|Thursday, 21 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-10-13
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>October 13, 2004
 Parliament votes for ruling ND's proposal for the setting up of a factfinding committee on armaments procurements
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)The Greek Parliament voted, in the early hours of Wednesday, in favour of a proposal submitted by ruling New Democracy (ND) deputies for the setting up of a factfinding committee on armaments procurements of past years.
Out of the 300-member House, 184 deputies voted for the ND proposal and 114 against while 134 deputies voted for a second proposal which had been submitted by PASOK MPs on the same issue while 164 deputies against. 298 deputies voted.
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputies and the deputies from the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party voted for both the ND and PASOK proposals.
The parliamentary debate began on Tuesday night. The proposal made by 116 ND deputies for the creation of a factfinding committee concerned the probing of the contents of two files of proceedings on the contract for the procurement of 50 tracked TOR/M1 anti-aircraft missile systemsand the contract for the procurement of six anti-artillery "AN/TRQ-37 (V) 3" radars which were promoted when Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Yiannos Papantoniou were defence mi-nisters in previous PASOK governments.
The proposal made by 71 PASOK deputies concerned the pro-bing of the armaments programmes' implementation course, not only for past periods of governance but also until the day the committee's work will end.
The absolute majority of the total number of Parliamentary deputies (151/300) was necessary for the ratification of one or the other proposal. Parliament will also decide on the number of members for the committee and the period of time required for submitting the relevant report.
Parliamentary debate: ND's first speaker during the debate, Christos Zois, called for a two-month examination of the files of proceedings concerning the procurement of the Russian-built TOR anti-aircraft missiles and the U.S.-built TRQ radars with the creation of a Parliamentary factfinding committee.
Referring to the Russian anti-aircraft missiles, he wondered why they have not yet been received at almost the end of 2004 when after the crisis on the islet of Imia, in January 1996, the armed forces had pursued the immediate strengthening of the country's shielding, while almost the entire amount required has been paid.
As regards the radars, Zois said military comittees considered their prices to be very high in relation to their potential.
Zois said the truth is that "Greece was seeking a great deal, which was self-evident, and achieved unbelievably little."
PASOK's rapporteur Anna Diamantopoulou said "we shall work and we shall act to shed light on the truth, but we shall not permit the denigration of the party, of work and of our cadres."
Diamantopoulou further said "there shall be answers for all the issues, one by one, and extremely convincing answers, of course."
However, she stressed her party's interest in procedures which will not prolong the promotion of the probe to an extent that "the country's political life will be poisoned."
Diamantopoulou added that her party is also interested in an examination of the country's seven-month governance by ND "not to render the minister suspicious, or to send the present leadership of the armed forces to a public prosecutor" but for the clarification of what is the institutional framework which exists and functions today and for the ascertainment of the implemen-tation of programmes under way.
The representative of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Antonis Skylakos and of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology Alexandros Alavanos expressed support for both proposals made by ND and PASOK on the creation of factfin-ding committees for armaments programmes and the possible penal responsibilities of former defence ministers Yiannos Papantoniou and Akis Tsohatzopoulos.
Skylakos said the discussion was ''thankless due to the negative experience obtained from the past, from corresponding factfinding committees existing during the 1989-1990 and 1990-1993 periods''.
"Scandals, graft and commissions are closely linked to the political and social system and there can be no shielding from an appropriate institutional framework since the boundaries of legislative arrangements are very limited," he said.
He added that what was an even greater scandal was the fact that the country's foreign and defence policies ''are subject to the NATO alliance''.
Skylakos stressed that the issue of scandal talk and vested interests "is an easy way of confrontation between the two major parties which put major popular problems aside in this way."
He also wondered whether the selection of weaponry systems from non-NATO countries is a penal offence.
Alavanos pointed to the absence of the defence minister and of the leaders of the two major parties from the debate and said that until now 15 factfinding committees have reached nowhere, adding that the creation of factfinding committees should not constitute a field of confrontation between the government and the main opposition party.
He went on to say that Greece spends 4.4 percent of GDP on armaments, meaning that it has the highest percentage of defence expenditures in the European Union at a time when France spends 2.5 percent of GDP and Britain 2.4 percent.
Alavanos also spoke of a "swamp" as regards the status governing defence armaments, particularly expenditures not listed in the budget and underlined "chaos, untransparency and the lack of control by Parliament."
He added that the shaping of an institutional framework and its implementation are of great importance and called on the government to provide tangible examples that it wants to bring changes to the defence armaments sector which is currently "a place lacking control, of unaccountability and of vested interests."
 DM says government will denounce radar contract if qualitative characteristics not confirmed
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)Defence Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos, addressing a Parliamen-tary debate on armaments programmes on Tuesday night, said the government intends to denounce the contract on the procurement of TPQ-37 radars in the event tests scheduled for next month do not confirm their qualitative characteristics.
