|Friday, 15 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-10-19
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>October 19, 2004
 Stephanopoulos calls for Greece, Albania to eliminate past prejudices, work for better future
TIRANA 19/10/2004 (ANA)Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Monday began his closely watched three-day official visit here, meeting with his counterpart Alfred Moisiu for talks on all-important bilateral relations -- with both leaders subsequently referring to a need to "eliminate past prejudices" and a "future based on clear values and stable models".
In welcoming Stephanopoulos at a reception in his honor, Moisiu said the existence of bilateral problems, an "inheritance from the past" for the two neighbors in the southwest Balkans, "do not define or affect the two countries' relationship."
The early 1990s collapse of a Stalinist regime in Albania -- one of the world's most isolated countries and the most impoverished state in Europe at the time -- rekindled relations between the two neighbors after roughly a half century of Cold War era hostility.
Tens of thousands of Albanians crossed the Greek border over the following years in search of better living conditions and jobs, whereas that country's ancient ethnic Greek community - in Albania's southwest -- was finally allowed contact with the outside world after decades of persecution by the Hoxha regime.
At present, Albanian workers' remittances from Greece, and other west European countries, provide the bulk of that country's foreign exchange, while bilateral trade and economic relations between Athens and Tirana are booming.
One "thorn", however, was directly dealt with by Stephanopoulos on Monday, namely, the 1944 fleeing of a few thousand ethnic Albanians -- part of the so-called "Chasm" community -- from the extreme northwest Greek prefecture of Thesprotia to avoid prosecution for their part in collaborating with Axis and fascist occupation powers.
Stephanopoulos categorically stated that the Greek government considers the issue as "non-existent."
"I don't know whether there is a need for a solution to this problem. I consider it as non-existent because it refers to an era when conditions were completely different. If we remember that era we would have to remember Greece's claims against Albania. Is it possible to discuss such things?" he asked.
Stephanopoulos' response came following the Albanian president's comment over the need to "quickly begin negotiations" for a "correct legal solution to the problem of the Chasm Albanians in Greece and the Greeks of Albania".
Ethnic Greek minority: Regarding the latter, Stephanopoulos referred on two occasions to the ethnic Greek community of southern Albania, reiterating the importance that Athens places on the safeguarding of the internationally recognized minority's rights, "on all levels, and wherever its members live".
Along those lines, Stephanopoulos called for the end of specific "minority zones" in the neighboring country, thereby allowing ethnic Greeks the opportunity to enjoy their cultural and linguistic rights - as foreseen by European and international treaties - anywhere in Albania. The latter was a reference to the situation in the coastal Himare district, home to a sizeable and vigorous ethnic Greek community, but one not recognized by Tirana as justifying "minority zone" status.
In terms of the Albanian economic migrants currently residing in EU member-state Greece, Stephanopoulos assured his audience that the Greek government wholeheartedly respects human rights, regardless of national, racial and religious differences. Moreover, he sternly condemned isolated instances of violence aimed at Albanian migrants.
In echoing past statements over much of the past decade by both the Greek and Albanian governments, Stephanopoulos said bilateral relations were "strategic", while reiterating Athens' commitment to supporting Tirana's European course as far as future NATO and possibly European Union membership.
The Greek head of state, who steps down after two terms next spring, arrived in the Albanian capital at 10 a.m., accompanied by Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou and Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis.
Protest petition denied: In a related development, authorities here rejected a petition by the so-called "Chamuria" group to stage a demonstration during Stephanopoulos' visit here. The group has organized such demonstrations during nearly all formal visits by Greek officials to Tirana over past years.
 Papandreou criticizes gov't performance on viticulture; farm minister points to 'Papandreou's responsibilities'
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Monday criticized the government for reneging on what he said were its promises to help farmers.
Papandreou made the statements after a meeting with members of the Nemea wine-producing region's co-operative, which he visited on Monday morning.
The opposition leader said a state of lawlessness currently prevails in the market, with the price of goods increasing dramatically from the "field to table", but without these high prices benefiting either. He added that there were excess funds from the 3rd Community Support Framework available to farmers, but those eight months after the election the government has not been able to utilize them. Papandreou went on to criticize the government for not controlling the import of grape must, saying this is a risk for the quality of Greek wine, such as that of Nemea, a wine producing district in the northeast Peloponnese. Papandreou also proposed that Nemea become a "protected brand region", so that no imports of must from either other parts of Greece or abroad are permitted.
