|Sunday, 16 February 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-12-03
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>December 3, 2003
 Greece to participate in EU's initial defense nucleus
BRUSSELS 03/12/2003 (ANA/G. Zitouniati)Greece will participate in the initial nucleus of European Union member-states that will create the European defense, Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Tuesday here.
''Greece will participate along with France and Germany in the first nucleus, which will be created for European defense, following an agreement between French President (Jacques) Chirac, German Chancellor (Gerhard) Schroeder and British Prime Minister (Tony) Blair and which became a reality during the latest summit of the Intergovernmental Conference for the finalizing of the European Constitution,'' Papantoniou noted after the meetings.
''It is the first time in modern Greek history that our country is participating in the beginning of a great European effort co-formulating elements in a compatible way with our national interests as well,'' he added.
Speaking of the NATO two-day summit here, which concluded on Tuesday, the defense minister said that the reactions of the United States and those of the alliance where mild and did not question the development of the European defense.
''It is obvious that the US - at the highest political level - have agreed with the development of this initiative. And the participation of Britain in the European effort has lessened especially the American reactions,'' he said.
He reiterated a recent statement that the participation of Britain provides credibility for the European effort, noting that for the European defense to be credible and have greater range it will have to operate in a complementary fashion with NATO and not antagonistically to it.
The Greek minister, responding to journalists' questions said that the European defense issue, as it relates to the European Constitution has been finalized, but that the final form of the new institution has not been worked out yet.
He added that work by experts is necessary, with the participation of military officers and diplomats from different countries, so as to arrive at decisions concerning the size of the staff, the range of the new institution and its operations.
Papantoniou underlined, however, that in discussion with his counterparts from France and Germany, it became apparent that this new institution will not have but a small staff, numbering initially in the scores and not in the hundreds.
Later in the day, Papantoniou briefed the European Socialists at the Europarliament on developments concerning the European defense.
 Reference to Cyprus issue included in Conclusions Draft of EU Summit
BRUSSELS 03/12/2003 (ANA/V. Demiris)The Conclusions Draft of the upcoming EU Summit in Brussels includes a reference to the Cyprus issue, prepared by the Italian EU presidency, which stresses that ''its settlement will facilitate to a very great degree the ambitions of Turkey for accession to the European Union.''
According to the draft, which will be submitted for discussion to the permanent representatives of the EU member countries who will prepare the last, during the Italian EU presidency, meeting on Monday of the General Affairs Council, it is further reiterated the preference of the EU for accession of a reunited Cyprus in the EU and the interested parties are called upon to resume talks on the basis of the proposals of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. It is further underlined that there are good prospects for the achievement of a just, viable and functional settlement by May 1, 2004, in accordance to the relevant decisions of the UN Security Council in order to enable all Cypriots to benefit a future with security and prosperity as well as from the advantages of EU accession.
During a Joint EU-Turkey Parliamentary Committee meeting on Tuesday, EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen supported that during the coming months a window of opportunity is presented for a settlement of the Cyprus issue on the basis of the Annan plan.
According to the Commissioner, a settlement of the Cyprus problem will lift an obstacle to Turkey's ambitions for EU entry, stressing that in the event of an impasse, the terms for a settlement of the Cyprus issue will be difficult for the Turkish Cypriots after 2004.
Verheugen added that the Cyprus issue does not constitute a precondition, but nevertheless it is apparent that it is not possible for the EU to start talks with a country which does not recognize one of its member states.
 FM Papandreou hails Geneva Initiative, calls on society to act for peace
PARIS 03/12/2003 (ANA-O. Tsipira)Greece's foreign minister hailed the Geneva Initiative late Monday, on the sidelines of the Economic Forum held in the French capital, in which he participated as an official guest.
''We welcome initiatives that advance peace, particularly when they emanate from the society of the citizens,'' Papandreou said, adding that in recent years Greece has warmly, but also tangibly, supported such initiatives.
He said that Greece, during its EU presidency in the first half of the year, had worked diligently so as to highlight, in the conclusions of the Thessaloniki summit, the importance of initiatives by the society of citizens to the Middle East peace process, as well as the importance of women's organizations, the women's movement, to initiatives for peace.
