|Friday, 4 December 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-07-31
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>July 31, 2002
 Another 3 N17 suspects, including alleged leader, transferred to jail
Athens, 31/07/2002 (ANA)Another three suspects linked with the “November 17” urban terrorist organization, including the alleged leader and founder of the notorious group, were transferred on Tuesday afternoon from police headquarters in downtown Athens to a nearby maximum security cellblock in Greece’s largest penitentiary.
The move comes after the first eight of 13 suspects arrested in connection with the elusive group over the past month were transported to Korydallos Prison, in a working-class suburb near Piraeus, on Monday afternoon. The trio includes Paris-born Alexandros Giotopoulos, 58, the alleged leader of the ultra-leftist terrorist gang, hospital phone operator Pavlos Serifis and elementary school teacher Costas Tellios, a Thessaloniki resident.
Meanwhile, during an earlier press conference, a police spokesman said a handful of firearms – a handgun, a couple of submachine guns and a sawn-off shotgun -- discovered at two “N17” hideouts in Athens have been traced to at least one assassination and several armed robberies over the past 20 years.
Specifically, the semi-automatic handgun was traced to the Feb. 21, 1985 shooting of publisher Nicos Momferatos and his driver Panagiotis Rousetis.
Additionally, police spokesman Lefteris Economou told reporters during a briefing that an electric typewriter confiscated at one of the two hideouts – off Patmos street in the densely populated Patissia district – was used to compose the group’s infamous “proclamations” for more than two dozen different terrorist acts.
Conversely, a manual typewriter used to write the deadly terrorist’s groups first announcements from 1975 until the late 1990s as well as one of two seals bearing the “November 17” stamp and a long-sought after .45-caliber automatic handgun tied to many of the group’s first assassinations are still missing.
Sources said authorities believe the last three items may have been taken by the suspect at the center of an ongoing nationwide manhunt, Dimitris Koufontinas, a reputed top “N17” lieutenant and triggerman.
Finally, police are continuing to examine a large cache of computer disks discovered at the two hideouts, with information on one of the diskettes reportedly showing that the group planned but failed to carry out a series of strikes in the northern port city of Thessaloniki between 1990 and 1993. One "target" cited was the US consulate in the city, according to reports. Other information on the disk, sources said, apparently lists detailed information regarding armored car pickups from hospitals, banks and other large public sector agencies that "November 17" considered "lucrative" targets for robbery.
Alleged N17 terrorist testifies before special investigator: Alleged terrorist Patroklos Tselentis, 42, testified for over four hours before a special investigator on Tuesday on his participation in the November 17 terrorist group.
In his testimony to special investigator Leonidas Zervombeakos, Tselentis reiterated all that he had admitted during the preliminary investigation on the group's attacks in which he took part, such as the murder of the ''Apogevmatini'' daily newspaper's publisher Nikos Momferatos and his driver Panayiotis Rousetis, the murder of industrialist Dimitris Angelopoulos and of American military attache William Nordeen.
Tselentis, who will be remanded in custody until his trial, was taken to the counter-terrorism service's offices after his testimony and is expected to be taken to Korydallos prison on Wednesday.
In another development, public prosecutor Kyriakos Karoutsos on Tuesday received the file of proceedings including the confession made by alleged terrorist Savvas Xiros during the preliminary enquiry.
According to reports, the prosecutor will study the file and launch legal proceedings against Savvas Xiros. Following this development, he might visit Xiros at the Evangelismos Hospital in Athens to inform him of charges he will be facing.
Alleged terrorist's health 'clinically excellent': Professor Haralambos Roussos, in a medical bulletin publicized on Tuesday, says the general state of the health of alleged terrorist Savvas Xiros is ''clinically excellent.''
Roussos said that Xiros, currently being treated at the Evangelismos hospital in Athens after a bomb he was carrying exploded in his hands in a botched terrorist attack in Piraeus on June 29, has no fever but the existence of a dangerous fungus appearing necessitates the continuation of antibiotic treatment which is intravenous.
The bulletin makes analytical reference to medication provided for the patient and it has been assessed that Xiros will have to be treated for at least another 10 days.
Medication provided for Xiros include sedatives and pain killers during the first five days, as well as antibiotics and treatment for asthma.
In addition, medicines and ointments have been used for his eyes throughout the entire duration of his treatment and nasal, ear and gastric medicines as well, while as of July 9 he has been fully fed as normal.
Top ND meeting focuses on recent 'N17' developments: A series of unprecedented breakthroughs over the past month in efforts to hunt down members of the notorious "November 17" terrorist group dominated a session by several top main opposition New Democracy cadres on Tuesday, with ND leader Costas Karamanlis chairing the meeting.