Another major problem Papandreou referred to was the price of oil, saying PASOK would bring up the idea of partly funding the purchase of heating oil for low-income families and pensioners.
Replying to questions regarding the role of former high-profile PASOK minister Gerassimos Arsenis, which several press reports claimed is a "liaison" between the main opposition leader and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on the issue of a presidential candidate, Papandreou stated that "of course, I meet and talk with Mr. Arsenis, but there is nothing scheming on my part".
Gov't reaction: In response to Papandreou's comments, Agriculture and Foodstuffs Minister Evangelos Basiakos called on the main opposition leader to remember "his own intervention as the foreign minister on the EU General Affairs Council, when on Sept. 18, 2000 he unreservedly accepted the blanket import of agriculture products in our country from certain third countries; thus abolishing every existing quantitative restriction … and with the corresponding exclusion from duties and fees."
Basiakos countered that during the 2000-2003 periods, when a PASOK government was in power, farm exports dropped by 17.8 percent, whereas imports increased 13.1 percent.
"Mr. Papandreou should consider his own responsibilities for the commotion caused to the Greek market from the wholesale import of farm products, one of the 'major successes' of PASOK and his own, personally, against Greek farmers," Basiakos said from Luxembourg, where he is participating at an EU council of agriculture ministers.
 Investigative Committee on armaments convenes Tuesday
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)The Parliamentary Investigative Committee, set up to investigate possible criminal activities of former defense ministers of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Yiannos Papantoniou, will go over logistics issues regarding armament procurements during their first meeting on Tuesday.
During an unofficial meeting held Monday, representatives of the four Parliamentary parties decided that the Committee should meet every Tuesday (10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.), Wednesday morning from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and Thursday morning 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. There is a possibility that the committee will also convene every Thursday evening if deemed necessary for the report to be ready by December 14.
The parties however disagree over the order in which witnesses should be questioned: New Democracy asks that political figures be questioned last, while PASOK would like to have politicians questioned first in order to define the case's political dimension. The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) agrees to have political figures questioned first as long as they can be called back according to the needs of the investigation, while the Coalition of the Left Movements and Ecology (SYN) said witnesses should be questioned according to the needs of the investigation.
Another issue of disagreement is whether hearings will be public or not. New Democracy supports keeping hearings off limits to the public because of the nature of the investigation, while PASOK has called for the political figures' testimony to be made public. KKE has asked for complete minutes of the hearings with the option to publicize certain parts after a party decision and based on political criteria, while SYN is in favor of public hearings with the option of keeping only very sensitive matters confidential, when national interests are at stake.
The Committee will decide on the above on Tuesday.
 Justice Minister on conditions governing 'N17' inmates
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)The justice minister on Monday expressed a hope that "democracy's tolerance" will not be rewarded by "terrorism's intolerance", following a same-day decision to improve conditions of incarceration for a group of convicted "November 17" terrorists imprisoned at the main Korydallos penitentiary.
Minister Anastasis Papaligouras made the statement after a decision by a relevant prison-affiliated prosecutor to remove additional barbed wire from an exercise yard where most of the formerly elusive terrorists are serving life sentences.
Several of the N17 inmates are on revolving hunger strikes in demand of better conditions. One of the most notorious N17 assassins, previously self-styled beekeeper Dimitris Koufodinas, in fact, remains hospitalized after a more than four-week-long hunger strike, which ended today.
"Our correctional system, just as in every other modern, democratic state, is characterized by a spirit of moderation and humanism. The state punishes law breakers, it does not seek vengeance. This is self-evident even in the case of the N17 terrorists. That is why, of course, their conditions of incarceration are not inhumane," Papaligouras said, adding:
"Instead, they (N17 inmates) reside in facilities that guarantee them even better conditions than those of other inmates, comparatively; and this because of the need to ensure the necessary security conditions and their own protection," he said.
Finally, the minister reminded that the state considers the actions of Koufodinas, aka "Loukas", and the other convicted N17 terrorists as "abhorrent". "Vis-à-vis the inmate Koufodinas and the others of N17, however, we act with cool headedness, not with vengeance," he added.
Hospital doctors: Meanwhile, the Union of Hospital Doctors of Athens and Piraeus (EINAP) issued a statement on Monday regarding the possibility of forced feeding Koufodinas or other hunger strikers.
