|Sunday, 17 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-10-18
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>October 18, 2004
 Foreign minister sees national consensus on Turkey's EU bid
Athens 18/10/2004 (ANA)Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis sees national consensus on Turkey's bid to join the European Union, if and when the neighboring country meets conditions that have been set for entry talks to begin, a decision the bloc's ministers are likely to take in December.
In an interview to the Sunday Typos newspaper, Molyviatis said that Turkey's membership of the EU would be positive for peace, stability and prosperity in the region, also benefiting ties between Greece and Turkey, and the Cyprus problem.
"The (ruling) New Democracy party and (main opposition) PASOK, and I would add the Coalition, which have a clear-cut public position in favor of Turkey's European perspective, gained almost 90% of the vote in very recent national elections," the minister said.
Turning to the Helsinki agreement, he noted that the friendly atmosphere of bilateral ties with Turkey allowed the maintenance of exploratory talks, with no artificial time limit.
"After a process of more than two years, the period of time until December is extremely short for something to emerge that could transform the current situation. What should occur is a continuation of the process of exploratory talks for as long as required," Molyviatis said.
On the Cyprus issue, the minister repeated that Greece and the divided island wished for a just, viable and functional solution, and reunification, that would benefit the whole of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
"The latest Annan plan should, logically, be a starting point for a solution acceptable by all in Cyprus - just, viable, functional and complying with European legislation, the principles and values of the European Union," he said.
Concerning the "period of reflection" on the Cyprus problem, Molyviatis forecast that maturation was moving closer day by day.
On Greece and the US, the minister said that the two countries would maintain stable ties of friendship and cooperation, regardless of the outcome of November's presidential election.
Finally, the minister pledged that Greece, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, would meet challenges and difficulties inherent in the post through a respect for democracy, human rights and international law.
 Bush says US working for fair Cyprus solution
WASHINGTON 18/10/2004 (ANA/A Ellis)US President George Bush has said that the US is working for a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem.
The US wants to see a secure and prosperous Cyprus, in which all the divided island's inhabitants will enjoy the benefits of European Union membership, Bush said in a pre-election statement published in the Greek News, a newspaper for ethnic Greeks in America.
The US president also welcomed Greece's contribution to the battle against terrorism and the violence-free Olympics it hosted this year; and lauded the contribution of ethnic Greeks and their values to American society.
 Cyprus welcomes Greek seat on UN Security Council
NICOSIA 18/10/2004 (ANA/G Leonidas)The Cypriot government on Saturday welcomed Greece's election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
The head of the president's press office, Marios Karoyian, told reporters that the seat for 2005-2006 was a major achievement for Greece.
 Minister says EU constitution will protect citizens
Athens 18/10/2004 (ANA)The European Union constitution will protect the bloc's citizens and act as a factor for global peace, Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos told a seminar in the northern port city of Thessaloniki.
"Global peace needs a powerful counterweight and that is a powerful Europe with a constitutional charter," Pavlopoulos told the seminar on Saturday on the outlook for the EU constitution that was arranged by the Greek-European Studies Association.
"The European constitution will give Europe the legal character that befits it as a state entity, and will act as the means of protecting European citizens," the minister said.
 President urges good civic behavior from state, public
Athens 18/10/2004 (ANA)The President of the Republic, Kostis Stephanopoulos, on Sun-day urged both the government and the public to show good civic behavior.
"When we ask the state to improve its behavior and day-to-day conditions, we should not forget our own behavior," Stephanopoulos said in Thiva during a visit to the prefecture of Viotia.
The visit also included a trip to the town of Livadia and Ossios Loukas monastery in the mountains.
 PM pledges flood-protection works for ancient site
Athens 18/10/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday pledged a series of flood protection works for an archaeological site at Vravrona in Attica, vulnerable to downpours after a barrage of infrastructure works in the vicinity.
Karamanlis, who is also culture minister, repeated his priority of preserving the country's cultural heritage and making ancient sites and monuments easily accessible to the public.
The premier was speaking to reporters during a tour of Vravrona.
