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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-10-02

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

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

October 2, 2004

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM outlines government strategy as New Democracy celebrates 30 years' existence
  • [02] Gov't reiterates that its mandate is for four years
  • [03] Greece's candidacy to UN Security Council: Foreign Ministry to announce priorities after Oct. 15
  • [04] Karamanlis briefed by ATHOC chief on successful Paralympic Games
  • [05] Papandreou comments on armaments investigation, national budget
  • [06] Hague meeting of EU Justice and Internal Affairs Council Ministers
  • [07] OSCE Security and Cooperation Forum opens in Rhodes
  • [08] Proposed meeting cancelled between EU foreign ministers and Organization of Islamic Conference
  • [09] Cyprus celebrates 44 years of independence
  • [10] Turkish warplanes violate national air space
  • [11] Coalition leader meets with Turkish charge d'Affaires
  • [12] Russian deputy minister chairs international forum in Rhodes
  • [13] Greece asks EU for drop in petroleum product consumption tax
  • [14] Industrialists say 2005 budget based on 'optimistic' growth target
  • [15] Drop in domestic PMI index
  • [16] Meeting at Ministry of Transport regarding new Athens transport roadmap
  • [17] International tobacco producers conference in Greece
  • [18] Hellenic Data Protection Agency to be notified of closed-circuit television installations
  • [19] Eurobank to launch voluntary retirement scheme
  • [20] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks surge, led by buying in OTE telecom
  • [21] Salvage effort to raised crashed Chinook ready
  • [22] Greek actress Eleni Hatziargyri dies at the age of 79
  • [23] Havana-Thessaloniki twinning brings noted Cuban scholar Leal to Greece
  • [24] World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) convenes in Cyprus
  • [25] Animal welfare society satisfied with candidate EU commissioner's stance on animal testing
  • [26] Security company owner arrested for attack on rival
  • [27] Nat'l weightlifting team coach appears before prosecutors

  • [01] PM outlines government strategy as New Democracy celebrates 30 years' existence

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    "New Democracy is the party of the contemporary social centre, the party which denounces division, polarization, and fanaticism and serves the interests of all of society," Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said during a special event held at Zappeion on Friday evening, celebrating New Democracy's 30 years of existence.

    During his speech, the prime minister also outlined the government's priorities and goals, which include ensuring dynamic, balanced and sustainable growth throughout the country; transitioning towards a modern, effective and more socially-responsible state; investing in education and culture; and upgrading political and social culture by reinforcing the substance of democracy and getting citizens more actively involved in public life.

    "The main axis of our policy is re-establishing the state, while a top priority is eliminating mismanagement, limiting waste, and imposing complete transparency in administration," Karamanlis emphasized. To achieve this, the prime minister said that it is necessary to break away from established interests and practices of the past, and to rely on principles and values for guidance.

    "We are putting an end to partisanship in the state, and we are partnering with citizens in order to establish a state that will offer high-quality services in all sectors to citizens," Karamanlis stressed.

    The prime minister also said that the government would fight corruption with a specific plan of action, reduce bureaucracy, promote a new legislative framework regarding state procurements, implement a system of transparency regarding procurements of the Armed Forces, reforming the health sector, etc.

    Referring to ND's 30th anniversary, Karamanlis spoke about the party's founder Constantine Karamanlis and made reference to all the party's leaders and key members, while underscoring the contribution of all political parties in Greece in achieving the smooth functioning of Greek Parliamentary democracy since 1974.

    The country's accession into the European Union and the European Monetary Union, the safe and successful staging of the Olympic and Paralympic Games are the great national goals Greeks set and achieved and with which the 30 year-cycle comes to a close. "Now, we are at the beginning of a new era, of which we must solve the great problems facing society on a daily basis and to shape prospects from 2010 and beyond," he said.

    Pointing out that Greek citizens have asked the government to make changes, Karamanlis said that the government is heading in the direction of a great change "so that the country can break free from stagnation and achieve a qualitative leap."

