|Thursday, 21 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-05-11
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>May 11, 2004
 IOC impressed with progress at Olympic Games sites
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Technical experts of the IOC Coordination Commission were impressed with the progress they saw at Olympic Games venues during the first day of their inspection on Monday.
Specifically, the sites they visited included the Olympic facilities in Goudi, the Athens Olympic Sports Complex, and the Olympic Village. They expressed complete satisfaction with the rate of progress made.
IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Denis Oswald, who is expected to arrive in Athens on Monday night, will be visiting the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday to watch the western arch of the roof being slipped into place.
He will also meet with Athens 2004 President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki to discuss venues, marketing issues, spectator services, and other topics. The Coordination Commission's technical experts will also be attending.
On Tuesday afternoon, Oswald will be attending a meeting at the Culture Ministry, while on Wednesday morning he will be meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou.
 Belgian newspaper interviews IOC President Rogge
BRUSSELS 11/5/2004 (ANA/B.Demiris)IOC President Jacques Rogge expressed his confidence in those involved in the organization of the Athens Olympic Games, in an interview he gave to the Belgian newspaper ''La Libre Belgique,'' which appeared on Monday.
''I am neither concerned nor naive. We have a series of problems we need to solve and challenges to face regarding preparations and security, but I have complete confidence in all those working towards the Games' success. In any case, we cannot make an evaluation before the Games' closing ceremony,'' Rogge said.
Speaking of press reports focusing on delays in preparations, the IOC president acknowledged that delays did occur, but he said that was preferable to having to deal with problems during the Games. He referred to the 1996 Atlanta Games, where transportation was a problem and had to be solved during the Games.
In terms of security, Rogge said that there is always a risk of danger at the staging of any event, and no organizer can guarantee maximum security. ''In the history of the Olympic Games we've had two incidents - in Munich in 1972 and in Atlanta in 1996 - from which we've learned,'' Rogge said.
The IOC president also referred to the insurance contract the IOC signed and explained that insurance coverage is not taken out solely for terrorism, but also for other unforeseen events, such as an earthquake, for example.
''If something like that occurs during the Games, it is obvious that they will have to be canceled. An event like that would threaten the viability of the IOC, which represents 400 people of 40 nationalities,'' he stressed.
Finally, Rogge stated that he is against ''massive Games'' and pointed out that the Athens Games are the first since the 1936 Berlin Games where no new sports have been added to the Olympic program.
 Gov't on Erdogan visit
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)The government on Monday noted that last week's official visit here by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan "confirmed the good climate in relations between the two governments, and the very good interaction between the two (Greek and Turkish) premiers."
Spokesman Thodoris Roussopoulos added that these contacts create a "positive dynamic" that facilitates the process of "a substantive normalization of bilateral relations."
He made the statements during a regular press briefing, days after Erdogan concluded a successful visit to Greece, including extensive talks with his Greek counterpart, Costas Karamanlis.
 PM Karamanlis meets ND Secretary Meimarakis and deputy Evert
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had successive meetings on Monday with ruling New Democracy (ND) party Secretary Vangelis Meimarakis and former ND president Miltiades Evert.
Meimarakis said that the meeting was within the context of his regular briefings with the premier. Asked by reporters whether they discussed the European Parliament elections, Meimarakis noted that ''for ND the battle of the Euroelections is a battle which we must give with the prospect of the country's European direction.''
The ND Secretary said that ''at the same time we must see how we will be able to solve the daily problems of the citizens within the European framework and the country's European prospect,'' adding that ''within this framework we are paving the strategy with which we will head to the Euroelections.''
Meimarakis further said that ''the aim is for ND to be again registered as the top and predominant political force'' in Greece.
On his part, Evert said that he discussed with Prime Minister Karamanlis issues related to the economy, ahead of the debate which will be held in Parliament on Wednesday, as well as on matters related to the upcoming Euroelections.
Evert said the ND's ticket will be announced in about ten days time, noting that ''the government is very well coordinated.''
 Education minister briefs Archbishop on results of her visit to Phanar
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou on Monday met the head of the Greek Church, Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Christodoulos to brief him on the results of her visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul to mediate in the dispute between the two Churches.
