|Saturday, 25 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-07-27
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>July 27, 2005
 Inner Cabinet discusses boosting competitiveness
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)The Inner Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, met Tuesday and discussed ways of boosting competitiveness.
Taking part in the meeting, in addition to the ministers which are standing members of the Inner Cabinet, were development ministry secretary general Nikos Stefanou, special secretary for competitiveness Spyros Efstathopoulos, National Council for Competitiveness and Development committee of experts vice president Vassilis Patsouratis, and committee member Prof. Spyros Makridakis.
The prime minister and inner cabinet were briefed on the development ministry's efforts and initiatives to boost competitiveness in Greece, while Prof. Makrydakis presented a detailed report on the Greek economy's competitiveness, the country's position based on the economic indices published by all major international organizations. Makrydakis, who teaches at Insead in France and the University of Piraeus, also made recommendations for the goals and initiatives that must be undertaken up to the year 2010.
Afterward, Soufias said that Greece's world ranking in competitiveness had slipped steadily between 2000 and 2004.
"The balance of trade deficit was widening, we were handing over jobs to our trade competitors, and throughout this period we did not attract foreign investments," he noted.
He said the government had responded by declaring the years from 2005 until 2010 "Years for Competitiveness" and was promoting new policies in this direction.
According to Sioufas, the government was "unfolding an integrated developmental policy" that involved public administration, the economy, education, health, tourism, agricultural development and culture.
"We are promoting the reforms required for the country to move forward," the minister stressed, noting that the aim was to reverse current trends and lift Greece from its current low ranking among developed countries.
Earlier, Karamanlis had a private meeting with development minister Dimitris Sioufas.
 Deputy FM Stylianidis discusses reinforcement of bilateral economic cooperation in Istanbul
ISTANBUL, 27/07/2005 (ANA/A. Kourkloulas)Greece's deputy foreign minister Evripides Stylianidis on Monday discussed the reinforcement of bilateral economic cooperation with Turkey -- which has been decided by the joint Greek-Turkish ministerial committee -- in separate meetings with the chairman of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) Omer Sabanci, and chairman of the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) Selim Egeli.
"We want to strengthen our cooperation, on the basis of the agreement signed during the third Mixed Interministerial Committee," Stylianidis told the ANA, and expressed satisfaction with the course of bilateral economic relations between Greece and Turkey.
 Deputy Minister meets Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, discusses potential joint projects
ISTANBUL, 27/07/2005 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Deputy Foreign Minister Evripides Stylianides and a delegation of foreign ministry officials on Tuesday had a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the heads of ecclesiastical committees in Fanar.
They discussed potential cooperation on a series of initiatives concerning the environment and humanitarian projects.
Bartholomew said the meeting had focused on measures to further promote Greek-Turkish friendship and cooperation, as well as matters concerning the Patriarchate and the Greek expatriate community in Turkey.
Stylianides reiterated the government's support for Turkey's European course and said that this could be greatly enhanced by the "prestige and glamour" of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The Patriarch also took the opportunity to announce that another inter-faith conference like that held in 1994, entitled "Peace and Tolerance", will be held in Istanbul on November 7-9, with the participation of Christians, Moslems and Jews.
 PASOK president addresses int'l women's committee
ISTANBUL, 27/07/2005 (ANA/A.Kourkoulas)Main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou addressed the International Women's Committee for Peace in the Middle East during its first meeting in Istanbul on Tuesday.
The Committee, which evolved from the Jerusalem Link, operates under the auspices of the United Nations. Its aim is to enable Israeli and Palestinian women to work together towards peace in the Middle East.
During his speech, Papandreou stressed that women's participation must be established legislatively so that it can contribute to the creation of a new culture in peacefully resolving differences.
According to committee members, the Jerusalem Link enabled Palestinian and Israeli women to maintain relations when all other contact between the two sides had broken down.
After his address, Papandreou said that he supports, and has always supported, the participation of women's organizations in the Middle East peace process.
He said that it was a great honor for him to participate in the committee's founding meeting.
 Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos denounces new Turkish arbitrary acts
ISTANBUL, 27/07/2005 (ANA/A. Kourkoulas)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos received the directorate of the Thessaloniki Bar Association at the Fanar on Tuesday and revealed a new attempt by the Turkish administration to embezzle property belonging to the Patriarchate and the Greek community and called for their help to confront the arbitrary acts of the Turkish administration.
"We are determined to defend our rights in every way," the Ecumenical Patriarch said.
"We are asking for nothing more than our rights. We are citizens of this country. We are fulfilling our duties towards the state in full, but precisely for this reason we are also seeking our rights in full. And we do not want to be treated like second rate citizens," he added.
The Ecumenical Patriarch further pointed out that Turkey, while the majority of its population sincerely desires accession to the European Union, is undertaking certain obligations at the same time which it must fulfill if it wants to shorten the path leading to Brussels.
 PASOK president supports Ecumenical Patriarchate
ISTANBUL, 27/07/2005 (ANA/A.Kourkoulas)Main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou expressed his unequivocal support in light of the problems the Ecumenical Patriarchate is facing during his phone conversation with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Tuesday.
Papandreou was in the Turkish capital on Tuesday where he was invited to speak at the founding meeting of the International Women's Committee for Peace in the Middle East.
 DM briefs President Papoulias on new structure of armed forces
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)President Karolos Papoulias received Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos on Tuesday, who briefed him on the new administrative structure and the new structure of the armed forces, recently ratified by the Government Council of Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA), according to a defense ministry announcement.
 French ambassador delivers two letters to DM on procurement program for Mirage 2000-5 warplanes
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)French Ambassador to Athens Bruno Delaye delivered two letters to the defense minister on Tuesday, by which conditions set by the defense ministry's civil leadership on the smooth development of the procurement program for Mirage 2000-5 warplanes are satisfied.
In the first letter the THALES company commits itself to providing an additional bank guarantee, exceeding 100 percent of the cost of purchasing a new self-protection system, in the event that the company's self-protection system does not produce the expected results.
In the second letter, French Defense Minister Michel Alliot-Marie declares that the French government guarantees the meeting of contractual obligations emanating from the program concerning the Mirage 2000-5 aircraft.
 PASOK leader Papandreou blasts government policies as socially unjust
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said Monday that his party, when it became government, would abolish all the unilateral regulations instituted by the present government.
Speaking after a meeting of the PASOK Political Council, which dealt mainly with the reforms in the labor sector being advanced by the New Democracy (ND) government, Papandreou attacked the government's policies as "policies of economic failure and social injustice".
Referring particularly to the bill on labor reforms, Papandreou accused the government of "taking money from the working people's pockets and putting it in the pockets of the employers", adding that it was a "socially unjust and class-oriented choice".
He also accused the government of "investing in an outdated developmental model, that of cheap labor", which he said promoted neither completion nor employment, entrepreneurship and productivity, adding that the government had adopted a "model of social authoritarianism, putting the citizen in the margin".
Papandreou was in Istanbul on Tuesday, where he was slated to be the central speaker at the first International Meeting of the International Committee of Women for Peace in the Middle East, a joint initiative of Jerusalem Link, a forum of women from Palestine and Israel, that concerns the role of women and their participation in the peace process that commenced in 2002 in Jerusalem. The meeting is taking place at the initiative of the UN, in an effort for implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
 Constitutional name not a bargaining chip for EU accession, FYROM PM says
SKOPJE, 27/07/2005 (ANA/N.Fragopoulos)Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Vlado Buckovski said that his country is not willing to compromise on the use of its constitutional name - 'Republic of Macedonia' - in order to facilitate FYROM's European Union candidacy.
Use of its constitutional name has fuelled a long-standing controversy with Greece resulting in a United Nations-sponsored negotiation for a mutually-acceptable solution.
However, speaking to a group of university students in Krusev on Tuesday, Buckovski said that FYROM does not intend to change its constitutional name.
FYROM submitted a questionnaire to the European Commission, which will decide whether the country fulfills political, economic and social criteria in order to become an EU candidate. The Commission is expected to respond in early November.
According to local press reports, if the Commission's response to FYROM's questionnaire is positive, then the 25 EU member states will decide on whether the country should be named a candidate during the December EU summit.
