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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-05-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

May 28, 2004


  • [01] PM Karamanlis presents the New Democracy party's manifesto for the European elections
  • [02] PASOK party leader criticises government over economy and Olympic Games
  • [03] Deputy FM Valynakis: Greece to help Turkish Cypriots emerge from isolation
  • [04] Two opinion polls show ND leading PASOK ahead of Euroelections
  • [05] Greek voters' participation in Euroelections among highest in EU, Eurobarometer says
  • [06] Communist Party leader outlines party's positions ahead of Euroelections
  • [07] 'Women for another Europe' present Euro-ticket
  • [08] FinMin launches work on drafting new development law
  • [09] Greece to revise law on GMOs
  • [10] SYN leader blasts profiteering in domestic markets
  • [11] Economic climate index shows rise
  • [12] Greece, Bulgaria launch industry and commerce chamber
  • [13] ASE says new market rules will not change share trading status
  • [14] Stocks rise, spurred by corporate earnings
  • [15] Roussopoulos asserts Athens Games will be safe and successful
  • [16] EPP president Martens: "Olympic Games are major event for all of Europe"
  • [17] Australian NOC spokesman reiterates support for Athens Games
  • [18] Bakoyanni on the progress of works in Athens
  • [19] Philip Glass to debut work commissioned for Olympics at Herod Atticus Odeon in June
  • [20] 'Blue Flag' for 378 beaches in Greece
  • [21] Six arrested for child pornography

  • [01] PM Karamanlis presents the New Democracy party's manifesto for the European elections

    Athens, 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday presented ruling New Democracy's manifesto for the European elections, which outlines the government's goals and positions within united Europe, at an event in the Zappion building.

    The premier said that the EU will act as a base for realising the new Greek vision for the future and stressed that the European Parliament elections on June 13 concerned all citizens, having both a European but also a national aspect.

    He also underlined that ND was European par excellence among the Greek parties since the country's entry into the European Community had been the strategic choice of his uncle and ND founder Constantine Karamanlis, while the measure of Greece's success was evident in the urgent efforts now being made by its neighbours to join the EU.

    Karamanlis said that ND, acting through the European Popular Party (EPP) which was the largest political force within the European Parliament, will be able to promote Greek interests and rights and the interests of its citizens. He said the party was responsible for governing the party and thus needed an even stronger voice within the European Parliament.

    He particularly stressed the need for a coordinated effort - in which ND would be relentless - to secure the funds needed to press ahead with harmoniously building United Europe.

    The premier said the government attached great importance to policies regulating the ordinary problems of daily life and stressed that European legislation would be enriched with more rules for the protection of consumers, the environment, young people, women, the unemployed, the elderly and other vulnerable groups.

    He also stressed that the European Constitution was a major milestone in the crucial issue of Europe's political unification but much more remained to be done. Karamanlis said that one of Greece's goals will be to reinforce Europe's common foreign and defence policy by including a mutual solidarity clause in the Constitution, while Athens will also push for joint policing of the EU's external borders, the creation of a European coast guard and the setting of specific limits on the numbers of economic immigrants allowed in, based on the needs of the labour market and dealing with international terrorism.

    Regarding Greece's policies within Europe, Karamanlis said the government will strive to achieve real convergence through a realistic, structured programme that would cover the ground that had been lost and prevent further missed opportunities. He underlined his determination to make full use of 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF) funds and to secure funds needed for developing rural regions from the 4th CSF, with favourable treatment of the islands and mountainous areas and an attractive agricultural sector that allowed farmers to make full use of the capabilities afforted by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

    The government also wishes the EU to assist in the solution of the Cyprus problem and the improvement of relations between Greece and Turkey, while Karamanlis reiterated Athens' support for Turkey's European prospects.

    The premier criticised the previous government for its handling of community funds, saying that the absorption of funds from the 3rd CSF was disappointing at just 22.5% and that 550 million euros had been irretrievably lost from the 2nd CSF. He claimed that there was a lack of transparency in the projects actually carried out, instances of bad workmanship in public works and several instances of violation of Community regulations.

    "It is our decision to put an end to this state of affairs and bring about changes," he stressed.

    [02] PASOK party leader criticises government over economy and Olympic Games

    Athens, 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, in an interview with the private television channel MEGA on Thursday, criticised the government over its policy regarding the economy and the Olympic Games.