The meeting with Christodoulos lasted one hour and 10 minutes, with no one else present except in the first 10 minutes.
Afterwards, Yiannakou said that she had briefed the Archbishop on her talks with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos.
She said she had ascertained good will and a positive approach toward finding a consensual solution. In consequence, the government's initiative will continue until it brings about a positive result, she added.
Yiannakou also noted that the State does not become part of the problem nor involve itself in purely ecclesiastical issues, but proposes procedures and means for solving the problem.
She announced that she had signed the presidential decrees appointing the new metropolitans elected by the Church of Greece about two weeks ago but refused to say whether she will be making another trip to Phanar.
 President Stephanopoulos sends condolences to Putin over Kadyrov killing
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos on Monday sent condolences to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over the killing of Chechen pro-Moscow president Akhmad Kadyrov and five others in a terrorist strike in Chechnya on the weekend.
Stephanopoulos, in his telegram, expressed "indignation and abhorrence" over the "abhorrent terrorist action" in Grozny that cost the lives of Kadyrov and many others, and conveyed condolences on behalf of the Greek people and himself, personally, to Putin and the victims' families, at the same time expressing hope for the speedy recovery of all those injured in the attack.
 Gov't again condemns Chechnya attack; offers condolences
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Athens on Monday reiterated its stern condemnation of Sunday's bomb attack in Chechnya, a terrorist act that claimed the life of the republic's pro-Kremlin president Akhmad Kadyrov, among others.
"Violence and terrorism have no homeland," government spokesman Thodoris Roussopoulos told reporters during his regular press briefing.
The spokesman also expressed Athens' condolences towards Chechnyan leadership and to the family of the slain president.
Kadyrov was killed on Sunday after an explosion ripped through a packed stadium during a concert in celebration of Russia's annual "Victory Day", which commemorates the defeat of Nazi Germany during the Second World War.
 Greek and Cypriot foreign ministers hold talks on Cyprus issue
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis and his Cypriot counterpart George Iakovou met on Monday to exchange views regarding the Cyprus problem and the results of last week's visit to Greece by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
After the meeting, they expressed satisfaction with the way the two ministries were working together and said that there were common viewpoints on the issues.
"We are always supported by Greek diplomacy in all the goals we set," Iakovou stressed.
He also underlined that the Cyprus problem was an international issue since Cyprus was now an EU member-state and it was therefore unavoidable that the Cyprus problem should concern all and be a European matter.
The Cypriot foreign minister expressed conviction that in the future there would be some sort of European involvement in efforts for a Cyprus solution.
He denied that a lack of emphasis on the Cyprus issue during Erdogan's visit meant that the Cyprus issue had been shelved, noting that it had never been a dominant issue in talks between Greece and Turkey but remained an international - and now also a European - issue in which both Greece and Turkey were interested.
 Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos visiting Belgrade
BELGRADE 11/5/2004 (ANA/N.Pelpas)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, who arrived here on Sunday, officiated at an inauguration ceremony for the Saint Savvas Cathedral on Monday.
The Patriarch also blessed the foundation stone of the new building to house the Serbian Patriarchate, while on Tuesday he will be given an honorary doctorate by the Belgrade School of Theology before leaving for Istanbul.
Vartholomeos arrived in Belgrade at the invitation of the Patriarch of the Serbs Pavle.
 Canadian general staff chief visits deputy DM
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Canadian National Defense General Staff chief R.R. Henault paid a courtesy call on Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Mihaloliakos on Monday and praised the contribution of the Greek military contingent in the international effort to rebuild Afghanistan.
The Greek military contingent, which operates under Canadian command, is responsible for the building of road projects in the Asian country.
The will of both sides to further strengthen cooperation in the military sector, both in the framework of the NATO alliance and at the level of multinational operations, was confirmed during the meeting.
Henault requested Greece's assistance regarding its experience from the Olympic and Paralympic Games since Canada will be hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 2010.
Mihaloliakos promised to convey conclusions resulting from the Athens Olympic Games and invited the Canadian official to watch the Games.
