|Wednesday, 13 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-10-15
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>October 15, 2004
 PM Karamanlis reaffirms intent to deal with the 'special interests' in address to ruling ND parliamentary group
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday reaffirmed his intention of dealing with the issue of special interests, addressing the parliamentary group of his ruling New Democracy party (ND).
"We were, are and will remain head-on opposed to these decadent phenomena. We are uncompromising, and will not back down. We believed, and believe, that this battle is everyone's obligation. This is a position of principle, an unyielding position," the premier told his MPs.
Karamanlis said that four years ago he had sent a letter to then prime minister Costas Simitis (PASOK) calling for dialogue and agreement so as to jointly tackle the problem but, instead of dialogue, he had met with absolute refusal and, instead of a reply, had received insults.
The premier renewed his call for consensus among all the political forces, saying that "our invitation was and remains open, but in any event we are determined to fulfill our commitments".
Karamanlis said that all the political forces were obliged to actively prove that they respect the fundamental constitutional dictate that all Greeks are equal before the law, adding that the clash with the phenomena of corruption and special interests was a cause that concerned all the political parties and the entire society. "It is a cause of democracy," he stressed.
The opponents, he said, were the problems, not individuals, stressing that his government's immediate priority was to institutionally shore-up the state and democracy with the abolition of laws that facilitated special interests and completion of relevant bills in the immediate future.
The premier disengaged the agreement and discussion on tackling the problem with the issue of election of a new President of the Republic, due in March, noting that: "The clash with illegality is the obligation of all the political forces. Respect of the democratic institutions and to the spirit of the Constitution also concerns all the political forces. Agreement on the one does not rule out agreement on the other. Quite the contrary, in fact no political party puts forward compromising with decadence as a condition for agreement on institutional or other matters. The issue of election of a President of the Republic is not embroiled, and must not be embroiled, in these discussions".
He said the issue of the Presidential election will be raised "in due time", as set in the spirit of the Constitution.
The premier further defended his government's work, noting that never before had a government accomplished so much in so little time, and cited the Cyprus issue, the staging of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the arrangements concerning the farmers, the revision of the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF), the boosting of the SMEs, resolution of the problem of penalty interest on loans, abolition of the pensioners' contribution to the LAFKA supplementary fund, confrontation of the problem of the civil service contract employees, and the passing of the bill on the THESEUS program which, he said, was the first major step toward solving the immense problem of financial self-sufficiency for the municipalities.
"Seven months of the new governance prove that we provide solutions to problems that were considered unsolvable, and that we are following a steady and consistent strategy, and are responding with responsibility and efficiency the pact of honor we have made with the citizens," Karamanlis said, adding that all of the government's campaign pledges would be fulfilled.
PM to attend EPP one-day seminar in Athens on Friday: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will participate in a one-day European People's Party (EPP) seminar on Friday focusing on Europe's regions. The seminar will be held at the Zappeion Hall and is being hosted under the aegis of the municipality of Athens.
Later in the morning, the prime minister will meet with veteran magazine publisher Costas Kavathas, as the latter is promoting an initiative to link the Olympic Games with Greece via an Olympic Torch Relay using vehicles powered by alternative sources of energy.
 Election of Greece as non-permanent UN Security Council member certain
NEW YORK 15/10/2004 (ANA - P. Panagiotou)Greece's election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2005-2006 period, during Friday's vote, is considered certain by diplomatic circles at the UN's headquarters.
The election procedure will be carried out between 5-7 p.m. (Greek time). Countries which are also candidates to become Security Council members are Denmark, Argentina, Japan and Tanzania and they will succeed Angola, Germany, Spain, Pakistan and Chile.
The Security Council members are elected by the General Assembly of the international organization which numbers 191 countries.
The newspaper "New York Sun" also considers the election of Greece as a non-permanent Security Council member a foregone conclusion.
 Government spokesman clarifies impression given by Turkish PM on armaments reduction during television interview
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Thursday clarified the impression given by Turkish Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erdogan on the question of an agreement with his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis on armaments reduction in an interview with the NET television channel on Wednesday night.
Roussopoulos said the ascertainment contained in a question by the press that Erdogan distanced himself from the position expressed by the Greek prime minister at the Thessaloniki International Fair (that a bilateral agreement has been reached on armaments reduction) was "arbitrary."
The government spokesman reminded of the reply given by Erdogan on the issue of a bilateral agreement, noting that he had said "of course, this will benefit the two peoples."
Asked about the pending issues of Cyprus and the Halki School of Theology, the government spokesman said "these are factors that will be jointly assessed in Turkey's course towards the European Union."
Foreign ministry refers to issue of bilateral discussion on defense cuts: The Greek foreign ministry on Thursday referred to a recent statement by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan regarding discussions over the possibility of mutual defense cuts by Athens and Ankara.
Foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos cited a "discussion that is underway, and being held not in a political void, but during a period of continuous and substantial improvement of bilateral relations, with decisions by both governments, but also with the support of both countries' public opinion."
The spokesman also said that no discussion lacking a convergence of opinion by the two parties over its (discussion) necessity and goals is continued.
 The government of the Republic of Cyprus is theonly internationally recognized gove-rnment in Cyprus, FM spokesman says
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)"There is an international reality, consisting of the fact that the only the internationally recognized government in Cyprus is that of the Republic of Cyprus," Greece's foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said Thursday, asked by journalists to comment on a statement the previous day by Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during an interview on NET Greek state television station in which he referred to the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus as the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC).
Replying to questions during a regular press briefing, Koumoutsakos said that the outcome of this reality was a European policy and institutional reality comprised of the following specific facts:
First of all, the Republic of Cyprus is a member of the European Union.
Second, the European Council (summit) in June called on Turkey to proceed to Customs Union with all the EU member states, which must be effected with a specific protocol. Some step has already been made on the part of Turkey on this matter.
Third, according to the European Commission report on Turkey, released recently, all the EU member states, and therefore also the Republic of Cyprus, participate in the Intergovernmental Conference, which will monitor the course of Turkey's accession negotiations with the EU.
Koumoutsakos said that the above formulate a "specific policy and institutional reality".
The self-proclaimed TRNC is recognized only by Turkey, whereas the government of the Republic of Cyprus, in the free, Greek-Cypriot, areas of the island republic, is recognized internationally by all countries and international organizations.
Asked on the lack of a specific reference, in the Commission report on Turkey, to Ankara's obligation for a resolution of the Cyprus issue, Koumoutsakos said that the report "points out a series of issues on which the effort must be continued on the part of Turkey, and Greece considers that included in those are issues of particular Greek interest".
Koumoutsakos said that Greece's position was that when all the criteria and obligations are met by Turkey, this course would lead to the commencement of accession negotiations and Turkey's accession to the EU.
 FM Molyviatis and other ministers discuss with Russian envoy on course of Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)A meeting was held on Thursday at the foreign ministry between Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis and Russian President Vladimir Putin's envoy on issues of International Energy Research, Yuri Yusufov, accompanied by Russian Ambassador to Athens Andrey Vdovin, on the issue of the course of the Burgas-Alexandropulolis pipeline.
A foreign ministry announcement said the discussion, which was held in a "very friendly and positive climate," centered on mutual briefing of a technical nature with regard the expediency and efficiency of the project.
There was an identity of views during the discussion on the need for the signing of a relevant tripartite memorandum between Greece, Bulgaria and Russia.
The above meeting was preceded by a discussion at the foreign ministry between delegations of the two countries.
 DM Spiliotopoulos visit to Moscow finalized for early November
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)Greece's national defense minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos met Wednesday with his Russian counterpart Sergei Ivanov on the sidelines of an informal meeting of the NATO-Russian defense ministers' council taking place in Romania, according to press sources.
During the one-hour meeting, the two ministers examined issues concerning armaments, the two countries' cooperation in the defense industry sector, and security matters in the Eurasian perimeter, the sources said.
They also said that Ivanov expressed satisfaction with the two countries' cooperating so far in the defense sector, and also endorsed a viable and functional solution to the Cyprus issue in the framework of the relevant UN resolutions.
Spiliotopoulos, in turn, noted that the Alliance must take seriously into consideration Russia's positions on the Eurasian security matters, the sources added.
The same sources said that a Spiliotopoulos visit to Moscow was finalized for early November, during the meeting.
The NATO-Russia informal council meeting is examining issues concerning the two sides' cooperation in combating terrorism.
 NATO, Russia defense ministers examine joint confrontation of international terrorism
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)The special conference of NATO Defense Ministers ended in the Romanian city of Poiana Brasov on Thursday with the sessions of the informal meeting of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) on a level of Defense Ministers (NATO-Russian Commission Summit) on the issue of the joint confrontation of international terrorism.
A national defense ministry press release said that Greek National Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos reiterated "the determination of our country for NATO's dialogue with Russia to continue and be strengthened in a broad series of security and terrorism matters in the Euro-Atlantic region aimed at promoting joint positions and actions."
Spiliotopoulos added that NATO and Russia can jointly become more effective in the confrontation of international and regional problems in cooperation with other international organizations (United Nations, European Union, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) on the basis of International Law.
"Besides, the experience of Russia on matters of world and regional security must be taken into account within the frame-work of understanding and cooperation at the NATO-Russia Council (NCR)," Spiliotopoulos further said.
 Gov't responds to opposition leader's remark
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Thursday countered remarks by main opposition party PASOK leader George Papandreou, who referred to conditions of "judicial madness" in an earlier address to his Parliament group's MPs.
The spokesman said "Mr. Papandreou used this harsher language for opposition purposes. This is his choice and we do not intend to do the same."
In an unrelated matter, Roussopoulos referred to "unacceptable conditions" in fielding questions related to a highly critical same-day press article against former New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert, a longtime and vocal critic of so-called "vested interests" and their influence on the country's political life.
 PASOK criticizes government's economic policy
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK party's high-profile coordinators for economic policy on Thursday sharply criticized the government for what they called revisions in the country's debt and deficit figures, ones that initiated a closer inspection by Eurostat.
The four high-ranking PASOK cadres, including past national economy ministers Yiannos Papantoniou and Nikos Christodoulakis, as well as former ministers Theodoros Pangalos and George Floridis (finance), charged that the government was attempting to "rewrite recent economic history", while stressing that the two past PASOK governments under Costas Simitis met criteria set by the Maastricht treaty for membership in the "euro zone". They also stressed that growth rates over the past years were consistently higher than the EU average, whereas real incomes also increased.
Specifically, Pangalos charged that the government's failure to meet an 11-billion-euro package he said it promised before the March 7 election was the real reason for the government-initiated fiscal audit. Pangalos, a former foreign and culture minister, noted that the package could not be implemented due to the Greek economy's limited capacity.
Speaking at PASOK's headquarters during a press conference for foreign correspondents, Papantoniou -- who later headed the defense ministry -- emphasized that the fiscal audit emanated from a one-sided change in the methodology for calculating defense spending within the budget deficit, "without the approval or request of Eurostat, and with a goal to defame PASOK's economic policy."
Finally, Christodoulakis said the current situation does not do justice to the Greek economy's course over the past decade, as recognized recently by the IMF.
Gov't: Fiscal audit indisputable: In a reply shortly after the PASOK press conference, the national economy ministry issued the following statement:
"Those responsible for the country's fiscal derailment are returning, once again, to the scene of the crime.
"The fiscal audit cannot be disputed because it was conducted in an objective and unprejudiced manner, and it has been verified by the European statistical service. What was said to the foreign correspondents was said for 'domestic consumption'. The Greek people know what the truth is; the government has ended the virtual economy, and with its policy it is restoring fiscal balance and dealing with the issue of the country's competitiveness. The government's policy guarantees development, employment and social cohesion," the announcement read.
 Justice ministry reportedly considering removal of barbed wire in yard holding N17 convicts
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)The justice ministry is reportedly considering the removal of barbed wire over a jailhouse exercise yard used by a group of convicted "November 17" terrorists, as part of efforts to improve conditions at the main Korydallos penitentiary.
A handful of the N17 terrorists have gone on a hunger strike to protest their living conditions at the prison.
 Agriculture minister meets U.S. Ambassador
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)Minister of Agricultural Development and Foods, Evangelos Basiakos met Thursday with U.S. Ambassador Thomas Miller to discuss matters of mutual concern.
Basiakos described the meeting as substantial and useful, adding that matters discussed included negotiations in the World Trade Organization, the review of Common Agricultural Policy and the trade of agricultural products.
Miller remarked that the issues handled by Basiakos are amongst the most important for the world community.
 Five Euro deputies call for transfer of new European organization's headquarters to Crete
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)Five Euro deputies, Kostis Hadzidakis and Manolis Mavromatis of the New Democracy party, Stavros Arnaoutakis and Nikos Sifounakis of the PASOK party, as well as Giorgos Hatzimarkakis who is elected with the German Liberal Party but whose origin is from Crete, called on the European Commission to agree to the immediate transfer of the headquarters of the new European Organization for the Security of Networks and Information to the city of Iraklio on the island of Crete, in accordance with the official decision taken by the European Council.
The Cretan Euro deputies want an end to rumors circulating in Brussels of pressures against the choice of Iraklio and the final headquarters of the new European organization.
The European Organization for the Security of Networks and Information began to operate officially on March 15, 2004, with Brussels being its temporary headquarters.
However, a decision had already been taken previously by the European Council (December 12-13, 2003) that the organization's headquarters will be in Greece, in a city to be selected by the Greek government.
 Discussion on U.S. presidential elections to be held at Harvard University in Boston
BOSTON 15/10/2004 (ANA)A discussion on the U.S. presidential elections will be held at Harvard University here on Monday October 18, and on their assessment from an international prospect, with the participation of four foreign journalists.
The event will be organized by the John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Kokkalis Program on Southeastern and East-Central Europe and will be coordinated by Alex Jones, director of the Shorenstein Centre for the Press, Politics and Public Policy. The event will also be held under the auspices of the John F. Kennedy School's European Studies Centre.
Participating in the discussion, in which the U.S. presidential elections will be examined in the light of international developments and regional conflicts, will be renowned Turkish journalist Mehmet Ali Birand, director of the CNN Turk television channel, Nico Fried from Germany who is a columnist and commentator on international issues for the newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Talal Al-Haj, director of the Arab television network Al-Arabiya, and the managing director of the Athens News Agency Nicholas Voulelis.
At the end of the discussion, the four journalists invited to the event will reply to questions from Harvard University students and the audience.
 Parliament continuing discussion on 2005 draft budget
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)The discussion on the 2005 draft state budget continued on Thursday with the main opposition PASOK party questioning the government's targets.
Finance and Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis, commenting on the assessment made by his predecessor Nikos Christodoulakis that "none of the central targets for growth or the deficit will be achieved", said "your predictions for the future have the reliability corresponding to those you have made in past years."
Christodoulakis questioned the government's assessment on an increased growth rate (3.9 percent in 2005 compared to 3.7 percent in 2004) since, as he said, the draft budget anticipates a decrease in the increase rate of private consumption by 0.1 percent, of public consumption by 4 , of investments by 1.7 and of exports by 1.1.
The PASOK's deputy from Hania also said the -2.84 target (from 5.3 percent) for the deficit was unrealistic, stressing that "a downpour in Athens or snowfall in Argolida is enough to cause some compensation and have the deficit exceed the crucial 3 percent limit."
The remaining speakers of PASOK expressed the view that curbing the deficit can only be achieved by increasing taxation and reducing social benefits.
 Gov't announces 60.5-mln-euro program for job creation in 2004-8
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)Greece's Labor and Social Protection Ministry on Thursday announced a program, budgeted at 60.5 million euros, aimed to create 17,100 new jobs in the period 2004-2008 in the country.
The project, part of an Integrated Interventions of Regional Operational Program, envisages the creation of 8,000 new job positions through subsidizing private enterprises, offer financial support to 4,500 unemployment people to set up their own business and offer training courses to 4,600 unemployed people.
 Gov't earmarks 54 man euros for tourism-related programs
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)The Greek government will tender new programs, worth 54 million euros, by the end of the year, and aimed to improve competitiveness in tourism economy, Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Thursday.
The programs, presented by the minister during a special event held at the tourism ministry, included training (worth 14 million euros) of around 9,000 people, including tourism education graduates, unemployed, businessmen and volunteers of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
Speaking to reporters, Avramopoulos stressed that the ministry, in order to mobilize all social partners and local authorities related with tourism, planned a total of 12 nation-wide events, starting next Monday from the town of Tripolis in the Peloponnese. The minister also emphasized higher absorption rates of EU funds, currently at 20 percent from 6 percent in March 2004, to around 30 percent by the end of the year.
 Development Minister Sioufas calls for restraint in fuel prices
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)Restraint in the price of fuel and in particular of heating oil was called for by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas in a meeting he had on Thursday with representatives of oil refineries, trading companies and petrol station owners.
On the other hand, the assessment of the Federation of Petrol Station Owners is that the price of heating oil which will be distributed in the market from Monday will be in the range of 46 cents per liter.
In statements after the meeting, Sioufas noted that the international prices of oil have increased by 60 percent from the beginning of the year, a fact which he termed as unprecedented, underlining that heating oil is burdened with the minimum possible tax which is 21 euros per 1,000 liters.
The minister said that the government is making efforts in the European Union in order for the reduction of tax to be allowed during periods of an increase in prices, adding that the state will continue the systematic checks for the combating of illicit trading, of adulteration and of profiteering in the fuel market.
Development ministry backs private investments in renewable energy sources sector: Private investments in the renewable energy sources sector are expected to be backed by decisions signed by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas.
The Renewable Energy Sources Centre (KAPE) will be subsidized by the Public Investments Program, as an intermediate management agency, with a total of 4,795,000 euros to enable it to carry out necessary payments for programs of the Operational Program "Competitiveness" (EPAN).
It is the development ministry's second intervention to back private investments in the renewable energy sources sector.
 Gov't supports closer cooperation between public, private sector
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)Economy and Finance Deputy Minister Christos Folias on Thursday presented a new business-friendly environment created in the country by the government and stressed the significance of a program aimed to bring together the public sector and private companies in joint projects in the country.
Addressing a forum organized by the European Investment Bank in Warsaw, Poland, the Greek minister said that closer cooperation between the public sector and private companies in the construction of infrastructure projects and offering of public services could offer significant financing solutions to economies facing fiscal limitations in Europe.
Folias added that only through regulatory integration Europe's regions could strengthen and make a more effective use of their comparative advantages.
The Greek minister will meet with Poland's government officials during his visit in Warsaw.
 Marac Electronic expands in Bulgaria
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)Marac Electronic on Thursday announced its expansion in Bulgaria, as part of a strategy to expand activities in the Balkans.
The Greek company recently set up Marac Bulgaria in Sofia with the aim to timely exploit new prospects in the market as the country was heading for EU membership access in 2007. The project is part of the company's investment program, approved by the Athens Stock Exchange.
Marac Electronic also signed a contract, worth 350,000 euros, for the supply of equipment to Greece's Civil Aviation Agency, and another contract to supply 150 mobile VHF receivers to the country's Port Police.
The company already has begun activities in Romania and Serbia.
 Wreckage of two missing Greek air force F-16s located, fate of four pilots unknown
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)The wreckage of two twin seater Greek air force F-16 jets, which disappeared from radar screens at 3 p.m. on Thursday while flying in the region of Pilio in central Greece , has been located two kilometers northeast of Agios Lavrentios monastery. The fate of four pilots flying in the aircraft is still unknown, while a rescue team is approaching the scene of the crash.
According to reports, the two aircraft had been on a training mission. Defense ministry officials said an ejection signal had been recorded as the planes were located 23-25 miles northeast of a military airport in the region of Pilio.
Helicopters, a transport plane and ground forces participated in the operation as soon as the aircraft had been reported missing.
 Singer/actor Vlassis Bonatsos dies of apparent heart attack at 55
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)Vlassis Bonatsos, one of Greece's most beloved entertainers, died early Thursday at the age of 55, apparently of a heart attack.
Bonatsos, a singer, songwriter, actor and the host of several TV game and entertainment shows, and lead singer of the Greek '60s progressive rock band Peloma Bokiou, was rushed to Athens' Hippocration Hospital early in the morning after taking ill, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. According to family sources, Bonatsos had faced health problems in the past, and two years ago had been hospitalized in an Athens hospital.
The Athens-born Bonatsos was married to Martha Koutoumanou, daughter of Greek popular actress Zoe Laskari, with whom he had a 9-year-old daughter Zenia.
Bonatsos had also played the leading male role of Che Guevara in the theatrical musical "Evita" with the late actress Aliki Vougiouklaki, who had been dubbed Greece's "national star" and was also a long-time companion of Bonatsos.
Prime minister, other officials express condolences for entertainer's death: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis expressed his condolences for the death of entertainer Vlassis Bonatsos who he said "had great talent and an enthusiastic character and had won the love of the public."
Alternate Minister of Culture, Fani Palli Petralia and other leading officials of the Ministry of Culture also expressed their condolences to the family and friends of Bonatsos saying that "the loss of the multi-talented Vlassis Bonatsos leaves a void in the entertainment world". Deputy Minister of Culture, Petros Tatoulis added that Bonatsos "died early and was a charismatic person".
Bonatsos will be buried Saturday at Athens' 1st Cemetery on Saturday afternoon.
 EOF warns that blue scorpion venom not a proven cancer drug, advises patients to continue their prescribed treatments
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)The National Pharmaceutical Organization (EOF) on Thursday charged that an 'industry' of sending patients to Cuba to acquire the venom of the blue scorpion which supposedly "cures" cancer.
EOF president D. Vagionas told a press conference that he had in his possession documentation about a travel bureau that organized the transport of patients from Greece to Cuba in order to undergo treatment with the blue scorpion toxin, which he warned was of "disputed quality and effectiveness".
An uproar has arisen over rumors of curative properties of the diluted toxin of the blue scorpion (Rhopalurus junceus), registered under the name Esccozul at the Cuban Office of Indus-trial Property and available only in that country, where clinical trials are underway.
Vagionas said that EOF had requested information from the Greek consulate in Havana, which replied in writing that the plant that produced the said medication had closed, while a US company was carrying out research on whether the blue scorpion venom could be used effectively in fighting cancer.
However, he added, all data collected by EOF thus far indicated that the blue scorpion venom was not a cancer medication, and advised all cancer patients to continue taking the medications prescribed by their physicians, regardless of whether they decided to also try the venom.
 Curiosity main reason why Greek youth use narcotics for the first time
BRUSSELS 15/10/2004 (ANA/V. Demiris)Curiosity or "pressure" exerted by their peers and the pursuance of stimulants are for youth in Greece and in the European Union in general the main reasons of the use of narcotic substances for the first time.
At the same time, youth in Greece view that dependence, the lack of willpower and the effects from the use of narcotics are the key factors which do not allow them to put an end to the use of these substances.
Youth in Greece believe to a great degree that it is relatively easy to purchase narcotic substances in bars and discotheques during their night outings or even at school or close to home.
These conclusions were drawn by the EU "barometer" which was made public in Brussels on Thursday on the theme "Youth and narcotics in the EU in 2004".
Taking part in the poll were 7,659 youths between the ages of15-24 from the 15 member states of the (old) EU during the period April 19-May 13. Five hundred persons took part in Greece.
Specifically, 79 percent of youth in Greece (64 percent in the EU) believe that curiosity is the main reason to make use of narcotics for the first time, followed by "pressure" exerted by their peers with 32 percent (45 percent in the EU) and the pursuance of stimulants with 10 percent (37 percent in the EU).
Furthermore, 91 percent of youth in Greece believe that dependence is the main cause which renders difficult the halting of narcotics use (72 percent in the EU).
 SAE President to visit Georgia and Armenia
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)According to a press release issued by the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), its president Andrew Athens will be traveling to the Republics of Georgia and Armenia from 17 to 23 October, 2004, in order to attend the inauguration ceremonies of renovation projects conducted by the SAE's Primary Health Care Initiative with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The SAE operates clinics, nurse's stations and medical mobile units in Armenia and Georgia, providing more than 25,000 patient services per month.
Athens will have meetings with President of the Georgian Republic, Mikhail Shakasvili, Ministers of Health, National Affairs as well as the Ambassadors to Georgia from Greece and the Unites States.
Prior to visiting Georgia, Athens will be in Greece with a delegation of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), which has arranged to meet with Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis and other officials.
 General Director of UNESCO congratulates Athens on Olympics
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Culture on Thursday, General Director of UNESCO Koichiro Matsuura sent a letter to Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia expressing his ''sincere congratulations for the excellent organization of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.''
He also expressed his particular satisfaction with the adaptations of infrastructure made in Athens and Ancient Olympia for the disabled on the occasion of the Olympic Games. Matsuura also referred to the changes being made to the Acropolis, including the installation of a lift for the disabled, saying that substantial progress had been made since his last visit to Athens in September, 2001.
 Ambassador of Lebanon congratulates Greece on hosting successful and safe Olympic Games
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)"At the most critical and the most useful moment you have been the suitable people who said the suitable words and helped Greece to win the great bet in the security of the Olympic Games," Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis told Ambassador of Lebanon and President of the Arab League in Greece, William Habib, at a luncheon which the Arab League hosted on Thursday at the residence of the ambassador of Lebanon, with the participation of the 12 Ambassadors of the countries of the Arab League.
Voulgarakis termed as "constructive" the cooperation of the two sides, noting that it constituted "the threshold which gave us the possibility to broaden it." He added that "this very good work which we all did together is something which must continue."
On his part, the Ambassador of Lebanon noted that the eventuality of a terrorist strike during the Olympic Games would have been catastrophic because, as he said, there would have been hundreds of innocent victims.
Ambassador Habib congratulated Greece and the public order minister on hosting successful and safe Olympic Games.
Concluding, the Ambassador of Lebanon said that Greece was a good example of the view that "the size of a country is measured neither in square meters nor from the population, or the importance of the natural resources but from the achievements of its citizens and the value of its Authorities."
Attending the luncheon was the leadership of the Public Order Ministry and the Police.
 Greek awarded European Woman Award for 2004
BRUSSELS 15/10/2004 (ANA/V.Demiris)The European Woman Award for 2004, was awarded to Aliki Moschi-Gozet by European Parliament President Josep Borrell Fontelles during a special ceremony here on Thursday .
Moschi-Gozet, an expert on state affairs from Rhodes was commended by Borell Fontelles for her efforts in promoting dialogue between nations, European and Mediterranean cooperation as well as the participation of women in programs promoting peace and prosperity in the Mediterranean. He added that the Mediterranean basin was an area of different races and religions and was of strategic importance in the enlarged Europe of 25.
Upon accepting the award, Moschi-Gozet, who beat 14 other nominees, stated that she was proud and happy to be able to honor her country in this way.
 Major drug arrest in Thessaloniki
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)A 20-year-old Albanian national was arrested on felony drug trafficking charges in Thessaloniki on Wednesday after authorities found 2.2 kilos of heroin and nearly 400 grams of cocaine in his possession.
The unnamed suspect was arrested outside the city's train station.
Two Turkish nationals jailed for trafficking immigrants: Two Turkish nationals, 24 year old Erkan Toumer and 26 year old Ramaza Pourali were each given prison sentences Thursday of five years and two months each for the trafficking of immigrants. The men's boat carrying seven Egyptian illegal migrants was detected by port authorities Wednesday in the area of Mourtias on Samos. The two men were also fined 45,000 euros each and their boat confiscated.
At first the immigrants insisted that they were Palestinians but it was soon established that they were Egyptians. A local court on Samos passed down a suspended thirty day sentence for each of the immigrants and requested their immediate release.
 Greek food best choice to combat obesity, EFET says
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)More than 800 million people in the planet are threatened by hunger, while people in developing countries are suffering from mal-nutrition, bad hygiene conditions and a shrinking bio-diversity, Greece's Single Food Inspection Agency (EFET) said on Thursday.
In an announcement issued on the occasion of celebrating the World Nutrition Day on October 16, EFET stressed that in contrast with the situation in developing countries, developed countries were facing the problem of obesity, a trend threatening the health of millions of people. "The intensification of primary production in farming and livestock, a rapid growth of manufacturing and conservation technology and an over-consumption of "industrialized foods" have created new nutrition standards and significantly changed peoples' food habits," the announcement said.
"Obesity is considered as illness today and it is related with a series of serious impact on health such as cardiac, diabetes, cancer, etc, while food safety was undermined by recent large food crises such as the mad cow disease and dioxins," EFET stressed.
The Greek Food Inspection Agency is making a steady and systematic effort to develop and operate a new, modern and effective system of food safety in the country.
EFET added that Greek food, Greek cuisine, was the best choice the ensure health of younger generations and to combat obesity and noted that for the success of this effort it needed the cooperation of all business groups included in the food chain, and the active participation of consumers.
 European Culture Centre of Delphi announces competition for annual Pythia Award
Athens 15/10/2004 (ANA)The European Cultural Centre of Delphi (ECCD) on Thursday announced a competition for its annual Pythia Award for excellence in the Ancient Greek language and literature.
The aim of the competition is to reward European students for outstanding performance in the translation and interpretation of Ancient Greek texts, as well as their teachers for enthusiasm and dedication to teaching Ancient Greek in general, and for their help in preparing students for this contest, in particular.
The contest consists of a translation of a short passage from Ancient Greek into the vernacular languages, and a written essay in the vernacular languages. This year's theme is "Competition in Ancient Greek Civilization".
The participating countries and communities this year are Denmark, Spain, the Belgian Wallon and Flemish Communities, Austria, Russia, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, northern and southern France, Sweden and England.
The contest, called by the ECCD for the 4th consecutive year, is in the context of the Center's educational programs aiming at further arousing interest for classical studies in European lyceums' third year (high school senior year) students studying the Ancient Greek language.
An ECCD delegation, headed by professor Vassilis Karasmanis, on Thursday winds up a three-day visit to the Swedish capital for a two-day seminar with professors of Classical Studies at Stockholm University.
A highlight of the seminar was an introduction of the Filogic and Archelogos programs for learning Ancient Greek via computer, while a group of Swedish students were hosted during the summer at the ECCD facilities so that they could attend an educational seminar.
 Papadopoulos: no objection to Turkey-EU talks, if Ankara responds
NICOSIA 15/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has stressed that he does not object to the start of accession negotiations between the European Union and Turkey but pointed out that Nicosia demands equal treatment from Ankara.
Speaking Thursday on his return from official visits to Finland and Estonia, Papadopoulos also said that Turkish Premier Tayyip Erdogan's statement that he had assurances from the Cypriot President that he would not exercise his right of veto to block the start of membership talks was only part of the conversation he had with him back in May, on the sidelines of the accession ceremony of the ten new EU members, including Cyprus.
Papadopoulos said that what Mr. Erdogan had told NET (Greek TV) in an interview was not the entire conversation he had with him but only part of it.
"Our position is that as a matter of principle we do not object to deciding on a date for the start of accession talks with Turkey, provided that Turkey behaves towards Cyprus with the same responsibility and the same obligations it has towards the rest of the EU," Papadopoulos stressed.
President Papadopoulos said he would not discuss the content of his conversation with premier Erdogan as he does not discuss his conversations with other heads of state.
Responding to questions about his visits to Finland and Estonia, Papadopoulos said he found "enough understanding about our positions" with his interlocutors in Helsinki and Tallinn.
 Spokesman says no Cypriot veto on Turkey's EU bid on condition
NICOSIA 15/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said Monday that the position of President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos was that Cyprus did not wish to veto the commencement of Turkey's EU accession negotiations, as long as the fundamental interests of Cyprus were safeguarded.
Commenting on statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Cyprus would not veto Ankara's member-ship talks, Chrysostomides said Erdogan was referring to what President
Papadopoulos had told him in May in Dublin, noting that the Turkish Premier forgot to mention the Cypriot President's final phrase, which was ''as long as our conditions are met.''
The spokesman said President Papadopoulos' position was that ''we do not wish to use our veto, we do not wish to prevent Turkey's accession course, a European Turkey is in everyone's interests, as long as the fundamental interests of our country are safeguarded.''
Commenting on Erdogan's remarks that the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey was not included in the Copenhagen criteria, Chrysostomides said ''the EU functions within a political and institutional framework, from which no country can escape.''
He added that the European Commission's report on Turkey said if Ankara begins accession negotiations, these would be held on an intergovernmental level with the participation of all EU member states, including Cyprus.
 Cyprus says Turkish side made no ''painful compromises''
NICOSIA 15/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said Monday that there have been no ''painful compromises'' by the Turkish side in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.
Commenting on remarks US Ambassador to Cyprus Michael Klosson made while addressing the annual general meeting of the Cyprus-American Business Association last night, that ''continued Turkish Cypriot acceptance of painful compromises incorporated in the Annan Plan should not be taken for granted,'' Chrysostomides clarified that it was ''the Greek Cypriot side that has been making painful compromises since 1977, by accepting the bizonal, bicommunal federation.''
''Painful compromises by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side, we have yet to see,'' he added.
Replying to questions, the spokesman said that the President of the Republic would clearly set out the Greek Cypriot side's positions when the time came to revive efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.
He added that ''the effort of our side is continuous in the direction of creating those conditions that would allow for the revival of the effort.''
''For the time being, the objective conditions are no longer in place, neither is the willingness on the part of Turkey to renew the dialogue,'' Chrysostomides pointed out.
Responding to other questions, Chrysostomides said that December 17, when the European Council will decide whether or not to give Turkey a date to commence EU accession negotiations, ''is yet another important calendar point and our efforts continue to safeguard the interests of the Republic of Cyprus by the president, the government in general, and will continue to do so up until December 17 and afterwards.''