    Papandreou said the ruling New Democracy party's logic was "let us come to power and then we shall see. To become a government but not to undertake responsibilities."

    Referring to the government in general, Papandreou said "it is waiting for Parliament to close, the Euroelections to pass, the summer and the Olympic Games without showing its face", but noted that opportunities were passing by.

    Commenting on the government's handling of the economy, the PASOK party leader said the inventory process was "childish", adding that it will have a "tragic outcome" for the country's economy.

    Papandreou also said PASOK will not be judged definitely in the June 13 Euroelections which he considers a very important step in the course of the party's restructuring and which, as he said, "cannot take place in two months."

    PASOK leader responds to critics: "I have received the mandate [from the Greek people] to proceed with the changes our Movement needs and I will. I expect everyone to join in this effort," main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou said on Thursday when asked to comment on party members' critical statements. However, Papandreou also added that, "It is logical that various opinions exist, which I respect."

    The PASOK leader said that all party members will be utilised since "they are valuable," and promised that "immediately after the Euroelections a comprehensive plan will be drawn up," regarding the party's changes and restructuring.

    Asked whether he is concerned about New Democracy's lead in various polls, Papandreou said that, "the Euroelections are a step towards our effort and aim of restructuring the Movement, one more step [in that direction]."

    [03] Deputy FM Valynakis: Greece to help Turkish Cypriots emerge from isolation

    LOS ANGELES 28/5/2004 (ANA/F. Karaviti)

    Greece's deputy foreign minister Yannis Valynakis on Wednesday expressed the Greek government's intention to "aid the Turkish Cypriots to emerge from their isolation", in an address at the Los Angeles-based RAND Institute for political studies, as well as during an earlier meeting with the Los Angeles Times editorial staff.

    Valynakis explained, however, that "there is a limiti in this process" and that "it would be counter-productive to exceed that limit".

    At both meetings, Valynakis mainly discussed Cyprus developments and preparations for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, which, he stressed "Greece has the will and the ability to organise safely and efficiently".

    Valynakis was due to head on to Guadalajara, Mexico, to represent Greece at the EU summit meeting with the Latin American and Caribbean countries.

    UN chief's Cyprus advisor De Soto assures measures for Turkish Cypriots will not be indirect recognition of pseudo-state: UN secretary general Kofi Annan's special advisor on the Cyprus issue, Alvaro de Soto, assured Thursday that there was no issue of indirect recognition of the self-proclaimed Turkish Cypriot 'state' in the Turkish-occupied north of the island -- which is recognised only by Turkey -- by any international organisation, vis-a-vis measures that will be forthcoming to assist the Turkish Cypriots in coming out of their isolation.

    Speaking on CNN Turk, de Soto said that "there is the Republic of Cyprus, which a Greek Cypriot government", and this Republic "is a recognised state, independent, and it is acknowledged that it representes the entire island".

    On the Annan plan, de Soto said that it had provided a historic opportunity that was lost, but stressed that the Cypriot people would decided to what degree the plan was 'dead' or 'alive'.

    De Soto also expressed doubt as to whether the security concerns were the main reason for rejection of the Annan plan by the Greek Cypriots in last month's referendum. "If we had reached a solution, the presence of the Turkish (occupation) troops, in a short time frame, would have been much smaller than it is now", and consequently "I do nt believe that, by the word security, they meant the Turkish troops," de Soto said.

    Measures in favour of Turkish Cypriots should help keep open prospect for solving Cyprus problem and reunification: The measures to be taken in favour of the Turkish Cypriot community in the Turkish-occupied sector of Cyprus should contribute to keeping open the prospect for solving the Cyprus problem and the island's reunification, Greek foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said Thursday, replying during a regular press briefing to questions regarding measures the US intended to take.

    Koumoutsakos advised that everyone should wait until the final proposals were drafted, stressing that there was total coordination between the Greek and Cypriot governments, which were examining the issue.

    He said a relevant discussion was expected to take place in the European Union in mid-June, adding that the legal framework of Cyprus' participation in the EU was crystal-clear and determined by the Act of Accession, Protocol 10, and also by the so-called Regulation that concerned the Greek Line. The measures to be taken must be in the interests of the Turkish Cypriots and in line with the EU legal framework, Koumoutsakos explained.