 PM to meet president of Cypriot assembly, Roussopoulos says
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is scheduled to meet the president of the Cypriot House of Representatives Dimitris Christofias on Tuesday morning at 10:00, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos announced.
The spokesman said the meeting was taking place at Christofias' request in order to discuss the Cyprus issue.
 Health minister outlines plans to improve health system
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)The health ministry is thinking of establishing information centers for the public similar to the successful Citizens Service Centers that inform and assist the public in their dealings with the state, Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis said on Monday.
He said that two such centers will be established in Athens and one in Thessaloniki. He said these will assist the public with queries concerning health problems, accept applications and provide information on recruitment drives and which hospitals were on duty.
Kaklamanis said that coordinated efforts had helped eradicate overcrowding in specific hospitals, such as the Nikaia General and Tzannio hospital.
The minister also announced that 60 million euros had been approved for the operation of Olympic hospitals, as well as the recruitment of 5,000 new staff, mainly nurses, in 2004.
Referring to a report submitted by health ministry auditors regarding the second half of 2003, Kaklamanis said this had revealed a number of problems concerning mismanagement and said the era of transgressions carried out with impunity was coming to an end, referring to specific cases.
The health minister stressed that he would always refer such cases of serious negligence to justice, whether or not they were deliberate, and that there will always be an investigation that aimed at even disciplinary action.
Kaklamanis announced plans for a European health card that would be tested as a pilot phase during the Olympic Games and later perhaps extended to all Greek citizens.
For the time being, the card will be used by Europeans coming to Greece for the Olympic Games, giving them access to health services and helping settle other issues concerning hospital fees more easily and ensuring that the Greek State did not lose money as appeared to be happening today.
 Papandreou, Christodoulos meet in Parliament
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou received Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Monday at his office in Parliament, with the latter noting afterwards that their talks were held in a particularly positive atmosphere.
The influential head of the Church of Greece also expressed a hope that a high-profile and contentious dispute with the Ecumenical Patriarchate will soon be resolved, "I hope that the other side will contribute towards this direction".
On his part, Papandreou stressed the need for Orthodoxy to remain united vis-a-vis the distinct roles of Church and state.
According to reports, Christodoulos also told Papandreou that his comments following a recent meeting with PM Costas Karamanlis were misinterpreted, and were not a show of favoritism for the new premier and government.
 PASOK leader addresses party's student group ahead of student elections
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, addressing an event organized by the party's student group PASP at the Aristotelio University in Thessaloniki on Monday ahead of this week's student elections, accused the government of lacking governance.
Papandreou said that with only two months in power the government has placed the country under surveillance with accusations it made at the European Union on the economic policy followed by PASOK governments and succeeded in having the country lose its credibility.
Referring to the Euro-elections to be held in June, the PASOK leader said there should be no ''slack'' vote, while there should be a strong socialist voice in the new European Parliament and a strong presence by PASOK.
Papandreou hailed the visit Turkish Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erdogan made to Greece last week and said statements he made in Thrace, in northern Greece, were very good.
However, Papandreou criticized Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of being hasty in committing himself that Greece will support Turkey's accession procedures, losing negotiating advantages, and claimed that the prime minister ''only embarked on public relations with Erdogan''.
The PASOK leader further said Greece must help Turkey but it should also gain permanent solutions for its national issues.
Referring to the issue of Cyprus, Papandreou accused the government of going to Lucerne more for tourism than to struggle for its solution.
He also denounced the presence of foreign troops in Iraq and said occupation must come to an end.
Focusing on the issue of transparency at the Athens Stock Exchange, Papandreou accused the government of partisan expediencies and warned of a tough confrontation if the government does not follow real open procedures.
''I challenge New Democracy if it really desires to finish with vested interests to really speak about vested interests and bring laws on vested interests which we shall support,'' he said.
 Eurogroup, ECOFIN meetings in Brussels
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)The views expressed by the European Commission on measures needed to be taken by Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal over their stability programs, will be the main theme of a Eurogroup meeting to be held Monday night in Brussels.
The Eurozone finance ministers' council will also discuss economic policy for 2004 and preparations for a new wave of entrants in a Exchange Rate Mechanism II system.