Papandreou noted that in all his meetings, during the Greek EU presidency, he had invited women's organizations from both sides, precisely in order to advance that effort. He added that recently, by Greece's proposal, the conclusions of the EU foreign affairs council welcomed such initiatives.
''It is our hope that, where the leaderships have difficulty in finding solutions, society itself will take the initiative,'' Papandreou said.
''We hope that the Geneva Initiative will give a boost to the roadmap, which is now recognized and accepted by all the sides but must also be applied in action. The new momentum emanating from society itself is a momentum of peace and must be heeded,'' he added.
 FM Papandreou promotes 'Olympic Truce' at Euro Leadership Forum
PARIS 03/12/2003 (ANA – O. Tsipira)Foreign Minister George Papandreou is expected to promote the “Olympic Truce” initiative here as a guest of a two-day business conference sponsored by the European Leadership Forum.
This year’s conference will focus on the issue of European Union expansion and repercussions on Europe’s economies.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Papandreou commented on whether such an initiative will appear as utopian before a group of no-nonsense businesspeople.
“There is no realistic policy without vision. We cannot be realists without having a vision and a goal. Just in the same manner that vision by itself without considering reality will never be achieved,” Papandreou said.
He added that the idea behind the “Olympic Initiative” is to bring the message to certain conflict areas, so that it is heard and adhered to by combatants.
“We’ll focus our attention in the coming months on certain regions of the world to see if we can provide a hope of peace, even if it’s for 16 days. If something like that take place, we may be able to open the way for peace in certain regions,” he said, reminding that the International Olympic Committee-sponsored initiative is being promoted with the full cooperation of the United Nations.
Olympic Truce Institute President Stavros Lambrinidis is accompanying Papandreou on his visit.
In an unrelated development, the Greek FM again commented on neighboring Turkey’s European vocation, saying that “a European Turkey can be a Turkey that plays a different role in the Islamic world ... a Muslim country can be both democratic and European, operating with all the rules of International Law and Europe.”
French FM signs Olympic Truce proclamation in presence of Greek counterpart: French Foreign Minister Dominik de Villepin signed the Olympic Truce proclamation on Tuesday morning in the presence of his Greek counterpart George Papandreou.
Speaking on the occasion, Papandreou said ''we succeeded in reviving the modern-day Olympic Games with the assistance of the French and Pierre de Coubertin in particular. For over 100 years Greek intellectuals had strived to have the idea of the Olympic Games revived. They loved the idea of the Olympic Games so very much. However, at the same time with their revival they also sought the deeper concept, which was achieving a period of peace during the Games.''
The foreign minister also said ''a Frenchman, therefore, in cooperation with Greeks succeeded in reviving the idea. It is an honor for us that today the head of French diplomacy Dominik de Villepin, a very dynamic personality in France and in the world, is here with us for the signing of the Truce.''
Papandreou went on to say ''the moment is symbolic since I believe that this countersigning, added to those of a big number of personalities in the world, symbolizes close ties existing between France and Greece for the effort to revive a romantic as well as a realistic idea. I thank him very much for his support.''
Referring to the Olympic Games, Villepin said ''I would like to say that I participated in a Marathon race 20 years ago. There is nothing better than sports competition. The Olympic Games are the best example of a kind of world in which we want to live in, with effort, competition and the seeking of peaceful spirit. For this reason, we must encourage such initiatives, which constitute the best example of our desire for coexistence.''
The signing of the Truce document took place in a hall in the Georges V hotel in Paris in the framework of the session of the annual European Leadership Forum, organized by the economic magazine Business Week.
The French foreign minister and his Greek counterpart were the official guests at the conference. They referred to foreign policy, EU enlargement and the Olympic Truce.
 Alternate FM acknowledges outcome of Titina Loizidou case
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)Greece on Tuesday acknowledged the payment of compensation by Turkey to Greek Cypriot national Titina Loizidou, who sought compensation from that country for depriving her of the enjoyment of her property in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus.