 Ex-premier says government too timid in tackling the economy
Athens 18/10/2004 (ANA)Constantine Mitsotakis, a former premier and honorary president of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party, said on Saturday that the government was too timid in overhauling the economy.
"The government is trying, but not as decisively as I would like. When you're in power, you have to take some unpleasant decisions," Mitsotakis told reporters during an informal meeting in a central Athens cafe.
He also said he believed that no political party wanted to see early national elections, and the parties would be able to reach agreement on who should be the next president of the republic.
 Communist party blasts two main parties for backing "plutocracy"
Athens 18/10/2004 (ANA)The leader of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Aleka Papariga, sharply criticized the ruling New Democracy and main opposition Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement for backing a "plutocracy" that harmed the public, saying that their mutual recriminations of corruption veiled a political power struggle.
A recent public uproar about "five (big business) pimps" "or five state corporation union strangleholds" ruling the country in the form of vested interests paled into insignificance beside society's inbuilt wealth establishment; and the only solution was for the people to own the means of production, Papariga told the Sunday Eleftherotypia newspaper.
"If five or six business groups go, others will arrive," she added.
Papariga also said the KKE would not embroil itself in choosing a candidate for a new president of the republic with other parties as it could not support any holder of the position, which entailed signing parliamentary decisions against working people.
Also on Sunday, the KKE released a party document that outlines points for debate with party members and society in view of its upcoming 17th Congress.
The points cover analysis of political and economic events; details of the KKE's internal renewal drive in terms of new appointments and restructuring; self-criticism of the party's presence since its last congress; and the party's future outlook and priorities.
 Coalition of the Left backs consensus over presidential candidate
Athens 18/10/2004 (ANA)The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology backs consensus among the country's parliamentary parties in agreeing on a candidate to stand for election as new president of the republic, its leader said.
"The Left must be present in the process of finding a consensus solution in the matter of electing a president of the republic and seek to move the principle of consensus in as progressive a direction as possible," Nikos Constantopoulos told the Sunday Eleftherotypia news paper in an interview.
The party leader said that he was opposed to early national elections, which would be the outcome if a presidential candidate failed to secure enough votes.
He added that he welcomed a climate of consensus that had emerged among the political parties in combatting vested interests.
 Gov't anxious over impact of surging oil price on inflation
Athens 18/10/2004 (ANA)The government is concerned at the impact on domestic inflation of rising global oil prices that will lead to hikes on goods and services.
On global markets, crude oil was selling at 55 US dollars per barrel at the weekend.
Heating oil goes on sale in Greece on Monday with prices around 35% higher than the same month of last year. Current prices are about 46 cents per liter, expected to top 50 cents in the provinces.
 EU drops case against Greece over contract workers
Athens 18/10/2004 (ANA)The European Union's executive Commission has dropped its case against Greece for non-compliance with the bloc's rules on contractual workers because new legislation has been introduced that remedies the problem.
Greece's presidential decree, which was formulated by the employment ministry, harmonizes national legislation with EU law, granting open-ended contracts time wise to contract workers who have been employed on the basis of a series of short-term agreements.
At the same time, the Commission is continuing to monitor the situation in Greece concerning private sector contract workers, with a conclusion expected by the end of 2004.
 Events to mark 100th anniversary of Macedonian Struggle
Athens 18/10/2004 (ANA)Commemorative events to mark the 100th anniversary of the Macedonian Struggle and death of hero Pavlos Melas were held in the north over the weekend.
On Sunday, Macedonia-Thrace Minister Nikos Tsiartsionis represented the government at a service taken by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece in Kastoria, and a special memorial service for Melas. Christodoulos told crowds commemorating the Macedonian Struggle that difficult times were not yet over as history had repeated itself in the Balkans in past years.
In Thessaloniki, Deputy Finance Minister Adam Regouzas attended a wreath-laying ceremony at Melas' statue in memory of the Macedonian fighters.
 Politicians across the board mourn death of leftist local gov't veteran
Athens 18/10/2004 (ANA)Politicians across the political spectrum sent condolences for the death on Saturday of Theodoros Katrivanos, 85, a former leftist deputy and resistance fighter in World War II, who later emerged as a tireless campaigner in local government.