Spiliotopoulos added that in such a case the government will ask for its money back from the U.S. manufacturing company Raytheon and stressed that in a few days' time the government will be in a position to announce the results of renegotiating another contract.
Elaborating on the contract signed by the previous government for the TPQ-37 radars, the minister said it brings the country to a disadvantageous position since it was signed with "burdensome terms for the Hellenic state."
Spiliotopoulos pointed out that 30 percent was paid as a downpayment, 10 percent within a period of 12 months and 50 percent within 45 days from the loading of the equipment at a port in the United States.
"In other words, before they come to Greece, before we can see if the systems work, the government paid 90 percent of the value and only 10 percent was left to be paid after the qualitative and quantitative receipt of the systems," he added.
Former PASOK defence ministers speak of 'slander and persecutions' regarding procurement of military equipment issue: Former PASOK National Defence Minister Yiannos Papantoniou appeared indignant in Parliament on Tuesday night on the contents on the public prosecutor reports regarding the military procurements of the Armed Forces.
He spoke of "wretched procedures, based on false data and the concealing of crucial facts or incidents which distort reality and falsify the truth."
In his speech, Papantoniou repeatedly criticised the ruling New Democracy party, discerning in its options a ''planned slander and staining of its political opponents.''
Regarding the contents of the public prosecutor reports, the former defence minister said that the purchase of the Russian TOR-M1 missiles had been decided before his installation at the ministry and that 92 percent of the value of the systems had been payed, while only 2 percent of the offset benefits programmes had been implemented. In order not to demerit these systems, Papantoniou added, until the settlement of the problems relating to their attachment together and since the annullement of the contract was ''practically impossible'' the ministry had opted for its amendment on the basis of the existing state guarantee.
With regard the TPQ 37 radars "the involvement of my name in the in the matter of their procurement is a product of sick fantacy and unbelievable political malice," he said.
On his part, former PASOK Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos in his speech said:"Such a massive persecution of members of the armed forces has never occured in the world. The last case was the persecutions under Stalin during the 1935-39 period with the known results."
"The cases of "Aspida" in the past, but also the "Purchase of the Century, in the most recent political history, speak the truth. That the conservative party, unfortunately for the political course of the country, is not taught, does not develop, does not modernise," Tsohatzopoulos said.
 Gov't again points to ruling ND's unambiguous stance against corruption, 'vested interests'
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)The government on Monday again directly pointed to ruling New Democracy's stance on the contentious topic of "vested interests" and their influence on public life, emphasising that the party has unequivocally backed transparency and opposed corruption in its former capacity as main opposition and now, with the govern-ment's reins.
In answering another barrage of press questions on the specific topic during a regular press briefing, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antoranos said the government will use its Parliamentary mandate and majority to pass whatever legislation for necessary institutional safeguards.
Moreover, in response to questions over the prime minister's stance amid the growing national debate on "vested interests", Antonaros stressed that Premier Costas Karamanlis "does not bow to pressure".
Moreover, he said Karamanlis' invitation to other political camps for combating corruption and collusion "involves all of the (country's) political forces".
Finally, in answer to a relevant question involving main opposition leader and former foreign minister George Papandreou's recent statements on the issue, the government spokesman merely noted that "Mr. Papandreou has in the past expressed his position, which we have noted."
 Gov't refers to Papandreou comments on presidential candidate as 'vague, but generally acceptable'
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)The alternate government spokesman on Monday said the most recent statement by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou regarding the profile of a future candidate for president of the republic was "vague", and thus "generally acceptable".
Spokesman Evangelos Antonaros replied to a press question during his regular briefing, when asked to comment on Papandreou's description of an "open-minded and progressive" individual, one that "should express modern Greece".
The second term of current President Kostis Stephanopoulos expires in the spring, with Parliament then set to elect a new head of state. One-hundred and eighty MPs must vote for a candidate, otherwise, Parliament will be dissolved and general elections called.
 Airships, street cameras
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)In an unrelated development, he reiterated that the government's contract with a Swiss company that provided two airships (blimps) as airborne security surveillance platforms during the Olympic and Paralympic Games has expired, and that the aircraft no longer retained any link with the public order ministry.
Antonaros said cameras on board the airships and on roads close to Olympic venues are no longer operational.
Today's (Tuesday) flight over Athens was held on a private initiative, he added.
Concerning street cameras, he said a contract for their operation has also expired and that authorities have submitted two petitions to the Hellenic Data Protection Authority in order to renew their operation, while expressing a hope that the independent agency will respond quickly to the government's request.