According to sources, various legal aspects related to the multiple trials now almost assured for more than a dozen "N17" suspects arrested to date were discussed at the meeting.
Moreover, other reports state that participants at the high-ran-king session agreed that ND's stance regarding the ongoing and unprecedented "N17" probe has been correct and should be continued. That policy reportedly translates into carefully and calmly following developments leading to the terrorist group's complete eradication, while at the same time expressing the party's satisfaction with the course of investigations and efforts by police.
In a related development, Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis on Tuesday briefed Political Spring party leader and one-time foreign minister Antonis Samaras over the latest developments on the anti-terrorism front.
 Greece signs 75-million euro aid deal with
FYROM SKOPJE, 31/07/2002 (ANA - M. Vihou)The latest agreement foreseeing developmental aid to several SE European countries, part of Athens' ambitious Balkan Reconstruction Plan, was signed here on Tuesday, with Greece committing 75 million euros in funding to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), its northern land-locked neighbor.
Shortly after a signing ceremony in the capital of Skopje, FYROM Foreign Minister Ljubco Georgievski emphasized that in his contacts with foreign diplomats he often stresses Greece's continued focus on Balkan stability, either by assisting Greek entrepreneurs investing in FYROM, or via specific proposals, such as the current and highly touted Balkan Reconstruction Plan.
He added that this commitment by Greece comes in conflict with others, as he said, which "talk about stability in the Balkans but do not proceed with actions".
On his part, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos -- who signed the agreement on behalf of Athens with FYROM Minister of Economy Besnik Fetaj one day after signing a similar agreement with the Bosnian government - stressed that it was important for the Balkans, which comprise Europe's southeastern corner, to remain united, "as economic cooperation is significant in order to deal with other problems, such as those that continue to exist between Greece and FYROM".
Loverdos' last comment alluded to the decade-old "name issue" between the two neighbors.
Relations between Greece and its northern neighbor, however, have dramatically improved since the two states signed an interim agreement in New York under the UN's auspices in 1995. Currently, on the 'name issue' ranks as the only difference between Athens and Skopje.
Finally, Georgievski also congratulated the Greek government for the recent high-profile arrests in connection with the notorious "November 17" urban terrorist group, noting that the arrests were "a strong blow against international terrorism."
The bilateral agreement signed on Tuesday will allocate exactly 74.8 million euros in developmental aid to FYROM over the next five-year period, the second highest amount to a regional country envisioned in Greece's Balkan Reconstruction Plan after Yugoslavia. FYROM's parliament will be called on to ratify the agreement on Aug. 12, after which proposals for prospective projects can be conveyed to Greece's foreign ministry.
Loverdos also met in Skopje with FYROM Parliament President Stojan Antov and Foreign Minister Slobodan Casule.
 Foreign Ministry funds revival efforts in Kotel, Bulgaria
SOFIA, 31/07/2002 (ANA -B. Borisov)A special Training Center was inaugurated on Tuesday in the once popular winter resort of Kotel, Bulgaria, within the framework of an ambitious three-year program launched by the Greek foreign ministry aiming at reviving this southern Bulgarian town.
In support of efforts made by two non-governmental organizations in Greece, the Greek foreign affairs ministry has made a 240,000-euro contribution toward the revival of Kotel, one of the most beautiful mountain towns in Bulgaria, today one of the poorest country-wide.
Margarita Papandreou and Greek General Consul in Plovdiv Athanassios Kalidopoulos attended the official opening of the new Training Center in Kotel, where the local residents will receive training in organic farming, animal breeding and the development of tourist services.
 EU aid to Greece for cross-border cooperation with Albania
BRUSSELS, 31/07/2002 (ANA)The European Commission on Tuesday announced the granting of 123-million-Euro aid to Greece and Italy within the frame-work of a cross-border cooperation program between the two countries and neighboring Albania, the French AFP news agency said.
Greece will receive a 90-million-Euro aid, the Commission said, adding that the cross-border cooperation program will impact 900,000 individuals residing in Greece and 500,000 in Albania, focusing on cross-border infrastructure, economic growth and employment.
 PM Simitis chairs meeting concerning EU summit in Thessaloniki in June 2003
Athens, 31/07/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis chaired a meeting on Tuesday which focused on organizational, political and security issues concerning the EU summit which will be held in Thessaloniki in June 2003.
Present at the meeting at the Maximos Mansion were Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis, Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Paschalidis, Press and Mass Media Minister Christos Protopapas, Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis and PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Laliotis.