The statement noted that "doctors are opposed to forced feeding. No doctor has the right, according to the code of medical ethics, to act against the wishes of a patient". The statement added that "political problems cannot be solved by physicians."
 N17 inmate Koufoudinas ends more than four-week-long hunger strike
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Dimititris Koufodinas, one of a group of convicted "November 17" terrorists imprisoned at the main Korydallos penitentiary in Athens, ended a more than four-week-long hunger strike on Monday after a decision by Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras for the removal of additional barbed wire from an exercise yard where most of the formerly elusive terrorists are serving life sentences.
One of the most notorious N17 assassins, previously self-styled beekeeper Koufodinas, in fact, remains hospitalized.
Following the justice minister's decision, several of the N17 inmates who were on revolving hunger strikes in demand of better conditions, also ended their hunger strike. They include Alexandros Giotopoulos, Savvas and Christodoulos Xiros, Vassilis Tzortzatos and Iraklis Kostaris as well as Popular Revolutionary Struggle (ELA) inmate Christos Tsigaridas.
 Gov't: No contacts over presidential candidate; issue premature
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)The leitmotif of press questions concerning a presidential vote next spring was again on the agenda of a regular briefing by the government spokesman on Monday.
"There are no deliberations or contacts by the government in regards to the presidential election (by Parliament's 300 MPs). The issue, for us, is premature," spokesman Thodoris Roussopoulos repeated in answer to press questions over speculation -- in the press -- that the two main parties are in contact over a commonly accepted candidate.
In an unrelated development, Roussopoulos said Athens 2004-related equipment at various venues will be gradually turned over to charitable and social services foundations.
 Papariga downplays question on whether she'll again vie for KKE leadership
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Aleka Papariga on Monday avoided answering questions on whether she will again vie for the party's leadership, speaking during a press conference ahead of a pre-congressional dialogue.
Papariga, who heads the Parliament-represented party since the early 1990s, noted that supporters' interest is not focused on the individual that will lead the party, but rather, for a potent central committee to emerge from KKE's congress.
Among the goals she cited were for the party to "promote Marxist scientists that hail from the working class", while another goal is "for the further development of political alliances and formations".
 PM meets with labor, alternate culture minister
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday met separately with Labor Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos and Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia.
Afterwards, Panayiotopoulos told reporters that official figures on quarterly 2004 unemployment will be announced in the coming days, whereas he also indirectly criticized the previous PASOK government, saying that a new development and tax law will promote growth and serve as an "answer" to the high unemployment "inherited from past PASOK governments."
 Govt., political parties, ESHEA condemn attack on journalist Sirigos
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, the ruling New Democracy (ND) party, the main opposition PASOK party, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology and the Executive Board of the Athens Journalists Union (ESHEA) in statements they issued on Monday evening condemned an attack on sports journalist Philippos Sirigos by unknown assailants.
Roussopoulos said that "attacks against the press contravene the principle of a free press and the constitutional right to free expression."
ESHEA in its statement condemned the "cowardly and criminal" attack on Sirigos who was stabbed and struck with a crowbar at 6 p.m. on Monday. He is not reported in critical condition.
According to ESHEA, the aim of the assailants was "to take the life of the journalist" but was also "an effort to create a climate of terror for all those journalists who persist in seeking the truth and to reveal the dark side of the political, social and of the sports life of the country."
 Deputies call for non-extradition of Sinan Bozkurt to Germany
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Statements of support for Sinan Bozkurt (Taylan) were issued on Monday by deputies of the main opposition Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecolology (Synspismos), at the same time calling for the imprisoned Kurd not to be extradited to Germany.
The request for the extradition of German citizen Bozkurt to Germany is related to his activity in support of democratic freedoms in Turkey and is based on unproven charges, according to statements made by PASOK deputies, the Parliamentary Group of the KKE and deputies and Euro deputies of Synaspismos.
The non-extradition of Bozkurt is also called for by the Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY), the Central Union of Greek Municipalities and Communities (KEDKE) any by other trade union organizations, workers' associations, anti-war movements and immigrant associations.
The German authorities say they want him extradited for crimes allegedly committed in Germany.