Eurogroup meeting will be followed by an ECOFIN meeting on Tuesday. The agenda of the council includes reviewing EU's economic strategy based on a recommendation published by the European Commission on April 7, tax income issues and a community draft budget for 2005.
The Commission is expected to formally submit its draft budget proposals. The draft budget will envisage payment credits totalling 109.5 billion euros (up 9.8 percent from 2004).
 Greek inflation rose 2.9 pct in April
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Manolis Kontopyrakis, the statistics agency's new secretary-general, presenting the April inflation figures, urged for reason to prevail in the country in order to avoid big price increases ahead of the Olympic Games.
NSS said that annual inflation rose to 2.9 percent in April 2004 from the same month last year, up from 2.7 percent in March but down from 3.4 percent in April 2003.
The statistics service said that a 0.3 percent monthly increase in the consumer price index in April reflected an 1.3 percent rise in hotel-coffee-restaurant and transportation prices, a 0.8 percent increase in housing prices and a 0.6 percent rise in goods and services.
Kontopyrakis said he expected the CPI to ease in May if there were no big price increases in hotel and fast-food prices this month.
NSS said that the 2.9 percent increase of the annual inflation rate in April reflected a 7.2 percent increase in alcohol and tobacco prices, a 5.1 percent rise in housing, a 4.4 percent increase in education prices and a 4.3 percent rise in healthcare and hotel-coffee-restaurant prices. Telecommunication prices, however, fell 3.3 percent in April.
Greece's harmonized annual inflation index rose 3.1 percent in April from 2.9 percent in March.
 Aegean Airlines launches flights to Cyprus
NICOSIA 11/5/2004 (ANA/G.Leonidas)Aegean Airlines of Greece announced on Monday that it would launch flights to Cyprus on May 28.
The airline is to operate a low-cost policy for the flights, starting at 29 Cyprus pounds for a single ticket, Aegean's deputy chairman, Eftyhios Vasilakis, told a news conference in Nicosia.
The company has also forged an alliance with Helios Airways of Cyprus, which already has flights between Greece and Cyprus.
Executives of Helios said last week that Cyprus' entry into the European Union and the deregulation of flights between Greece and Cyprus had ended a monopoly on the Athens-Larnaca route so far held by the two countries' national carriers.
 Greece, Turkey Nat gas deal to parl't within a fortnight
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)An agreement between Greece and Turkey to establish a natural gas link between the two countries will be sent to parliament for ratification within a fortnight, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Monday.
Addressing a shareholders' meeting of the state Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) SA, Sioufas also said that the government foresaw a major role for DEPA in the energy sector, which was reflected in its choice of company chairman, Rafael Moisis, whom the minister described as a top private and public sector manager.
DEPA's managing director is Aristidis Vakirlis.
 ASE presentation in London seminar
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)The British-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Athens Stock Exchange will hold a seminar in London, Friday 14 May, focusing on the Greek capital market.
The seminar will seek to offer more information to analysts and investment firms' officials over the situation of the Greek market and to highlight investment opportunities in the stock market.
Economy and Finance ministry secretary-general George Mergos and ASE president Panayiotis Alexakis will address the seminar.
 Greece to include census figures to unemployment index
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Greek unemployment figures will be more credible after a decision by Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis to include a 2001 census results to the procedure, Manolis Kontopyrakis, NSS new secretary-general said on Monday.
Kontopyrakis said that the country's unemployment and employment indexes would be measured on a new method, including a wider sample and the 2001 census results.
 Gov't to seek cooperation with shipping sector
LONDON 11/5/2004 (ANA)Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis said in the British capital on Monday that the government would seek cooperation with all parties involved in shipping, Greece's most evolved industry along with tourism.
The sector needed a new policy whose targets would boost competitiveness; attract more ships to the Greek register; turn Piraeus into a global shipping centre; protect the environment; create new jobs; and create a national shipping policy council, Kefaloyiannis told a luncheon hosted by the Union of Greek Shipowners.
The head of the UGS, Epaminondas Embirikos, said that the trade group had set two priorities for the agenda of talks with the government: the UGS' disagreement with stringent new global measures sought by world bodies concerning double hull tankers and legal responsibility of shipping companies in cases of marine pollution.