 Papandreou says gov't is creating more problems instead of solving them
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday referred to what he called "social problems that are being exacerbated on a daily basis", before criticising the government for creating more problems instead of solving them, as he said.
Papandreou spoke after chairing a meeting of his party's coordination bureau.
In terms of the high-profile issue of establishing Parliament committees of inquiry to probe, among others, costly weapons purchases by the defence ministry's leadership during the previous Simitis government, Papandreou said a similar proposal by his party should be adopted instead, as it is more transparent.
"We will not allow the vilification of the political world, in general, and PASOK, specifically," he added.
 PM Karamanlis meets with Hungarian president Madl
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday met withy visiting Hungarian president Ference Madl at the Maximos Mansion government headquarters.
The two men discussed bilateral relations and developments in the European Union.
No statements were made after the meeting.
 Trade ties dominate Greek president's talks in Bulgaria
Sofia 113/10/2004 (ANA/N.Megadoukas)Greek-Bulgarian trade ties, developments in the Balkans as well as Bulgaria's EU progression were the dominant issues discussed during visiting President Kostis Stephanopoulos' meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg on Tuesday.
The president had earlier addressed an economic forum of Greek and Bulgarian businessmen, stressing the need for the further development of trade and economic ties between Greece and Bulgaria, which will be faciliated by Bulgaria's expected entry in the EU as well as the opening of three road tolls on the Greek-Bulgarian frontier.
Stephanopoulos also referred to the problem of the western Balkans and the need to strengthen peace, stability and democracy in the area, stressing the importance of EU membership for Bulgaria, Turkey and Romania. The president placed particular emphasis on Greek-Bulgarian relations, predicting that they would become a model for the rest of Europe and the Balkan region and noted that Greek businesmen could be active in Bulgaria, both safely and profitably.
Furthermore, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, speaking at the economic forum, emphasized that both the Greek and Bulgarian governments offer the necessary pre-conditions, that is the bilateral legal framework as well as a favourable political and economic environment for investment.
 Government satisfied with results of business contacts in Bulgaria
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)The Greek government expressed its satisfaction with the results of the economic contacts developed by Greek businessmen who accompanied Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos during his official visit to Bulgaria, Monday and Tuesday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Euripidis Stylianidis spoke about the "positive results" of these two day business meetings, in which the representatives of 50 Greek companies explored business opportunities in Bulgaria. Stylianidis added that the door had now been opened to other Greek products beyond those currently being promoted on the Bulgarian market.
Bulgarian companies were particularly interested in the Euro-pean technology and technical knowledge of Greek companies, particularly significant in the light of Bulgaria's upcoming EU membership. Stylianidis also discussed the rapid application of civil law decisions issued by the Bulgarian courts as well as special tax measures on products imported from Greece and other countries.
Finally, Stylianidis stated that the matter of the three road tolls on the Greek-Bulgarian border was progressing and that Greece was examining the feasability of a proposed rail connection between Thessaloniki and the port of Lom on the Danube.
 Erdogan sidesteps issue of Cyprus' recognition
Istanbul, 13/10/2004 (ANA)Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday avoided commenting directly on the issue of Ankara's recogni-tion of the Republic of Cyprus as a precondition for future Euro-pean Union accession, merely noting that "Turkey must achieve the political criteria of Copenhagen".
Ergodan's comments followed a string of articles in the local press quoting statements by Greek President Kostis Stephano-poulos over the weekend, namely, ones involving Greece's support vis-a-vis Turkey's aspirations as well as pre-accession conditions.
Press coverage cited Stephanopoulos' reference of Greek support for Turkey's EU course, while other articles mostly focused the remark about the necessary recognition of the Republic of Cyprus.
When asked in the past about the possibility of the internatio-nally recognised Cyprus government vetoing the commencement of Turkey's long-coveted EU accession negotiations, Erdogan dismissed such a prospect, citing what he inferred from talks with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
Cyprus, one of 10 new European Union member-states, controls roughly two-thirds of the island republic's territory, whereas the other one-third is Turkish-occupied. A Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state nominally ruling over the occupied part of the east Mediterranean isle is recognised only by Ankara, the occupying power.
 Violations of nat'l airspace, Athens FIR by Turkish warplanes reported
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)A Turkish F-16 fighter plane flew directly over the tiny eastern Aegean island of Antipsara on Monday while it was being intercepted by Greek warplanes, according to military sources.
According to the same reports, two six-plane formations of Turkish warplanes entered the Athens FIR on two separate occasions on Monday, first at 10 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. In several instances, the intruders also violated Greek national airspace near the islands of eastern Aegean islands of Hios and Samos.
Greek air force fighter planes reportedly intercepted the Turkish aircraft on all occasions, with a number of mid-air engagements recorded as well.