A foreign ministry announcement said that Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis made the following statement on the outcome of the case:
''Turkey is complying with the European Court of Human Rights decision taken on July 28, 1998, with today's payment of fair compensation to Mrs. Loizidou. This decision adjudges this compensation, acknowledging the responsibility of Turkey for violations of the rights of the displaced Cypriots as a result of the invasion and occupation of part of Cyprus.''
A statement by the Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, issued earlier, said ''the Netherlands Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has announced that Turkey executed today (Tuesday) the judgment of 28 July 1998 in the Loizidou case by paying to Mrs Loizidou the sum which had been awarded to her by the European Court of Human rights in respect of just satisfaction.''
The statement further said ''the conclusion of this case, which is the result of efforts by all member states, demonstrates the effectiveness of the right of individual appeal available to 800 million Europeans before the Strasbourg Court.''
On his part, Yiannitsis said ''the coordinated efforts of Greece and Cyprus for 5 years primarily aimed, apart from the payment of fair compensation, at safeguarding the prestige of the European court, respect for its decisions and of the values it symbolizes, values which constitute an inseparable element of the European course of every country.''
The alternate foreign minister further said with the payment of compensation the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution ''which we voted against for reasons of principle.''
He added that ''in any case, this resolution determines that this Committee will continue to supervise, in accordance with existing processes and Turkey's compliance with the decision taken by the Court in 1996, the adoption of special and general measures. They must be taken into consideration by Turkey for the restoration of Mrs. Loizidou's right of ownership and the lifting of the illegal situation imposed there. Consequently, Turkey remains accountable to the Council of Europe, as well as to European institutions. The period of time referred to in the text, the end of 2005, on the reconsideration of Turkey's compliance is indicative, it has no legal power and it does not prevent a possible opening of the discussion earlier, provided that members of the Council of Europe raise it. We call on Turkey, being a member of the Council of Europe and a European Union candidate country, to honor these obligations it has, proving in practice the priority it attributes to its European prospect. Lastly, we call on it to proceed with radical decisions which shall give a viable solution to the political problem of Cyprus.''
 PM meets visiting Communist Party of China official
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Tuesday received visiting Communist Party of China official He Yong, a member of the CPC Central Committee secretariat and deputy secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, who is currently visiting Athens at the head of a CPC delegation.
The two men discussed bilateral relations between Greece and China and international affairs.
 Simitis focuses on ''Agricultural Space Development'' program for rural areas
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Tuesday chaired a meeting of a ministerial committee to examine issues concerning the restructuring of Greece rural regions via integrated programs called ''Agricultural Space Development''.
''We are on a course that changes the life in rural areas, it creates better living conditions and secures a better future for the residents of the rural areas,'' Simitis said, after the meeting, adding that the aforementioned programs are already being implemented in more than 75 per cent of the country's regions and are aiming to aid all residents not just farmers.
He added that the programs are drafted and realized by local societies and include small projects of local impact, noting that such investments concern the creation of agricultural products processing, the establishment of daycare centers, the upgrade of settlements, the support of tourist installations or handicraft activities, among others.
The premier underlined that some 500 such projects are already underway, providing the example of the Limnos Island project in the town of Myrina and others.
 Public order minister to visit Cyprus on Thursday, Friday
NICOSIA 03/12/2003 (ANA - G. Leonidas)Public Order Minister George Floridis is to carry out a two-day official visit to Cyprus on Thursday and Friday, Cyprus government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides announced on Tuesday.
While in Cyprus, Floridis will meet Cypriot Justice and Public Order Minister Doros Theodorou and Cyprus House of Representatives President Dimitris Christofias.
 ND says revised stability program confirms weaknesses of gov't policy
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy on Tuesday slammed the revised Stability and Growth Program submitted by the government to the European Commission, saying it confirmed the unreliability and weakness of the government's economic policy.
ND economic affairs coordinator George Alogoskoufis noted that successive revised stability and growth programs over the past three years constantly changed the estimates and forecasts for public finances indices.
On example mentioned by Alogoskoufis was a prediction made in December 2001 that public debt would be reduced to 90 per cent of GDP by 2004, while the forecast in Monday's program for the same figure was 98.5 per cent of GDP.