 Gov't pledges to aid metals & mining industry
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Deputy Development Minister George Salagoudis said on Monday that the goverment would take measures to help boost the country's metals and mining sector.
The measures include a revision of legislation on mining and quarrying; the introduction of tax incentives for spending on the search for new deposits; and the launch of programs for the sector under the European Union's Third Community Support Framework.
The government would also take legal measures to spur sustainability in the sector, Salagoudis told a meeting of the Association of Metals and Mining Companies.
 Stocks slump, tracking markets abroad
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)The Athens bourse finished lower, tracking markets abroad, traders said.
The general share index shed 2.63 per cent to end at 2,421.08 points. Turnover was 139.4 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 2.86 per cent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 1.64 per cent down; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities gained 2.08 per cent.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 281 to 35 with 43 issues remaining unchanged.
Closing rates of May 7 2004
Parities in euro
US Dollar 1,193 1,166
 Massive Olympic stadium roof begins to slide into place
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)The eagerly awaited process to slide a gargantuan metal tile roof into place over the main Athens Olympic Stadium (OAKA) began in earnest on Monday, with engineers gingerly maneuvering the western arch of the structure. Officials were pleased with the results.
The greatest part of the western arch will be slipped into place on Tuesday at an estimated speed of 5 km/hour, and should be completed by Wednesday, according to technical experts. Immediately after, procedures for slipping the eastern arch into place will begin. The entire roof should be in place by the end of May.
The culture ministry's leadership was on hand at the worksite on Monday, with top IOC inspector Denis Oswald expected to arrive in Athens on Monday night, at the head of a technical delegation from the Lausanne-based organization.
''Today, we've won the first bet. From now on much work needs to be done so that we can win the major bet of staging unique, excellent, and the safest Olympic Games ever. Today, Greece responded to all those who doubted our capabilities of organizing these unique Games,'' Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia said.
The landmark architectural project, long plagued by delays and at times criticized for its enormous cost (roughly 170 million euros) and complexity, is the brainchild of noted Spanish architect and civil engineer Santiago Calatrava. Although not part of Athens' formal commitments to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), organizers nevertheless commissioned the state-of-the-art roof in the hope that it will become the "signature project" of the 2004 Olympic Games.
The OAKA stadium will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2004 Games. The stadium is the centerpiece venue in the entire OAKA complex, which also includes an aquatic centre, a velodrome, an indoor hall and a handful of other 2004-related facilities and venues.
Engineers expect the first phase of the sliding process to take three days, weather permitting.
 Greek javelin thrower asks to represent Palestine in 2004 Olympics
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Greek javelin champion Sofia Sakorafa has submitted a request to the IOC Executive Committee asking to represent Palestine at the 2004 Athens Games in August. The Committee is expected to respond May 18 after its scheduled meeting.
The 47-year old athlete, who ended her sports career 17 years ago, describes her decision as ''an action of peace and in absolute accordance with the Olympic Spirit.''
The Palestinian Authority has responded positively to Sakorafa's request; the Palestinian Olympic Committee has submitted its own related request to the IOC, with a letter addressed to IOC President Jacques Rogge from Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.
 Athens mayor to promote Olympic city in Rome
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyanni will visit Rome this week as part of her European and US tour to promote the Greek capital and invite the world to the Olympic City as it prepares to welcome the return of the Olympic Games.
Bakoyanni will be in Rome to participate in the "Third Annual Globalization Conference," which will be held May 16-17. The mayor will meet with Pope John Paul II, senior officials and other prominent public figures.
 Syntagma Square to Athens Airport in 30 minutes, minister told
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis on Monday toured the Operations Control Centre of the Athens Metro system, where he was briefed on a pilot program to test several state-of-the-art trains that will reach the ''Eleftherios Venizelos'' International Airport at Spata (east of Athens proper) when the new suburban rail line is completed ahead of the Olympic Games in August.
His tour was in the context of briefing visits he makes to businesses and organizations which belong to the jurisdiction of his ministry and are related to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
The Operation Control Centre oversees the televised surveillance of the Metro, which regulates the train traffic and supervises the security of the passengers through a closed television network of 420 cameras.