 ND, PASOK Europarliamentarians jointly table amendment on future of EU Reconstruction Service
Strassburg, 13/10/2004 (ANA)Ruling New Democracy (ND) and main opposition PASOK par-ty MEPs on Monday jointly tabled an amendment in the European Parliament regarding the future of the European Recon-struction Service.
ND Europarliamentarian George Dimitrakopoulos and PASOK Euro-deputy Panos Beglitis tabled a joint amendment requesting that the European Commission table in the Europarliament, by June 2005, a report on the future of the European Reconstruction Service.
Also, Dimitrakopoulos accepted, in principle, the Commission's view regarding expansion of the Reconstruction Service's autho-rities to also include the management of economic assistance to the Turkish Cypriots, and called on the Commission to send the relevant proposal to the Europarliament promptly.
The Europarliament's committee on foreign affairs has decided that it would vote in favour of the report on the Reconstruction Service, as well as on the report for the economic development of the Turkish Cypriots during a special session coincideing with the Europarliament plenary meeting in Strasbourg.
 Eurostat delegation due on lightning visit
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)A delegation of the EU statistics service Eurostat was due in Athens on Tuesday afternoon for a lightning visit to obtain data from the Greek national statistics service ESYE on the country's deficits for the years 1997-1999.
The Eurostat delegation's visit was a formality, according to ESYE, given that the current data, following a limited readjustment, did not alter the overall picture of the deficit for the period in question (1997-1999), and did not put the country's membership in the EMU at risk.
The Eurostat delegation was scheduled to depart on Wednesday morning.
 Justice minister Papaligouras tours women's prison at Korydallos facility, comments on 17N convicts' hunger strike
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)Justice minister Anastasis Papaligouras on Tuesday toured the women's penitentiary at the Korydallos maximum security prison complex near Piraeus where, in the framework of a programme to modernise the correctional system, interventions have been made for the separation of the inmates into wings by category.
More specifically, women inmates are being separated into wings for: a) minors, b) mothers with infants, c) long-term convicts, d) women serving sentences for drug convictions, and e) other women inmates.
After the visit, Papaligouras told waiting reporters that the correctional role of the State was of particular importance, and decisive particlarly with respect to the younger aged prison inmates, to whom a second change for "hope for life" was due.
"We are proceeding with the materialisation of the separation of the inmates in accordance with gender, age, and length of senten-ce so that the jails will not be schools of corruption but, rather, meet their correctional role. We have begun (this process) with the women's prison at Korydallos," Papaligouras said.
The justice ministry's programme further envisages the gradual transfer of the Korydallos inmates to a new correctional facility currently under construction so as to de-congest the existing facility and, ultimately, close it down, in accordance with the government's commitment.
Asked to comment on an ongoing hunger strike by convicted 'November 17' terrorist group members -- most of whom are serving life sentences in a separate, maximum-security wing at the Korydallos facility -- the minister said that the 17N hunger strikers were attempting to impose their terms on the State "despite the fact that they enjoy better incarceration conditions than the other inmates".
He also said that, on his orders, significant interventions were recently made in the 17N convicts' yard facility, within the framework of their security needs and protection "for which the State is responsible".
Papaligouras stressed that the Greek State "is not vindictive, but it also does not give in to such practices".
 Greek Ombudsman's report on police violations of citizen's rights
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)The Greek Ombudsman has tabled a report with the results of a survey on the violation of citizen's constitutional rights by the police. The report was tabled in the first six months of 2004 and was brought to the attention of the Ministry of Public Order in July.
The report, which is based on five years of study and research and includes 176 cases, concludes that although the Greek police has made great strides in its operations, it still needs to treat citizen's rights with more gravity. According to the report, the number of cases where responsibility was attributed to the police was negligible while sanctions imposed were disproportionately light.
The report includes statements by citizens who have questioned the legality of police action, particularly in areas such as police reluctance to investigate disciplinary responsibilities, police neutrality as well as the process of providing evidence.
 Meeting focuses on island policy
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)A meeting was held Tuesday at the ministry of the Aegean to coordinate an action plan regarding the special treatment and development of the Greek isles. The meeting was chaired by Minister of the Aegean and Island Policy Aristotelis Pavlidis and was also attended by the executive secretary of the EU Commit-tee on Islands, Jan Haches, as well as other government and re-gional officials.
During the meeting, Athens' contribution, and in particular, the ministry of the Aegean, was emphasised in consolidating the unique aspects of island regions in the neophyte European Union constitution.
 KKE calls for stepping up of struggles for the rights of the working people
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)The Political Office and Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in an announcement on Tuesday called for the struggles for the rights of the working people to intensify and become more systematic.
Through its announcement, the KKE in essence proclaimed in advance its intention to escalate its opposition tactics in answer to what it termed "the disorientation by the (ruling) New Democracy party and the (main opposition) PASOK party for the matter of vested interests to become the epicentre of public opinion."