 Former minister refers to 'Macedonia' issue
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Former PASOK minister Stelios Papathemelis stated Monday that "not only has the Macedonian issue not been resolved, but we will soon find it before us". Papathemelis made these statements in a speech he gave before the Kavala chapter of the Association of Western Macedonians, on the occasion of the 100th year anniversary of the death of Greek hero of the Macedonian Melas, Pavlos Melas.
The former minister reminded his audience that the issue of the name "Macedonia", the cause of disputes between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) between 1990-1993, was not over and that Greeks should be ever-vigilant in this matter.
 Der Standard interviews Athens Mayor
VIENNA 19/10/2004 (ANA/D.Dimitrakoudis)Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyanni expressed unequivocal support of Turkey's accession to the EU in an interview that ran in the Austrian daily Der Standard on Monday. She said that Europe will have to ask itself whether it can accept a Muslim country and whether it can live side by side with Islam and the answer to that question is "Yes, it must, because otherwise we will be faced with huge problems later."
Bakoyanni acknowledged that Turkey's path towards Europe will be long, complex and difficult and that the accession process will have to occur in stages. She also said that the foundation of Turkish society will have to be modified gradually and Europe will also have to prepare for this gradually. However, ruling out accession would be the wrong message to send, according to the Athens mayor.
Bakoyanni also referred to the significant role of regional government, which she considers to be one of the greatest challenges Europe will face in the next years, as well as the need for Europe to deal with the issue of immigration better.
Finally, the Athens mayor believes that her future is in politics, a field which requires passion, sentiment, understanding and hard work.
 Syn leader meets with Russian ambassador to discuss possible Kyoto Protocol ratification
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)The leader of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Syn) Party, Nikos Constantopoulos met Monday with the Russian ambassador to Athens Andrei Vdovin to discuss environmental issues, including Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to ask the Russian Parliament to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
Constantopoulos said that the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the Russian Parliament, the Duma, would be a decisive step and that it would make it possible for the Protocol to become international law, helping to increase co-operation between nations on matters of peace, solidarity and the protection of the environment. He added that this could result in more effective co-operation between the E.U. and Russia, allowing Greece to take those measures which would allow it to use the Protocol for the reduction of gas emission and other matters.
The Russian ambassador congratulated Greece on becoming a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and expressed his certainty that there would be closer co-operation between Greece and Russia in the future to counter terrorism.
 Heating oil goes on Sale throughout Greece, up 40 percent over 2003, as int'l oil prices hit new record highs
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Heating oil went on sale throughout Greece on Monday, for the winter season, with the going price at 46-48 euro-cents per liter in Athens and Thessaloniki, and up to 5 euro-cents higher in the cities of the periphery.
Heating oil carries the lowest tax allowed by the EU, which is 21 euro per 1,000 liters, but the end-price is up 40 percent over last year's prices due to the steep increase in international oil prices.
Market officials said demand on the first day was limited, attributing this to the good weather conditions which did not warrant immediate supply.
On the international market, oil prices hit a new all-time high with US light crude reaching 55.33 dollars per barrel, while Brent crude hit a new peak at 50.40 dollars per barrel, amidst fares of inadequate supply of heating oil for the coming winter.
Higher fuel prices have not affected consumer prices yet, gov't says: Higher fuel prices have not yet affected consumer goods' or transportation prices but the government was worried over any likely impact in the domestic market from an extended crisis in international oil markets, Development Deputy Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou said on Monday.
Speaking to reporters, Papathanasiou said that rising heating oil prices have not affected consumer prices; competition was working in the market and dismissed talk of a new wave of price increases in the country.
Development ministry has completed amendments in a law to protect free competition in the country and that a new draft bill would be presented soon. The Greek minister underlined also legislative interventions aimed to prohibit sales of goods at below-cost prices, to better regulate open markets and shopping hours in the country.
The ministry also said it has began a promotional campaign to better inform consumers over their rights and announced that Grand Thornton was appointed as external consultant in an inspection of domestic insurance companies with the aim to issue new liability certificates.
 Gov't forecasts "hard winter" due to surge in oil price
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Monday that a surge in global oil prices would create problems at home.
"Concerning heating fuel, we have a difficult time ahead of us, a difficult winter," Sioufas told reporters.
"The effort we made was to ensure that the price was lowest possible for the start of heating fuel sales today, and I think this has been achieved thanks to good coordination among all market players," the minister added.