    To questions on the UN force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), that monitors the Green Line, the spokesman said that UN chief secretary general Kofi Annan's biannual report on the UNFICYP was due to be made public in the next few days, and would most likely be separate to and precede the UN chief's report on the overall develpments in the Cyprus issue. He said that the Greek side considered it logical that a six-month extention of the UNFICYP mandate would be decided because, at this time, there were no reasons warranting a change.

    Koumoutsakos further announced that the Greek-Turkish committee dealing with culture, economy and other issues in the framework of continuing bilateral cooperation with Turkey would hold its next meeting in Ankara on June 2. The purpose of bilateral cooperation in "low-impact" issues is to develop cooperation with Turkey and expand contacts in various sectors of the economic and social life.

    [04] Two opinion polls show ND leading PASOK ahead of Euroelections

    Athens, 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    Two opinion polls, one by the "Metron Analysis" company presented by the private Antenna television channel and another by the MRB company, confirm that the ruling New Democracy party is ahead of the main opposition PASOK party 15 days before the Euroelections.

    According to the MRB poll, ND is 7.8 percentage points ahead of PASOK with 41.5 percent as against 33.7 for PASOK, 6.7 for the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), 3.7 for the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology and 2.1 for the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), while the undecided vote stands at 12.1.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis leads PASOK leader George Papandreou by 15 percentage points on the question of who is most suitable for prime minister. Karamanlis receives 50.6 percent and Papandreou 35.2.

    On the question of which party is expected to win in the Euroelections, ND receives 78.4 percent and PASOK 12.3.

    The "Metron Analysis" poll gives ND a 7.5 point lead over PASOK.

    ND receives 40.8 percent, PASOK 33.3, KKE 7, the Coalition 3.8 and LAOS 2.2, while the undecided vote is 11.3.

    However, on a question by the company on Parliamentary elections, voters' intentions change and ND gets 42.4 percent and PASOK 34.7 which, according to analysts, shows a different voting attitude in the Euroelections.

    On the question of who is most suitable for prime minister, Karamanlis gets 46.6 percent and Papandreou 31.6.

    As regards the question which party is expected to win in the Euroelections, ND gets 70.7 percent and PASOK 10.2.

    [05] Greek voters' participation in Euroelections among highest in EU, Eurobarometer says

    BRUSSELS 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    Greek voters' participation in the June 13 Euroelections is expected to be among the highest in the 25-nation European Union, according to the latest "Eurobarometer" opinion poll publicised here on Thursday.

    However, the main reasons that Greek citizens will choose not to vote are unsatisfactory information on the European Parliament's duties and the belief that "their vote will not change anything."

    The opinion poll was carried out by phone on behalf of the European Parliament between May 5-15 and among a sample of 12,181 European respondents, while in Greece 477 citizens participated.

    It did not contain information on the party respondents intended to vote for, but focused on the political orientation of public opinion and placed emphasis on the reasons for citizens' decision either to vote or to abstain.

    According to the opinion poll, 66 percent of Greeks and 45 percent of citizens in the EU declared they will most certainly turn up to vote. The highest percentages of participation in the Euroelections were observed in Belgium with 76 percent, Cyprus 67 and Greece 66 and the lowest in the Czech Republic with 20 percent, Estonia 26 and Slovakia 27.

    As regards the priorities of those intending to vote, 91 percent of Greeks give priority to the candidates' positions on national issues (compared to an EU average of 71), 88 to the parties' positions on national issues (69 in the EU), 86 on the candidates' positions on European issues (70 in the EU) and 85 to the candidates' personality (57 in the EU).

    [06] Communist Party leader outlines party's positions ahead of Euroelections

    Athens, 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga outlined her party's positions ahead of next month's Euroelections at a press conference on Thursday, calling on working people to ''correct their vote''.

    "Working people, particularly those who suspect, who have experienced the consequences of the European Union's policy and, of course, its implementation in Greece, who voted for PASOK or New Democracy in national elections, must correct their vote. Lost time must be made up," she said.

    KKE's view of the Euroelections is that "what the election correlation will be on June 13 is of very great importance for the movement in Greece and its outcome and, of course, for the movement in Europe as well."

    Papariga also said her party opposes a so-called "slack" vote in the Euroelections, saying "a vote must be given on the basis of experience gained from problems and what benefits the people."

    [07] 'Women for another Europe' present Euro-ticket

    Athens, 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    With a pledge to stir the stagnant waters of politics, 24 women of all ages and backgrounds from areas throughout Greece on Thursday presented the "Women for another Europe" election ticket and list of candidates for the European elections in June.