Referring to a KKE rally held in central Athens last Saturday, the KKE announcement said it "hails the tens of thousands of struggling people who came from all the parts of Greece and took part in the big rally which was organised by the Central Committee of the KKE with epicentre the great problems of the people and with the slogan 'no tolerance to poverty in the working people's family'."
 Conference of European sports ministers in Budapest
Budapest, 13/10/2004 (ANA)George Orfanos, Greek Deputy Minister of Culture, will be representing Greece at the 10th Conference of European Sports Ministers which will take place in Budapest on 14-15 October.
The administration of sports, the securing of democratic principles, law and justice as well as transparency, make up the core of issues which will be discussed at the conference. The issue of doping and measures to comabt it will also be disussed.
 SAE president congratulates new Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria
13/10/2004 (ANA)The President of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), Andrew Athens, has sent a letter of congratulations to the new Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, Theodoros, who was unanimously elected by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate on October 9, 2004.
In an SAE press release issued on Monday, Athens said in his letter:"Your Beatitude, On behalf of the Board of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, the worldwide Hellenism abroad and myself, please accept our congratulations for your election at the throne of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa."
 The profile of poverty in Greece: One in five households live under the poverty line
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)The "profile" of poverty in Greece arises from a research conducted by the National Centre for Social Research (EKKE), based on a sample of 9,139 households throughout the country, which was made public on Tuesday.
According to the research, one in five households live under the poverty line, four in ten cannot cover expenses for heating, while one in three economise on food.
The unemployed, pensioners, large families and those with a low education are the groups of the population who are most threatened by poverty.
The research reveals that 19.3-22.6 percent of the population, that is, about one in five Greeks, lives under the poverty line.
According to the research, 0.82 percent of the population (about 85,000 citizens) have a daily income less than 70 cents (corresponding to about one dollar), while 7.2 percent (about 740,000 citizens survive on an income of less than 10.5 euros a day.
The poverty line income in Greece is (on the basis of data in 2002) 4,800 euros a year for one-member households, 8,640 euros for a couple with one child and 10,080 euros for four-member families. For one parent families with one child the limit is 6,240 euros.
The groups of the population who face the greatest danger of poverty are the elderly, pensioners, unemployed, those with a low standard of education and multi-member families.
Poor are 28.1 percent of people aged above 65, 28.1 percent of unemployed and 26.3 percent of pensioners, against 15.7 percent of employed.
 Govt announces 5.6 mln-euro subsidy to PPC
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Tuesday signed a decision to offer a 5.6 million euros subsidy to Public Power Corporation SA to finance four energy projects in the wider Attica region as part of a programme designed for the Olympic Games.
The money will come from a Public Investments Programme and it is the third intervention taken by the ministry to strengthen PPC's electricity grid this year. The first intervention was completed in April 23, envisaging a subsidy of 3.0 million euros, and the second in July 16 with a subsidy of 42.5 million euros, raising the total subsidy offered to PPC to 51,154,000 euros.
 Development minister signs decision approving 453 training programmes for small businesses
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Tuesday signed a decision by which is approved the incorporation of 453 Training Programmes for 10,035 working people in the A' Cycle of Action 22.214.171.124. "Actions for the Training and Transfer of Techni-cal Know-how which concern the improvement of the Competiti-veness of Small and Medium-Size Businesses and Very Small Businesses through the upgrading of their man power" within the framework of the Business Programme "Competitiveness".
In this Cycle a total of 1,551 proposals were made by 287 Professional Training Centres (K.E.K.) and 1,325 from 283 K.E.K. were assessed. Of these, 1,307 programmes were appro-ved, reaching a total budget of 33,210,606 euros and the direct funding of 453 of a total budget of 11,490,868 euros for the training of 10,035 working people with 67,300 hours of training.
 Gov't unveils highlights of tax reform bill
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)Deputy Finance Minister Adam Regouzas on Tuesday announ-ced that a tax reform bill foresees tax cuts for individual tax-payers and businesses, as well as changes in audit methods ai-med at restructuring the system, investment incentives and a rationalisation of tax spending deducted from tax income.
Addressing a seminar organised by the Greek-American Cham-ber of Commerce, the deputy minister said the draft legislation would be tabled in Parliament next month.
"The government's new tax policy will aim to strengthen competitiveness, to attract investments, reduce unemployment and ease tax burdens on lower-income classes," Regouzas said.
A new tax code will include a gradual reduction of tax factors for both businesses and individual taxpayers; changes in the method and criteria of tax audits aimed to combat tax-evasion, smuggling and corruption; establishing tax incentives to boost investments and to support entrepreneurship; introducing regulations to contain VAT evasion on imported products; changing a tax scale and rationalising deducted spending from annual tax incomes.