These trains, which will be used for the extension of the Metro to the airport, are air-conditioned with a capacity of 1,000 passengers. A total of seven trains will be used from Syntagma Square to Eleftehrios Venizelos Airport. According to officials, the new line will connect Syntagma with the airport on a route that will take roughly 30 minutes.
Liapis, who was accompanied by Deputy Transport and Communications Minister Anastasios Neratzis, also traveled on one of the trains from the Syntagma Square concourse(downtown Athens) to the Neos Kosmos station.
The minister also expressed his satisfaction with the level of security for passengers afforded by the new system.
 Athens mayor presents new fleet of vehicles for Athens sanitation crews
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni on Monday presented the new fleet of modern vehicles acquired by the City of Athens sanitation service to keep Athens clean.
The purchase is the largest investment in sanitation for the city, concluding the "Clean Alliance" program and allowing full and complete implementation of the new sanitation code, Bakoyianni said after inspecting the new vehicles in the Lycabettus parking area.
She said the city now had 235 brand-new machines and 5,000 new-style dumpsters and new waste-bins. These included 70 new rubbish-collection trucks, 34 vacuum cleaners for road-sweepers, road-sweeping vehicles and machinery for washing and drying pavements and plazas, mobile dumpster washers and smaller, more mobile vehicles for narrower roads.
Bakoyianni said the municipality would use the new equipment to increase daily rubbish-collection routes by 20 per cent, especially at night, and thus "clean up" the city's image.
 Illegal immigrants picked up off the coast of Crete
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Thirty-six illegal immigrants and seven immigrant-traffickers were picked up and arrested in seas near the Koufonisi islet south of Crete, the coast guard reported on Monday.
The immigrants had been abandoned on Koufonisi by a wooden fishing-boat early in the morning.
The craft was later apprehended in a coordinated coast guard operation and its crew were led to the Sitia municipality for questioning.
The 36 young immigrants have been taken to Sitia and have claimed to be Palestinians, though Greek authorities suspect they are in fact Egyptians.
This is the 7th incident of immigrant-smuggling on the southern coast of Crete since Easter and the coast guard suspects that the vessel caught on Monday was the same craft that had been sighted south of Crete and prevented from reaching Greek shores on Friday.
 Suspect in murder-kidnapping linked to murders of immigrants
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)A 34-year-old man arrested by police a few days ago as a suspect in a double shooting, murder and kidnapping has also been linked to the murders of three Albanian immigrants in 1995 and 1996, along with two alleged accomplices, his 29-year-old brother Stavros and 32-year-old Dimitris Savelidis.
Police revealed on Monday that they had re-opened all files concerning missing foreigners in the Lagada area over the past 10 years after the prisoner confessed and was charged with killing a 20-year-old Albanian man in May 1996. They are currently investigating possible links between Baltas and the disappearance of two women from Bulgaria
The examining magistrate on Monday gave the three one day to prepare their plea on a charge of killing two Albanians working as shepherds in the Lagada region of Thessaloniki in the Christmas of 1995.
Baltas was apprehended four days ago in Lagada in connection with the kidnapping of Theodoras Kirkinezi, his former fiancée, after he had first shot her two brothers, killing one and seriously injuring the second.
He has admitted charges of intentional manslaughter and attempted manslaughter brought against him in the Kirkinezi case but denied the kidnapping charge, claiming that Theodora Kirkinezi followed him of her own free will.
He has also alleged that the meeting with the two Kirkinezi brothers was held to settle differences arising in cases of antiquities smuggling but police say there is no confirmation for this story.
 Defense and Interior Ministries' decision on draft-evaders
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Minister of Defense Spilios Spiliotopoulos and Minister of Internal Affairs, Public Administration and Decentralization Prokopis Pavlopoulos signed into effect a decision on Monday allowing Greek draft-evaders living abroad to visit and stay in Greece temporarily in order to vote in the upcoming Euroelections. Additionally, according to the ministers' decision, Greeks living abroad who wish to visit Greece between August 1 and Sept. 30 for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, can do so without any checks being performed into their military status.
 Deputy FM to host luncheon for ambassadors of Arab countries
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis will host a luncheon for the ambassadors of Arab countries at the foreign ministry at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.
