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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-05-12

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

May 12, 2004

CONTENTS

  • [01] Cyprus parliament president confers with PM Karamanlis
  • [02] PM to meet with President Bush and Vice President Cheney during US visit
  • [03] PM to discuss Cyprus, Olympic Games and Turkey with UN secretary general
  • [04] PM briefed on public order minister's U.S. trip, Olympics security preparations
  • [05] Deputy FM Valinakis hosts working lunch for Arab ambassadors, refers to Cyprus
  • [06] Turkish PM Erdogan terms his visit to Greece 'historic'
  • [07] New chief of Army general staff takes over from Harvalas
  • [08] ND secretary urges young people to vote in Euro-elections
  • [09] Athens mayor not opposed to former FM Samaras being included in ND Euro-ticket
  • [10] Greek economy maintains strong growth
  • [11] Greek fiscal deficit tops EU's 3.0 pct reference point
  • [12] Gov't to set up crisis management groups for tourist trouble spots
  • [13] National Bank publishes bulletin on emerging markets
  • [14] Recording companies seek government crackdown on CD piracy
  • [15] Stocks rise in renewed buying
  • [16] ATHOC president says security ''top priority'' at Athens Games
  • [17] Oswald optimistic about Athens Olympics
  • [18] BOC President praises Athens on Olympic preparation progress
  • [19] Australian "Travel Advice" update on Greece
  • [20] Amnesty Int'l: Olympics must not become excuse for human rights abuses
  • [21] Small fire breaking out at IBC reported under control
  • [22] 91 pc of single parent families in EU created by women, Eurostat says
  • [23] Greek sculptor George Zoggolopoulos passes away

  • [01] Cyprus parliament president confers with PM Karamanlis

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    Cyprus House of Representatives (parliament) president Demetris Christofias, leader of the AKEL Cyprus communist party, said Tuesday in Athens that his party's goal was the ''development of a dialogue on re-determining the targets in the direction of reunifying Cyprus''.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with prime minister Costas Karamanlis, which was also attended by foreign minister Petros Molyviatis and deputy foreign minister Yannis Valinakis, Christofias noted that the purpose of the meeting with Karamanlis and AKEL's talks with the president of Cyprus ''is the development of a dialogue for the re-determination of the targets in the direction of Cyprus' reunification''.

    Christofias, who arrived in Athens earlier in the day, noted that since 1977 the Greek Cypriots have been committed to the goal of a bizonal, bicommunal federation for Cyprus, and stressed that ''without evading the truth, without delusions and without maximalistic targets, Cyprus will take advantage of its EU accession, attempting to shake off the insecurity of the Greek Cypriots''.

    He said that what took precedence at the present stage was to confront the repercussions from the outcome of last month's referendum on the Annan plan, especially the pressures being exerted by Britain, the US and the EU.

    "We must explain that the 'no' (the Greek Cypriots' over-whelming rejection of the Annan plan) does not constitution rejection of a solution (to the Cyprus problem). It is our problem. It is our home that has been burnt, and it is we that must rebuild it," Christofias said.

    He opined that it would be "difficult for Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots, who voted 'yes' to the Plan, to accept the holding of a second referendum", adding that "the Annan plan is on the table, and we want guarantees on the plan, but also outside the plan, for implementation of the solution".

    Christofias further said that any specific changes (to the plan) must be requested jointly with the Turkish Cypriots. As for the issue put forward by the Turkish Cypriots that two of the six seats in the European Parliament allotted to Cyprus remain vacant, Christofias referred to the Europarliament rules of order.

    "It was the EU's great desire that Cyprus accede (the EU) reunified and that it not inherit the problem. We must see how we will elicit the active interest of the EU for a solution, given that the Cyprus problem falls under the UN. The EU, however, could provide guarantees for implementation of the solution," Christofias explained.