Following the meeting, the government spokesman told re-porters that the talks centered on the best possible preparations for the EU summit.
The foreign minister underlined that according to the present timetable, 25 instead of 15 member-states will take part in the EU summit under the Greek EU presidency.
 Bill on public sector hirings tabled in Parliament
Athens, 31/07/2002 (ANA)A bill prepared by the interior ministry on amendments to the system of hirings in the public sector has been tabled in Parliament.
In an interview, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis referred to the main clauses included or being promoted with the bill.
Skandalidis said the bill provides the possibility for extraordinary staff, having completed 24 months of work before the constitutional amendment and until the publication of the law, to participate in a test set by the public sector in the same body, branch and specialty and receive a 40 percent bonus on the criterion of experience.
He added that the settlement, due to have a transitional nature, will be implemented three months after the bill's ratification and will be in effect until December 31, 2004.
 Defense measures to assist draftees with post-military jobs
Athens, 31/07/2002 (ANA)Deputy National Defense Minister Loukas Apostolidis on Tues-day informed conscripts and officers of all three branches assigned at military bases on the island of Limnos of the ministry's new re-organization plans in the military.
Concluding a two-day visit to the eastern Aegean island with an inter-service inspection, Apostolidis said that the new plans were also designed to transform the draft obligation from drudgery into a productive ''bridge'' with the real-world labor market.
Based on the new programs and in collaboration with the Man-power Employment Service (OAED), one month prior to their release, draftees would be brought into contact with interested employers to ensure acceleration of job placement, the deputy defense minister said.
Effective on 7 January 2003, military service obligation will be adjusted to 12, 14 and 15 months for the Army, the Airforce and the Navy respectively.
 Karamanlis blasts gov't for its tourism sector policy
Athens, 31/07/2002 (ANA)Greece's tourism industry and an apparent decline in the all-important sector during the current season was the focus of a main opposition New Democracy meeting on Tuesday with representatives of several tourism-related national organizations and federations.
Afterwards, ND leader Costas Karamanlis said Greece's significant tourism industry was in the midst of a "severe crisis", a crisis he charged was exacerbated by the government's lack of any organized policy for tourism.
"Those who have governed for the past 20 years have failed miserably in their attempts to lay the foundations for a dynamic development in the tourism sector. The lack of any targets and strategic planning is telling. Development ministers are constantly being changed, and there is a total lack of continuity in policies related to tourism," Karamanlis charged.
 Southeastern European countries hold Thessaloniki meeting
Athens, 31/07/2002 (ANA)Representatives of countries participating in the regional meeting of southeastern European countries taking place in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Tuesday discussed the content of the ''agenda 21'' drawn up during the Rio summit.
On the second day of the meeting, organized by the UN's International Public Administration Center, the deficit in the legislative framework appearing in countries with transitional economies concerning the handling of problems in relation to their entry into market societies was pointed out.
Speaking to the Athens News Agency (ANA), the Center’s director Theodoros Tsekos said it was obvious, through delegates' views, that the antiquated production structures of countries with transitional economies, combined with economic problems they are facing, make them incapable of securing consumers' needs, applying viable growth policies respecting the environment.
Referring to relations between the citizens' society and the political leaderships of countries, delegates said the citizens' society is not aware of and sensitized on sustainable growth issues.
Non-governmental organizations lack necessary know-how for substantiated control and, ultimately, the presentation of constructive proposals to governments.
 Greek and Spanish agriculture ministers discuss cotton issue
Athens, 31/07/2002 (ANA)Spanish Agriculture Minister Miguel Canete said on Tuesday Spain has taken drastic measures to restrict cotton cultivation, adding that Spain agrees with the Greek claim for the subsidization of Greek cotton producers.
Canete was speaking after holding prolonged talks with his Greek counterpart George Drys, while the two ministers, ad-dressing a press conference, outlined an informal agreement on almost all current agricultural issues.
Cooperation between the two ministers focuses on an axis of Mediterranean countries since, as they said, they agree on almost everything.
Consequently, Greece and Spain strongly support European Union enlargement, they have reservations on many of the EU's proposals on the intermediate revision of Common Agricultural Policy and maintain that social and cohesion criteria should be taken for members in the 15 member-states.
In addition, Greece and Spain will continue cooperation, promoting cooperation with countries having common interests in the agricultural sector.
Both Canete and Drys said that no revision of the EU's regulation concerning cotton is anticipated for the time being.
