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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-12-01
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>December 1, 2003
 FM Papandreou sees 'positive step' towards EU defense
NAPLES, 1/12/2003 (ANA-Ch. Poulidou)Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou described as a ''positive step'' towards formulation of a European defense the trend towards acceptance by the ''EU 25'' of a German-French-British proposal.
Referring to a discussion in Naples by the 25 foreign ministers of the European Union member states and new members slated to join in May, Papandreou said that ''a wider consensus'' was formed that ''creates the tendency towards universal acceptance of the proposals concerning structured cooperation and the mutual assistance clause''.
Papandreou further observed that the relevant proposal constituted ''a solution that reflects the necessary balances among the Europeanists, the neutrals and the pro-NATO members'', and noted the reservations manifested by the neutral countries (Finland, Sweden, Ireland and Austria) with respect to the mutual assistance clause.
 PM inaugurates last portion of Attica tollway
Athens, 1/12/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Sunday was on hand for the inauguration of the last remaining portion of a toll way connecting the western Attica municipality of Elefsina with the Greek capital’s new international airport, a ring-road passing through the breadth of northern Athens.
“We turned a major commitment of 2000 into a reality. We’re turning a commitment that Greece in 2004 will not in any way resemble Greece of 1994 in reality,” he said.
During an event with distinct campaign overtones, as general elections will come no later than May 2004, Simitis responded to standing criticism by the opposition of “virtual development” and “virtual projects”, asking: “They told us that all of these (projects) were scale models, that they would not be constructed. Are what you see here models?”
Finally, the premier said the Attica Tollway (Attiki Odos) is the first self-financed highway in the country, a segment of major inter-European road networks.
Meanwhile, the consortium that built and manages the ring-road, Attiki Odos S.A., over the weekend announced an increase in tolls for the much-needed urban highway, raising tolls to two euros from the current 1.80 euros for passenger vehicles (eight euros from 7.20 euros for tractor-trailer trucks). Toll prices are the same regardless of the distance traveled.
ND reaction: In reaction to the prime minister’s comments at the inauguration of the Metamorfosi-Elefsina stretch of the toll way, main opposition New Democracy (ND) deputy Savvas Tsitouridis charged that all of the completed projects in the country are plagued with significant cost overruns and delays. He also cited what he called poor quality, on average.
“This very significant project, which was inaugurated today, has been completed without an institutional framework guaranteeing the state’s interests,” Tsitouridis added.
 Karamanlis calls for a truly 'humane' public sector, Addresses conference focusing on social welfare for people with disabilities
Athens, 1/12/2003 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Saturday called for a “truly humane” public sector during his address at a one-day seminar on the topic of “Social Welfare – People with Special Needs”, an event organized in Athens by the Constantine Karamanlis Institute for Democracy.
The ND sharply criticized the current system as chaotic and in disrepair, saying it simply funnels funds to the managing bodies instead of adequately meeting the needs of the people in actual need.
Speaking before a packed hall in the Greek capital, Karamanlis repeated his call for the “re-establishment of the state”, while citing the creation of a unified fund for social welfare that will be responsible for detecting, supporting and offering social services to eligible individuals, particularly those with disabilities.
Moreover, Karamanlis cited latest figures showing that Greece is the least friendly country in the EU in terms of accessibility, with roughly only one in 10 people with a disability using public transport on a regular basis.
He also emphasized that people with special needs have a right to work.
 ND postpones unveiling of Health platform after Souflias injury in car crash
Athens, 1/12/2003 (ANA)The main opposition New Democracy party (ND) on Sunday announced the postponement of its unveiling of its Health sector platform, originally scheduled for Monday, following the injury of its Policy Planning director George Souflias in a late night traffic accident in a northern Athens suburb.
Souflias and his wife, Mariana, were injured in a car crash late Saturday night in the suburb of Aghia Paraskevi. Both were rushed to KAT hospital where they were placed in the intensive care unit "for precautionary reasons" but were not facing life-threatening injuries.
Attending physicians said Souflias had two broken ribs, while his wife suffered less serious injuries. Both were also suffering from several fractures in the chest area. The doctors said there was no cause for concern over their health.
Health Minister Costas Stefanis, ND leader Costas Karamanlis and several ND MPs rushed to the hospital upon learning of the accident to see Souflias and consult with the doctors.
Parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis and a number of MPs also visited Souflias on Sunday.
 No indications linking seized explosives-laden motorship with Istanbul attacks
Athens, 1/12/2003 (ANA)There were no indications linking the recent terrorist attacks in Istanbul with the seizure in Greece last June of the explosives-laden Comoros-flag motorship ''Baltic Sky'', police and coast-guard officials said Sunday.