 European Court rules that Greece has violated EU legislation in agricultural sector
Brussels 13/10/2004 (ANA/V. Demiris)The European Court ruled on Tuesday that Greece has violated European Union legislation on the creation of an integrated management and control system in certain cases concerning EU subsidies in the agricultural sector.
According to a Council regulation, member-states were obliged to enact, before January 1, 1997, an integrated system which will include a computerised database. The obligation is part of the reform framework of common agricultural policy aimed at boosting effectiveness and performance.
In resorting against Greece, the European Commission claims that the Greek authorities have not yet enacted such an integrated system, while the alternative system they are applying to monitor land and payment applications has repeatedly been considered unsatisfactory.
 Greek govt discusses transportation in Athens
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)An inner cabinet meeting on Tuesday discussed ways to improve transportation and traffic in the city of Athens.
Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis, speaking to reporters after the meeting, said that the ministry was already in talks with all interested parties to draft a new transportation map of Athens and that final decision would be announced soon after a cooperation with the ministries of Public Works and Public Order. "Our aims is to maintain and improve a positive climate that prevailed during the Olympic Games and to achieve a goal of having one in two citizens of Athens to use public transportation from one in three currently," Liapis said.
The Greek minister announced that the government aimed to reduce road accidents by 50 percent by 2010 and said that a revised traffic code would envisage more austere penalties, such as re-introducing a point-system for drivers. Presenting a timetable for introducing electric trains in the country, Liapis said that the government plan aimed for the operation of a double track electric railway line stretching from Thessaloniki to Patras said that the railway line to Patras would be ready by 2011.
Commenting on the privatisation of Olympic Airlines, Liapis said that the government planned to open a new international tender to ensure the swift sale of the national carrier under the best possibe conditions for its staff and for the company.
 Visiting German Parliament comm't on tourism meets with minister
13/10/2004 (ANA)Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Tuesday met with a visiting delegation of the German Bundestag's tourism committee, with the president of the committee, Ernst Hinsken, praising Athens for its initiative to create a tourism ministry in the first place.
Members of the German parliament group also offered their congratulations for the successful hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as for the Greek football team's capture of the Euro 2004 championship.
 Conference on tourism and development held in Athens
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)The 3rd conference on "Tourism and Development", organised on Tuesday by the Federation of Greek Tourist Businesses (SETE) with the participation of the Tourist Development ministry's leadership, sent out a strong message of "now or never" for Greek tourism.
According to a draft marketing plan on Greek tourism presented by SETE, the increased recognition Greece currently enjoys due to the successful holding of the Olympic Games will "evaporate" to a great extent over the next three years.
Over this period, if Greek tourism wants to capitalise on the Games it must invest in organising and business structures, as well as in marketing activities whose cost has been estimated at 300 million euros.
Tourist Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said on his part that "Greece is the country of the four seasons", adding that the target of new government strategy for tourism is prolonging the tourist period and aspiring that Greece will achieve with tourism what Ireland achieved with its economy.
 Athens 2004 Olympic Games break all television rating records
Monaco, 13/10/2004 (ANA)The Athens 2004 Olympic Games broke all the television rating records.
"In the sector of television rating, the Olympic Games of Athens marked significant success," International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge stated on Tuesday. He added: "3.9 billion television viewers watched the Games of A-thens, against 3.6 billion who saw the organisation of Sydney and 3 billion who observed that of Salt Lake City. The television rating constitutes a basic priority for the IOC as we must approach as many people as possible."
The IOC made public analytical data concerning the television rating on the basis of a world research conducted by the Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS).
- 3.9 billion television viewers throughout the world observed the Athens Games, against 3.6 billion in the organisation of Sydney
- 35,000 hours of television broadcasts were dedicated to the Games of Athens and constitute a 27 percent increase in relation to 29,600 hours of Sydney. The corresponding numbers were: 20,000 in Barcelona and 25,000 in Atlanta
- On a world level, each person observed on average a total of 12 hours of the Olympic Games
- There was a considerable increase in television rating in Central, South America and Asia, despite the time difference.
 Greek Mining Enterprises urge gov't support for the industry
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)The Union of Greek Mining Enterprises on Tuesday urged for a government initiative to address the problems faced by the sector, such as recognition of the country's mineral sources as a comparative advantage, and to offer political support both in the domestic market and in EU bodies.
The union also urged for a less complex legislation in licensing and operation of mining companies in Greece.
The issues were discussed during a meeting between the pre-sidency of the union and Economy ministry's secretary-general G.Mergos.