    Parliament speaker meets Cypriot counterpart in Athens: Parliament speaker Anna Psarouda-Benaki on Tuesday received her Cypriot counterpart and head of Cyprus' AKEL party Dimitris Christofias, who is currently on a visit to Greece.

    After the meeting, Benaki reaffirmed the Greek Parliament's support for the Cypriot people in all its demands and said that cooperation between the two national Parliaments was excellent.

    She also gladly accepted Christofias' invitation as the president of the Cypriot House of Representatives to carry out an official visit to the island.

    Christofias underlined that developments regarding the Cyprus problem were complex and that Greece's assistance in these was both welcome and necessary, while thanking the Greek Parliament and Greek people for their help and support over the years.

    After his meeting with Benaki, Christofias also met her predecessor Apostolos Kaklamanis and said that he discerned identical views between the former and current parliament speakers regarding the need to adopt a ''common line for a viable solution to the Cyprus issue in the near future''.

    [02] PM to meet with President Bush and Vice President Cheney during US visit

    WASHINGTON 12/5/2004 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will be meeting US President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Parliament and Senate committees during his two-day visit to Washington next week (May 19-21).

    His visit will focus on the Athens Olympic Games, the issue of Cyprus following the rejection of the Annan plan by the Greek Cypriots, the course of relations between Greece and Turkey and Europe and Turkey, the handling of international terrorism and international issues such as the Balkans, Iraq and the Middle East.

    The prime minister will arrive in the US capital (at Andrews air base) on Wednesday (at midnight Greek time), coming from New York where he will be having contacts with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Archbishop of America Dimitrios and officials of the Greek American community during the previous two-day period.

    Karamanlis will visit the White House on Thursday where he will meet President Bush (at 6.25 p.m.), while earlier he will be meeting Vice President Cheney (at 5 p.m.).

    After their meeting, President Bush will be hosting a working dinner for him (7 p.m. to 8 p.m.) after which Karamanlis will be making statements.

    After visiting the White House, the prime minister will be going to the House of Representatives where he will be meeting the members of the International Relations Committee (9.15 p.m.) and then he will be visiting the Senate where he will meet the foreign Relations Committee (10.30 p.m.). At midnight, he will be giving a press conference at his hotel.

    On the next day, Karamanlis will make an address at Washington's ''Foreign Relations Council) (at 4 p.m.) and afterwards he will be leaving for Athens.

    [03] PM to discuss Cyprus, Olympic Games and Turkey with UN secretary general

    NEW YORK 12/5/2004 (ANA/P. Panagiotou)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will be meeting UN Secretary General Kofi Annan at the international organization's headquarters at 10 p.m. (Greek time) on Tuesday May 18 and is expected to discuss the issue of Cyprus and the Athens Olympic Games with him.

    The two men will also be discussing Turkey's European pursuits, the issues of Iraq and the Middle East and Greece's role in the Balkan region.

    According to diplomatic sources, Annan's intentions regarding the content of the report on his good services mission on the issue of Cyprus might appear during the meeting.

    The report, being prepared by the secretary general's special adviser Alvaro de Soto, will be given to the members of the Security Council by the end of the month.

    Karamanlis will be in New York as of Monday afternoon (local time) until noon on Wednesday (May 17-19) and afterwards he will be traveling to Washington (May 19-21) where, among others, he will be meeting US President George W. Bush at the White House.

    Apart from Annan, the prime minister will be holding meetings with Archbishop of America Dimitrios, senior members of major journalistic organizations and of think tanks, leading businessmen and cultural figures, while he also plans to visit the exhibition at the Metropolitan Art Museum titled ''Byzantium: Faith and .

    Lastly, Karamanlis will be addressing a gathering of dignitaries and representatives from the Greek American community's organized agencies.

    [04] PM briefed on public order minister's U.S. trip, Olympics security preparations

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis on Tuesday said he was satisfied with the results of his talks with U.S. officials in Washington regarding Olympic Games security and that he had conveyed this good climate to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis during their meeting on Tuesday morning.