The ND official noted, meanwhile, that several government forecasts had been rejected by the European Commission, which in its autumn report predicted that the fiscal deficit in 2004 would reach 2.4 per cent of GDP, exactly double the figure forecast by the government.
 Gov't again comments on re-surfaced issue of professional rights
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)The latest political tussle between the government and the main opposition this week revolves around a report emanating in the European Parliament regarding the recognition of professional rights, with ruling PASOK accusing New Democracy of sporting a “hidden agenda” while at the same time defending past statements by the current foreign minister.
Asked about previous comments by one-time education minister and current Foreign Minister George Papandreou on the issue of private, non-profit universities in Greece – a prospect still explicitly forbidden in the country’s Constitution – government spokesman Christos Protopapas said the former’s backing for such institutions was expressed amid pending Constitutional revision.
He also said Papandreou’s past proposal involved non-profit universities subject to certification.
“It was a comprehensive view made within the framework of Constitutional revision, it had nothing to do with liberal studies centers, which are not subject to (state) certification,” he said, referring to a private tertiary education sector that has dramatically grown in Greece over the past decade.
Protopapas also sharply criticized main opposition ND for the backing of the relevant Europarliament report on the issue of "recognition of professional rights" by Euro-deputy Costas Hatzidakis.
 Alternate FM to represent Greece at EuroMediterranean Conference
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis will represent Greece at the 6th EuroMediterranean Conference that will take place in Naples, Italy on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The meeting is expected to focus on the situation in Iraq, developments in the Middle East, intercultural dialogue and issues related to energy, agriculture and commerce in the context of cooperation between the European Union and Mediterranean countries.
 Former Cypriot president Clerides comments on Cyprus problem
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)A settlement of the Cyprus issue constitutes the ''passport'' for Turkey's accession to the EU, former Cypriot president Glafcos Clerides stated from Hania, Crete on Tuesday.
During a press conference, Clerides called on Ankara and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to change their stance and accept as a basis for talks for a settlement of the problem, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan. Otherwise, Clerides said, Turkey will not be given a date for the start of accession talks.
''At this moment, we see that Europe stands firm in its position that Turkey will not be given a date to start accession talks if it does not make concessions in order for the Cyprus issue to be solved. At this moment, Turkey and Denktash are accused that they are responsible for the non-settlement of the Cyprus issue.
''Europe has pointed out to Turkey that it cannot discuss for entry to the EU when it does not recognize another state, member of Europe and Cyprus is a member of Europe. Secondly, you cannot occupy territory of a country which is inside Europe. You must correct these matters and afterwards be given a date,'' Clerides claimed among other things.
Clerides was in Crete to participate in celebrations commemorating the union of the island with Greece proper.
 Athens mayor addresses Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni, addressing an event organized by the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, called on an audience composed of scientists to back, in light of elections, those who are committed to the release of the economy from its bonds and the disengagement of administration from its stagnation and corruption.
Bakoyianni referred to the reasons for which the Greek economy and industry did not develop ever since the country was established: historical, social and bureaucratic reasons, as well as reasons of political immaturity, while she also compared the development of other countries such as Spain, Portugal and Ireland with that of Greece.
The mayor said the governance of Harilaos Trikoupis, Eleftherios Venizelos and Constantine Karamanlis were ''bright intervals'', while after 1974, and after 1981 in particular, she said a slowdown in development was observed.
Bakoyianni attributed the reasons for this situation to the politicians who did not succeed in providing young people in the country with the necessary framework to support their creativity over the past 30 years.
Elaborating on her position, Bakoyianni referred to the bad exploitation of European Union packages and the increase in unemployment, which she estimates as being over 10 percent. She also spoke of the low level of foreign investments in the country, which amount to 50 million dollars, ranking it in the 134th position.
''The time has come for a final effort to enable the slowdown taking place to be covered. The future of Greece is in our hands,'' Bakoyianni said.