    As for the country's economy, the prime minister said, "We are putting an end to the virtual economy, to virtual reality and to policies that lead to volatile dead-end. (...) We are telling the truth about the serious fiscal problems since this can no longer be kept a secret and since distorting reality is not in society's best interests."

    "We are dealing with economic problems with a mild fiscal adaptation, through 'housecleaning' without reducing workers' wages, with fighting government waste and not through tax increases, with capitalizing on state assets, limiting tax evasion, reducing armament expenditures and with total transparency in the management of public funds," he explained.

    The government is proceeding with structural reforms and substantial changes in order to boost competitiveness, encourage Greek entrepreneurship, support small- and medium-sized businesses, strengthen the provincial regions of Greece and fight unemployment, Karamanlis said.

    In closing, the prime minister said: "With the sense of responsibility which comes from the trust that you've shown me and continue to show me, I'm working for a Greece that will lead in European developments; that will stand out in all of Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean; for a Greece with values, social justice, cohesion and solidarity; for a Greece that is changing, inspiring, that makes us proud; for a dynamic and optimistic country."

    PASOK comments on PM's speech on the occasion of New Democracy's 30 years: Nikos Athanassakis, Media Spokesman of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), made the following statement in response to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' speech on Friday evening regarding New Democracy's (ND) founding 30 years ago:

    "Aside from our wishes on New Democracy's 30 years of existence, we must emphasize that even today, Mr. Karamanlis made one of his usual preelection speeches, speeches full of promises and beautiful words.

    Today, however, aside from Mr. Karamanlis' speeches, there is also the work of his government. And the work accomplished during these past seven months contradicts every phrase and every word of Mr. Karamanlis' beautiful speeches."

    New Democracy celebrates its 30 years in politics with events in Athens and Thessaloniki:"It is not just the problems citizens face on a day-to-day basis that we must deal with, but the need for change in the style and manner of the country's governance," New Democracy (ND) Secretary Vangelis Meimarakis said on Friday evening at Zappeion, during an event celebrating ND's founding 30 years ago.

    "Citizens are demanding a type of governance and a ruling party that are not arrogant, that are ethical, serious and responsible; that do not settle for the mediocre and grey and that do not accept corruption in daily life or take a passive stance towards problems," he said.

    Addressing the Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Meimarakis said, "We will rise to the challenge, we will win the bet," adding that "we trust you and we know you trust us."

    An event celebrating the party's founding was also held in Thessaloniki, where Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou and Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Nikos Tsiartsionis spoke.

    Yiannakou said New Democracy had contributed to Greek democracy on many levels, emphasizing that the party and its founder Constantine Karamanlis, personally had succeeded in returning the country to the best, strongest and longest period of democratic rule.

    Tsiartsionis referred to the party's historical course, with an emphasis on ND's contribution in reinstating and reinforcing democracy in Greece and the qualitative upgrade of democratic institutions.

    [02] Gov't reiterates that its mandate is for four years

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    The government on Friday again dismissed speculation of early elections in the spring, an issue that has been raised off-and-on by the local press immediately after the conclusion of the Olympics and since early September.

    A looming vote by Parliament's 300 deputies to elect a new president of the republic early next year has fuelled most of the political speculation and scenarios of late, although the government has steadfastly and curtly said it will exhaust its four-year mandate.

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros also rejected any notion that a tighter economic policy will translate into social spending cuts, noting that a projected increase of 14.9 percent in social spending has been announced. Antonaros said the figure proves the Karamanlis government's sensitivity these areas.

    The spokesman was also queried about the state-controlled and bourse-listed telephony utility (OTE), saying that the managing director of massive, by Greek standards, telecommunications company is preparing a comprehensive restructuring and reform plan, whereas political supervision for the OTE group remains with Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis.