The luncheon will be attended by the ambassadors of Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, Syria and Kuwait, the ambassador of the Palestinian Authority and the charge d'Affaires of the embassies of Egypt, Libya and Saudi Arabia.
The situation in the Middle East and the policies of Greece and the European Union towards the Arab countries, also in the wake of the recent Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation ministerial session, will be discussed during the luncheon.
 Concert at 'Mauthausen' concentration camp in Austria
VIENNA 11/5/2004 (ANA/D. Dimitrakoudis)The memory of 3,700 Greeks who lost their lives at the Nazi concentration camp of Mauthausen in Upper Austria was commemorated on Sunday by state and Church representatives, while over 15,000 visitors from many countries watched a concert in the camp with the work ''Mauthausen'' by composer Mikis Theodorakis, which was presented by Vienna's musical group ''The Greeks.''
The main ceremony at the concentration camp was attended, among others, by Austrian Interior Minister Ernst Strasser, leaders of political parties and organizations, as well as by many foreign delegations.
 Prince Charles visits Mt. Athos
Athens, 11/5/2004 (ANA)The Prince of Wales arrived at Mt. Athos Monday afternoon, for what has turned into a regular annual trip over recent years.
Prince Charles landed at Chryssoupoli Airport in Kavala and from there reached the Monastery Vatopedio's small port by boat.
 Cyprus President: Authorities to decide on measures against EU citizens
LARNACA 11/5/2004 (CNA/ANA)The Cyprus government does not wish to impose penalties on persons entering the country through the closed ports and airports in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus, President Tassos Papadopoulos said here Monday, adding that if such an issue arises, it would be political and should be decided by the relevant authorities.
Speaking on his return from Britain where he attended a dinner to mark the 70th anniversary of the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood, President Papadopoulos said that the view conveyed to him by his interlocutors was whether the latest negotiations process for a Cyprus settlement followed by the UN was the appropriate one.
Answering questions President Papadopoulos reiterated the Greek Cypriot side firmly pursues the negotiation of some aspects of the Annan Plan on the points which cause concern to Greek Cypriots and made the Greek Cypriot community reject the UN plan.
Asked to comment on remarks by the head of the European Commission Representation, Ambassador Adriaan van der Meer who said he does not favor fines being imposed on European citizens who enter Cyprus through illegal ports, President Papadopoulos said that according to a law adopted by the House of Representatives, European citizens have the right to free movement regardless of the points from which they have arrived on the island.
However, he added, the same law gives to the government of the Republic the right to impose administrative measures. ''If and when the government decides to impose these measures will depend on the developments, but we do not wish and it is not our intention to impose measures," said the president.
Asked to comment on reports that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot political parties intend to go ahead with the establishment of the Turkish Cypriot constituent state as described in the Annan plan the president replied: "I hope they will go ahead with returning our properties and we will welcome that."
Asked if there is any chance to renegotiate the Annan plan he said nobody would expect in such a short period of time a new initiative.
As regards to his meetings in Britain he said that ''it seems that the procedure followed during the negotiations is a matter of examination as to whether it was the appropriate one."
Referring to a campaign by the Cyprus government to outline the reasons behind the rejection of the UN plan he said there is constant communication and coordination with the Greek government.
 President Papadopoulos briefs overseas CypriotsLONDON (CNA/ANA)
Cyprus President Tassos Papadopolos on Sunday briefed leaders of the Cypriot communities abroad, explaining that the rejection by the Greek Cypriots of a UN proposal for a solution was not a denial of a political settlement.
The discussion between Papadopoulos and overseas Cypriots from Britain, the US, Europe and Australia focused on the need to inform decision-making bodies about the continuing desire of the people of Cyprus to reunite their country.
Papadopoulos pointed out that the rejection of the UN plan did not constitute a rejection of a solution but a rejection of the specific solution plan put before the people in a referendum.
In the April 24 referendum, Greek Cypriots voted by 76 per cent against the plan, Turkish Cypriots in favor by 65 per cent.
Papadopoulos exchanged views with the representatives of Cypriot federations abroad on how best to explain the concerns of the Greek Cypriot community with regard to various aspects of the Annan plan and he outlined his future strategy on how to reunite the island.