FYROM's leadership has stressed that whether a country can be considered an EU candidate or not depends on whether that country fulfills the Copenhagen criteria. The name issue is irrelevant, they say.
 Regional organizations play increasingly crucial role in addressing global challenges, Greek UN ambassador says
NEW YORK, 27/07/2005 (ANA/P.Panagiotou)Regional organizations are playing an increasingly vital role when it comes to dealing with new threats and challenges, Greek UN Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis said in comments he made during the UN's Sixth High-Level Meeting with Regional and other Intergovernmental Organizations here on Tuesday.
Vassilakis emphasized that geographic proximity and close historical and cultural ties which regional organizations' members share enable these organizations to better understand the causes behind conflicts afflicting their regions and to find peaceful solutions.
According to the Greek UN ambassador, some organizations have managed to prevent conflict and contribute to their respective region's stabilization.
Vassilakis said that Tuesday's meeting was particularly timely given the new threats that have emerged against world peace and in light of UN reforms.
He said that the UN Security Council intends to continue negotiations it previously had regarding working more closely with regional organizations in maintaining peace and security.
Greece has assumed the presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of July.
 Discussion on draft labor bill begins at first Parliamentary Recess Committee
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)The discussion, in principle, on the labor draft bill began at the first Parliamentary Recess Committee on Tuesday amid reaction from opposition parties and labor unions.
The main argument voiced by deputies of the ruling New Democracy party was the need for "bold steps" to boost employment, adding that arrangements made in the year 2000, by the previous government, did not produce the results that had been expected.
Employment Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos, participating in the discussion, accused the main opposition PASOK party of "disinformation and deliberate distortion of the content of arrangements included in the bill."
ND rapporteur Athanassios Bouras said on his part that "the government is proceeding with bold, calculated and determined steps with reforms for a better tomorrow and not simply to preserve the achievements of yesterday."
PASOK party leader George Papandreou is expected to address Parliament on current labor issues on Wednesday.
 Greek workers strike protesting against draft bill on labor relations
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)Greek workers staged a 24 nationwide strike on Tuesday protesting against a government legislation on labor relations.
The strike, announced by GSEE -Greece's largest trade union umbrella- included workers in the private sector, in the retail sector, bank workers and workers in public enterprises. ADEDY, civil servants' union, held a three-hour work stoppage in the morning. Olympic Airlines are servicing one flight per destination on Tuesday, while Hellenic Railways is operating to cover social needs. Media workers are also participating in the strike.
 Labor unionists satisfied with participation in 24-hour nationwide strike called by General Confederation of Workers of Greece
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)Labor unionists expressed satisfaction over the extent of participation in the 24-hour nationwide strike called by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) on Tuesday, as well as over the size of the rally held in front of the House of Parliament in the afternoon, stressing that nobody could have expected a qualitatively more massive gathering in the heart of the summer and with public transport on strike.
The unionists spoke of a message by working people to employers and the government, insisting that the bill arranging working time and decreasing the cost of overtime work must be withdrawn; adding that strike action will be escalated in autumn, regardless of the outcome of the vote to be held in Parliament.
GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos, addressing the rally, said the measures contained in the bill have no consensus among working people, they only serve employers' interests, abolish eight-hour work and transfer income from working people to employers.
He warned that labor unions will wage a continuous struggle to overturn these measures as of this coming autumn and called on the government to withdraw them and spoke of a message to all the political parties that these measures will not pass.
Labor unionists also pointed out that as a result of the measures working people's income and pensions will be reduced, employment will be decreased, labor accidents will increase and the personal and family lives of working people will be dissolved.
Turning up at the rally, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party leader Alekos Alavanos said the government has laid its hands on what working people hold sacred, that is to say eight-hour work and termed the strike a "prelude."
He also said that on the day that the prime minister will be speaking in Thessaloniki (at the opening of the Thessaloniki International Fair) "all of Greece must become paralyzed."
 Interministerial committee confers on defense industry
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)Matters concerning the defense industry were discussed Monday by national economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis, national defense minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos and development minister Dimitris Sioufas.
Alogoskoufis told reporters that the meeting of the interministerial committee on the defense industry was called by the national defense minister in order to seek ways of utilizing the country's armaments programs to boost the Greek defense industry.