    They presented their vision for an "alternative" Europe that will be "democratic, pacifist, red, green and purple", as opposed to the current bastion of "neoliberal policies, poverty, discrimination and exclusion".

    The choice of venue for the presentation, outside the multinational Schiesser Palco factory whose operations were transferred to Bulgaria making dozens of women redundant, was also symbolic of the movement's left-wing and radical origins, a spokeswoman for the movement said.

    Without affiliation to any of the existing parties, the women at the press conference said that their members participated as equals among equals and they stressed the need to liberate politics from dependence on dominant personalities and cliques. Reflecting this, the names on their election ticket were simply listed in alphabetical order. They said their allies included hundreds of women in Greece involved in politics and social movements and in the Greek and international movement against neoliberal globalisation.

    [08] FinMin launches work on drafting new development law

    Athens, 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    A new development law will seek radical changes in business activity in the country, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Thursday.

    Addressing the first meeting of a special commission, formed to draft proposals on the reform of a development law, Alogoskoufis urged for specific proposals that would contribute in the creation of a simple and functional development law, compatible with EU regulations and adjusted to Greek economic needs.

    "The new law," the Greek minister said, "along with a tax reform programme will implement one of the most significant pledges made by the government with the aim to ensure a dynamic economic growth".

    Alogoskoufis stressed the need to focus on the development of regional Greece, encouraging capital investments and promoting research and technology.

    [09] Greece to revise law on GMOs

    Athens, 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    Greek Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Savvas Tsitouridis on Thursday announced that the government would revise an existing law on genetically modified products to include clear inspection procedures and impose penalties when community and national laws were breached.

    "We have done what an existing legislation allowed us. With a new legislatoin we will deal with the problem of compensating farmers currently using, willingly or not, genetically modified organisms," Tsitouridis said.

    The Greek minister stressed that the government was currently working on a plan to restructure public agencies and operations in the agriculture sector.

    The EU recently approved the import of genetically modified corn, breaking a five-year ban.

    [10] SYN leader blasts profiteering in domestic markets

    Athens, 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    Greece moves with the highest speed in price increases and the lowest speed in wage increases, N. Constantopoulos leader of Coalition of the Radical Left (SYN) political party said on Thursday.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Chr. Kouris, chairman of INKA -a Greek consumer group, Constantopoulos said that price increases was the biggest threat to incomes and a constant greenhouse of profiteering. "There is no other country in the world where the market is performing in such way, with profiteering and informal trade thriving at the expense of consumers' incomes, public health and quality," he stressed.

    Kouris announced a series of actions aimed to contain price increases ahead of the Olympic Games.

    [11] Economic climate index shows rise

    Athens, 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    An economic climate index for Greece compiled by the Insitutue for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) rose to 99.7 points in April, showing a rise for the third consecutive month, remaining above the level for the formerly 15-member European Union, which stood at 97.2 points.

    The domestic increase was due to a rise in the industrial index and a slight improvement in the consumer confidence index, IOBE said in a statement.

    Conversely, the domestic business expectations index for construction and retail trade dropped below March's level, the statement added.

    [12] Greece, Bulgaria launch industry and commerce chamber

    SOFIA 28/5/2004 (ANA/B.Borisov)

    Greece and Bulgaria on Thursday established a bilateral chamber of trade and commerce at a founding meeting in the Bulgarian capital.

    "If France and Germany managed to overcome the past to create conditions for good bilateral cooperation, thus forming the basis for the new European architecture, I think that the most suitable countries to repeat this successful endeavour in our region are Greece and Bulgaria," Deputy Foreign Minister Euripides Stylianidis told the meeting.

    "Economic ties between the two countries have been impeccable in recent years at a time when markets have overtaken governments and states," Stylianidis said.

    He added that Greece would continue to support Bulgaria's bid to join the European Union, with entry expected in about three years.

    Operating in Bulgaria are about 1,500 Greek companies; five Greek banks hold 33 per cent of the market in the neighbouring country; and Greek investments over the last 15 years total more than three billion US dollars, the head of the Greek-Bulgarian Chamber of Trade and Industry, Panayiotis Koutsikos, said.

    [13] ASE says new market rules will not change share trading status

    Athens, 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    The Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday announced that the Capital Markets' Commission was proceeding with a procedure of approving a new set of rules for the market, in time to meet a scheduled deadline of June 19, 2004.