    [03] Greece's candidacy to UN Security Council: Foreign Ministry to announce priorities after Oct. 15

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    Asked whether the foreign ministry during a meeting Thursday, reached specific decisions regarding Greece's possible election as a non-permanent member to the UN Security Council, Foreign Minister Spokesman George Koumoutsakos, said: "No. At this stage we identified and discussed various issues that are expected to be adopted as priorities and initiatives for Greece as a future non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. This discussion was held within the framework outlined in the speech the foreign minister made to the UN General Assembly in New York, recently.

    Among the issues and priorities for Greece - aside from those that concern the greater region - are the major issues of dealing with poverty and underdevelopment (in accordance with the UN's Millennium Goals), addressing instability in regions of Africa, international terrorism, and others. As we have already stated, specific announcements will be made after October 15, the day elections will be conducted in New York."

    [04] Karamanlis briefed by ATHOC chief on successful Paralympic Games

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    Results from the recently concluded Paralympic Games, which came a month after the widely successful Athens 2004 Olympic Games, were on the agenda Friday during a meeting between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the head of the Athens Games organizing committee (ATHOC), Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.

    The previously scheduled meeting, requested by the ATHOC chief late last month, was initially moved back after a deadly truck-bus accident in central Greece claimed the life of seven students heading to the Paralympic Games in Athens.

    On Friday, the high-profile Angelopoulos-Daskalaki referred to the organizational success of the Athens Paralympics, whereas an accompanying ATHOC executive also reportedly promised to release financial results by March.

    Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia was also briefed during the same meeting by the ATHOC delegation.

    In a related development, Karamanlis -- who also holds the culture ministry portfolio -- briefly discussed the all-important post-Olympics use of venues and facilities, with the former again calling for a speeding up of procedures to best exploit infrastructure for the public good.

    In exiting the premier's office, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki repeated that Greece absolutely succeeded in organizing both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with the challenge now being to best exploit the gains in the post-Olympics period. She also cited what she called her very good cooperation with the prime minister.

    [05] Papandreou comments on armaments investigation, national budget

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    The Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) party will be the first to request that an investigative committee charged with looking into the Armed Forces' armaments programmed be established immediately and work within a definite timeframe so that ''the country does not have to suffer through an extended period of rumors and scandals,'' PASOK President George Papandreou said on Friday after his meeting with PASOK prefects.

    According to sources, PASOK will push for a definite timeframe within which the committee will be allowed to carry out its investigation as a prerequisite in cooperating with the government on the election of a new president of the Hellenic Republic. It is expected that PASOK will vote for its own proposal regarding an investigative committee that will look into the armed forces' armaments program until now and will vote against New Democracy's proposal that only the two recent procurement cases which have been referred to the public prosecutor will be investigated. In so doing, PASOK hopes to settle the issue once and for all.

    PASOK's president also referred to the economy, emphasizing that the country is not getting "the serious budget" it needs. He added that the budget presented by Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis "highlights the great problems the government faces, reveals that it is not addressing the issues of Greek society in a substantial way, and is burdening the average Greek, family, worker, employee." He added that the government with the decisions it made and actions it has taken in the past seven months "has not enabled the country to make the great leap forward."

    Finance Ministry responds to Papandreou's comments:"Mr. George Papandreou's statements today clearly reveal that he is still unaware of the situation in which the poor management and poor credibility of PASOK governments have left the country," was the Finance Ministry's response through an announcement made on Friday evening.

    [06] Hague meeting of EU Justice and Internal Affairs Council Ministers

    THE HAGUE 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    An informal meeting of EU Justice and Internal Affairs Council Ministers came to a close on Friday with an agenda devoted to preparing a long-term plan for security, freedom and justice for EU countries. These issues will be discussed when the European Council convenes on 4 and 5 November in Brussels.

    The purpose of the plan is to prepare for any issues in the above areas which might develop on a European-wide level over the next few years, reinforcing efforts made on a national level by member-nations. The plan focuses on matters such as the ex-change of information, the war against terrorism, crisis management, the improvement of Europol and Eurojust, International Family Law, the Common European Asylum System, long-term solutions for refugees, border controls, immigration and the creation of a common policy on the issuing of visas.