The discussion also covered the Skaramangas shipyards, which Alogoskoufis said the government was seeking ways to develop and to maintain the jobs there.
He noted that at previous meetings, the interministerial committee had discussed other defense industries, and recalled that a memorandum has been signed with ELBO (Hellenic Vehicles Industry) for the production of vehicles in Greece, provided ELBO offered competitive prices, "because we cannot in any instance violate the principles of competition".
 Greek gov't intensifies efforts to combat tax evasion and smuggling
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)The Greek government will announce its decisions over a plan to integrate tax on heating and diesel oil in the country by the end of July, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas to discuss the issue, Alogoskoufis said Finance ministry agencies were intensifying inspections in tourist regions and islands around the country in an effort to combat tax evasion and smuggling.
"We are obliged to ensure that all Greek citizens will pay their taxes according to their income," he said.
 Commission to recover 73.12 mln euros of CAP expenditure from Greece
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)The European Commission on Monday announced it would claim back a total of 113.7 million euros of EU farm money unduly spent by member states. The money will be recovered because of inadequate control procedures or non-compliance with EU rules on agricultural expenditure. Member states are responsible for paying out and checking virtually all expenditure under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and the Commission is required to ensure that Member States have made correct use of the funds. Under the decision, funds will be recovered from Belgium, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
Greece will have to repay 38.55 million euros for weaknesses in the control of animal-eligibility criteria for the ewe and goat premium and another 23.98 million for shortcomings in the checking and traceability of the payments of tobacco aid. The EU's executive also approved a compensation totalling 40.72 million euros to Greece after canceling an earlier decision on cultivation fields.
 Greek SMEs avoid bank loans
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)Greek small- and medium-sized enterprises reported low rates in bank lending over the last few years, a report by Hellastat said on Tuesday.
The report, based on the results of 27,000 domestic enterprises in the period 2002-2004, showed that total interest-bearing lending of 22,781 enterprises last year totalled 56.85 billion euros, up 8.2 percent from 2003, of which 12.65 billion were bond loans raising banking lending to 44.2 billion euros or 67.4 percent of total loans to domestic enterprises.
According to Bank of Greece's figures, commercial enterprises (60 pct), reported the biggest use of foreign capital (2.15 times more their equity capital) mainly for operating costs, with enterprises in the service and manufacturing sectors reporting a rate of 50 percent each. The latter sector's ratio of foreign funds to equity capital was 1:1.
Hellastat said small and medium-sized enterprises with assets up to 1.0 million euros operated under a very conservative capital structure, with interest-bearing loans limited at 20-22 percent of their total debt.
The report said Greek SMEs were seeking operating lending, credit from their suppliers with less formality procedures and avoiding bank lending.
 Hellenic Sugar Industry head presents plan for sugar reform in EU
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)Hellenic Sugar Industry's president Christos Koskinas on Tuesday called for a gradual decline in the institutional price of sugar by 20 percent over a period of four to five years, starting from 2007, instead of a 39 percent in a two-year period proposed by the European Union.
Addressing a seminar held in Thessaloniki on developments in the sugar industry, Koskinas stressed his proposal would be a hard development, but feasible. The EU's proposals, instead, would mean the destruction of sugar industry not only in Greece but in other EU member-states as well, he said.
Koskinas said Hellenic Sugar Industry was promoting a package of measures aimed to reduce its industrial cost and promoting alternative actions such as energy production from bio-diesel. He expressed his satisfaction that a minority of EU member-states managed to block the EU's plans during a recent Farm Council and stressed that this development further strengthened the position of the seven EU states rejecting the sugar reform plan (Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Ireland and Lithuania).
Koskinas said he was informed of an Italian initiative in September to further strengthen the group's position and said that the number of EU member-states rejecting the plan have not risen to 11.
 Greek, Albanian central bank governors in cooperation talks
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)The central bank governors of Greece and Albania on Tuesday discussed their two countries' economies, and sounded out closer cooperation between the two institutions, focusing on a 1999 protocol covering regulatory procedures.