    He also briefed the premier on ongoing security preparations in the 95 days remaining until the start of the Games in Athens, expressing confidence about their good progress.

    According to Voulgarakis, none of the U.S. officials he had spoken with had questioned the facts as they now stand, which show that Athens is able to organize absolutely secure Olympics.

    He also noted that none of the U.S. officials had raised the issue of domestic terrorism but had asked more on questions about levels of public awareness and cooperation with the authorities and whether ordinary citizens would report suspicious items or incidents.

    The minister admitted that the recent triple bombing of a Kallithea police station by terrorists had hampered his talks in Washington and created a bad climate. He said the effect of the explosions was tantamount to ''high treason'' to Greek interests.

    Regarding travel advice issued by the Australian government that warned Australians of possible dangers they might face coming to Greece, Voulgarakis said that Greece was doing everything humanly possible to ensure maximum security and did not share the views coming from Australia.

    Referring to a meeting of an Olympics coordinating committee held at midday, with the participation of all ministers involved, Olympics Organizing Committee head Yianna Angelopoulos and Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni, Voulgarakis said that it had ascertained that everything possible was being done both in terms of human resources and on the financial side.

    He stressed that Greece was spending triple the amount spent by previous Olympics organizers on security, roughly one billion euros, and was planning to deploy a security force of more than 70,000, again triple and quadruple the number used in past Olympics.

    Finally, he stressed that a number of exercises were being carried out in Athens to perfect the response by security forces during the Olympics.

    [05] Deputy FM Valinakis hosts working lunch for Arab ambassadors, refers to Cyprus

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis on Tuesday hosted a working lunch in honor of the ambassadors to Athens of the Arab countries.

    The very good relations which Greece has with the Arab countries was reconfirmed during the working lunch held at the foreign ministry.

    Valinakis had the opportunity to reiterate Greek positions on the Cyprus issue and the need for the necessary climate to be secured so that the prospect and momentum for a political settlement and the reunification of the island can remain strong.

    He noted that the eventuality of the recognition of the pseudo-state in the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus should be avoided as this would distance the prospects of a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Within this framework, he referred in particular to the contribution which the Arab countries can give in the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

    They also discussed recent developments in the Palestinian issue and Iraq as well as the recent Euro-Mediterranean cooperation conference.

    The ambassadors expressed their gratitude over Greece's stance as a member of the European Union on these matters.

    [06] Turkish PM Erdogan terms his visit to Greece 'historic'

    ISTANBUL 12/5/2004 (ANA/A. Kourkoulas)

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday termed as ''historic'' his visit to Greece last week.

    Addressing the parliamentary group of his party, Erdogan said that ''we fully agreed that the problems which existed between the two countries during the course of history should not overshadow the present relations.''

    The visit ''constituted the first step within the framework of a diplomacy of values,'' Erdogan said, noting that there is strong will on both sides for the development of Greek-Turkish relations in every sector.

    ''At every opportunity they promised us that they will continue the support which they already offer us in Turkey's course towards the European Union,'' the Turkish prime minister said.

    [07] New chief of Army general staff takes over from Harvalas

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    The new chief of the Army General Staff Lieutenant General Nikolaos Douvas on Tuesday took over from outgoing army chief Panagiotis Harvalas, during a ceremony attended by Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos, Deputy defense minister Vassilis Mihaloliakos and the leadership of the Armed Forces.

    Harvalas had submitted his resignation last week after two fatal accidents involving army troops. His resignation was accepted by the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA).

    Change in command of STAMAVFORMED: There will be a change in command of STAMAVFORMED at Souda Base in Crete on August 5, according to sources on Tuesday.

    Greece will take over command of the naval NATO force from Germany with Commodore I. Karaiskos. It is recalled that Greece has asked the contribution of the naval NATO force within the framework of strengthening the measures which are being taken for the security of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

    [08] ND secretary urges young people to vote in Euro-elections

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    Ruling New Democracy secretary Vaggelis Meimarakis on Tuesday asked for greater participation by young people in the European elections in June, during a pre-election rally organized by an ND-affiliated student group DAP-NDFK at the Thessaloniki University Law School.