    Greek Minister of Justice Anastasios Papaligouras referred to the need for qualitative as well as quantitative improvement in the exchange of information in light of the increase in terrorism. He spoke on the need for reaching a balance between the enforcement of the law and the protection of personal data and basic human rights.

    The Greek side welcomed attempts to standardize international private law on family matters, which will be particularly helpful to the large number of Greeks living abroad when dealing with inheritance matters.

    Greek Minister of Public Order, George Voulgarakis, expressed the need for an integrated policy on terrorism, particularly at a preventative level. The Greek side was also in agreement with the need for more effective co-operation between all EU member states in the battle against illegal migration and proposed that there be common management and patrol of waters surrounding the EU, particularly in the Mediterranean. The formation of a rapid-reaction task force was also proposed, comprised of border partrol-units from member-states wishing to participate.

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos was also present at the informal meeting.

    [07] OSCE Security and Cooperation Forum opens in Rhodes

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    The 2nd Forum by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly specifically for the Mediterranean region is being held in Rhodes, attended by 250 deputies from 45 nations.

    The Forum was opened Friday with a speech by Greek Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Yiannis Valinakis who according to a press release issued by the ministry, stated that "Greece accords great significance to the OSCE. It is an organization that is identical with the philosophy of Greece's foreign policy. It is also an organization which is in touch with current international affairs...we need to increase trade, co-operation and confidence in the region". Valinakis went on to say that "increased trade in the region increases cooperation, cooperation leads to tolerance and tolerance bolsters confidence, which is the greatest threat to terrorism and extremism."

    The minister added that the Mediterranean dimension to the OSCE's activities was extremely important in securing peace and stability on both sides of the Mediterranean and was supported by Greece.

    [08] Proposed meeting cancelled between EU foreign ministers and Organization of Islamic Conference

    ANKARA 2/10/2004 (ANA/A. Ambatzis)

    The proposed meeting between EU foreign ministers and the Organization of Islamic Conference which was due to take place on 4 and 5 October in Istanbul, has been cancelled. The cancellation was announced in a statement issued by the Turkish foreign ministry, which blamed the Dutch Presidency for this development, which disagreed with the Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state being invited to observe proceedings with the title "Turkish Cypriot state". The Dutch Presidency expressed its concerns regarding this name and called on EU member states not to participate in the summit.

    This issue has caused a rift between the EU and Turkey which insists that the Turkish-Cypriots observe the meeting as the "Turkish Cypriot state". Turkey even rejected a Dutch proposal for obersevers to participate without titles in the meeting place.

    According to an ANA dispatch from Nicosia meanwhile, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said that the Cypriot government is not responsible for the cancellation of the meeting. He stated that Turkey's insistence on inviting the occupation regime in northern Cyprus to the meeting under the name "Turkish Cypriot state" was not acceptable to the European Union. Papadopoulos added that the Cypriot government's efforts in pushing this matter in New York and Brussels had paid off.

    [09] Cyprus celebrates 44 years of independence

    NICOSIA 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    Celebrations for Cyprus' Independence Day on Friday concluded with a big military parade, which President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos and Greek Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos, representing Greece, attended.

    After the military parade, which Papadopoulos called impressive, the Cypriot president congratulated the National Guard and its leadership as well as reservists, since they ensure the country's security.

    Spiliotopoulos reiterated that Greece is always at Cyprus' side and that the Joint Defense Pact between Greece and Cyprus is valid and verified in practice.

    The Greek defense minister called the parade 'grand' and congratulated Cyprus' National Guard chief of staff, and the National Guard for the dedication with which they serve the Republic of Cyprus on matters of defense and security.

    On Friday morning, Spiliotopoulos was received by President Papadopoulos and met with Cyprus' Defense Minister Kyriakos Mavronikolas. No statements were made after the meetings.

    [10] Turkish warplanes violate national air space

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    Six formations of Turkish warplanes on Friday made seven infringements of air traffic regulations in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR), which developed into eight violations of national air space in the regions between the islands of Chios and Psara and Limnos and Lesvos, in the north east Aegean, according to press reports.