The head of the Bank of Greece, Nikos Garganas, also hosted a luncheon for Ardian Fullani, governor of the Bank of Albania, the domestic institution said in a statement.
Furthermore, working groups from the two banks discussed jurisdiction of the two banks in sectors including monetary policy and banking supervision.
The Bank of Greece attributes especial importance to the talks as four domestic commercial banks operate in Albania, holding more than 15% of the market in the neighboring country, the statement added.
 Emporiki Bank successfully completes placement of 5.2 pct equity stake
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)Emporiki Bank has successfully completed a placement of a 5.2 percent of its equity capital to selected international institutional investors throng a book-building procedure, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Emporiki Bank's governor G. Provopoulos, the Greek minister said demand for the issue was more than two times the size of the offering and stressed that this development showed the confidence enjoyed the Greek economy by both Greek and foreign investors.
Alogoskoufis said the economy ministry was now waiting completion of the next phase of a pension reform plan in the banking sector, envisaging the inclusion of bank workers to a Single Pension Fund set up under the government-sponsored plan.
 EFG Eurobank completes credit card asset-backed securities issue
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)Athens-quoted EFG Eurobank said on Tuesday that it had successfully completed a credit card asset-backed securities issue, which was handled by Karta 2005-1 Plc of the United Kingdom.
The issue totalled ¬ 750 million at an average funding cost of three-month Euribor + 21.7bps, with a soft bullet maturity of 4.96 years, EFG said in a statement.
It was the first credit card securitization by a Greek bank, and the first denominated in euros in Europe this year.
The credit card asset-backed securities were rated by rating agencies Standard & Poors, Moody s and Fitch.
Specifically, the ¬ 592.5 million Class A Notes received the top rating of AAA/Aaa/AAA (coupon three month Euribor + 15bps); the ¬ 75.0 million Class B Notes were rated A/A1/A+ (coupon three month Euribor + 32bps); and the ¬ 82.5 million Class C Notes were rated BBB/Baa2/BBB (coupon three month Euribor + 60bps), the statement said.
The transaction was arranged by Deutsche Bank AG London and EFG Telesis Finance S.A. Joint lead managers were Deutsche Bank AG London, EFG Telesis Finance S.A. and Merrill Lynch International.
The issue was heavily oversubscribed, leading to tighter price guidance.
Roadshows were held for institutional investors in Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, London and Paris
This is the third securitization transaction for EFG Eurobank following two ¬ 750 million residential mortgage-backed securitizations in the past 12 months.
 Marac gets navy telecoms project
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)Athens-quoted Marac SA has won a Hellenic Navy tender worth 182,000 euros to supply a LAN telecommunications network aboard 12 warships.
The turnkey project, which has a completion deadline of 18 months, involves a feasibility study, supply, installation, setting equipment parameters and staff training.
The network is to include high-speed voice and video data transmission to handle operational needs of the vessels.
 Large scale adulteration of alcohol drinks in Attica region
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)Greece's Finance ministry on Tuesday announced large scale tax evasion and adulteration by restaurant and entertainment enterprises in the Attica region.
Inspections made by official authorities in 39 enterprises in the period July 1-3 in the Attica region, found that 26 enterprises were breaching tax legislation (66.67 pct), while inspections made by the State General Laboratory found increased adulteration rates in alcohol drinks, served by entertainment enterprises to customers, ranging from 20 percent in whiskey, 50 pct in vodka, and 100 pct in rum and tequila samples.
 Piraeus prefecture confiscates Aegina pistachio nuts contaminated with aflatoxins
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)The Piraeus Prefecture on Tuesday ordered that 21.5 tons of pistachio nuts produced on the island of Aegina be confiscated after they were found to contain dangerous aflatoxins.
The prefecture has also ordered that quantities of nuts from the same batch that have been sold on the market should be recovered.
In collaboration with the Aegina pistachio nuts producer cooperative, meanwhile, prefecture scientists are investigating at what stage in their storage and processing the nuts produced the aflatoxins.
 Stocks nose up in lower-cap buying
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)Stocks finished higher with players buying into small- and medium-capitalization paper, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 3,281.06 points, marking a rise of 0.44%. Turnover was 187.0 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.23% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.33% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.59% up.