    He said ND needed a strong victory in the European elections so that the government could win a second term and implement policies for a new Greece.

    [09] Athens mayor not opposed to former FM Samaras being included in ND Euro-ticket

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni, speaking to the NET television channel on Tuesday said she was not opposed to the placing of former Foreign Minister Antonis Samaras on the ruling New Democracy party's Euro-election ticket.

    Samaras had served as foreign minister for some time when Bakoyianni's father Constantine Mitsotakis had been prime minister between 1990 and 1993.

    ''If ND desires to place Mr. Samaras in a position on the Euro-election ticket it will not find me opposed,'' she said.

    This statement by Bakoyianni, who will be meeting Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday, is expected to pave the way for the former minister's inclusion in second place, as press reports have said, in ND's ticket for the June 13 Euro-elections.

    Bakoyianni also told the channel her opinion of Samaras remains the same.

    ''I have not changed my opinion. I mean, of course, that there is nothing personal and I wish to clarify this once again. There are no personal vendettas in politics. I believed and I believe that Antonis Samaras creates extremely negative reflexes in a section of ND,'' she added.

    The mayor also warned that ''this would be a very great risk during the national elections'' but noted that if Karamanlis and ND desire his participation in the Euro-elections ''I will not be against.''

    [10] Greek economy maintains strong growth

    PARIS 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    The Greek economy continued to show strong growth in 2003 with the strength of domestic demand, which increased by 6.3 per cent, acting to offset weak exports, the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said on Tuesday.

    Growth is expected to slow in the near future as investments linked to the Athens 2004 Olympics are nearing completion, the OECD said in a six-monthly report on Greece.

    At the same time, the increase in gross domestic product (GDP) will continue to exceed the European Union average until 2005, the report said.

    GDP growth is seen at 4.0 per cent in 2004 and 3.5 per cent in 2005 against 4.2 per cent in 2003. Domestic demand is expected to increase by 4.6 per cent in 2004 and by 3.3 per cent in 2005.

    Domestic demand is due to remain fairly high after the Olympics due to ''slack'' monetary conditions (real short-term interest rates became negative in 2003), an accelerated use of EU funds and a further decrease in unemployment, the report noted.

    Joblessness is at 8.8 per cent in 2004 and expected to drop to 8.4 per cent in 2005 from 9.5 per cent in 2003.

    The OECD said that average Greek inflation would stand at 3.2 per cent in 2004-2005.

    Core inflation was at 3.6 per cent in 2002 and fell to 3.0 per cent in 2003, further declining at the start of 2004, benefiting from a rise in the euro internationally, but still remained about 1.2 percentage points above the eurozone average, the OECD said.

    [11] Greek fiscal deficit tops EU's 3.0 pct reference point

    BRUSSELS 12/5/2004 (ANA/M.Spinthourakis)

    Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Tuesday that the country's fiscal deficit topped the European Union's 3.0 per cent reference point, also confirmed by Eurostat.

    Speaking to reporters in the Belgian capital after a meeting of EU finance ministers, Alogoskoufis said that the EU's executive Commission was due to release a report on Greece's fiscal condition next week, when a line of action to tackle the problem would emerge.

    The issue would then be discussed in the bloc's monetary committee, and in July at a meeting of the 25-nation bloc's finance ministers, he noted.

    Alogoskoufis pledged that the government would make every effort to lower the deficit to below 3.0 per cent of gross domestic product, focusing on lowering primary spending; and corrections to the economy would be incorporated into a three-year plan aiming at growth and stability.

    Finally, the country's fiscal condition had worsened in 2003 and 2004 due to one-off spending on the Athens Olympics in August that represented about 1.5 per cent of gross domestic product, the minister added.