 PASOK secretary says PM wants creation of modern social state
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)Ruling PASOK party Central Committee secretary Mihalis Chrysohoidis, speaking during a discussion following his address at a meeting in Kaminia, in the district of Piraeus, on Tuesday said ''PASOK's vision for the four-year 2004-2008 period is the creation of a modern social state. This is also the ambition of (Prime Minister and PASOK leader) Costas Simitis to close his historic cycle.''
Chrysohoidis said the European target was set in 1996 with Simitis and was achieved in 2000, while what was achieved is being consolidated now through modernization and infrastructures.
''If you ask why we should vote again for PASOK, see what Greece was 10 years ago and what it is today,'' Chrysohoidis said, adding that ''we are not turning back to the past, but the comparison is unavoidable.''
The next general election in the country is normally due in spring.
 Coalition says gov't plan for 'New Olympic Airways' breaks the law
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party on Tuesday accused the government of breaking the law in its "obsession" with breaking up the national carrier to set up the New Olympic Airways.
Specifically, the party said the government had been forced into the outright illegal act of scrapping collective labor agreements in order to implement the plan.
The Coalition also noted that breaking up and selling off the airline just before the start of the Olympic Games, for the benefit of high-powered business interests eyeing the 'choice' cuts of the airline, was a criminal policy.
 Amnesty International calls on EU to oppose increasing security equipment trade
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)Amnesty International, on the occasion of the publicizing of its report on Tuesday on the increasing world security equipment trade, which can be used for torture and ill-treatment, called on the European Union to head efforts worldwide in this sector, urgently implementing the trade ban it had proposed.
Amnesty International pointed out that despite the fact that a year ago the European Commission submitted a trade regulation proposal which would limit the trading ''of certain equipment and products capable of being used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or humiliating treatment or punishment," the process appears to have come to a halt due to the objections of certain EU member-states.
The international organizations' report, titled ''The merchants of pain: Security equipment and its use in torture and other ill-treatment'', gives a detailed account of the failure of governments worldwide to control the increasing trade of this kind of equipment.
 National Bank publishes report on euro area economy
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)The three largest euro area economies show clear signs of improvement, suggesting that the steadily improving confidence has finally begun to translate into actual economic activity, National Bank of Greece said in its monthly report on the eurozone.
In its report, NBG stressed that a more careful look at the recent economic statistic releases revealed that the rebound of the eurozone economy was weak as it was mainly reflecting an improvement in net external demand.
The bank's analysts said that neither consumption nor investment appeared to have improved, while, as a result of poor domestic demand, import growth has decelerated providing a large part of the boost to net exports.
Combining all of the above, NBG analyst said that this was not much of an export-led recovery. Looking forward, however, they expect the improvement in world demand to revive exports and support the euro area's recovery.
The main risks to this downcast projection are: on the downside, a further appreciation of the euro currency, and on the upside, more support from monetary and fiscal policy.
The report said it was expecting headline inflation to continue its downward trend, dropping to 1.8 percent by year-end and to 1.4 percent by end-2004.
Monetary conditions in the euro area are neutral, as the appreciation of the euro has counterbalanced the decline in real interest rates. NBG analysts expect that current macroeconomic conditions to supporting the case for a 25 basis points rate cut in early 2004, leading the European Central Bank intervention rate to 1.75 percent for the remainder of 2004. The report stressed that the balance of risks for the euro area short-term interest rates was on the downside, in contrast to the US.
On the bond market, NBG's analysts suggested that the risks for euro area 10-year yield were neutral for the period of two months ahead, while the balance of risks for the 10-year T-note yield lied to the upside.
On stock markets, analysts suggested that the balance or risks was skewed towards lower stock market valuations on both sides of the Atlantic.
NBG also expects an appreciation of the euro for the periods of one and three months ahead.
 Gov’t seeks more funds to support countryside development
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)A Greek government meeting on Tuesday discussed ways to secure funds from a Third Community Support Framework program for the development of the countryside and to prepare the country's position for a Fourth Community Support Framework, currently under discussion in the EU.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis chaired a meeting with 12 government ministers.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Agriculture Minister George Drys said that the government was currently implementing tens of thousands of projects around the country, budgeted at 1.363 billion euros.