 Gov't announces northern job package in wake of Softex closure
Athens, 31/07/2002 (ANA)The government on Tuesday announced a package of measures to boost employment and competitiveness in the northeastern prefectures of Drama and Kavala following the closure of Athenian Paperworks, which produced Softex paper products.
The package includes a rise in a cost-of-labor subsidy to 12.0 percent from 4.0 percent that will include industrial, mining, hotel and shipping enterprises in the two prefectures. The grant is payable from January 1, 2003 if firms maintain current staffing levels.
Another measure is to speed up red tape for the construction of a plant that will manufacture wind generators, creating 50 jobs.
The measures were adopted by Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos in conjunction with the labor ministry.
Concerning the closure of Athenian Paperworks by its Italian owners, the national economy ministry committed itself to trying to keep the plant afloat using measures allowed by law.
The government will also sound out any investment prospects, and call on the company's owners to meet all the commitments it had made in the purchase contract for Athens Paperworks, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
 Bidding range released in gov't marinas sale tender
Athens, 31/07/2002 (ANA)Hellenic Tourism Real Estate SA on Tuesday released the range of bids received in a privatization tender for three marinas in Attica.
The three marinas, and their range, tendered by Hellenic, a subsidiary of the Greek National Tourism Organization, are as follows:
Hellenic Tourism Real Estate would reap more than 10 million euros annually, and investments would top 60 million euros in the three marinas, the company said in a statement.
 Public Gas Enterprise, Edison Gas to sign natural gas memo
Athens, 31/07/2002 (ANA)The Public Gas Enterprise and Edison Gas of Italy are due to sign a memorandum of cooperation on Wednesday to join forces in a plan to carry natural gas from the Caspian to the European Union through Turkey, Greece and Italy.
Under the plan, an undersea pipeline is to be built between Greece and Italy to transport the fuel.
The two companies plan to conduct preliminary studies in 2002, leading to a feasibility study for the pipeline that is due for completion by March 2003, industry sources said on Tuesday.
 Greek stocks continue moving higher
Athens, 31/07/2002 (ANA)Greek stocks continued their recovery for the second consecutive session in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, pushing the general index further away from the 2,100 level.
The index rose 0.49 percent to end at 2,125.39 points, off the day's highs of 2,143.38 points. Turnover, however, was a low 91.9 million euros.
The Telecommunications, Food-Beverage and Insurance sector scored the biggest percentage gains (1.32 percent, 1.30 percent and 1.15 percent, respectively), while the Holding, Cement and Wholesale sectors suffered the heaviest losses of the day (1.12 percent, 0.19 percent and 0.02 percent).
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 201 to 105 with another 55 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecoms, Space Hellas, Football Pools, Alpha Bank, and Technical Olympic.
Derivatives Market Close: Equity index futures cautious: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange slipped on Tuesday, with contracts on the high capitalization index showing a discount of up to 0.50 percent.
Players were cautious about whether the ailing main market can maintain a recent spurt, traders said. Contracts on the mid-cap index broke even.
Turnover was 88.4 million euros.
The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips gained 0.56 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks rose 0.37 percent.
In stock repos, greatest interest was seen in Hellenic Telecoms, which traded low.
Bond Market Close: Prices rise in brisk trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Tuesday finished higher in active trade focusing on five-year paper.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.16 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 34 basis points.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 2.1 billion euros.
Buy orders accounted for over half of trade.
 Olympics organizers, state railway sign warehousing deal
Athens, 31/07/2002 (ANA)National organizers of the 2004 Athens Olympics on Tuesday signed a pact with Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) to lease warehousing space for use in the games.
The facility in Attica is to be built by the state company through a development subsidiary, Gaia OSE, for lease by the Olympic Supply Center.
The organizing committee for the Olympics, which signed a similar contract with National Real Estate SA two months ago, has estimated that it needs storage space of 103,000 square meters.
Attica currently has a warehousing capacity of 470,000 square meters, which is 95 percent filled.
Needs for the 2004 Olympics are expected to fuel growth in Attica's warehousing real estate sector.
 UNHCR honors culture ministry for contribution to refugees issue
Athens, 31/07/2002 (ANA)''The fight against xenophobia is a lasting one,'' culture minister Evangelos Venizelos said Tuesday, adding that this was the message of the Cultural Olympiad.
He was speaking at an event during which he was presented with a plaque from the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) honoring the Greek culture ministry for its contribution on the refugees issue.
UNHCR representative in Greece, Florida Rojas Rodriguez, presented the plaque to the minister and thanked him for his support for the UNHCR in Athens.
