANA)

    The government on Thursday denied that it was allowing Olympic Village contractors to cut corners on safety in order to speed up the project's construction, in response to questions raised in Parliament by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) MP Dimitris Tsiogas regarding a series of labor accidents, including four deaths, at the site.

    The labor ministry's position on worker health and safety issues was not negotiable, Deputy Labor Minister Eleftherios Tziolas told Parliament.

    In his question, the KKE MP said that contractors were getting large bonuses by the government to speed up the project's construction and being allowed to get away with illegal overtime, unfair dismissals, incomplete insurance coverage for laborers, non-payment of salaries and compensation and labor accidents.

    He also asked whether any of the contractors had been arrested over the four deaths and the dozens of workers injured at the Olympic Village.

    The deputy minister said that 260 inspections had been carried out during the first half of 2002, which resulted in 40 fines and 27 cases where the work was suspended.

    In addition, he said, a team of inspectors had now been stationed permanently at the Olympic Village, with orders to dismiss contractors that violated safety rules a second time and to suspend work when safety rules were being broken.

    [23] U.S. Congress resolution supports Cyprus' EU accession

    WASHINGTON, 26/07/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    An important development, which to a degree operates supportively of Cyprus' EU accession course, is signaled by the unanimous adoption by the European affairs subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives International Relations Committee of a resolution with which the Congress supports Cyprus' EU accession without a settlement of the political problem constituting a prerequisite.

    The resolution, tabled by Greek-American congressman Mike Bilirakis, states that ''even though the successful solution of the Cyprus problem will facilitate Cyprus' accession to the EU, in the absence of such a solution, Cyprus' accession to the EU could operate as a catalyst for the solution of the Cyprus problem, without the latter constituting a prerequisite for the accession and with all the relevant factors being taken into consideration.''

    Diplomatic circles in Washington assess that through the resolution, which moves in the spirit of the Helsinki decision, the Greek Cypriot side's negotiating position is strengthened at a time when the direct talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are in progress and while all the efforts are entering the most critical phase with the pending conclusion of the procedure for EU accession.

    [24] Kasoulides says time may not be right for peace plan

    NICOSIA, 26/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    The United Nations, given developments in Turkey, should think twice on whether to submit a blueprint for the solution of the Cyprus question if the possibilities for its discussion are narrow, Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Thursday. Speaking on his return from Thessaloniki, Kasoulides said that the unstable situation in Turkey gives no room to make substantial suggestions, which could lead to a breakthrough in the Cyprus question.

    Invited to comment on Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's request for the three-week interruption of the direct talks due to the Summer heat, Kasoulides said that if Denktash maintains the same line in the talks that he has been following over the past few months, then the outcome would be the same, whether talks went on or not.

    ''Therefore, if the heat makes him want to stop discussing, no-thing will change'', he added.

    Commenting on statements by foreign officials that at the end of the year the UN would submit a comprehensive settlement plan, Kasoulides said that ''there always was a thought to submit some plan in autumn, if the circumstances would allow it''.

    ''With the developments in Turkey, the UN should think twice whether it would be wise to submit such a plan if the possibilities for it to be discussed seriously are narrow'', Kasoulides added.

    Invited to comment on the fact that European Commissioner on enlargement Gunter Verheugen did not rule out the possibility that Turkey might submit proposals for the solution of the Cyprus question, in order to reap political benefits, Kasoulides said ''this is an issue for the 15 EU member states to see in accordance with Turkeys' compliance with the Copenhagen criteria, and how helpful Turkey is regarding developments in the Cyprus question''.

    Referring to his meeting with Britain's Special Representative for Cyprus Lord David Hannay in London, Kasoulides said no issues of substance were discussed because ''with the way things are evolving and especially with developments in Turkey, there is no room for substantial proposals, which could break the impasse''.

    ''We must wait and see how the political situation in Turkey evolves'', he noted.

    President Clerides and Denktash have been engaged in direct talks since mid January this year, with a view to negotiate until a comprehensive solution is found to the problem of Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the island and occupied its northern third.

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