    An ASE announcement stressed, however, that the new market rules did not include recommendations made by ASE's board that needed special legislation and amendments to an existing framework by the Capital Markets' Commission.

    The announcement said that an existing status of market operation and share trading would not change, while issues not included in a new set of rules would be put to discussion.

    [14] Stocks rise, spurred by corporate earnings

    Athens, 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    Stocks finished higher on the bourse, spurred by healthy first-quarter earnings by Public Power Corporation and a rise in European markets, traders said.

    The Athens general share index closed at 2,382.96 points, showing a 1.31 per cent increase. Turnover was 168.3 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalisation shares ended 1.48 per cent higher; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.27 per cent up; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.64 per cent higher.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 167 to 118 with 81 remaining unchanged.

    [15] Roussopoulos asserts Athens Games will be safe and successful

    BRUSSELS 28/5/2004 (ANA/M.Spinthourakis)

    Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos conveyed Greece's assurances that the Athens Olympic Games will be safe and successful in a speech he gave at the Summit of Culture Ministers and EU Audiovisual Media in Brussels on Thursday.

    Roussopoulos emphasised that the Olympic Games are the greatest challenge and responsibility facing Greece's new government and that Greece aspires to showcase its best traits, not only its cultural history, but also its modern society.

    "Today I can assure you that everything will be ready on time," Roussopoulos said, adding that within the next few days another 57 basic projects will be turned over to the Athens 2004 Organising Committee for the Olympic Games. He also briefed attendees on the transport projects in progress in Athens.

    Roussopoulos also noted that apart from the state, hundreds of private individuals are investing billions of euros in Athens. According to Roussopoulos, the Athens Games benefit not only Athens, but the entire country - something that is not true of other host countries.

    As for Games security, the minister of state said that Athens will have the most dense and advanced security network in Olympic history, stressing that Greece has invested 1 billion on security, triple the amount Sydney spent on the security of the 2000 Olympic Games and 30 times the amount Atlanta spent.

    "We are employing 70,000 security experts, while our seven allies - the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Israel and Australia - are providing us with their useful experien

    [16] EPP president Martens: "Olympic Games are major event for all of Europe"

    Athens, 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    The success of the Athens Olympic Games will also be a success for Europe, Wilfried Martens, President of European People's Party said on Thursday, during the New Democracy party's Euroelections presentation at Zappion Hall.

    "The Olympic Games are a major event for all of Europe, competitions that celebrate culture, tradition and values - and for that reason alone they will be a terrific success which will also be a European success," Martens said.

    [17] Australian NOC spokesman reiterates support for Athens Games

    MELBOURNE 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    Australia's National Olympic Committee this week reiterated that it completely supports Athens and that in no way did it attempt to belittle the upcoming Olympic Games, according to a spokesman for the organisation during a press conference in Sydney.

    Spokesman Mike Tancred also denied any attempt at trying to demonstrate that Sydney organized better Games than the upcoming ones in Athens, stressing that Australian officials are confident of the Greek capital's success.

    Tancred did mention that it was unfortunate that Athens will host the first Summer Games after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, before echoing the leitmotif of both organizers and the IOC, namely, that everything humanly possible is being done to ensure the absolute security for the Games.

    The spokesman spoke days before the Olympic Torch Relay is expected to pass through Sydney (June 4) and Melbourne (June 5).

    [18] Bakoyanni on the progress of works in Athens

    Athens, 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyanni gave a press conference at the Town Hall on Thursday regarding the progress of works being completed in Athens ahead of the Olympic Games.

    "It is the biggest programme of works that the Municipality of Athens has ever designed and implemented and we think that it will contribute significantly to making Athens more modern, more human and friendlier," the mayor said.

    Apart from improving the city's image the programme aims to improve citizens' quality of life and entails 752,000 square metres of roadworks; 250,000 square metres of new sidewalks; increasing and renewing the city's lighting; and planting 6,800 trees, 21,000 bushes and 300,000 flowers.

    According to Bakoyanni, the programme started in July 2003 and is scheduled to be completed by July 2004. "Delays are few and I believe that by the end of July, we will deliver whatever we promised," she said.

    [19] Philip Glass to debut work commissioned for Olympics at Herod Atticus Odeon in June

    Athens, 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    Seminal composer Philip Glass will be appearing at the Herod Atticus Odeon on June 3-4 for two showpiece performances of an original work of music commissioned by the Cultural Olympiad for the Olympic Games in Athens. Entitled "Orion", this the result of a collaborative effort by Glass and seven notable composers from different countries that reflects the multicultural nature of the Olympiad.