 Greece, Turkey expect spectacular growth in bilateral trade
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)Greek Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Tuesday expressed his confidence that a series of agreements signed between Greece and Turkey would lead to a spectacular development of economic cooperation between the two countries.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Mr Christodoulakis said that "The framework created is adequate and effective leaving no more excuses for a lack in economic cooperation." The Greek minister stressed also the spectacular growth rates recorded in both countries.
Mr Christodoulakis noted that the Greek economy was the more rapidly growing economy in the European Union, while Turkey was also recording spectacular growth rates.
This development, supported by bilateral agreements, could lead to a spectacular development of economic relations, Turkey's Economy Minister Kemal Unakitan said. "We look forward to double or triple economic transactions," the Turkish minister stressed.
The two ministers had earlier signed an agreement to avoid double taxation, completing a series of institutional and legislative framework adjustments aimed to secure stable economic cooperation, protecting investments and facilitating economic transactions between the two countries.
Mr Christodoulakis is accompanied, in his visit to Turkey, by the president of the Greek Industries Union, Mr Odysseas Kyriakopoulos.
Greece, Turkey sign double taxation avoidance pact: Greece and Turkey on Tuesday signed an agreement that abolishes many instances of double taxation in a move expected to help boost business ties between the two countries.
In the wake of five years of negotiations, the pact was signed in Ankara by visiting Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and his Turkish counterpart.
The finance ministry said in a statement that the main points of the agreement are as follows:
 Greek ships account for 40pct of European fleet
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)Merchant Marine Minister George Paschalidis said on Tuesday that Greek ships account for 40 per cent of the European fleet's capacity.
The minister told the first meeting of the National Shipping Policy Council that inflows from shipping totalled 9.0 billion euros in 2003.
The government's aim was to see modernization of the country's fleet and ensure safety at sea, he added.
 Telecoms, small-caps lead ASE higher on Tuesday
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)Greek stocks resumed their upward trend on Tuesday, after Monday's short-lived correction, in the Athens Stock Exchange with buying interest focusing on smaller capitalization and telecommunication stocks.
The general index rose 0.77 percent to end at 2,180.61 points, with turnover a strong 180.7 million euros.
The Telecommunications, Textile and Holding sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day 1.86 percent, 1.62 percent and 1.37 percent, respectively), while the Food-Beverage and Publication sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (0.51 percent and 0.39 percent, respectively).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.69 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0.38 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index jumped 1.03 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 195 to 101 with another 58 issues unchanged.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 60.2 million euros Tuesday
Equity Index Futures:
Bond Market Close: Buyers match sellers on Tuesday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
Closing rates of December 2 2003
Parities in euro
For. Exchange Buying Selling
US Dollar 1,207 1,179
 Exhibition for 90th anniversary of Crete's union with Greece in Parliament
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)The ''Crete, 90 years since the Union with Greece'' exhibition opened in Parliament on Tuesday with a ceremony attended by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, former president Christos Sartzetakis, former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis and other dignitaries spanning Greece's political spectrum.
Also, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Marianna Vardinoyianni was present, along with representatives of Cretan Clubs.
Speaking during the ceremony, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis said that the ''Union of Crete with Mother Greece is to a great degree the result of the political intelligence and the diplomatic flexibility of Eleftherios Venizelos''.
''It was one of the brightest moments of modern Greek history. Because, without Crete, Greece would have not been a complete corpus, some of the most glorious pages of modern Greek history would have not been written, with their most significant one being the epic Battle of Crete that changed the course of the Second World War,'' Kaklamanis said.
The exhibits include memorabilia and documents on loan from state and private collections, but the central piece is the document of the surrender of German and Italian forces on May 10, 1945.
 Thessaloniki University wins Cultural Olympiad prize for Greek solar-powered car
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)The Mechanical Engineers department at Thessaloniki University was on Tuesday declared the winner of the "Phaedon 2004" competition for the best Greek design for a solar-powered car, organized by the Cultural Olympiad.
Second prize went to a vehicle developed at Patras University by the Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineers Dept, the Electronic Engineers and Computer Technology Dept and the Physics Dept.
Third place distinctions were shared by the Larissa Technological Educational Institute (TEI), the Drapetsona technical school and the Yiannitsa TEI.