Present at the meeting were Haris Sofoklides, President of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots and President of the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood in Britain, Philip Christopher, President of the New York-based International Coordinating Committee-Justice for Cyprus, Panikos Mina, President of the National Federation of Cypriots in Australian and Evagoras Mavromatis, President of the National Federation of Cypriots in Europe.
Cyprus' High Commissioner in London Myrna Kleopa and Presidential Commissioner Polakis Saris were also there.
 British MPs advocate more talks on Cyprus to reach settlementNICOSIA (CNA/ANA)
There is a need to reflect and resume talks with a view at reaching a political settlement in Cyprus, following the failure of the latest UN effort to achieve a solution, British members of Parliament have said in speeches at a special anniversary dinner to mark 70 years since the establishment of the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood.
All speakers stressed that the negative vote of the Greek Cypriots in last month's referendum on a UN-proposed solution plan should be respected and said that no vindictive moves should be made towards them.
Present at the dinner was Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.
''It would never be possible to solve the Cyprus problem without the consent of both communities. The only option now is a cooling off period for everyone to reflect on what caused the result of the vote,'' Teresa Viiliers, member of the European Parliament, said at the dinner.
She was critical of the attitude certain European senior officials towards Cyprus and said the British government's response after the referenda was ''vindictive''.
''We need to look at what the concerns were and start the long road towards a revised and rebalanced plan,'' she said and called on the UN to get the two sides back to the negotiating table to find a new balanced plan.
Stephen Twigg, Labor MP, said there was a particular responsibility to ensure that the British government played a constructive and even-handed approach both in the EU and at the UN as well as a guarantor power of Cyprus' independence.
He said a settlement must be just and lasting and be based on the principle of a united Cyprus.
Simon Huges, Liberal Democrat deputy, said it appeared ''a tiny bit inconsistent to suggest that we might not respect and value the outcome of a referendum in another country when we suddenly thought it was a good idea to have a referendum in our country.''
He said democracy was as valuable in small nations as in big nations and the views of a small nation should be listened too.
The government of Cyprus came under fire from various quarters, at home and abroad, for its call on the Greek Cypriots to reject the UN proposal. Greek Cypriots voted by 76 per cent against the Annan plan, Turkish Cypriots approved it by 65 per cent.
Tom Cox, Labor MP, wondered whether another country would have accepted the proposed plan, if it had been invaded by a foreign force that would continue to maintain troops on its soil.
The Annan plan, he went on to add, did not offer an honorable settlement to Cyprus or the Greek Cypriots.
''The one thing we have got to do is to continue to talk. I have never believed that Turkey even to this day wants a settlement in Cyprus unless it is a settlement on their own terms,'' he said.
The President of the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood Haris Sophoclides gave a brief outline of the history of the Brotherhood as he marked 70 years since its establishment.
He said now it was one of over 100 organizations in Britain concerned with the Cypriot community, which had over the years organized and established itself.
''We overseas Cypriots have stood by the people of Cyprus and the decisions of their democratically elected leadership. We vow to continue to do so,'' he said.
 Cyprus Minister: government will decide on penalties relating to crossingsNICOSIA (CNA/ANA)
The government of the Republic has the exclusive right to decide on possible penalties it may impose on persons entering the country through closed ports and airports in Turkish occupied Cyprus, George Lilikas, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister, said here on Monday.
Speaking after a meeting on a European Union Regulation on crossings of the Green Line, he said the government would comply fully with its commitments as these are outlined in the Regulation that governs the crossing of goods, persons and services to and from the island's Turkish occupied north.
 Government spokesman to address PSEKA annual meeting
NICOSIA 11/5/2004 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides was due to leave on Monday for the US to represent the government in the 15th annual Cyprus Conference of the International Coordinating Committee-Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), to take place from May 12-14. The meeting, to be addressed by over 30 key US senators and members of Congress, will also hear remarks from US State Department special coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston and Under-Secretary of State Marc Grossman.
Chrysostomides will speak on ''Cyprus - the next step'' and while in Washington he will meet with prominent Senators and Congresspersons.