    In all cases the 12 Turkish warplanes were recognized and intercepted by Greek air force jets, while in six cases the interception process developed into an engagement. Three of the Turkish warplanes were armed.

    [11] Coalition leader meets with Turkish charge d'Affaires

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology President Nikos Constantopoulos on Friday met with Turkish embassy's charge d'Affaires and discussed Turkey's EU prospects.

    According to reports, the two also discussed the preparation of Constantopoulos' visit to Turkey next week.

    [12] Russian deputy minister chairs international forum in Rhodes

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    Russian Deputy Minister of Transport, Vladimir Yakunin is the chairperson of an international forum on the "Dialogue between Civilizations" which is taking place in Rhodes over the next few days. Organized by the Russian Foundation in conjunction with the Moscow Patriarchate, the forum has attracted an international audience of politicians, academics, scientists and religious leaders, including a representative from the Church of Greece.

    The forum deals with issues such as the dialogue between dogmas and religions as well as the peaceful co-existence of nations. A proposal was made to erect a monument to the victims of terrorism on Rhodes.

    [13] Greece asks EU for drop in petroleum product consumption tax

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    Greece has asked the European Union's executive Commission for institution of an autonomous mechanism to lower a consumption tax on petroleum products.

    In a letter to EU energy commissioner Loyola de Palacio, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas detailed the impact on competitiveness of the tax due to a state of flux in the global oil market and record prices.

    Sioufas had made the same proposal to EU ministers at a meeting on competitiveness on September 24.

    [14] Industrialists say 2005 budget based on 'optimistic' growth target

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    The Federation of Greek Industry (SEV) said on Friday that the government's draft 2005 budget was based on an "optimistic" forecast of 3.9% growth next year.

    As a result, forecasts were also optimistic for a rise in revenue from taxes, although the general government deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) remained high, touching a 3.0% ceiling set in the European Union's stability and growth pact, SEV said in a statement.

    Anticipated primary budgetary spending was still rising briskly. After a 14.6% rise in the category in 2004, expectations were reasonable of stiff curbs for 2005, but the budget contained a further increase of 2.5 percentage points above inflation.

    Consequently, primary spending in the 2005 budget represented a higher proportion of GDP than in 2003 the statement said.

    "Experience from the past shows that anticipated spending is likely to be overstepped, and if the forecast for a high rate of increase in GDP is not borne out, there will be a considerable lag in revenue and the deficit will swell to levels above 3.0%," SEV warned.

    At the same time, the budget had been drafted in a period of heightened economic uncertainty due to factors including oil prices and the future of the economy after the Athens 2004 Olympics; and it aimed to balance the uncertainty, avoiding major changes in policy, the statement added.

    [15] Drop in domestic PMI index

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    The rate of increase in domestic manufacturing orders dropped in September to 51.7 points from 52.6 points the previous month, according to the Greece Purchasing Managers' (PMI) Index released on Friday.

    The index's 50-point mark separates acceleration from slow-down.

    The monthly index is the outcome of a survey of 300 companies carried out by NTC Research of the United Kingdom in conjunction with the Greek Procurements Institute.

    [16] Meeting at Ministry of Transport regarding new Athens transport roadmap

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    A meeting was held Friday at the Ministry of Transport to discuss the transportation roadmap of Athens. Participants included members of the Society of Greek Transportation Specialists, the Technical Chamber of Greece, the Motorcyclist's Federation of Greece as well as other transportation specialists.

    Issues discussed during the meeting include the proposed creation of a single entity responsible for all public transport, a common pricing policy, re-design of bus routes and the extension of public transport operating hours. These are measures which were enforced during the Olympic Games and which proved very popular with the public. The proposed retention of bus lanes enforced during the Olympics was also discussed as well as the imposition of further tolls.