Greek authorities seized the ''Baltic Sky'', with 680 tons of explosives (mostly ammonium nitrate) and 145,000 detonators aboard, and arrested its five Ukrainian and two Azeri crew-members in late June following a routine check by police after the vessel was spotted west of the shores of Aetoloakarnania.
Commenting on rumors that the explosive material used by the terrorists in Istanbul was TNT, and of the same type as that found on the ''Baltic Sky'', which had passed through Turkey before being seized in Greece, police officials and representatives of the Coast Guard -- which is responsible for guarding the seized motorship -- told ANA that there was no indication confirming such information.
They said neither the Turkish authorities nor other secret services had requested samples of the explosives found on the motorship in order to compare them with those used in the Istanbul attacks.
 FYROM Premier Crvenkovski sees resolution of name issue by end of term in office
Skopje, 1/12/2003 (ANA-N. Fragopoulos)FYROM Prime Minister Branco Crvenkovski on Saturday said he saw a resolution of the country's name issue being achieved by the end of his government's term in office in three years' time.
In an interview Saturday night with the Skopje private television station A1, Crvenkovski also outlined the talks he had during his recent visit to Washington with US vice-president Dick Cheney and secretary of state Colin Powell, with whom he broached the issue.
"The issue of the name for the country is important, and it is a matter that is not only political but also concerns our national identity and the security of (the Former Yugoslav Republic of) Macedonia," he said.
"I thing the time has come for this issue to close, and for the arguments and national interests of the country to be respected. We are convinced that the arguments are on our side," Crvenkovski said.
 Out-of-Parliament DIKKI party to again run in 2004
Athens, 1/12/2003 (ANA)The leader of the out-of-Parliament Democratic Social Movement (DIKKI), former PASOK minister and top cadre Dimitris Tsovolas, on Saturday announced that his party will indeed run in next spring’s general elections.
Speaking during a tour of the central Thessaly province from the city of Larissa, Tsovolas nevertheless dismissed press reports citing cooperation between DIKKI and deputy Stelios Papathemelis, who left ruling PASOK this past month in a high-profile huff replete with caustic criticism of the party’s leadership.
Tsovolas, meanwhile, again criticized the country’s two major parties, ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy, for what he called their “neo-liberal” policies, as well as two parties to DIKKI’s left, the KKE and the Coalition of the Left, for failing to form a “third progress political pole”, as he said.
Then newly formed DIKKI managed to field a handful of deputies in Parliament following the 1996 elections, although it failed to meet the 3-percent requirement of the national vote necessary for representation in the 300-deputy legislature in the April 2000 election.
 AEKA approves terms, content of electoral cooperation with PASOK
Athens, 1/12/2003 (ANA)The Renewalist Modernist Movement of the Left's (AEKA) coordinating committee on Sunday unanimously approved the terms and content of its electoral cooperation with the ruling PASOK party, at the close of a two-day conference.
''From within this cooperation, AEKA will wage the battle for the success of the cooperation ballots with PASOK but also for its distinct parliamentary representation, which will give it new prospects for its autonomous presence and for an important role in the post-electoral developments,'' said the political resolution unanimously adopted by the conference.
The resolution also noted that the ''incomplete modernizing endeavor in the country, despite the mistakes and delays that arose, must be completed, deepened and expanded'', adding that this would be possible ''only if it continues its course''.
Otherwise, the resolution warned, if this course was disrupted, many of the steps of progress achieved would be undermined or annulled.
AEKA leader and current PASOK minister Nikos Bistis, addressing the conference, said that the country's course for the next decade hinged on the upcoming general elections.
Also hinging on the elections was whether the forces of modernization and reforms would prevail rather than the anachronistic, populist and conservative forces.
He also accused the Coalition of the Left and Progress (SYN) of a ''neo-communist mutation''.
 Papathemelis announces he is forming new political party
Athens, 1/12/2003 (ANA)MP Stelios Papathemelis, who recently quit the ruling PASOK party and now stands as an Independent in parliament, on Sunday announced his decision to form his own political party, aiming at "representing the unrepresented".
Papathemelis, in a written statement, said that the purpose of his initiative was to represent "the unrepresented" and to defend "the defenseless, the unemployed, the poor, the nouveau poor, and in, general, the weak of the system".
In the declaration of his party, which he read out to journalists in Thessaloniki, Papathemelis said that the new political formation would be at the side of the non-privileged, "the voice of those who have no voice".
