|Sunday, 26 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-07-11
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>July 11, 2005
 BOCOG vice-president Binghua praises Greece's impeccable Olympics, in meeting with deputy culture minister Petralia
Beijing, 11/07/2005 (ANA/S. Aravopoulou)Vice president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG) Li Binghua on Sunday praised Greece and its impeccable organization of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, while touring Greece's visiting deputy culture minister Fani Pali-Petralia around the Olympic complex under construction for the 2008 Games.
Petralia, who is visiting Beijing on the official invitation of the Chinese government, toured the main Olympic Stadium, the "heart" of the Beijing Games, and noted that China was proceeding at a rapid and intense pace in its Olympics preparations.
She said that Greece could transfer know-how and experience to China's preparations, adding that "we are on a path of close cooperation" between the two countries.
Petralia said that the Olympics cooperation between Greece and China was "an important bridge between two great civilizations", giving a new dimension to the relationship developing between the two countries.
The Chinese people observed with great interest the "exceptionally successful and unforgettable Olympic Games of Athens", Binghua said. "We are very impressed by Athens' Olympics organization," he added, explaining that the Opening and Closing Ceremonies would be held at the National Olympic Stadium, nicknamed "Bird's Nest", just as they were held at Athens' OAKA stadium in 2004, as well as the soccer final.
The Stadium has a capacity of 90,000 spectators and will be completed along with the rest of the Olympic complex -- which also includes the swimming pool, the Olympic Village, the Press, Radio/Television, and Conference centers, covering a total 250,000 sq.m. -- by end 2007. There are currently 3,800 people working on the complex in three shifts, and the number will almost double to 6,000 by September.
"We look forward to your suggestions from your experience, and your know-how," Binghua told Petralia, and thanked her for her visit to China.
Petralia said she was particularly impressed with the swimming pool, which she said was a true jewel of futuristic architecture, and was designed by a young Chinese architect. All four swimming disciplines (swimming, water polo, diving and synchronized swimming) will take place at the pool.
Binghua, in turn, was impressed by the photographic album of the Athens Olympic Games, titled "Embnefsi" (Inspiration), presented by Petralia, which is a unique sojourn, through pictures of all the projects and events of the Athens 2004 Games, which was translated into the Chinese language specifically for her visit.
 Greek becomes an IOC vice-president
Athens, 11/07/2005 (ANA)Greece's Lambis Nikolaou became a vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Saturday following elections held at a meeting in Singapore.
Nikolaou, now one of four IOC vice-presidents, formerly headed the Hellenic Olympic Committee and has served as a member of the IOC since 1986, international news agencies reported from Singapore.
Also elected was Chiharu Igaya of Japan, replacing Russia's Vitaly Smirnov and South Korea's Un-yong Kim.
Retaining their posts under the four-year tenure rule are James Easton of the United States and Sweden's Gunilla Lindberg, the news agencies said.
 Deputy FM Stylianidis winds up visit to Munich
Athens, 11/07/2005 (ANA)Greece's deputy foreign minister Evripides Stylianidis wound up a two-day visit to Munich on Saturday, with a key-note address to a day seminar hosted by the Hellenic Academy in cooperation with Munich's Institute for SE Europe, titled "Greece's Economic Diplomacy and Developmental Policy in the wider region of SE Europe".
During his visit, Stylianidis met with Bavarian state minister of economic affairs, infrastructure, transport and technology Dr. Otto Wiesheu, to whom he outlined Greece's economic diplomacy in the wider region of SE Europe.
The two men agreed to the holding, in the near future, of a commercial and business forum with the participation of the Greek and Bavarian Chambers of commerce and industry, in the framework of further reinforcement of bilateral economic relations.
Stylianidis further called on the offices of the Greek Community of Munich, where he discussed overseas Greeks affairs with the community's board of directors.
The Greek deputy minister also met with the deputy prime minister and interior minister of the Bavarian state, Guenther Bechstein, with whom he discussed prospects for cooperation in the security sector between Greece and Bavaria.
Bechstein proposed bilateral contacts at ministerial level in the coming months.
The two men also had an in-depth discussion on the Balkan countries' and Turkey's European course, the European Constitutional Treaty, and the Cyprus issue.