 Doctors pessimistic about separation of Athens Siamese twins
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)Separating the Siamese twins born in Athens last week will be extremely difficult, according to doctors that examined the baby girls at the Aglaia Kyriakou Childrens' Hospital and the "Alexandras" Obstetrics Clinic.
During a detailed examination on Monday in the presence of Deputy Health Minister George Constantopoulos, doctors found that the two babies share an oversize liver that is mostly located within the body of the weaker of the two, which is smaller in size and has problems with its heart, lungs and kidneys.
Initially, doctors at Aglaia Kyriakou had believed the babies did not share the same liver.
Greek doctors have contacted centers abroad that specialize in the separation of Siamese twins, starting with a centre in Paris.
The Siamese twins were born to a mother of Nigerian descent in an Athens hospital last Wednesday. According to Greek doctors, there is a higher incidence of Siamese twins among people of African descent compared to Caucasians, and they were virtually unheard of in Greece, where there is little experience in dealing with such cases.
 New board president takes over at national museum of modern art
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Sotiris Sorogas as board president of the National Museum of Modern Art (EMST), who will be replaced by the former vice-president of the board Kyriakos Griveas.
Griveas is also president of the company in charge of the unification of Athens' archaeological sites.
The post of vice-president of the board at the EMST will be filled by journalist Dimitris Kapranos.
 Corfu Prefect on hunger strike for nine days, demands solution to island's problems
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)The prefect of the Ionian island of Corfu George Maheimaris has apparently been on hunger strike for the past nine days to demand that the government solve problems faced by the island.
The prefect has been in Corfu's General Hospital since Sunday.
He was contacted by Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos over the phone, who promised to do what was in his power to find solutions to the problems.
 Drug arrests in Katerini
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)Two persons were arrested Tuesday in Katerini, after they were found to be transporting 14 kilos of hashish in their travel satchels.
A search of the satchels by police narcotics squad officers turned up 14.01 kilograms of unprocessed cannabis, packaged in 14 packets of one kilo each.
Police confiscated the drugs and the detainees' car, as well as 745 euros in cash. The two were taken before a public prosecutor.
 Man arrested for possession of counterfeit euro-bills
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)A man was arrested Monday in Katerini after counterfeit 50-euro bills were found in his possession.
The man, in the space of one hour, went to the same kiosk six times and purchased small items, paying with a new 50-euro bill each time. The kiosk owner became suspicious and checked the 50-euro bills, which he found to be counterfeit, and immediately alerted authorities.
A short while later police arrested the man, who had returned to the kiosk for another purchase. A search of the man's home turned up another 29 counterfeit 50-euro bills.
The man told police he had gotten the counterfeit bills from another person, who was being sought.
 Greece will seek to host athletics World Cup and Bruno Jauli competitions for 2006
Athens, 27/07/2005 (ANA)Deputy Sports Minister George Orfanos on Tuesday announced that Greece will bid to host the world cup and the European cup (also known as Bruno Jauli) competitions in athletics for the year 2006.
Orfanos made the announcement after a meeting with the president of Greece's athletics federation SEGAS, Vassilis Sevastis.
 Cyprus & Britain discuss ways towards the island's unity
LONDON, 27/07/2005 (CNA/ANA)British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos discussed on Tuesday ways to achieve progress towards the unity of Cyprus.
In his opening remarks at the end of their meeting at 10 Downing Street, Premier Blair said the two discussed the EU agenda. He also said they turned their attention specifically on how it is possible to have progress towards the unity of Cyprus.
President Papadopoulos in his opening statement referred to the traditional good relations between the two countries.
He said there are political differences but both sides will concentrate of bringing about the reunification of the island.
Accompanying the president at the meeting were Foreign Minister George Iacovou, Director of the Diplomatic Office of the President Tasos Tzionis, Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the EU Emilios Emiliou and Director of the President's Press Office Marios Karoyian.
Blair was backed by Jonathan Powell, Chief-of-staff, Kim Darroch, Prime Minister's European Adviser, Nigel Sheinwald, Foreign Policy adviser, Peter Millet British High Commissioner to Cyprus and Antony Phillipson, assistant diplomatic adviser.