The party currently being set up would "seek dynamic institutions of social solidarity, viable development and policies at the heart of which will be the human and the citizen".
The Thessaloniki-elected MP explained in his statement that a large group of citizens from a broad political spectrum, including himself, who had for some time been seriously and responsibly contemplating the course of the country, "have decided to create a new political body", spurred by the fact that the political system was ailing, and that Orthodoxy and the traditions of the Greeks were being downgraded, etc.
Papathemelis declined further details on the party, such as its name and the prominent figures participating in the initiative, and did not reply to press questions.
 Christodoulakis represents Athens at Patriarchate service
ISTANBUL, 1/12/2003 (ANA)National Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Sunday attended a church service here commemorating the feast day of Aghios Andreas (St. Andrew), the founder of the ancient Church of Constantinople, the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s seat.
Christodoulakis represented the Greek government at the service.
 Draft law on provincial press to be completed by mid-December
Athens, 1/12/2003 (ANA)The draft law on the provincial press will be completed by mid-December, and the press and media ministry's ambition is to have the bill passed unanimously in parliament, press and media minister Christos Protopapas said Saturday night, addressing the Pan-Hellenic Conference of the Union of Owners of Provincial Newspapers in the western port city of Patras.
''Our target is a long-lived law that will have continuity and unity. The role of the provincial press is particularly decisive for informing the regions and regional development,'' he said.
The minister said that the government was interested in reinforcing the provincial press and its viability, and mentioned the institutional framework for distribution of State advertising in the provincial media.
He said that the relevant Presidential Decree, although correct, was not being adhered to, and consequently Law 3166 provided that all the ministries must inform the press ministry on a monthly basis on how they distributed their advertising expenditure.
 President Stephanopoulos certain Greece will succeed in Olympics 'challenge'
Athens, 1/12/2003 (ANA)President Costis Stephanopoulos said Sunday that the 2004 Olympic Games were a challenge for all of Greece, and that was where the country would give its response to the occasional questions and insinuations put forward as to the country's ability to organize such an important worldwide event.
Speaking at an event in Patras marking the feast day of St. Andreas, the western port city's patron saint, Stephanopoulos said: ''The Olympic Games are a challenge for all of Greece. The challenge will mainly be played out in Athens. There, we will give the responses to the questions and insinuations put forward at times against our country and its ability to organize such an important and worldwide event, such as the Olympic Games. I am certain that we shall succeed.''
The Patras-born President spoke of the preparations being made in the port city, which would be hosting several of the Olympics events and was also preparing to take over as Cultural Capital of Europe in 2006. He said that the city must prepare for the local challenge of those two important events, which was an endeavor that concerned all the local citizens as well as the officials.
On Saturday evening, Stephanopoulos attended an event organized by the Union of Journalists of the Peloponnese, Epirus and the Islands honoring his maternal grandfather, Constantine Filopoulos, an important figure in the 19th century press and publisher of the now defunct newspaper "Forologoumenos" (Taxpayer).
The event was also addressed by press and media minister Christos Protopappas, main opposition New Democracy (ND) press spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, and Athens Union of Journalists president Manolis Mathioudakis.
 Athens 04 issues collectors' edition on Modern Olympic Games
Athens, 1/12/2003 (ANA)The 'Athens.04' magazine, the official periodical of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games organizing committee (ATHOC), has issued a special collectors' edition with an impressive double cover picturing a brimming Panathenian Stadium during the first Modern Olympics in 1896 and the award ceremony for the historic Marathon race won by Spyros Louis.
The collectors' edition presents all the Olympic medalists from the revival of the Games in 1896 up to the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, together with a brief description of the conditions in which the Greek champions won their medals.
The excellent quality publication takes the reader on a magical trip into time, with rare photographic documents, featuring the legendary Greek athletes who brought medals to Greece and made the motherland proud of their achievements.
Other photographic documents include the opening and closing ceremonies of all the modern Olympic Games and their venues.
 Russia's Alexei German awarded Golden Alexander at Thessaloniki Int'l Film Fest
Athens, 1/12/2003 (ANA)Alexei German Jr. of Russia was on Sunday awarded the "Golden Alexander" for the best full length film at the 44th International Thessaloniki Film Festival, for his film Posledniy Poezd (The Last Train), while the Silver Alexander went to Italy's Michelangelo Frammartino for his film "Il Dono" (The Gift).