 Interior Minister Pavlopoulos tours shelter for illegal migrants on Lesvos
Athens, 11/07/2005 (ANA)Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos continued his tour of the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos over the weekend, where he attended the 9th conference of Greece's 13 heads of regions, which convened here.
While on the large island, Pavlopoulos visited a shelter for the temporary hosting of illegal immigrants, as hundreds have landed on the island over the past decade from the opposite Turkish coast.
"What's important on the issue of illegal immigration is to take preventative measures, because illegal immigration does not only mean a person risking his life, but unfortunately, it points to a type of modern-day slave trade, which is unacceptable for our civilization," he said, while noting that the Greek government will continue to upgrade such facilities and to treat migrants with respect.
Regional heads as well as the high-level ministerial delegation also attended a presentation of the "Theseus" program for local governments.
 Opposition party wants to see EU, UN action on Iraq
Athens, 11/07/2005 (ANA)The head of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology on Saturday urged the government to seek action on Iraq at the United Nations and within the European Union.
"The government should make use of its UN Security Council presidency, taking the initiative in the EU and in the international organization to bring an end to the occupation of Iraq," Alekos Alavanos told a meeting of his party's central committee.
A member of the EU, Greece is also president of the UN council for the month of July.
The party recently called for a conference on the Middle East and Iraq that would seek a fair solution to the Palestinian issue and try to set in motion the restoration of Iraq's independence.
In addition, Alavanos repeated his abhorrence for Thursday's bomb attacks in London.
"This act has nothing to do with visions of liberation and the struggles waged by peoples for their independence and rights," the party leader noted.
"On the contrary, they reinforce options for violence and oppression by the leading powers, and favor plans to undermine and marginalize the large and multi-faceted movement against war and neo-liberal globalization," Alavanos said.
Efforts should be increased in Europe to change the conditions that fuel terrorism, triggering a fresh cycle of violence. "The attack in London symbolizes the failure of politicians against terrorism," he added.
 8th 'Symi Symposium begins' in Rethymno, Papandreou statement
Athens, 11/07/2005 (ANA)The 8th annual "Symi Symposium", a six-day event sponsored by the Andreas Papandreou Foundation and presided over by main opposition PASOK president George Papandreou, the son of the party's founder, began over the weekend in the Cretan resort city of Rethymno.
This year's principle theme is entitled "New Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century".
Participants are expected to cover issues such as the democratic deficit in western countries; the role of technology in helping -- or hindering -- democracy; globalization and its challenges to democratic institutions; views on democracy outside the West; the impact of terrorism on democracy; and how the relationship between religion and politics is being redefined.
In statement circulated by PASOK's press office, Papandreou notes that specifically in terms of democracy, "... we will table certain major questions, from global governance to the major issues of Europe, such as the recent referenda for the European constitution, the terrorist attack London, the relationship between these numerous problems and the lack of democracy as well as with religious fanaticism..." he said.
 Synaspismos says it won't cooperate with ND, PASOK in next year's local gov't elections
Athens, 11/07/2005 (ANA)The smaller of the four Parliament-represented parties, the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos), announced over the weekend that a majority of members of its central political committee voted against pre-election cooperation with the two majors parties, ruling New Democracy and main opposition, for next year's local government elections.
Instead, the party's top policy-making said Synaspismos will attempt to "rally the widest possible leftist elements" in the country's three major cities - Athens, Thessaloniki and Piraeus - along with other major municipalities and prefectures.
A statement, released on Sunday, notes that Synaspismos believes the "failure of the government's policies along with PASOK inability to exercise a substantive opposition" will include the element of "sending a political message".
 Ecumenical Patriarch has faith that Patriarchate's problems will be resolved
Istanbul, 11/07/2005 (ANA/A. Kourkoulas)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Sunday outlined the problems faced by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but added that he had faith that those problems would be solved.
Vartholomeos, who leaves Monday for Brussels where he will meet with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn, said that the Ecumenical Patriarchate was advancing good neighborhood between Greece and Turkey, and was aiding Turkey's European prospect and course, which he noted was unreservedly backed by Greece.
Vartholomeos was due to discuss with EU officials the course of issues concerning the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the ethnic Greek minority in Turkey, which issues have been included in the process of Turkey's adaptation to the European acquis communautaire.