    Greece's fiscal deficit needs measures, EU Commissioner says: A significant upward revision of Greece's fiscal deficit makes it necessary to take measures, EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joachin Almunia said on Monday.

    Speaking to reporters, after a Eurogroup finance ministers' meeting in Brussels, Mr Almunia said it had briefed Eurogroup of European Commission's intention to prepare its report on Greece's fiscal condition and stressed that an ECOFIN meeting in July 5 would discuss a set of recommendations to Greece aimed at reducing the country's fiscal deficit below the 3.0 percent limit set by the Stability Pact.

    Eurostat said last week that Greece's fiscal deficit reached 3.2 percent of GDP in 2003, sharply up from a forecast of 1.7 percent made by the previous government in March 16, while the country's public debt rose to 103 percent of GDP from 102.4 percent.

    [12] Gov't to set up crisis management groups for tourist trouble spots

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    The government is to set up standing crisis management committees for tourist trouble spots in the wake of unseemly behavior by visitors, especially Britons.

    Following recent consultations with British Ambassador David Madden and the British consul in Rhodes, Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said the committees would aim to avert or handle trouble in key tourist areas including Rhodes, Corfu and Crete.

    Ministry sources said that Avramopoulos and Madden agreed that poor behavior by a minority of tourists had brought bad publicity for both countries.

    In addition, the tourism ministry is to announce a code of behavior for tourists that authorities will be asked to see implemented.

    [13] National Bank publishes bulletin on emerging markets

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    National Bank of Greece on Tuesday published its latest edition titled "South Eastern Europe and Mediterranean Emerging Market Economies Bulletin", reviewing developments and challenges facing financial markets in Egypt, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, South Africa, Serbia and Montenegro, Romania, Russian Federation, Turkey and FYROM.

    The bulletin presents the main issues and prospects of economies in the region and developments in national markets. The report is part of National Bank's wider interest of expanding its activities in the area and become a regional force.

    The main titles of the bulletin:

    Turkey: Slowing liquidity and reduced risk appetite will continue burdening domestic markets.

    Romania: The central bank is keeping a wait-and-see stance on monetary policy.

    Bulgaria: Stricter monetary conditions could lead to higher interest rates.

    Serbia and Montenegro: Markets await Presidential elections in June.

    FYROM: Easing pressures on domestic currency is a necessary condition for lower interest rates.

    Albania: Upward pressures on domestic currency are expected to continue.

    Cyprus: Interest rates are expected to rise as a result of a deregulation in capital movement.

    Croatia: Domestic interest rates will fall as liquidity improves in the market.

    Russian Federation: The Yukos case keeps a lid on the stock market.

    Egypt: Domestic interest rates approaching the ceiling of the current cycle.

    South Africa: A new political and economic stability strengthens confidence in the market.

    [14] Recording companies seek government crackdown on CD piracy

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    An international music trade group on Tuesday asked the government to crack down on CD piracy, saying the Greek state lost 65-100 billion drachmas in lost tax due to illegal recordings in circulation.

    After talks with the development ministry, the head of the Association of Greek Producers of Sound Recordings, which is a member of the global IFPI, said that piracy also affected the price of CDs sold legally on the market due to unfair competition.

    The association added that the piracy phenomenon was expected to worsen for the Athens Olympics in August as the city would be flooded with visitors for the event.

    [15] Stocks rise in renewed buying

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    The Athens bourse finished higher in renewed buying following five straight declines, traders said.

    The general share index gained 1.19 per cent to end at 2,450.01 points. Turnover was 154.8 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 1.36 per cent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 1.28 per cent up; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities gained 1.20 per cent.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 213 to 86 with 61 issues remaining unchanged.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Closing rates of May 11 2004

    Parities in euro

    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,189 1,162

    [16] ATHOC president says security ''top priority'' at Athens Games

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    The security of the Athens Olympic Games has and continues to be a top priority, Athens 2004 President, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki stressed during her opening speech at the Plenary Session of the 12th IOC Coordination Commission Meeting which was held in Athens on Tuesday.