The solar cars, powered entirely by sunlight, will be put through their paces at an event in May 22-29 in 2004, which will include a two-hour speed race in a closed track and a five-day rally taking in Olympia and Delphi.
Present at Tuesday's ceremony was Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who noted that solar-powered vehicles were favored by Greece's weather.
 Five Greek aid organizations sign contract with EU's ECHO
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)Five non-governmental aid organizations based in Greece have been invited to sign a framework agreement with ECHO, the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO).
These include Doctors of the World, the Greek chapter of International Democratic Solidarity, European Prospect, the International Orthodox Christian Charities of Greece and the Centre of Strategic Planning for Development.
These five aid groups are considered capable of carrying out humanitarian aid activities with a wide scope and to have a reliable organizational and operational structure, while they are judged to be effective on the basis of their results.
The signature of an agreement with ECHO constitutes formal recognition of the good work done by the five groups so far and also makes them eligible for funding by ECHO, which has one of the largest humanitarian aid budgets in the world.
ECHO's mission is to provide emergency aid and relief to victims of natural disasters or armed conflict in countries outside the European Union, with emphasis on more vulnerable groups.
Part of its job is to ensure that the aid reaches those in need, regardless of race, nationality, religion, sex, age or political beliefs.
The European Commission is the largest single donor of humanitarian aid worldwide, accounting for 25 per cent of total global spending on aid each year.
 Patriarch in Cuba in late January
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)The Orthodox Metropolitan of Panama, Athinagoras, on Tuesday confirmed here that Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos will travel to Cuba in late January to inaugurate the first Orthodox Cathedral in the island nation.
Athinagoras said the Patriarchate has already exchanged correspondence on the project with Cuban leader Fidel Castro, with the latter reportedly planning to greet Vartholomeos as a head of state upon his arrival in Havana.
The Metropolitan said 40 non-Cuban Orthodox Christian faithful are stationed in Cuba, along with about 100 local families.
The new church will be dedicated to Aghios Nikolaos (St. Nicholas), the patron saint of seafarers in Orthodoxy.
The visit is scheduled from Jan. 21 to Jan. 26.
 SDOE uncover high-tech counterfeiting lab, four arrested
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)The Greek police's financial crimes squad (SDOE) has uncovered a state-of-the-art money counterfeiting outfit in the Nea Philadelphia suburb of Athens, and arrested four men, including two Cypriot nationals, it was announced on Tuesday.
According to the Attica security police, the counterfeiting lab, which produced mainly 100-dollar bills, was one of the most technologically advanced internationally, and produced large quantities of 100-dollar bills destined for the Greek and Cypriot market. They said the counterfeiting ring planned on circulating most of the forged money during the Olympic Games in Athens next year.
Police said the first quantities of counterfeit bills have already been circulated in Cyprus.
Police said they had arrested on Monday 60-year-old veteran typographer Ioannis Kousoulis, Cypriot nationals Christophoros Christoforou and Costas Nestoras, and a Greek from Russia identified as Anastasios Kourtidis, who were taken before a prosecutor and would be brought before an investigating magistrate on Thursday.
Police first arrested the two Cypriots and Greek Russian, in whose possession they found 1,700 counterfeit 100-dollar bills, and seized the forged money and their Mercedes car.
The typographer, Kousoulis, was arrested later after a search of his illegal laboratory turned up 188 counterfeit 100-dollar bills, reams of uncut counterfeit bills, large quantities of paper destined for counterfeiting, metal plates for counterfeit bills, and other paraphernalia used to produce forged money.
Also, an electronic computer system with scanner and five printers was also found in the garage of the home of one of the detainees, which police said was used by the ring to print serial numbers on the counterfeit bills.
Police investigations were continuing to ascertain the exact quantities of counterfeit dollars circulated on the market and for the possibility of additional ring members.
The discovery of the lab and arrest of the ring is considered a major national success, as such high-tech counterfeiting establishments have rarely been discovered in the past.
 EU healthcare ministers to promote directive on disease prevention center
BRUSSELS 03/12/2003 (ANA - V. Demiris)The European Union's healthcare ministers on Tuesday decided to approve, on principle, the draft of a directive for the founding of a European center for the prevention and control of disease.