Below is the full list of awards from the 44th Festival, which opened in the northern Greek capital on November 21 and ended Sunday with the announcement of the prizes:
INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION SECTION -Best Full Length Film Award - Golden Alexander (37.000 euros) POSLEDNIY POEZD (The Last Train) By Alexei German Jr., Russia -Special Jury Award - Silver Alexander (22.000 euros) to, IL DONO (The Gift) by Michelangelo Frammartino, Italy -Best Director Award to: CELINA MURGA for, Ana y Los Otros (Ana and the others), Argentina. -Best Screenplay Award to: DIMITRIS INDARES for, Gamilia Narki (Totally Married), Greece. -Best Actress Award to: DOROTA NVOTOVA in, Devcatko (Girlie) by Benjamin Tucek, Czech Republic -Best Actor Award to: MARIO KUBAS in, Devcatko (Girlie) by Benjamin Tucek , Czech Republic . -Artistic Achievement Award to: DANEHAYE RIZE BARF (Tiny Snowflakes) by Ali Reza Amini, Iran -Special Mention for direction to: SIEGRID ALNOY for the film Elle est des Notres (For She is a Jolly Good Fellow), France
The jury for the International Competition of the 44th Thessaloniki Film Festival was comprised of, Otar Iosseliani, Film Director (Georgia), President Tamila Koulieva, Actress (Russia/Greece) Jean-Francois Amiguet, Film Director, (Switzer-land) Walter Lassally, Cinematographer (U.K) Wang Xiaoshuai, Film Director, (China) Samir Farid, Film Critic, (Egypt) and Jafar Panahi, Film Director (Iran).
The FIPRESCI (Federation of International Film Association) jury, comprised of, Peter Keough (USA), President Mariola Wiktor (Poland) Marina Kostova (FYROM) Safaa Haggag (Egypt) Goran Bjelkendal (Sweden) Einar Guldvog Staalesen (Norway) Orestis Andreadakis (Greece) at the 44th International Thessaloniki Film Festival decided to give the FIPRESCI award for a film of the International Competition to:
POSLEDNIY POEZD (The Last Train) by Alexei German Jr., Russia, for depicting, with uncompromising honesty through exquisite mise en scene, subtle visual composition and long, meditative takes, the brutal absurdity of war and the perse-verance of the human spirit in the face of it.
For a film of the Greek Films 2003 section to:
OXIGONO (Oxygen) by Michalis Reppas & Thanassis Papathanasiou, Greece For uncovering, with authentic dialogue and gritty melodrama, the corruption of society and the breakdown of the family. By so doing it updates the Greek Tragedy in a sordid contemporary setting.
And a Special Mention for a film of the New Horizon section to:
VOZVRASCHENIE (The Return) by Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russia For its delicate balance between subject and style, its excellence in the direction of the actors and for telling a strong story without special effects and with minimal means.
 Orthodox Church opens new medical centre in S. Albania
GJIROKASTR, 1/12/2003 (ANA/P.Barkas)A new Church-run medical centre was inaugurated on Saturday in the predominately ethnic Greek village of Georgoutsati, in the Gjirokastr region of southern Albania.
The Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania oversaw the center’s construction, staffing and equipping, with Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania inaugurating the new US$335,000 center.
Moreover, a World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) delegation led by its president, Andrew Athens, also attended the event, as the ethnic Greek organization will assume the center’s operational costs and expansion.
The facility includes five wards -- microbiology, radiology, ophthalmology, pathology and pediatrics – offering care to local residents regardless of religion and ethnic background.
The Evangelismos Orthodox Medical Centre is the latest in a series of charitable foundations and institutions funded and operated by the Orthodox Church in the neighboring country’s south.
 Greek Firefighters honor NY colleagues who perished in 9/11 operations
New York, 1/12/2003 (ANA-P. Panagiotou)Chief of the Greek Firefighting Corps Panayotis Fourlas on Saturday presented the Corps' honorary emblem to the New York Fire Department in a symbolic act of recognition of the New York firefighters who perished in the line of duty during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The emblem was presented by Fourlas to the NYFD deputy chief during the annual dance of the local Fthiotis Association "Thermopyles" in Astoria.
The Association honored five personalities from Fthiotis municipality: former caretaker prime minister Ioannis Grivas, Greek Supreme Court honorary president Vassilis Kokkinos, Fourlas, cardiosurgeon Ioannis Chloroyannis, and businessman Dimitris Angelopoulos, who was unable to attend the event.
Also honored were Episcopal Nikiforos of Kykkou, and former Arkadia prefect Panayotis Angelopoulos.