    ''From the very beginning, we have put the safety and security of athletes and spectators first. The scope, budget, and international cooperation of our security effort are simply without precedent in the history of the Olympic Games.'' she said.

    As for the progress Athens has made in terms of Olympic preparations, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki noted, ''Since our first meeting together in 2000, Athens has moved forward more rapidly than many thought possible. We are truly completing seven years of work in four years' time.''

    ''There have been tough times; and there may still be tough times before us. However, you have helped us focus on our goal and you continue to do so. With just 94 days remaining before the opening ceremony, Athens has overcome a three-year deficit,'' she added.

    ''Challenges do lie ahead, but they do not awe me. What awes me is the look and the energy of a city in the midst of a great transformation, and the opportunity for Games that will captivate the whole world. Every day we see a nation eager to show the world their most celebrated tradition and their legendary hospitality. I am a realist. I know that Athens will not be ready unless we continue to work with focus, enthusiasm and relentless energy for every hour that remains before us. We will do that; we are doing it already. The roof of the main Olympic Stadium is moving into place,'' she said.

    However, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki noted that, ''the true test of Athens' performance will come on the field, once the Olympic Games begin. We know what the Olympic standard is: Athletes having the facilities and the support they need for truly Olympian performances. Global media coverage that is able to capture not just the results but also the history and spirit that will make the Athens Games an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Most important, Games with a security shield that keeps athletes and spectators safe. These are high standards, but they are good and proper standards that the people of Greece, ATHOC, and I are all determined to meet.''

    ATHOC's president closed with the following statement: ''We look forward to welcoming you back to Greece in three months, to witness and to be a part of unique Games on a human scale - and the kind of celebration, for which Greece has always been known.''

    [17] Oswald optimistic about Athens Olympics

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Denis Oswald said he was optimistic about the success of the Athens Olympic Games after the meeting he had with Greek officials at the Culture Ministry on Tuesday.

    Specifically, Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia, Public Order Deputy Minister Christos Markoyiannakis, Athens 2004 President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, Olympic Games Secretary General Spyros Kapralos, other ministerial officials, and the team of IOC experts escorting Oswald in Athens were in attendance.

    ''We had a very good meeting which reinforced our confidence that the Athens Games will be successful. I am very optimistic,'' Oswald said after the meeting, while also saying that he had received answers to all issues he raised.

    Petralia said that, ''in this difficult race against time, we are coming out ahead. Most of the projects are in their final stage, while the architectural seal is the Calatrava roof.''

    Speaking of today's meeting, Petralia called it constructive, and added that, ''we are ready to stage the best and safest Olympic Games.''

    The Calatrava roof over the Athens Olympic Sports Complex was one of the main topics of discussion on the meeting's agenda with the IOC expressing complete satisfaction with the project's progress. Olympic preparations in general were discussed in detail.

    [18] BOC President praises Athens on Olympic preparation progress

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    British Olympic Committee President Craig Reedie, who is currently in Athens with the IOC Coordination Commission, told the BBC on Tuesday that he was truly impressed with the progress of Olympic preparations made in recent months.

    ''The volume of work that's been executed since February when I was here last, is tremendous,'' he said, while emphasizing that there is no room for further delays.

    ''I think Athens will be ready even if it is at the last minute. There is no more room for mistakes,'' Reedie said.

    Speaking of the Calatrava roof, the BOC president said he had expected one arch to have been already in place. However, Athens 2004 executives assured him that the entire roof will be in place by week's end.

    [19] Australian "Travel Advice" update on Greece

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    Three months ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the Australian government on Tuesday issued a new "Travel Advice" for Australians traveling to Greece.

    The "Advice" recommends to Australians in Greece to exercise caution and keep themselves informed of developments that might affect their safety.

    "This advice has been reviewed and reissued. It contains new safety and security information. The overall level of the advice has increased, according to the government website on "General Advice to Australian Travellers".