Katrivanos, awarded Greece's Order of the Phoenix in 2003 for pubic service, was elected prefect of Athens and Piraeus in 1998 after a long career in politics that also encompassed a brief tenure as interior minister in 1989-1990 in an all-party government.
He suffered three years of imprisonment in island detention camps during the country's 1967-74 dictatorship, and was again jailed after the Polytechnic uprising against the junta in 1973.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said that Katrivanos, a personal friend and associate, had unstintingly worked for freedom, the country's independence, and a voice for the public through local government.
Also lauding Katrivanos' contribution were the leader of the Communist Party of Greece, Aleka Papariga; the head of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement, George Papandreou; the president of the Coalition of the Left and Progress, Nikos Konstantopoulos; and Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni.
 Fans release white balloons at funeral of entertainer Vlassis Bonatsos
Athens 18/10/2004 (ANA)Fans released tens of white balloons into the Attica sky at the funeral of Vlassis Bonatsos on Saturday in a mark of affection for one of Greece's most popular entertainers.
Bonatsos, 55, died in hospital on Thursday, apparently of a heart attack.
Among public figures attending the funeral in Athens' 1st Cemetery were Employment and Social Protection Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos and rock star Vassilis Papakonstantinou.
Bonatsos, a singer, songwriter, actor and host of several TV game and entertainment shows, played Che Guevara in the musical "Evita" with the late Aliki Vougiouklaki.
In a condolence message, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis praised Bonatsos' enthusiasm, which he said had won the love of the public.
 Fifteen people on trial in state investment cash fraud
Athens 18/10/2004 (ANA)Fifteen people are to be tried in Thrace on Monday charged with appropriating state investment funds on false pretences for construction projects over ten years that were left unfinished, costing the state billions of drachmas, judicial officials said.
A prosecutor's investigation following a spate of complaints revealed that individuals from different parts of the country were responsible for tens of schemes in Thrace that received monies under a development law passed in 1982, which contained special incentives for Thrace. As a result, many partially built edifices have been left standing in Xanthi, Rodopi and Evros.
Police located some of the buildings' owners but others fled abroad to evade arrest, and international arrest warrants were issued.
The enquiry then widened to bank officials and state organizations that had approved financing for the projects. Deemed to bear part of the responsibility were two former secretaries general for eastern Macedonia and Thrace and 13 senior staff in the public sector and ETVA bank, who allegedly recommended that the investments should be approved but failed to track their progress. The case will be heard by Thrace's three-member criminal appeals court.
 Youths firebomb two domestic banks, no injuries
Athens 18/10/2004 (ANA)About 20 rampaging youths firebombed two banks and an offshoot of the foreign ministry in an inner-city residential area. There were no injuries, police said on Sunday.
Badly damaged was a branch of Agricultural Bank of Greece in Exarchia. A branch of Emporiki Bank and offices housing the foreign ministry's gender equality department suffered little damage in the Saturday night attack by about 20 anarchists divided in two groups, police said.
 Flight recorder found of crashed F-16 jetfighter
Athens 18/10/2004 (ANA)A flight recorder was recovered on Saturday of one of two F-16 jetfighters that crashed in the Pelion mountain area last week, killing all four pilots.
The find will help authorities to discover the cause of the crash when the two twin seater F-16 jets, each with two pilots aboard, disappeared off radar screens during a training flight in central mainland Greece on Thursday.
The wreckage was spotted the same night two kilometers northeast of Aghios Lavrentios monastery, and the pilots' bodies recovered on Friday.
According to defense ministry officials, an ejection signal had been recorded as the air force jets were flying 23-25 kilometers northeast of Aghialos military airport in Pelion.
Search and rescue teams reported that the two aircraft had crashed a short distance from each other. The weather was adverse at the time of the accident, including low cloud.
Experts have said that the two jetfighters may have veered off course, and there may have been a collision. The first of the two jets could have suffered engine failure, with the second aircraft crashing into it since the two were flying in formation. The funerals of the four pilots are to be held on Sunday.