    [17] International tobacco producers conference in Greece

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    The International Union of Tobacco Producers (UNITAB) is to hold a conference in the northern port town of Kavala on October 17-20.

    The conference, hosted by Greece's PASEGES farmers organization, will focus on the outlook for tobacco in the European Union in terms of quality and concern for the environment, organisers said in a statement on Friday.

    [18] Hellenic Data Protection Agency to be notified of closed-circuit television installations

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    According to a statement issued Friday by the Hellenic Data Protection Agency, it must by law be notified of all installations of closed circuit television.

    The statement specifically refers to Directive 1122/2000 which regulates this matter, giving the Authority the responsibility for deciding whether or not a particular installation is permissible. If an installation involves sensitive personal data defined by Regulation 2472/1997, then a previous license from the Hellenic Data Protection Agency is necessary.

    [19] Eurobank to launch voluntary retirement scheme

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    Athens-quoted EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA announced on Friday that it would launch a voluntary retirement scheme for up to 200 employees.

    The program will be aimed mostly at staff in central services, rather than the bank's expanding branch network, the bank said in a statement.

    Details of the scheme are due for announcement next week, the statement added.

    Other major domestic banks have used similar schemes to lower operating costs.

    [20] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks surge, led by buying in OTE telecom

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    Stocks finished higher with players from Greece and abroad buying into OTE telecom following the stock's slump the previous session on management's forecast of adverse results for 2004, traders said. The move spurred buying in other sectors of the market.

    OTE finished up 1.66% after losing 3.57% the day before.: The Athens general share index closed at 2,352.66 points, showing a rise of 1.05 percent. Turnover was 120.5 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.98 percent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.51 percent higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.44 percent up.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 166 to 104 with 74 remaining unchanged.

    Drivers involved in deadly central Greece truck-bus accident provide

    testimony Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    The two drivers involved in this week's deadly truck-bus accident in central Greece, which left seven high school students dead, were expected to provide several hours of testimony on Friday before a judicial magistrate in the central city of Lamia.

    Both drivers, as well as the co-owner of the glass manufacturing firm whose cargo was being transported on the tractor-trailer truck, are charged with a handful of violations, including a felony count of manslaughter against the driver of the truck, 60-year-old Antonis Pardalakis.

    Additionally, three reports by an equal number of experts' committees - an indication of how serious the case is considered - have submitted to the judiciary. One report focuses on the condition of the truck, the second on an examination of tachometers in both vehicles, while the third -- compiled by a team of engineers -- attempts to gauge the condition of the roadway and other particulars of that stretch of highway. A relevant indictment, in fact, exceeds 300 pages at this point, reports state.

    According to defense attorneys, their clients have opted to answer relevant questions instead of submitting a written statement.

    The accident caused the latest road safety furor in the country, as it came less than two years after 21 high school students from northern Greece were killed in a similar accident at the narrow Tempi valley bottleneck. This week's fatalities also brought the issue of a particularly dangerous stretch of the Athens-Lamia highway -- based on the number of road accidents over the years -- to the national spotlight.

    [21] Salvage effort to raised crashed Chinook ready

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    Efforts to raise the wreckage of an army helicopter (a CH-47D "Chinook") that crashed off the northern Greece promontory of Mount Athos early last month are expected to commence in the next few days. The accident claimed the life of 17 people, including Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Petros VII.

    The remains of the twin-rotor heavy-duty helicopter have been located at a depth of 866 meters. Three vessels arrived at the scene this week to begin the salvaging operation.

    Meanwhile, a report issued by a special administrative inquiry, and focusing on possible official misconduct and dereliction of duty, was submitted to the national defense general staff office on Thursday.

    [22] Greek actress Eleni Hatziargyri dies at the age of 79

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    Famous Greek actress Eleni Hatziargyri, who suffered from cancer, died on Friday morning at the age of 79. Hatziargyri started her acting career in theater at the age of 17, and later played in movies and on television. For 40 years she taught at various drama schools as well.

    Political leaders conveyed their sympathies to the actress' family and loved ones.