    "Australian travelers should be aware of the increased threat of terrorism globally and should consult the General Advice to Australian Travellers" site, the Advice said, adding that "Australian travelers planning to attend the 2004 Olympics and/or Paralympics should also consult the department's travel bulletin on the Olympics and Paralympics", and noting the recent "incidents involving improvised explosive devices", particularly the "three improvised explosive devices detonated outside a central Athens police station" last week.

    The Advice further said that "Demonstrations are commonplace and have been known to become violent. Australians should avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings, including football matches".

    It further said that "Petty crime including pick-pocketing and bag-snatching occurs mainly in tourist areas and on public transport. Australians should only carry sufficient cash for their daily needs, secure their valuables against theft and avoid displays of wealth at all times. Photocopies of valuables such as passport, tickets, driving license and travelers cheques should be kept separately".

    Further, "in the event of a natural disaster, Australians should follow the advice of local authorities. Greece is in an active seismic zone and is subject to earthquakes".

    Australians are also "reminded that when overseas, they are subject to local laws. A violation of local laws may result in a jail sentence, served in a local prison", and "should be aware that it is an offence to photograph military installations and military personnel".

    [20] Amnesty Int'l: Olympics must not become excuse for human rights abuses

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    The Olympic Games must not become an excuse for human rights abuses in the name of security, Amnesty International said on Tuesday while calling on all organizations involved in the protection of human rights to be on the alert during the Games.

    The Greek branch of the international organization urged Greek authorities to take all measures needed for the security of the Games while simultaneously respecting human rights.

    Amnesty International's spokesman in Greece Kostis Papaioannou accepted that the Olympics, especially those in Athens which coincided with a tense period in world politics, were a focus of international attention and therefore needed heightened security.

    At the same time, he stressed that the ''goal of security cannot become an excuse or opportunity to take measures that limit citizens' rights''.

    He said the recent past in other countries had shown that basic civil liberties were curtailed in the name of security, especially for vulnerable groups like refugees, political asylum seekers, immigrants and movements critical of the state.

    Speakers at the press conference said security force should be accountable for any violations and called for guarantees that the thousands of cameras and other surveillance equipment set up in Athens be used exclusively for the security of the Games.

    They also referred to a string of human rights violations during preparations for the Games, such as labor accidents due to a lack of safety measures at worksites and to the evictions and moving on of gypsy encampments.

    [21] Small fire breaking out at IBC reported under control

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    A small fire broke out at the International Broadcasting Centre on Tuesday afternoon, according to Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee sources.

    Initial evidence showed that the fire broke out on the first level of the building's underground parking lot due to a short-circuit. The Fire Brigade responded promptly and extinguished the fire.

    [22] 91 pc of single parent families in EU created by women, Eurostat says

    BRUSSELS 12/5/2004 (ANA/Y. Zitouniati)

    Ninety-one percent of single parent families (meaning one parent and at least one child) both in Greece and all over the European Union are created by women, according to the latest report issued by the Eurostat service.

    In Greece, only nine percent of single parent families are created by men, while the percentage equals the EU's average.

    A great distance exists between the north and south of the EU on the issue of single parent families, ranging between 22 percent of households in Sweden and four percent in Greece, Italy and Portugal.

    As regards single parent families in Greece, 73 percent of them concern ages between 25 and 49 and 23 percent the 50-64 age bracket.

    Moreover, 50 percent of them have one child and 42 percent two. With the exception of Greece, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg and Austria, it has been ascertained that single parent families have a lesser inclination to work than other social groups of the same age.

    [23] Greek sculptor George Zoggolopoulos passes away

    Athens, 12/5/2004 (ANA)

    Greek sculptor George Zoggolopoulos died in hospital early on Tuesday morning, just shy of his 100th birthday.

    The noted Greek sculptor's work includes the 'umbrellas' that decorate the Kifissias Avenue junction at Faros in Psyhiko and a similar composition at the Syntagma metro station.


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