The fate of properties owned by ethnic Greek minority foundations, the fate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's property, settlement of the legal status of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkish legislation, the re-opening of the Halki Seminary School as a Church institution -- as it was prior to the prohibition of its operation by Turkish authorities -- are issues that have concerned the EU in preparations for the commencement of accession talks with Turkey.
 Deputy development minister says extension of shop hours will benefit growth, employment
Athens, 11/07/2005 (ANA)The government was advancing the measure for extension of shop opening hours, as all the governments of the civilized countries have already done, "not out of obstinacy, but because it believes this will benefit growth, increased turnover and employment, and chiefly because it will render the battle against excessive prices more effective," deputy development minister Yannis Papathanasiou said in an interview with Eleftherotypia newspaper published in the Sunday edition.
Asked whether the prospect was being examined of shops also opening up on Sunday's, Papathanasiou said that although such a measure was being applied in an increasing number of countries, it was nonetheless not common practice and "the government has decided not to open up this issue, and it is not opening it up".
To a question on whether the government was mulling measures to tackle illegal commerce, Papathanasiou noted that in the past six months, within the limits of the development ministry's authority, 18,000 inspections had been carried out which turned up approximately 1,000 cases of violations, and the lawful sanctions were imposed in those cases.
"We are now reviewing the standing legislation so that, first of all the illegal products will be destroyed," he said, explaining that, the practice up to recently had been that "the State, after paying large sums of money to store (the illegal goods) in warehouses, would put them up on auction, resulting in the (illegal) products re-entering the market, and legally this time".
Secondly, he said, the government was abolishing the "private bazaars", from which he said "some crafty individuals made good money and at which illegal commerce was rampant" while, third, in addition to the legal sanctions imposed on such illicit trade to date, administrative sanctions would also be added, namely fines imposed on-the-spot, so that the violator would face immediate punitive action, and repeatedly, if he/she continued the violation.
 Bounced checks, unpaid bills of exchange on the decline
Athens, 11/07/2005 (ANA)Bounced checks and unpaid bills of exchange declined in May over the preceding month of April, according to data released by the Teiresias agency of the Union of Greek Banks on Sunday.
More specifically, the value of bounced checks fell by 18.34 percent in May, to 103.2 million euros, while the number of bounced checks fell by 16.41 percent in May to 9,447 checks.
The number of unpaid bills of exchange fell to 9,553 noting an 8.24 percent decline over April, while the value of the unpaid bills of exchange fell to 11.5 million euros, marking an 11.01 percent decline over the preceding month.
In the five-month period January-May 2005, the number of unpaid bills of exchange fell to 54,199 down by 13.31 percent over the corresponding period in 2004, while the value of the unpaid bills of exchange fell to 71.1 million euros, down by 18.51 percent over the corresponding period last year.
The number of bounced checks reached 52,130 in the January-May period, with a value of 572 million euros, marking declines of 35.17 percent and 48.54 percent respectively over the corresponding period last year.
 Greek Euro-MP cites Euro-Parliament backing for adequate regional development funding
Athens, 11/07/2005 (ANA)Euro-deputy Costas Hatzidakis on Sunday referred to a more-or-less positive outlook for Greece as far as the European Union's regional development policy is concerned, noting that the Euro-Parliament has approved of a relevant report that would translate into roughly 22.5 billion euros for the east Mediterranean country.
In an interview published in the Sunday edition of "Eleftheros Typos", Hatzidakis stressed that it was "clear that the European Parliament supports the basic goal of Cohesion fund countries for adequate funding of this specific policy."
 Car crash on notorious stretch of highway at Malliakos Gulf claims 9 lives
Athens, 11/07/2005 (ANA)Nine people, including three children, were killed in a head-on collision Saturday afternoon involving a total of four cars traveling on a notorious stretch of national roadway circum-venting the Gulf of Malliakos in central Greece.
The accident occurred on the 203rd kilometer of the Athens-Lamia national highway when two passenger vehicles collided under undetermined circumstances, killing all six people in the south-bound car and all three in the north-bound vehicle. Another two vehicles struck the first two, which eventually veered off the roadway before bursting into flames.