The attending recipients addressed brief greetings to the guests, who included Archbishop Demetrios of America, Drexel University president Dr. Panayotis Papadakis, Greece's permanent representative to the UN Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, the Consuls General of Greece and Cyprus, Dimitris Platis and Martha Mavrommati, respectively, state representative Michael Giannaris, and others.
 Karamanlis statement on fight against AIDS
Athens, 1/12/2003 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Sunday issued a statement on the occasion of the World AIDS Day, stressing that the nations of the world must unite their forces against what he termed an international health and social scourge.
“In the face of the virus’ rapid spread we must responsibly and decisively deal with the international, in dimensions, threat of AIDS, something that involves all of us, all of the humanity and every one of us individually,” he was quoted in a press release issued by the main opposition party.
 Some '17N' peripheral members still at large, police chief Nasiakos says
Athens, 1/12/2003 (ANA)There are some members of the ''November 17'' terrorist group who acted peripherally on occasion who have not been arrested, Chief of the Greek Police Fotis Nasiakos said in an interview appearing on a Sunday newspaper.
In an interview with To Vima newspaper appearing in Sunday's edition, Nasiakos said that, in his opinion, 17N was no longer a ''live'' organization, but added that the file remained open and the investigations were continuing.
The Three-Member Criminal Appeals Court trying 19 suspected ''November 17'' terrorists adjourned last week after the conclusion of the high-profile trial that lasted 162 sessions over several months. The court is due to hand down its verdict on December 8.
On security of the 2004 Olympic Games to be hosted in Athens, Nasiakos said that Greece was shielding itself to avert even worse case scenario than the recent attacks in Istanbul, adding that there was no need to change the planning of the Olympics security following the Istanbul attacks.
Nasiakos further said that Olympics security planning encompassed the entire country, and not only the Olympics cities and installations.
 More youth-related violence at Thessaloniki's university
Athens, 1/12/2003 (ANA)Police reported violence at the Aristotelian University’s philosophy faculty building overnight during a student party within the asylum-protected campus, only days after mostly youthful self-described anarchists caused widespread damage to the same school’s natural sciences faculty.
According to police reports, several masked youths more-or-less invaded a party held by members of a far leftist student grouping in the early morning hours on Saturday, leading to a fracas.
In a subsequent announcement, the university administration charged that such non-educational and “uncontrolled” after-hours events on the campus lead to violence and vandalism, something in complete contravention with the idea of university asylum.
 Two men, members of int'l counterfeiting ring, arrested in Serres
Athens, 1/12/2003 (ANA)Two Greek men, believed to belong to an international counterfeiting ring, have been arrested by security police in Serres, northern Greece, police said Sunday.
They said the detainees were a 50-year-old private employee and a 22-year-old house painter -- whose names were not re-leased -- who had traveled frequently to Bulgaria where they would purchase counterfeit euro bills, mostly of the 50-euro denomination, from Bulgarian counterfeiters for 25 percent of the nominal value of the fake money.
Police said the two had set up a residence in Serres, from where they would make orders by telephone to restaurants that delivered food, paying with the counterfeit bills and receiving change in real euros.
A pizza parlor owner realized what was going on and informed the security police, who traced the two men to their residence and arrested them.
The two confessed under questioning, and told police that they were purchasing the counterfeit euros in neighboring Bulgaria.
Police found in their possession and confiscated 100 counterfeit 50-euro bills.
They were taken before the local prosecutor Andreas Seferidis, and charged with ''importing and disseminating counterfeit bills''.
 Police break up two rings exploiting foreign women
Athens, 1/12/2003 (ANA)Athens security police on Sunday broke up two rings exploiting foreign women and forcing them into prostitution, police said.
They said one ring was comprised of Greeks and Lithuanians who would bring young women to Greece on the promise of honest work and would then force them into prostitution.
Police arrested Lithuanian Evaldas Soukis, 21, and George Daramouskas, 36, while case files were also drawn up for Michail Narlotis, 43, and a Lithuanian couple known only as "Irmandas" and "Rita".
The case was revealed to the police special squad on people-smuggling by a Lithuanian woman who had been arrested.
Police confiscated 2,950 euros found in Soukis' possession and a large number of documents listing the women and the earnings made from their activities. Police said that, from one page alone concerning three women, earnings had been 77,160 euro.
The second ring was comprised by the owner of a strip-show club in Piraeus and the owner of a nearby hotel, involving Greeks and Romanians.
Police said the ring would smuggle into Greece young women from Romania, and then blackmail them into providing sexual services to the hotel customers, for 15-180 euros.
Police arrested the club and hotel owners, and five Romanian women.