 Cypriot Minister presents positions to US
WASHINGTON, 27/07/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou and US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice held a 40-minute
meeting on Monday, during which Iacovou presented the Greek Cypriot side's positions on the Cyprus problem and pointed out that it has cooperated with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan towards a Cyprus settlement.
Speaking after his meetings at the State Department, where he signed a Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) on the prevention of the spread of weapons of mass destruction, Iacovou said he noted that the Greek Cypriot side's positions on the solution plan proposed by Annan have been expressed and that the Secretary General should continue his efforts, either by sending an envoy to the island or by appointing a special representative to be in Nicosia.
At the State Department, Iacovou also had a half-hour meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Dan Fried. Before departing for London to join President Tassos Papadopoulos in talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Iacovou met with Greek American senator Paul Sarbanes.
Iacovou said he discussed various issues with Rice, mainly the Cyprus problem. ''I presented our positions, that we have cooperated with the UN Secretary General, that we have explained our positions on the Annan plan, that we believe the Secretary General should continue, either by sending an envoy at some time before September or by appointing a special representative who will be in Nicosia,'' Iacovou noted.
''I must say that she listened with great attention. Nothing that could cause any difficulty was mentioned. The view is that the Secretary General is possibly giving some time to study our positions, that they will support the Secretary General's efforts, they do not have a different agenda, they will help the Secretary General,'' he added.
Referring to his talks with Fried, Iacovou said they mainly covered the Cyprus problem ''and how we view things.''
''We also discussed issues of cooperation between the US and the EU, various problems arising from time to time and how there can be cooperation,'' he added.
Iacovou pointed out that the US officials did not express any special concerns over possible problems that may arise by Ankara's signing of the protocol extending its customs union to the ten new EU member states.
''It is known that the US wants cooperation between the EU and NATO. Turkey is trying to leave the Republic of Cyprus out of this cooperation. For this reason, we have already expressed our positions,'' he said.
Replying to questions regarding terrorism, Iacovou said the US is satisfied with the Republic of Cyprus' action on the matter, as well as issues concerning drugs and money laundering.
US actively supports UN approach towards
Cyprus solution: US State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack has said that the US continues ''to actively support the UN Secretary General's approach toward a permanent solution on Cyprus.''
In his press briefing on Monday, McCormack noted that ''Secretary General Annan has urged the Cypriot President, Papadopoulos, to present his views to the UN and resume progress on a way forward, and we stand ready to assist all sides in that task.''
He was speaking before Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou met US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
 COREPER decides on signature of protocol procedure by Turkey
BRUSSELS, 27/07/2005 (CNA/ANA)EU member states Permanent Representatives agreed Monday by consensus on the procedure to be followed with regard to the signature by Turkey of the protocol extending its customs union to the ten new EU member states, including the Republic of Cyprus.
The EU British Presidency convened Monday's COREPER meeting with a view to determine this procedure.
Diplomatic sources said the EU 25 agreed on the principle that any effort by Turkey to annul the substance of the protocol will not be accepted and will not be unanswered.
British Permanent Representative John Grant has suggested that British Prime Minister and current EU President Tony Blair will urge Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayiip Erdogan during their meeting on Wednesday not to try to make a statement to annul the protocol.
The protocol will be signed on the part of Turkey by its Permanent Representative in Brussels Oguz Demiralp, who will communicate the text to the British Presidency.
Any attempt by Turkey to make a statement altering the contents of the protocol would lead to further consultations with the Commission's legal services and to an extraordinary COREPER meeting on August 17-18.
 Cyprus has no specific information about Turkey signing the protocol
NICOSIA, 27/07/2005 (CNA/ANA)The Cyprus government has no specific information that Turkey is to sign a European Union protocol extending its customs union with the ten new member states, including Cyprus, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides told CNA on Tuesday.
He noted that the protocol has not yet been signed and underlined that the position of the government remains the same, that the signing of the protocol constitutes an obligation of Turkey towards the EU.
Responding to questions, he said the government had no information that Turkey would sign the protocol Wednesday, as press reports have suggested.
Ankara, whose military occupied Cyprus' northern areas since its troops invaded the country in 1974, does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus.