|Thursday, 14 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-10-16
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>October 16, 2004
 Greece elected non-permanent member of UN Security Council
NEW YORK 16/10/04 (ANA - P. Panagiotou)Greece was elected a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council here on Friday after receiving 187 votes out of a total of 189 members which participated in the UN General Assembly's vote. Greece will be a non-permanent member as of January 1, 2005, and for a period of two years. Denmark received 181 votes.
Greece's permanent representative at the UN, Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, made the following statement immediately after the vote was held:
"The General Assembly elected the five new non-permanent members of the Security Council for the 2005-2006 two-year period this morning. It is a special joy for me to be announcing to you that our country is also among the new five members, which received 187 votes out of a total of 189 which voted. I have already briefed Foreign Minister Mr. (Petros) Molyviatis on the results. The other countries which were elected today are Denmark, Japan, Argentina and Tanzania.
"After 1952-53, Greece will be participating again in the Security Council. I am convinced that it will contribute effectively to its mission in maintaining peace and security in the world. You will find more in the government announcement which will be issued in Athens.
"I would like to express my thanks to the political and service leadership of the foreign ministry for its trust and support for all our efforts here, as well as to my colleagues and associates who contributed to this effort in New York, Athens and in all the countries where Greece has diplomatic missions."
FM Molyviatis says Greece's election to UN Security Council 'a special honor for the country': The Greek government on Friday expressed its great satisfaction over the announcement of results of voting at the UN's General Assembly by which Greece was elected, with 187 votes out of a total of 189, a non-permanent member of the UN's Security Council for the two-year 2005-2006 period, while Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis said the election was "a special honor for the country."
Molyviatis said Greece's election to the Security Council for the first time in the past 52 years was "a special honor for our country and confirms the prestige Greece has abroad and the confidence with which it is entrusted by the international com-munity."
The foreign minister further said "the effort for our election was begun by the previous government and was completed by the present government", adding that "our country benefits when its foreign policy is implemented with consensus and consistency."
Molyviatis went on to say that "throughout the entire duration of our two-year participation in the Security Council we shall be guided by the basic principles of our foreign policy:adherence to peace, respect for international legality, democracy and human rights and the strengthening of international cooperation between all the peoples of the world."
He stressed that there shall be "close cooperation with the other members of the Security Council and, with respect for international law and international legality, we shall focus our attention and our efforts on regions of instability but, of course, on our wider region as well for which our country's particular interest is self-evident. Our resolve is to contribute with all our strength to the further strengthening of the UN's role as a defender of inter-national legality and of peaceful coexistence and cooperation among peoples."
This will be Greece's second tenure as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council after the 1952-1953 period. The criteria for the election of a country to such a post concern its contribution to world peace and stability and its participation in other activities of the Organization, as well as the equal geographical representation of member-states in the Council.
Greece will be assuming the Security Council's presidency twice during this two-year period and for a duration of one month each time. It is also noteworthy that Turkey has tabled its candidacy for a similar position during the 2008-2009 period.
Main opposition PASOK hails Greece's election at the UN Security Council : The main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) on Friday evening hailed Greece's election as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council earlier in the day.
''Today's decision by the UN General Assembly for the election of Greece as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for the period 2005-2006 has its own particular and self-evident importance," the party's spokesman, Nikos Athanassakis, said in a statement.
''This positive development does not constitute the conclusion of an internal formal UN procedure. On the contrary, it is the result of a long-term diplomatic campaign, of intense mobility, planning, consultations and alliances of the PASOK government, of (former) prime minister Costas Simitis and of (former) foreign minister George Papandreou, in the past years, culminating in the unanimous decision of the states which participate in the so-called 'Western Group', on August 26, 2003,'' Athanassakis added.
''The international community and the United Nations are facing 'open wounds' which negatively affect peace, security, stability and development. The ongoing impasse in Iraq, the Middle East crisis and the Palestinian issue, the Cyprus issue, developments in Afghanistan and the broader region of the Caucasus, the conflicts in Africa, international terrorism, poverty and the widening of inequalities, human rights conditions, the weapons of mass destruction will be at the centre of international interest and in the daily UN agenda,'' he said before concluding that Greece's participation should be utilized and not become ''a parenthesis of a simple bureaucratic dispatch.''
Coalition party leader says Greece's election as non-permanent member of UN Security Council an important event:
Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party leader Nikos Constantopoulos said on Friday Greece's election as a non-permanent member of the UN' Security Council, by the UN's General Assembly earlier in the day, was an important event for the country.
"Our country has the possibility, during a period of instability and of trial for the entire world, to give the message of peace and solidarity with a strong voice, to say no to wars and impoverishment, to give a new impetus to cooperation and friendship among peoples, to struggle systematically for the restoration of international law to the position it must have and not for its denigration in this way by doctrinal logics such as the one currently prevailing all over the world for pre-emptive wars and pre-emptive suppression.
"Greece must struggle in particular for the sensitive and unstable region of the Balkans and the Middle East and to enable, at last, a just, workable and viable solution to be given to the problem of Cyprus together with terms of security," Constantopoulos said.
 PM Karamanlis addresses EPP Committee on Regions meeting, notes need for more effective policy on city safety
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday addressed the European People's Party (EPP) Committee on Regions, which is meeting at the Zappeion Press Centre in central Athens.
The committee on regions of the EPP, the Europarliament group to which the ruling New Democracy party (ND) belongs, is discussing the theme of security and civil protection of the European city.
Karamanlis told delegates that all the concerns that existed on the Athens 2004 Olympic Games had been belied, as the Athens Games were staged in absolute security, adding that present-day Greece had sent a fantastic image to al the world.
Referring to ND's government platform, he said that particular weight had been placed on the daily problems faced by the citizens, noting that his government had committed itself on that issue, and would implement all its announcements by the end of its four-year term in office.
At another point in his address, Karamanlis said that "we do not want cities of alienation that downgrade quality of life", adding that "it is our obligation to change the things around us, it is our obligation to create a safe environment for all".
The meeting, which was being held with the cooperation of the City of Athens, was also addressed by Athens mayor Dora Bakoyanni, who said her goal was to establish lasting, steady and effective conditions of safety.
Citing terrorism as an example, Bakoyanni said that all were well aware that this "could threaten each and every one of us, every city, and every country", but added her belief that "the threat is not so big so long as we are on the alert".
Karamanlis, the theme of whose address was "Safety and Civil Protection in the European Cities", said that today, more than ever, there was an "urgent need to forge and apply a more rational and more effective policy for the safety of our cities".
"We agree, in principle, that the problems faced by the European cities are, to a great degree, common ones and it is therefore obvious that we are obliged to advance solutions that are based on common axes, to forge a uniform strategy, at Community level, to formulate common policies that are founded on a multi-lateral approach to the problems and include the necessary auxiliary actions of a social and educational nature," he said.
It was also "our duty to weaken the factors that facilitate criminality and put the emphasis on prevention, to take the measures necessary to minimize the hazards from natural disasters, to contain atmospheric pollution and pollution of the environment," the premier said, adding that constant preparedness was necessary to protect and provide assistance to the citizen in need. The EU, he said, contributed to such developments in the cities with various policies, while its Structural Funds were an important means for substantive confrontation of the urban problems. But it would be particularly useful for there to be a more efficient, more effective coordination, of those interventions, Karamanlis added.
The premier further referred every country's fundamental duty to protect the health, life and properties of its citizens, but also for the safety of visitors to the country, noting that ND, in its government platform, placed particular emphasis on the everyday problems of the citizen.
Karamanlis noted that the restructuring of the Greek Police was already underway so as to ensure its maximum effectiveness in combatting crime, but added that his government also placed particular emphasis on prevention, adding that the local governments could also make a decisive contribution to that effort.
 PM Karamanlis signs Statement of Support for ICPD goals
NEW YORK 16/10/04 (ANA/P. Panagiotou)Greece's Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has signed the Statement of Support for the developmental and social targets of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which concerns human rights, equality, economic progress and environmental protection.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Cairo Inter-national Conference on Population and Development, an anniversary meeting of the UN General Assembly was held Thursday, while the Leaders' Statement of Support was presented at a special event.
The Statement has been signed by a large number of international personalities, including heads of state and government, presidents of NGOs, Nobel Prize laureates, directors of international organizations, religious leaders and others. The Statement also has the unanimous support of the European Union, whose 25 leaders have individually signed.
The Statement expresses the undivided support of the signatories to the ICPD's targets, which include achieving substantial progress in issues of health, medical care and family planning. It also notes deep concern over the widening of the gap between poor and rich, and over the high degree of risk for millions of people, particularly women and children, of contracting the HIV/AIDS virus, and of undergoing sexual abuse, discriminatory treatment, and other violations of their human rights.
The signatories further appeal to all leaders in all walks of life to join these common effort to reaffirm the ICPD vision for human development, social justice, economic progress and protection of the environment.
 PASOK nat'l convention for reconstruction convenes
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Speaking at main opposition PASOK's national convention for reconstruction, which convened on Friday at a seaside indoor stadium, PASOK party leader George Papandreou expressed a hope that the event would be a landmark meeting both for party and for Greek society in general.
In his address, Papandreou referred to the contribution his party has made to the country's progress, saying he would like to see a greater participation by the public. He further added that PASOK must renew itself to a great degree, but emphasized that this would not take place through "witch-hunts" and looking for "scapegoats".
The main opposition leader specifically issued an invitation for young people to become more active in the party, emphasizing that it would be impossible to instigate change in both PASOK and Greek society without their participation.
He went on to criticize the government, saying that "never has a government made so many mistakes on so many crucial issues in so little time. Whatever the government has achieved, it has done so because we had laid the foundations for this success."
Finally, he said the government's high-profile fiscal audit of past PASOK governments' budgets had put the country "in a bind", and that the current draft budget was unreliable.
PASOK leader calls for participation in party's pre-congress dialogue: Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Friday called for participation in the party's pre-congress dialogue and expects a congress which shall constitute a milestone for PASOK and Greek society.
Papandreou called for participation from "every citizen, every democrat and progressive man", as well as for its "self-organization" to enable the "new great overturn."
He further said "we want a congress for the restoration and reconstruction of PASOK, a congress constituting the renaissance of the great democratic party and the recomposition of the progressive movement."
Papandreou appealed in particular to "distrustful" youth, calling on youth not to wait for changes to take place to enable them to participate in the political process but to participate in the effort to change PASOK and society, stressing that without the participation of youth "we shall not change."
The PASOK leader promised youth a new and completely different party, without partisan bureaucracy and with freedom of participation and of options.
Together with his invitation to youth, Papandreou extended an invitation to women, immigrants and other social classes which remain distant from politics, giving his word that he will honor their participation and contribution.
 Alpha Research opinion poll: 82 pct of respondents endorse clash with the 'special interests'
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)According to an opinion poll conducted nationwide by Alpha Research, released Friday, 82 percent of respondents endorse the clash with the 'special interests' pledged by prime minister Costas Karamanlis.
A total of 82 percent of respondents responded "yes" to the clash with the special interests, according to the poll results appearing in Friday's edition of the daily newspaper APOFASI. Broken down by party affiliation, 77 percent of PASOK voters responding to the poll were in favor.
A total 97 percent of the respondents believed that the issue of the "special interests is a cause that concerns the entire political world".
To the question on "whether you believe that George Papandreou and PASOK will support the Karamanlis government's efforts against the special interests" or "exercise opposition policy", the respondents were split nearly in half, as 51 percent believed that PASOK will exercise an opposition policy, against 47 percent who believed PASOK will back the Karamanlis government on this matter.
Also of interest was the belief expressed by 54 percent of the respondents that "the organized interests and special interests want the collapse of the Karamanlis government". Moreover, among the respondents stipulating that they are PASOK voters, 44 percent expressed belief that bizarre political games aimed against Karamanlis and his government were behind the attacks by the organized interests and the "barons of the special interests".
 FM Molyviatis, American Jewish Committee delegation discuss Middle East, Turkey's EU prospects, Greece's UN Security Council candidacy
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)The developments in the Middle East, Turkey's European prospect, and Greece anticipated election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the two-year period 2005-2006 were among the issues discussed Friday at a meeting between foreign minister Petros Molyviatis and a visiting delegation of the American Jewish Committee.
Also attending the meeting were deputy foreign ministers Yannis Valinakis, Evripidis Stylianidis and Panayotis Skandalakis.
The Committee delegation will also meet later in the day with main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou
 PASOK leader Papandreou meets American Jewish Committee delegation
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou met in Athens on Friday with a delegation of the American Jewish Committee.
According to reports, discussion centered on the Middle East issue, Turkey's European prospects and the election of Greece as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
 Deputy FM Stylianidis holds successive meetings with the Ambassadors of Russia, Moldova and Georgia
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis had successive meetings on Friday with the Ambassadors of Russia, Andrei Vdovin, of Moldova, Julian Magaleas and of Georgia, Zviad Chumburidze.
According to a foreign ministry announcement, discussed with the Russian Ambassador were issues of bilateral interest and the course for the construction of the destroyed school in Boslan, Northern Ossetia.
With the Ambassador of Moldova, discussion centered on the observance and development of the joint decisions which had been taken during the recent official visit to Moldova by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, as well as the possibilities of strengthening bilateral cooperation on an economic level.
With the Ambassador of Georgia, discussion focused on the program of the interministerial meeting on the Black Sea Economic Cooperation which will be held during Stylianidis' visit to Georgia.
 Justice minister and spokesman defend improved jail conditions for convicted terrorists
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)The Ministry of Justice on Friday countered that substantial measures had been taken to improve convicted 17 November members' incarceration conditions at the Korydallos prison.
According to ministry sources, Minister of Justice Anastasios Papaligouras decided not to transfer the convicted terrorists to the central Greek town of Larissa so that they may continue to have contact with their legal counsel; over the summer the inmates' cells were reinforced with extra insulation to keep temperatures down; the wall surrounding the exercise yard was reduced from 9 meters to 4.5 meters; the barbed wire over the exercise yard was removed upon a request by the inmates.
Papaligouras said that these measures were of a purely "humanitarian nature" which would improve the existing conditions of incarceration for the inmates and which were in line with the basic nature of Greek justice, which he said was characterized by humanitarianism and not revengeful.
In a related development, Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos stated Friday that the government had removed the barbed wire surrounding the compound where convicted 17 November terrorists were being held, "in the spirit of clemency". Roussopoulos made the comment after being asked about efforts made by the Athens Lawyer's Association in connection with what it called violations of the penal system.
Concerning the continued hunger strike by convicted terrorist Dimitris Koufontinas, Roussopoulos said that he was sorry that the inmate had chosen to behave in this way and that "the conditions under which Koufontinas were being kept were in line with international specifications and were enforced for the personal safety of the inmates".
 Justice minister holds talks with FYROM counterpart on transfer of inmates
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras met Friday with his counterpart from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Ixhet Memeti, to focus on the topical issue of reducing the number of foreign (mostly Balkan) inmates in Greek jails.
In order to reduce the strain on Greece's prison system, Papaligouras has suggested that foreign inmates be able to serve out the rest of their sentence in their country of origin.
During a recent visit to Albania, Papaligouras met with his Albanian counterpart, Fatmir Xhafaj, resulting in an agreement to accelerate the process of transporting Albanian inmates from Greek jails to existing ones in Albania. Athens has, in fact, offered to finance the building of a penitentiary in Albania for this purpose.
Papaligouras has also held talks with his Romanian and Bulgarian counterparts as well as other ministers to discuss a similar plan.
 Journalist Christos Panagopoulos selected interim president/managing director of ERT S.A.
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Journalist Christos Panagopoulos has been selected as interim president and managing director of the state ERT S.A. (radio and television organization) following the departure of Angelos Staggos, it was announced Friday.
Panagopoulos was selected by the ERT S.A. board of directors, during a meeting on Thursday, to replace Staggos until a new president/managing director was selected in accordance with Law 2414/96, under which a proclamation for applications for the post must be issued.
 President Stephanopoulos to pay state visit to Albania
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos will pay a three-day state visit to Albania early next week, at the invitation of his Albanian counterpart Alfred Moisiu.
The President will be accompanied on his visit, which begins Monday, by education and religious affairs minister Marietta Yiannakou and deputy foreign minister Evripidis Stylianidis.
While in Tirana, Stephanopoulos will have separate meetings with Moisiu, prime minister Fatos Nano, representatives of the Albanian political parties, Orthodox Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albana, and representatives of the Greek minority organizations. On Wednesday, he will tour several Albanian towns with Greek minority communities.
 Army General Staff chief Douvas to visit Romania next week
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Greece's chief of the Army General Staff (GES), Lt.-Gen. Nicolaos Douvas, will pay a three-day official courtesy visit to Romania next week at the invitation of his Romanian counterpart Lt.-Gen. Eugen Badalan, the GES announced Friday.
During his October 19-21 visit, Douvas will hold talks with Badalan on matters of mutual military interest and bilateral cooperation. He will also be briefed on the Romanian army's capabilities in the areas of inter-branch operational command, and will visit the Romanian army's formation simulation centre as well as the Greek embassy in Bucharest
 Prime Minister meets with Social Insurance Institute (IKA) governor
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met Friday with the governor of the Social Insurance Institute (IKA), Yiannis Vartholomeos at the Maximos Mansion. Vartholomeos did not make any statements as he left the meeting.
 Prime minister meets with journalist Kavathas and veteran politician Glezos
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met Friday with well-known journalist Kostas Kavathas, who said he was very touched that after forty years as a journalist he had been invited to express his opinion.
During their half-hour meeting, the prime minister and Kavathas, who writes on automotive matters, discussed alternative sources of energy for cars. Kavathas proposed that Greece should become an international research centre for renewable sources of energy.
The prime minister went on to meet with veteran politician of the Left, Manolis Glezos who left the Maximos Mansion without making any comments.
 Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos begins six-day visit to Romania
BUCHAREST 16/10/04 (ANA)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos arrived in Bucharest on Friday for a six-day visit to Romania (October 15-21) at the invitation of Patriarch Theoktistos of Romania on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of Saint Voevodas.
Vartholomeos was met at Bucharest airport by Theoktistos, Greek Ambassador Grosomanidou, the clergy of Romania and other officials.
On Saturday, Vartholomeos will give a speech at Bucharest University on the theme "The personality of Saint Voevodas" and on Sunday will officiate with Theoktistos along with clerics from Greece and Romania.
In the following days he will visit the cities of Cluj, Suceava and Constanta.
During his stay in Romania, he will meet with President Ion Iliescu and Prime Minister Adrian Nastase as well as with the Ambassadors of Greece and Turkey in Bucharest.
Vartholomeos will also be proclaimed Honorary Doctor of the Universities of Cluj and Constanta. The Academy of Romania will proclaim him an honorary member.
 Manufacturer disagrees with re-negotiation of C41 security system contract
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)SAIC, the joint venture company which manufactured the C41 security system procured by the Greek government especially for the Olympic Games, on Friday expressed its disagreement with the government's intention to re-negotiate the terms of the contract.
Although SAIC admitted that parts of the security system did not work during the Olympics, it attributed this to the delay in completing Olympic construction projects, bureaucracy and the limited amount of time - twelve months - made available for the development of such a complex security system.
The Ministry of Public Order had announced on Wednesday that it would renegotiate the terms of the procurement contract for the C41 security system which was hastily procured for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis commented that the system had presented a number of problems which were beyond its specifications. Efforts had been made to sort these problems out both before and during the Olympic Games but to no avail, resulting in the decision to form a 20-member committee which would study them.
 Coalition leader Constantopoulos calls for 'strong and autonomous' local government
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos on Friday expressed his disappointment "on the structural problems of local government in a period which requires changes and reforms" when he opened on Friday afternoon the sessions of the Panhellenic Conference on Local Government which was organized by his party.
"Unfortunately, and for the first decade of the 21st Century, the demand for a strong, autonomous and elected local government, on all levels, remains pending. The next local government elections should be held for elected mayors, prefects and regional prefects, within the framework of the constitutional clauses," he stressed in his speech, underlining that "the existing situation shows a concentrated, bureaucratic state in a crisis and a local government lacking structures and weak."
Constantopoulos said that "the problems in local government will not be confronted as long as the two major parties will continue to move in the same political framework" and he stood in favor of radical changes "so that a development impetus be given to the regions."
 Building activity up in June, down in first half of 2004
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Building activity fell by 0.6 percent, based on the number of permits, and 7.2 percent in volume in the first six months of 2004 compared with the same period last year, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.
NSS, in its monthly report, said that building activity totalled 40,651 permits in the January-June period.
Building activity rose 8.3 percent (measured on the number of permits) and 5.6 percent in volume in June compared with the same month last year.
 Two vessels raise the Greek flag
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Two new vessels raised the Greek flag, Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis said on Friday. A ministry report said that "Athina Zafirakis", a 38,727 kwt vessel owned by Immortality Shipping Co Ltd and managed by S.Livanos Hellas Shipping and Broking SA, and "Maribella", a 39,750 kwt vessel owned by Afxisia Shipping Inc and managed by Chandris Hellas Inc, were registered with the Greek shipping register.
 Greece lags behind in submitting export farm programs with the EU Commission
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)The Greek government did not submit any programs for promoting farm products to third countries during the period from 2001 to 2003, with the first such program submitted in June 2004, EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler said on Friday.
Speaking in Brussels, Fischler that from the Greek program aimed to promote peach and vanilla peach to Bulgaria, Romania and Russia and that the program was approved by the European Commission.
Fischler was responding to a question tabled with the EU executive by Greek Eurodeputy professor George Papastamkos on agricultural development in the period 2007-2013.
 Greece, Poland interested in boosting business ties
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Greece and Poland are interested in boosting business ties including bilateral trade and alliances between small- and medium-sized enterprises in the two countries.
Also discussed by Deputy Finance Minister Christos Folias and senior Polish government officials in Warsaw was a two-way exchange of technical knowhow.
Folias was in the Polish capital to take part in Forum 2004, arranged by the European Investment Bank.
 EU environment ministers reach agreement on two important legislative proposals
BRUSSELS 16/10/04 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)The European Union's Council of Environment Ministers reached a political agreement on two important legislative proposals during its session on Thursday, at which Greece was represented by Deputy Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Stavros Kaloyiannis.
The first legislative proposal concerns checks in production and use for some of the greenhouse gases.
Kaloyiannis stated that Greece can accept the Presidency's proposed compromise solution to enable the ratification of the legal framework which contributes to the achievement of the target determined by the Kyoto Protocol for the EU.
The second proposal concerns the managing of the excavating industry's waste and supplements EU legislation, filling in the vacuum existing in the managing of refuse of this important sector.
 Gov't comments on Internet cafe limitations, 'primary shareholder' bill
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)In response to a question over to the European Commission's recourse to the Euro-court in connection with a continuing legal ban on Greek internet cafes using video games, government spokesman Thodoris Roussopoulos on Friday said the government had not yet decided if it would rescind the decision, one taken by the previous government.
He added that "the government was in the process of considering the European Court's decision and would act accordingly".
Greece being taken to the Euro-court over pending legislation concerning the "primary shareholder" share of broadcast media ownership, the spokesman said correspondence between the government and the European Commission has been exchanged on the matter, contacts that would clarify technical issues, he added.
 Development Minister Sioufas tables draft law for 'Ombudsman of the Consumer'
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Friday tabled to the Economic and Social Committee (O.K.E.) the draft law for the "Ombudsman of the Consumer", which has already been approved by the Inner-Cabinet, following a recommendation by Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou and Consumer general secretary Athanasios Skordas.
The draft law has already been put forward for public discussion with bodies such as consumer organizations, the prefectural local governments, the Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), the Ombudsman of the Citizen and the Competition Committee.
As stated by Sioufas, the aim of the draft law is the introduction in Greek legal order the institution of the "Ombudsman of the Consumer" as an extra-judicial body for the consensus settlement of consumer differences, while at the same time a relevant program commitment by the government is implemented.
 Thessaloniki metro "top priority", Public Works minister says
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)The construction of an underground metro system in Thessaloniki is a top priority policy, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias said on Friday.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with the board of Attico Metro, Souflias said that the selection of a contractor in the project was expected in May 2005 on the precondition that all objections would be cleared and noted that the project would be completed in around six years. The Thessaloniki metro system will stretch at 9.5 km, with 13 stations linking the western part of the city with the eastern side.
The project will be financed by the Greek state and the European Union. Five consortiums, including Greek and foreign companies, have already expressed interest in the project.
The Greek minister also announced changes in the way that an extension of the metro line linking Athens with Hellenikon would be constructed. Souflias said that due to environmental reasons, the new line, stretching at 5.5 km and including four stations, would continue its underground route, instead of an overhead bridge as previously planned. The new plan would add around 30 million euros to the project's budget and would cause a six-month delay. Works are expected to begin in early 2006 and the project to be completed in 2009.
Souflias announced the construction of a new metro station in Aghia Paraskevi, to be delivered in 2008, and completion of two other stations in the National Mint and Holargos in 2006.
Attico Metro also plans to expand its line to Haidari and to build a depot in Eleonas by 2008.
The Greek minister said that Attico metro was also examining to extend its line to Piraeus and to Maroussi, although funding of the projects has not been secured yet and that the government was examining other alternative ways of funding.
 Greek Farm minister meets Dutch ambassador
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Greek Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evaggelos Basiakos on Friday met with Dutch ambassador, Mr P.R. Brouwer, and discussed issues of particular interest to the Greek farm sector, such as a restructuring of common organizations of sugar and fresh fruit and vegetable markets.
Basiakos briefed Brouwer over the significance placed by the Greek government to securing an adequate community support to Greek farmers, since they accounted for 17 percent of the country's active population.
 National Bank's informative bulletin says high oil prices and restrictive policies a stumbling block for world economic activity
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)The National Bank's latest informative bulletin says high oil prices and the adoption of restrictive policies in many countries is expected to function as a stumbling block for the world's economic activity in 2005, jeopardizing the recovery of the eurozone's economy as well in this way.
The most serious danger for world recovery is the price of oil, which has exceeded 50 dollars a barrel (38 dollars according to the assessment for 2004 and 29 dollars in 2003 on average).
The bulletin further says that an increase in oil prices of 10 dollars a barrel will reduce, if it is maintained for a year, the rate of world activity by approximately half a percentage point.
However, apart from oil prices, the growth prospects of the eurozone's main export markets depend on separate factors for each economy, most of which indicate a further slowdown in the activities of these economies.
 Greek economic weekly review
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)The 2005 budget lays the foundations for healthy, honest and credible budgets and reliable stability and growth programs, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis told a budget parliament commission during the week.
"We seek to reduce fiscal deficit from 5.3 percent to 2.8 percent of GDP through a mild adjustment that will focus on public spending control," Alogoskoufis told the commission during a debate of draft budget plan for 2005. Opposition parties rejected the government's budget plan.
In other headline news this week: Labor ministry unveiled three new programs aimed to create 17,100 new jobs in the period 2004-2008, budgeted at 60.5 million euros.
Two in 10 Greeks are living in poverty, a survey by the Centre for Social Research and the National Statistics Service said this week. The poverty limit for an one-member household is an annual income of 4,800 euros, while for a four-member family 10,080 euros.
Greek Industries Union's president Odysseas Kyriakopoulos urged the government to revise its draft budget plan for 2005 in view of a record-rally of oil prices in international markets. Kyriakopoulos also called for drastic reduction in public spending and accelerating privatizations. The Union also reiterated its demand for a cut in diesel oil tax.
A total of 1,506 staff expressed interest in a voluntary exit program announced by National Bank, a figure accounting for 10 percent of total staff. The cost of the program, the biggest ever such program implemented by a Greek bank, will total 106 million euros.
Greek tourism ministry announced it would tender a series of programs, budgeted at 54 million euros by the end of the year aimed to improve competitiveness of the country's tourism economy.
The Aluminium industry employs more than 40,000 workers in the country, while its turnover jumped to 3.0 billion euros in 2003, the industry's body said this week.
Eight new hotels, four in Athens, one in Sounio and three in Kyllini, west Peloponnese, were launched by Grecotel Group this year. The Group founded 30 years ago, owns a chain of 38 luxury hotels around the country, with room capacity of 8,000. The Group said its annual overnight stays total 350,000.
 Bodies of the pilots of crashed F-16 jetfighters spotted by rescuers
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)The bodies of the four pilots who were missing after their two F-16 jetfighters crashed near Aghios Lavrentios monastery in the mountainous region of Pelion on Thursday afternoon were spotted by rescuers on Friday.
The two twin-seater F-16 jets, each with two pilots aboard, disappeared off radar screens at 3pm on Thursday while flying in the region of Pelion, central Greece, during a training flight, and wreckage of the two jets was spotted Thursday night two kilometres northeast of Aghios Lavrentios monastery.
According to defense ministry officials, an ejection signal had been recorded as the Air Force jets were flying 23-25 kilometres northeast of the Aghialos military airport in the Pelion region.
According to search and rescue teams, the two aircraft had crashed at a short distance from each other. Adverse weather conditions were prevailing in the hour at the time of the accident, as well as low cloud.
The cause of the double crash was as yet unknown. Experts are mulling the possibility that the two jetfighters veered off course, but are not ruling out the prospect that they may have crashed into each other, while a third possibility was that the first of the two jets suffered engine failure and the second jet followed it on its fatal course, since the two aircraft were flying in formation with the one following the other.
Government spokesman extends government's condolences to families of four pilots killed on Thursday: Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Friday extended the government's condolences to the families of the four Greek air force pilots who were killed when their two F-16 jets crashed in the region of Pilio, central Greece, on Thursday.
Replying to a question on the frequency of accidents in the air force, Roussopoulos said one should not make "metaphysical probes", adding that the government is examining every case to determine the specific causes of the accident.
The spokesman further said this was the case in the Chinook helicopter's crash (in which the investigation into the causes of the accident is still under way) and this will be the case with the crash of the two F-16s.
Officials express condolences for killed air force pilots:The President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Friday sent a telegram Friday expressing his condolences to the families of the four Greek air force pilots who were killed when their two F-16 jets crashed in the region of Pilio. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis expressed his grief at the loss of the four men, adding that air force pilots risked their lives every day and worked under difficult conditions so that Greeks would be able to feel secure.
Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and all Greece also sent a telegram expressing his condolences to the chief of the Hellenic Air Force General Staff, George Avlonitis.
 Journalist and historian Spyros Linardatos dies aged 81
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Journalist and historian Spyros Linardatos died on Thursday at the age of 81. His funeral will be held at the A' Athens Cemetery on Monday.
Linardatos was born in Lixouri, Cephalonia, in 1923. Having finished his secondary education, he entered the Law School of Athens University.
He was an active member of the Athens branch of the Youth Resistance Organization (EPON). For this activity of his, he was exiled from 1948 to 1952. He was again exiled by the regime of the colonels from April 21, 1967 until 1970.
He began his journalistic career in 1946, working as a political editor, feature writer and commentator in the newspapers "Rizospastis", "Elliniki Imera", "Avghi" and "Vima", from where he was pensioned off.
Along with his journalistic career, he dealt with translations of literary and political works and cooperated with various magazines.
Condolences to his family were conveyed on Friday by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Minister of State and Government Spokesman Thodoros Roussopoulos, main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology leader Nikos Constantopoulos and the Executive Board of the Athens Journalists Union (ESHEA).
 Rear part of fuselage of ill-fated Chinook helicopter hauled up
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Crews who had undertaken the task of hauling up the fuselage of an ill-fated Chinook helicopter from the sea region off Sithonia, northern Greece, on Friday afternoon hauled up its rear part, according to press reports. The fuselage had been located at a depth of 866 meters.
The helicopter had crashed early September while on its way to Mount Athos, killing all 17 people on board. The dead included Pope and Patriarch Petros of Alexandria and All Africa and clerics accompanying him.
 European Commission decides to continue warning procedure against Greece for lack of effective protection for Caretta-Caretta turtle
BRUSSELS 16/10/04 (ANA/V. Demiris)The European Commission decided here on Friday to continue the warning procedure against Greece for failing to provide effective protection for the rare Caretta-Caretta sea turtle on the Ionian island of Zakinthos.
The Commission issued its last written warning to Greece, calling on it to comply, within a period of two months, with the European Court's ruling in 2002.
The warning is the last resort before the Commission asks the Court to impose sanctions on Greece.
 Federation calls for increased dietary awareness on World Food Day
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)On the occasion of World Food Day on Saturday, the General Consumer's Federation of Greece on Friday requested that informational programs stressing the benefits of a Mediterranean diet be developed for both parents and children.
The federation recently carried out a study of the dietary habits of 504 students living in the Attica region, 97% of whom were aware that fast food in excessive amounts is fattening while 83% were interested in learning more about good nutrition and how this contributed to longevity.
 Christodoulos criticizes Christians 'who use Christianity as a vehicle for promoting personal, ideological positions'
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Friday referred to "Christians of the west who have used Christianity as a vehicle for promoting their own personal ideological positions".
Christodoulos made the statement in an address at a northern Greece township, and during events to commemorate the 100-anniversary of the death of Macedonian Struggle hero Pavlos Melas.
The influential Archbishop went on to add that "Christianity has been slandered and distorted, and this is apparent in the ambitions of a Church that seeks more power and wants to become even wealthier."
 Prosecutors conclude probe on high-profile sports doping issue
Athens 16/10/04 (ANA)A pair of Athens prosecutors has wrapped up a judicial probe dealing with sports doping, and specifically with a portion of the investigation involving Greece's top two sprinters, Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, as well as controversial track coach and manager Christos Tzekos.
The scope of the investigation, which also included hours of separate depositions by the trio, covered a mysterious traffic accident that hospitalized the athletes just one day (Aug. 12) before the Athens Olympic Games began; the issue of state funding for an obscure sports club ostensibly headed by Tzekos, as well as the latter's involvement in the import of illegal performance-enhancing substances (anabolic steroids).
The results of the investigation will be conveyed to the head of the prosecutor's office for further action.
 EU Commission role to reach consensus, says BarrosoNICOSIA (CNA/ANA) 16/10/04
The role of the European Commission is to help in reaching consensus in the European Union, EU Commission President-designate Jose Manuel Barroso stated after talks here on Monday with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.
Barroso, in Cyprus for a brief visit in view of the assumption of his duties as the new President of the Commission in November,
exchanged views with President Papadopoulos on European issues, as well as the Cyprus problem and the prospects of the Union starting accession negotiations with Turkey.
''I think this meeting is going to prove very, very helpful in the future,'' Papadopoulos said in statements after the meeting.
Speaking to the press, Barroso described the meeting as constructive, friendly and frank.
Noting that the Commission will be fully in power in November, Barroso added that he was meeting the heads of state and government of the members of the European Council so he would hear what their priorities were ''because the role of the European Commission is to help reach a consensus in the European Union.''
Barroso said he exchanged views with President Papadopoulos regarding the goals of the new Commission, the Lisbon Agenda, economic issues, the ratification of the constitutional treaty, as well as the prospects of negotiations with Turkey.
He added that they also discussed the ''so-called Cyprus problem in a very frank and friendly manner, the way we do in the European Union.''
''I very much look forward to the opportunity to go into discussions with the Cyprus government, the Republic of Cyprus government and with you personally'', the European official said, addressing President Papadopoulos, noting that Cyprus can receive a lot from the EU but can also make a good contribution to the EU.
''And I believe that now we have a very important task ahead of us in our Europe and that the contribution of Cyprus and you Mr. President are greatly appreciated,'' Barroso added.
President Papadopoulos stated that he was very happy and proud to meet with Barroso and thanked him for ''going to the trouble and spending time to meet us and hear our views on a great number of subjects.''
The Cypriot president said that he discussed with Barroso about the priorities the new Commission is going to set, adding he was very pleased with the understanding shown.
''I think this meeting is going to prove very, very helpful in the future,'' he said.
 Britain says Turkey must recognize Cyprus at some stage
LONDON 16/10/04 (CNA/ANA)Every EU country must recognize all other member states, British Minister for Europe Dennis MacShane said, adding that at some stage a question will have to be asked on the recognition of Cyprus by Turkey.
In statements to ''London Gazette'', the Turkish Cypriot newspaper-per of London, MacShane said ''there is a serious problem that at some stage a question will have to be asked on the recognition of Cyprus by Turkey.''
''I have discussed that with Turkish colleagues. I think we all realize that when the negotiations come, people will have to ask themselves that question and that question will be asked all over Europe,'' he noted.
The British official added, ''I am not here telling Turkey what to do. All I can say is that there will be serious questions that have to be asked. All EU states have to recognize each other''.
 Cyprus in better position to negotiate settlementNEW YORK (CNA/ANA) 16/10/04
In the aftermath of the 24 April referenda having ''avoided the worse'', Cyprus as a full member of the European Union is in a good position, and may be in a better one, to negotiate a fair settlement of the Cyprus problem, Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN, Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis, has stated.
In a speech at the Hellenic Banker's Annual Charitable Event Mavroyiannis Thursday said that it would be a terrible mistake to consider the Annan Plan as the one and only blue print for a settlement in Cyprus or as the only one providing for a federal solution.
He pointed out that in politics and diplomacy there is no such thing as ''a last effort to win the peace'' and that negotiations should continue in order to achieve a mutually acceptable solution.
''Whether they will result in an Annan 6 or 7 or something else, is not relevant. Certainly, any new effort will have to draw from what has been achieved so far but should also keep its distance with all that was unacceptable'', the ambassador said.
He added that in the current phase, there seem to be a number of factors conducive to a settlement such as Cyprus' EU member-ship that puts Cyprus in ''a stronger negotiating position than before'' which can be further enhanced by the ''solidarity and support that comes as part and parcel of the European Union''.
Another important factor, he said, is the recent positive decision of the European Commission for Turkey, which notes that Turkey fulfills, though problems persist, the political criteria and recommends that accession negotiations begin.
''In the long negotiating process that lies ahead, Turkey's commitment to European standards, human rights and respect for the rule of law will be put to a test'', said Mavroyiannis, adding that Turkey's stance towards Cyprus will also be tested.
''On its way to Europe Turkey's unjustifiable hostile policy against Cyprus on issues like the use of the Turkish veto against the accession of Cyprus to a number of technical international organizations e.g. the OECD or the prohibition of Cypriot ships approaching Turkish ports, will have to change'', he concluded.