Venizelos said that the UNHCR should consider the culture ministry as its home, since Greece ''is a country of refugees, and the Greeks know very well what being a refugee means, what the fight for survival means''.
 Clerides and Denktash press on with territory
NICOSIA, 31/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash continued their UN-led direct talks here on Tuesday, during which Denktash elaborated on his views regarding the issue of territory.
Territory is one of the four core issues of the Cyprus problem. The other three are governance, security and property.
Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told CNA that ''today the issue of territory was discussed, Denktash expressed his views and we will return on Friday morning''.
He added that the leaders of the two communities also discussed the issue of missing persons and that talks on this matter too will continue on Friday morning.
The talks on the Cyprus problem are held in the presence of the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto.
President Clerides was accompanied by Papapetrou, Attorney General Alecos Markides and Undersecretary to the President Pantelis Kouros.
On the other hand, talks on the issue of missing persons are held in the presence of the UN Secretary General's Acting Special Representative in Cyprus Zbigniew Wlosowicz. Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Takis Christopoulos also attended the meeting.
President Clerides and Denktash launched UN-led direct talks in January this year, with a view to negotiate until a comprehensive settlement is reached. The leaders of the two communities are now in their fifth round of talks.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
Cyprus closes half of Agriculture Chapter NICOSIA, 31/07/2002 (CNA)
In the framework of its accession negotiations with the European Union, Cyprus closed in Brussels on Tuesday half of the Agriculture chapter regarding veterinary and phytosanitary legislation, during Tuesday's 18th Intergovernmental Conference Meeting for Cyprus' accession at negotiators' level.
Speaking at the meeting, Cyprus Chief Negotiator with the EU George Vassiliou said that by the end of this year, 751 pieces of legislation will have been enacted in Cyprus and assured that by that time the country will be able to fulfill its commitments regarding the adoption of the acquis. He also expressed appreciation that the Union accepted Cyprus' request to declare the island as a protected zone from philloxera and from some other organizations such as the Colorado beetle.
On behalf of the EU Presidency, Permanent Representative of Denmark, which is currently holding the EU presidency, Paul Skytte Christoffersen, expressed the support of the Presidency to the efforts by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for a solution of the Cyprus issue and underlined that the 1999 EU Helsinki Council conclusions remain the main point of reference.
In its conclusions the 1999 European Council of Helsinki, said that a solution to the Cyprus problem is not a precondition for EU accession.
Chrisoffersen also said that the preparation of the Accession Treaty would be intensified so that the Treaty will be signed by spring next year.
Vassiliou assured that Cyprus would continue its efforts to solve the Cyprus problem prior to the December EU Council in Copenhagen.
''If despite our efforts and good will this does not become possible and we join the EU within the framework of the Helsinki European Council Conclusions, we want to assure you that we will continue our efforts so that a solution is achieved in the months following the Copenhagen Summit'' Vassiliou stressed.
EU Commission Director General of Enlargement Eneko Landaburu expressed the conviction that in the following weeks, all problems will be solved and Cyprus will be able to be in the first wave of countries that will join the EU. Vassiliou returns home on Wednesday.
Cyprus which opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998 has provisionally closed another 28 chapters of the acquis communautaire.
 World Hellenes Union supports united Cyprus
NICOSIA, 31/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)President of the World Inter-parliamentary Hellenes Union Demetris Yiannaros has assured that the Union's members will work hard and try to promote their position for a united Cyprus.
The Union's presidium members, currently visiting Cyprus, at the invitation of the House of Representatives, were received on Tuesday by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and discussed with him developments in the UN-led direct talks for Cyprus, held between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash since mid January this year, and Cyprus' accession course towards the European Union.
Yiannaros told the press afterwards that members of the Union will request the governments of the United States, Australia, Canada and Russia to exert pressure for a solution to the Cyprus problem providing for a united island.
He expressed the Union's support to Cyprus' accession to the EU, stressing that this was the only real solution for the Cyprus problem.
On Wednesday the Union's presidium members will be received by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and House President Demetris Christofias.
 Cyprus to benefit from EU-funded INTERREG programs
NICOSIA, 31/07/2002 (CNA/ANA)The European Commission has decided to spend an extra amount of 30 million euros to fourteen cross-border and inter-regional cooperation programs (INTERREG) for regions bordering candidate countries. One of these programs regards Greece and Cyprus.
This special support will enable countries involved to further cross-border cooperation in fields such as transport, training, support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and inter-cultural co-operation. Announcing the decision, Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy said that as a result of this decision, the European Union has increased support for regions bordering candidate countries to fund new projects under INTERREG.