    Glass said the the project was an opportunity to realise one of his dreams: namely, to work with seven major composers from all over the world and orchestrate each of the musical pieces they had written or the traditional music they had adapted into a single composition whose world premiere will be at the historic Herod Atticus Odeon.

    The prolific award-winning composer noted that only an organisation such as the Cultural Olympiad could help an artist realise such a dream.

    "It is easy for me to conceive of a work but harder to carry it out," he said in reference to Orion, named after the brightest star in the night sky that is visible from both hemispheres and was a source of inspiration to Glass, as well as the reason why he sought out composers from all regions of the globe to collaborate on the project.

    Each of these composed a piece of music included in the final work, which includes three interludes of duets. They are the legendary Indian composer Ravi Shankar with a piece for the sitar, Wu Man on the Chinese pipa, Australian Mark Atkins on the didjeridoo, Ashley MacIsaac on the Canadian fiddle, West African kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso and the Brazilian ensemble Uakti. Greece will be represented by singer Eleftheria Arvanitaki, who will perform the traditional "Tzivaeri" chosen by Glass. The work will be performed by the Philip Glass Ensemble, with pairs of guest artists performing the duets in the interludes.

    In addition to Orion, the concert on June 3 features a performance of the ballet "Glass Pieces" choreographed by Jerome Robbins and performed by the New York City Ballet, while on June 4 it will be followed by the ballet "A Midsummer Night's Dream" choreographed by Heinz Spoerli, which is set to Glass' "Concerto for violin an orchestra" and works by Steve Reich and Felix Mendelssohn, performed by the National Ballet of Portugal.

    In Athens for the last rehearsals, Glass said he enjoyed the new facilities in the city like the metro and new pedestrianised roads and praised the idea of a Cultural Olympiad as a "natural extension of the Olympic Games".

    [20] 'Blue Flag' for 378 beaches in Greece

    Athens, 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    Greece is in second place in the world in this year's awarding of the international programme "Blue Flags", with 378 beaches and seven marinas awarded, the Greek Society for the Protection of Nature (EEPF) announced during a press conference in Athens on Thursday.

    The "Blue Flag" is the international symbol of quality, the most known environmental sign in the world which is awarded every year to all those beaches and marinas which maintain strict cleanliness criteria, organisation, safety and protection of the environment.

    Crete was top with 78 blue flags, followed by the Southern Aegean with 72, Central Macedonia with 56, the Ionian Islands with 44, the Peloponnese with 27, Thessally and the Northern Aegean each with 22, Central Greece with 16, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace with 15, Western Greece with 13, Attica with 10 and Epirus with 5.

    [21] Six arrested for child pornography

    Athens, 28/5/2004 (ANA)

    Six people have been arrested on charges of disseminating child pornography and sadomasochistic material, and placing ads for models "of all ages" on the Internet, police said Thursday.

    The four men and two women were arrested following a police investigation prompted by charges that child pornography material was being posted on the web, as well as pictures of youths being tortured and in sadomasochistic poses.

    After tracing the perpetrators' IP addresses, police carried out searches of their houses, where they found and confiscated 11 PCs, two videocameras, 8 cameras, 16 bank deposit books, 11 credit cards, a largenumber of S&M equipment, and a plethora of pornographic photographs that they would upload on the Internet.

    The detainees had also copied phornographic material on CD-Roms, which they then sold on the market, while a small quantity of narcotic substances was found in the home of one of the arrestees.

    The police investigation revealed that between March 2003 and February 2004, the perpetrators used the apartment of one of the six, in the Athens suburb of Ilioupolis, where they would photograph minors in various pornographic and sadomasochistic poses, paying the underage models -- who they lured through ads on the Internet -- 50 euro per photo session.

    Police sources told the ANA that the professions of the four men were: a highschool informatics teacher, a researcher, a businessman, and a photographer, while the two women were a private employee and an insurance saleswoman identified as Evangelia Fytrou, who was named as the tenant of the Ilioupolis apartment. Also wanted in connection with the case was a woman lawyer.

    The police investigation was continuing to locate the minors used for the photographs, and to ascertain whether the teacher's implication also included luring pupils from the highschool where he was employed.

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