    "The example she set in life and through her work will be a living legacy for the new generations of actors as well as for her colleagues, who for 40 years had the opportunity to learn both art and ethos at her side," Prime Minister and Minister of Culture Costas Karamanlis stated.

    Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) President George Papandreou called her a great actress, as well as a great teacher for younger generations, adding that the modesty and ethos which she showed for more than 60 years in theatre, serve as precious guides, not just for those in the arts, but for everyone.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) also expressed its condolences.

    "Every role she embodied from ancient tragedy to Shakespeare to modern theatre, she imbued with a personal interpretation and contribution. She was simply great," Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyanni said.

    [23] Havana-Thessaloniki twinning brings noted Cuban scholar Leal to Greece

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    The director of the Historian's Office of the City of Havana, Eusebio Leal Spengler, arrived in Thessaloniki this week for contacts with local officials as well as a visit to the autonomous monastic community of Mount Athos.

    Leal, an adviser to Cuban leader Fidel Castro, was received by Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, among others, for talks regarding preparations for twinning the two major port cities, Havana and Thessaloniki.

    The noted Cuban scholar and archaeologist was accompanied on his tour of Mount Athos, east of Thessaloniki, by Orthodox Metropolitan of Panama and Central America Athinagoras. He also visited the Vergina archaeological site.

    Leal was instrumental in the recent opening of the first Orthodox church in the large Caribbean country, the Cathedral of Aghios Nikolaos (St. Nicholas) in Havana. The church was dedicated by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos.

    [24] World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) convenes in Cyprus

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    The coordination committee of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (European Region) will hold a conference in Nicosia between 2 and 4 October, presided over by Aggelos Aslanides, SAE coordinator for Europe.

    The first day of the conference will be devoted to up-dating members on the position of the Greek government on the structure of the SAE. The problems facing the Greeks of the Black Sea will also be discussed as will the role of the SAE and its activities, particularly concerning the National Fund for Overseas Greeks.

    Within the framework of the conference, meetings will also be held with Organizations of Overseas Greeks in Cyprus. Members of the SAE will also meet with Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs, Giorgos Iakovou who will up-date them on the latest developments on the Cyprus issue.

    [25] Animal welfare society satisfied with candidate EU commissioner's stance on animal testing

    BRUSSELS 2/10/2004 (ANA/ V. Demiris)

    Eurogroup for Animal Welfare, a Brussels-based animal protection society, announced Friday that it was satisfied with the position taken by Greek candidate EU Commissioner for the Environment Stavros Dimas, concerning animal testing.

    The director of Eurogroup expressed that "it was very satisfied with the importance accorded by Mr Dimas to banning animal testing and we expect that the Greek candidate will keep his commitments during his term in office".

    In a hearing before the European Parliament, Dimas expressed his opinion that the banning of animal testing is one of the most important environmental issues which need to be dealt with.

    [26] Security company owner arrested for attack on rival

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    A 40 year-old owner of a Thessaloniki security company was arrested Friday for an attack on the offices of a a rival security company. The two companies were competing for the same job, in this case the guarding of a nightclub.

    When the owner of the nightclub awarded the job in question to Astir, one of the companies competing for the job, a fight broke out between employees of the two rivals outside the nightclub. Shots were exchanged and three people were injured by the use of a baseball bat, resulting in their being taken to hospital. Soon after this episode, the 40 year old defendant and his employees went to the offices of the Astir company and fired at least five shots, resulting in broken glass. Police arrested the 40 year old soon after this episode and are still looking for his accomplices.

    [27] Nat'l weightlifting team coach appears before prosecutors

    Athens 2/10/2004 (ANA)

    The coach of Greece's national weightlifting team, Christos Iakovou, was the latest high-profile sports figure in the country to appear before prosecutors investigating the topical issue of sports doping.

    Iakovou, amongst the most recognizable and respected coaches in Greece, was called on to provide input regarding a doping violation by Greek weightlifter Leonidas Sambanis, a development that cost


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