Numerous traffic accidents, many with multiple fatalities, have been recorded on the Gulf of Malliakos stretch of Greece's main north-south road axis over the years due to the fact that the busy two-way highway isn't separated by a median and has insufficient road shoulders.
Another four fatalities and a same number of injuries was the result of a road accident in northern Greece, specifically near the Aghios Mamas resort town in Halkidiki prefecture. The accident occurred when a passenger vehicle collided with a truck, before dropping some 10 meters into a steep ditch.
Finally, another two traffic-related deaths were reported in the greater Athens area over the weekend, one involving a motorcycle driver.
 Arrested youth's pistols not used in terrorist act, police source says
Athens, 11/07/2005 (ANA)A police source said on Saturday that four 9mm pistols and bullets found in an arrested youth's apartment last week had not been employed in any terrorist or other criminal act, according to preliminary investigations.
The 26-year-old youth and another man were caught on Thursday trying to dispose of chunks riot police shields in an Athens garbage can.
Police had used the shields on May 12 to ward off a firebomb attack near the city centre.
The pistols were found in a basement apartment rented by the youth, who lived in another flat in the same building with his mother. Both premises were searched on Friday.
The youth has in the past been charged with taking part in politically-motivated street riots linked to left-wing or anarchist fringe groups.
Police are continuing their enquiries.
 Electric shock kills building worker
Athens, 11/07/2005 (ANA)A construction worker died from electrocution on a building site in the Athens suburb of Pangrati on Saturday.
The Polish worker was rushed to hospital but pronounced dead on arrival.
The cause of the accident was unclear, authorities said.
 Fire breaks out in woodland near Athens
Athens, 11/07/2005 (ANA)A wildfire broke out in woodland at the foot of Mount Hymettus near Athens on Saturday, destroying pine trees and scrub. Residential areas were not at risk, authorities said.
Sent to tackle the blaze in the coastal suburb of Ilioupoli were 60 firefighters in 20 trucks, five water-dropping planes and three helicopters, backed by a 30-strong land contingent of the state's emergency rapid-reaction force.
The blaze, which raged near a monastery in Kareas and a memorial to fallen firemen, was brought under control after an hour and a half, but firefighters remained to tackle any fresh outbreak, the authorities said.
 Island passenger ferry rams dock, no injuries
Athens, 11/07/2005 (ANA)A passenger and car ferry on Saturday rammed into a concrete jetty on the Aegean island of Paros while trying to dock. No-one was injured, authorities said.
The Express Santorini carrying 1,840 passengers was held in port for inspection after its engines suddenly broke down, causing the collision.
 Two armed robberies in popular fast-food outlet, no injuries
Athens, 11/07/2005 (ANA)Armed robbers held up two branches of the popular Goody's fast food chain while the restaurants were crowded with customers, including children. No-one was injured.
At gunpoint, two masked robbers stole a total of 1,900 euros in takings from the two Thessaloniki branches in attacks that fell within fifteen minutes of each other at peak-time on Friday.
Police are conducting enquiries.
 Cyprus remembers those killed in 1974 coup
NICOSIA, 11/07/2005 (CNA/ANA)Memorial services were held Sunday in churches in the government-controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus for those who lost their lives defending the Republic during the 1974 military coup against the democratically elected President of Cyprus.
The military coup against the first President of the Republic, Archbishop Makarios, engineered by the military junta then ruling Greece, was followed five days later by the Turkish invasion, which resulted in the illegal occupation of the island's northern third and its de facto division.
Sunday's memorial services in Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Paralimni, Polis Chrysochous and Evryhou were attended by members of the cabinet and government officials, while the Nicosia memorial service will be held on July 15 in the presence of President Tassos Papadopoulos.
On July 17, memorial services will be held for those who lost their lives during the 1974 Turkish invasion.
The services in Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Paralimni, Polis Chrysochous and Evryhou will be attended by members of the cabinet and government officials, while the Nicosia memorial service will be held on July 20 in the presence of President Papadopoulos.
The Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus has decided that on July 20 flags will be half-mast at all churches in the government-controlled areas and church bells will toll dolefully for 15 minutes.
Similar events will be held in Cypriot communities abroad.