The union asked that a new development law, currently under discussion, would make specific note to research and preparatory projects by mining enterprises and to offer tax incentives and subsidies for research in innovative applications of industrial minerals. The proposals also included legislative support to Gre-ek companies' investments in their distribution networks abroad.
 Athens Bourse Close: Stocks nose down in wake of jittery European markets
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)Stocks finished lower in the wake of jittery European markets, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 2,399.38 points, showing a decrease of 0.47 percent. Turnover was 74.2 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalisation shares ended 0.27 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 1.07 percent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 1.00 percent down.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 226 to 54 with 72 remaining unchanged.
Equity Index Futures:
 60th anniversary of Athens' liberation from Nazi occupation commemorated
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)The annual commemoration celebrating the liberation of Athens from Nazi occupation was held on Tuesday atop the Acropolis in downtown Athens.
The day, Oct. 12, marked the 60th anniversary of the event, with a customary flag-raising ceremony held before the country's political, military and municipal leadership, as well as represen-tatives from various WWII-era resistance groups. Additionally, wreaths were laid at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of Parliament.
In a brief address during the flag-raising ceremony, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni said "we should not forget that its (flag) position there is neither self-evident nor a given. Freedom, just as democracy, is not a static concept, nor something that we achieve once and then enjoy forever."
Labour Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos represented the govern-ment.
 Convicted ELA group suspects jailed pending appeal; 25-year sentences passed down
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)A three-member special appeals court on Monday sentenced four convictedmembers of the so-called "Revolutionary Popular Struggle" (ELA) urban terror group to 25 years in prison, after they were found guilty on a myriad of terrorist-related felonies.
The court also ruled that the four be jailed immediately, instead of posting a bond prior to any appeals process.
Those convicted in the case include Costas Agapiou, Christos Tsigaridas, Aggeletos Kanas and Irene Athanasaki.
The 25-year prison sentences were the maximum that the court could hand down.
 Two arrests made in Bank of Greece theft from Kalamata branch
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)Two suspects have been arrested regarding the theft of 5.9 million euros from the Kalamata branch of the Bank of Greece, according to Athanasios Gotsopoulos, General Head of Police for the Peloponnese region.
Details of the investigation into the matter have so far revealed that a 29 year old permanent employee of the bank, who had been with the particular branch for ten years, urged a 45 year colleague, employed as a security guard, to join him in carrying out the theft. Still unknown is how the 29 year old man managed to locate a double set of keys which unlocked the armour-plated door of the bank vault as well as the code numbers which opened the armoured entrance to the vault.
On the evening of Friday, 1st October, 2004, the security guard, who was on duty, allowed the 29 year old bank employee to enter the bank premises. The security guard first switched off the alarm system and then joined his accomplice in entering the bank vault where they proceeded to help themselves to the piles of money stored on metal shelves. The two bank employees skillfully managed to remove a 'brick' of money from the centre of each pile amounting to 5.9 million euros, which they placed in three travel bags. The 29 year old left with two of the bags while the security guard took the third bag at the end of his shift.
The security guard confessed his complicity while under interrogation and showed police where he hid part of the money, amounting to 1.3 million euros. The 29 year old bank employee has not admitted his involvement even though searches of both his and his father's residence resulted in 8,000 euros being found and confiscated. The travelling bags used to carry the money were also found.
A warrant for the arrest of both suspects was issued resulting in their being charged. The search for the remainder of the stolen money is continuing.
 Meeting in Turkish city of Movements for Greek-Turkish rapprochement
Athens, 13/10/2004 (ANA)The Greek Movement "Co-existence and Communication in the Aegean" and the "Movement for Peace, Communication and Cooperation in the Aegean", which operates on the Turkish coast, met in the Turkish city of Dikeli on Tuesday, opposite from the island of Lesvos.
A review was made during the meeting of the activities of the two Movements in 2004, in the direction always of strengthening the relations and friendship between the peoples of the Greek island and of the Asia Minor coasts.
Satisfaction was expressed on the positive course of Greek-Turkish relations and the developments in Turkey-European Union relations.
The need was also underlined for the efforts and activities of the two Movements to continue.
Institute of Migration Policy, UN High Commission for Refugees sign memorandum of cooperation
A memorandum of cooperation was signed on Tuesday in Athens between the Greece-based Institute of Migration Policy and the Greek representative of the UN High Commission for Refugees.
According to the agreement, both sides will develop common strategies for dealing with immigration and asylum seekers. There will also be an exchange of information on matters such as jurisprudence and asylum policies.
 Finnish Prime Minister says Cyprus reunification possible
Helsinki 13/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)Prime Minister of Finland Matti Vanhanen on Tuesday said that Cyprus can be reunited in the future, in spite of the rejection last April by the Greek Cypriot community of a UN solution plan in a referendum.