Greek Healthcare Minister Costas Stephanis represented Greece, stressing that the operation of the new center must begin as soon as possible.
The ministers decided that the detailed study of the proposal will take place during the Irish presidency.
 Supreme court orders 'Kathimerini' to pay compensation to Kokkalis
Athens, 03/12/2003 (ANA)The Greek supreme court 'Arios Pagos' on Tuesday ordered the newspaper ''Kathimerini'' to pay 315,000 euros awarded to Intracom and its president Sokratis Kokkalis by a lower-level court as compensation for slander and moral damage.
The Supreme Court rejected a petition for the abeyance of a Piraeus Appeals Court ruling that ordered the paper to pay 250,000 euros in compensation to Intracom and further 65,000 euros compensation to Kokkalis himself.
It did, however, suspend a ruling obligating the paper to publish a summary of the Piraeus court ruling.
The Piraeus Appeals court had convicted ''Kathimerini'' publisher Aristides Alafouzos, the newspaper's director and journalist Aristea Bougatsou for a series of articles on Kokkalis' business activities, debts and other dealings that were considered factually incorrect and slanderous.
The paper has lodged an appeal for the reversal of the decision with the Supreme Court, for which a ruling is still pending.
 CoE welcomes successful outcome of Loizidou case
NICOSIA 03/12/2003 (CNA/ANA)The Council of Europe said on Tuesday the conclusion of the case of Titina Loizidou demonstrates the effectiveness of the right of individual appeal available to Europeans, members of CoE, while its Secretary General Walter Schwimmer expressed satisfaction to the Committee of Ministers' Deputies for completing their control of the execution of the ECHR judgment.
The Netherlands Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe announced that ''Turkey executed today the judgment of July 28, 1998 in the Loizidou case by paying to Mrs. Titina Loizidou the sum that had been awarded to her by the European Court of Human Rights in respect of just satisfaction.''
The conclusion of this case, the CoE said, ''which is the result of efforts by all member states, demonstrates the effectiveness of the right of individual appeal available to 800 million Europeans before the Strasbourg Court.''
In another statement, Schwimmer expressed his satisfaction that on Tuesday the Committee of Ministers' Deputies had completed their control of the execution of the ECHR judgment of July 1998 awarding Loizidou ''an amount of around 450,000 Cypriot Pounds for damages, costs and expenses as just satisfaction on account of the violation of the applicant's right to peaceful enjoyment of certain properties located in the northern part of Cyprus.''
The Secretary General said he welcomed Tuesday's ''successful outcome, which confirmed the supremacy of the judgments of the European Court and the Committee of Ministers' determination to ensure, with all means available to the Organization, compliance with those judgments.''
He added ''today represented a significant moment for Council of Europe's system of collective enforcement of human rights.''
Loizidou and her lawyer hail Turkey's decision: Loizidou welcomed Tuesday's development and stressed that Ankara shows in practice that it accepts that it is violating her human rights in Cyprus.
Loizidou and her lawyer, Achilleas Demetriades, both stressed that Turkey still has a long way to go to fully comply with the European Court of Human Rights judgment since it has to comply with the December 1996 Court ruling relating to access and peaceful enjoyment of her property.
''This is an historic day because by paying the damages Turkey accepts the judgment of the Court. We have now concluded the first phase of the effort to enforce the judgment by the payment of the amount adjudicated by the Court,'' he told CNA.
He said that now the more difficult part of the judgment begins, which is the restoration of Loizidou's human rights.
''This is a very important decision by Turkey because it accepts the Court's judgment, something that brings Ankara closer to Europe and to Europe's public order as this is defined by human rights,'' he added.
In her statement to CNA, Loizidou said she was pleased because the 1996 Court decision began to be implemented.
''Turkey by virtue of executing the decision shows in practice that it accepts that it violates my human rights with regard to the loss of use of my property as well as the access and peaceful enjoyment of it,'' she said.
Tuesday's developments show that the system for the protection of human rights in Europe has been strengthened, she added.