Speaking after talks here with Cyprus President Tassos Papado-poulos, who concluded a two-day official visit, he also said that Finland would help, if it could, in some way towards this goal.
Papadopoulos said that Turkey's European aspirations could provide a very propitious opportunity for the start of a fresh effort through dialogue to solve the question of Cyprus.
Vanhanen said Finland had hoped for a positive result at the April referendum but acknowledged that the rejection of the plan ''is now reality.''
''The reunification could be reality in the future,'' he added, noting that at present Helsinki does not have a specific policy on this particular matter but hope, just as the whole of the EU does, to see the island reunited.
''For the Finnish side, we are ready to help, if we can, in some way,'' he said.
Responding to questions, Papadopoulos said the rejection of the Annan plan did not signify a no vote to a political settlement and stressed that his efforts are directed towards the start of a new round of talks, a position he has outlined to his interlocutors in Europe, at the UN and elsewhere.
He said Turkey's application to the EU with regard to member-ship talks could offer a very propitious opportunity for the start of a new initiative on Cyprus with a view at finding a solution.
Asked if Cyprus had put any conditions for the start of accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey, President Papadopou-los explained that things do not work out like this in Europe and recalled that the decision will be taken at the December summit, prior to which there will be many consultations and discussions.
He said he had explained his positions on the matter to his European partners as far back as the summer, both orally and in writing as well as at bilateral meetings.
President Papadopoulos said Cyprus does not object to Turkey's membership of the EU.
The Finnish premier said discussions focused on EU matters, his country's EU presidency in 2006, bilateral cooperation and the new European Constitution.
President Papadopoulos described Finland as a methodical country and said it was very useful to exchange views on technology and research.
Responding to questions, Vanhanen said that Cyprus and Finland are small countries in the EU but equal partners, as all members are ''first class'' and there are no different levels within the Union.
After the talks, President Papadopoulos attended a lunch hosted by the Finnish Premier and later on he met with Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja.
On Tuesday night President Papadopoulos was due to leave for Tallinn on an official visit.
Cyprus Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism George Lillikas who accompanies the president had a meeting with his Finnish counterpart Mauri Pekkarinen and local businessmen.
 Cyprus FM: some issues need to be settled before Dec. EU summit
Nicosia 13/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou said on Tuesday that certain issues will have to be resolved before the European Union decides on whether to begin accession negotiations with Turkey.
The minister also said that other matters, whose implementation can wait, will have to be agreed upon before December 17, when EU leaders will decide about Turkey's membership talks.
''We shall take our final decision, following consultations within the EU, either on the 16th or on the 17th of December,'' Iacovou said, but declined to elaborate on the issues that need to be settled
by mid December, pointing out that negotiations on such matters are not in the public domain.
He said Cyprus has been working along these lines for quite some time now and added that the object of the exercise is to find consensus and secure as much support for the government's positions as possible among the European partners.
Iacovou was speaking at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a day after he participated in the General Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg.
Referring to the meeting, he said he outlined certain issues relating to Turkey's accession course with regard to Cyprus, including the need to resolve the issue of the illegal Turkish settlers in occupied Cyprus, to meet property concerns and to see the Turkish occupation troops withdraw from the island.
He called for an independent population census in Cyprus, said he expected Turkey to act in order to curtail exploitation of Greek Cypriot property in occupied Cyprus and wondered how Turkey can meet the Copenhagen criteria if its military continues to occupy part of Cyprus.
Addressing his European colleagues, Iacovou wondered how it would be possible to have an interstate dialogue between Cyprus and Turkey, as the EU Enlargement Commissioner had suggested, since Ankara does not accept any kind of contact with Cyprus.
The minister informed his colleagues in Luxembourg about the right of veto Ankara has exercised against Cyprus in the past.
Last week the European Commission recommended in its annual report on Turkey that Ankara begins accession negotiations, stressing that certain terms will have to be met.
 Cyprus Government wants to see free movement
Nicosia 13/10/2004 (ANA/CNA)Cyprus Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said on Tuesday that opening more crossing points along the demarca-tion line, dividing the country, is part of government policy to help ensure free movement throughout the island.
''The government has already submitted proposal to open eight crossing points,'' he said, responding to questions on reports that the illegal regime, in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus, is planning to open more crossing points.
At present there are four crossing points along the ceasefire line, that enable some free movement of Cypriots. Greek Cypriots have to present either their passport or their identity card to visit the occupied areas. Turkish Cypriots are requested to produce evidence of their Cypriot origin.
''Our goal is to ensure free movement throughout the territory of the Republic of Cyprus without any kind of restriction,'' the spokesman said.
In April 2003, the regime in occupied Cyprus lifted partially restrictions it had in place on movement to and from the northern part of the island, which Turkish troops control since they invaded in 1974.