In Athens and Thessaloniki, heating fuel was on sale at 46-48 cents per liter, and about five cents higher in the provinces.
 Current account surplus widens in August
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)The current account in August 2004 showed a surplus higher than in the same month a year earlier, mainly due to a major increase in the services surplus, and, to a lesser extent, a rise in the transfer surplus, the central bank said on Monday.
By contrast, both the trade and the income account deficits grew, the Bank of Greece said in a routine report.
Underlying widening of the trade deficit were an increase in the non-oil trade deficit and a rise in the net oil import bill, which almost tripled, reflecting substantially higher oil prices in the global market.
The services surplus improved, mainly as a result of two factors: firstly, substantial growth of net travel receipts, which were affected favorably by Athens hosting the Olympic Games; and secondly, the rise in net transport receipts (mainly from shipping).
Gross travel receipts rose by 25.4% year-on-year in August 2004. Net receipts from other services also increased, mainly as a result of a rise in receipts from services associated with the Olympics, especially television broadcasting fees.
The income account deficit grew owing to a rise in net interest, dividend and profit payments. Growth of the transfer surplus reflects an increase in net EU transfers to general government.
In January-August 2004, the current account deficit narrowed by ¬ 1,583 million over the same period of 2003, falling to ¬ 3,146 million, mainly reflecting a substantial rise in the services surplus and, secondarily, an increase in the transfers surplus, which, taken together, more than offset the strong rise in the trade deficit.
The trade deficit grew by ¬ 1,820 million relative to the same period of 2003. A ¬ 2,354 million or 12.9% increase in the non-oil import bill more than offset a ¬ 879 million or 13.9% rise in non-oil export receipts, whereas the net oil import bill increased by ¬ 345 million.
The services surplus grew by ¬ 2,797 million, mainly owing to a major rise of ¬ 1,974 million in net transport receipts, mainly from shipping, and, to a lesser extent, a ¬ 588 million increase in net travel receipts and a ¬ 235 drop in net payments for other services.
Finally, the ¬ 631 million year-on-year growth of the transfers surplus was almost exclusively accounted for by a ¬ 823 million increase in general government receipts, mainly transfers from the EU, which far exceeded the ¬ 185 million rise in general government payments, mainly to the EU.
At end-August 2004, Greece's reserve assets came to ¬ 3.3 billion.
 Gov't will not seek pension system reform, FinMin says
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)The government will not open the social insurance issue and plans to implement an existing legislation, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Monday.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with GSEE, Greece's largest trade union umbrella, Alogoskoufis acknowledged the current law had weaknesses in the funding of the country's pension system and stressed that a discussion currently underway was aimed to ensure funding of the system without putting any extra burden to taxpayers.
GSEE's president Christos Polyzogopoulos said that several issues still were left open in the social insurance issue and noted that the government was determined to find solutions through a dialogue with all interested parties.
GSEE presented, during the meeting, its proposals aimed to improve the system, which included: funding by 1.0 percent of Gross Domestic Product of pensions, payment of all state debt to social insurance funds (around 3.8 billion euros), a rescheduling of IKA (Social Insurance Fund) debt to other state organizations (around 1.5 billion euros) and a consolidation of pension funds under the umbrella of IKA.
Polyzogopoulos stressed that the meeting also discussed the state budget and the government's incomes policy and noted that wage increases included in a draft budget plan would stagnate the income of workers and pensioners. He added, however, that all problems facing Greek workers would be discussed in a series of meetings with Economy and Finance minister.
Alogoskoufis said that the 2005 budget would bridge any differences over the government's social and benefits policy by strengthening funds for social protection and social insurance. "Our target is to avoid a slowdown in growth," the Greek minister said adding that GSEE's demands were realistic.
GSEE also noted a wave of price increases in the domestic market, up to 15 percent, and stressed that oil prices were up 40 percent so far this year and urged the government to agree to a heating oil subsidy payment to low income families.
The Greek minister said that any changes in the country's tax system on real estate would be implemented from 2006.
 GSEE and ADEDY presidents pledge support to contract workers
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)The presidents of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and of the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY), in a joint press conference on Monday, expressed their commitment to support, with all the forces of their trade unions, the contract workers.
The President of GSEE, Christos Polyzogopoulos and of ADEDY, Spyros Papaspyros, underlined that the government's presidential decrees (164/2004 and 180/2004) ''are directed to a very small number of working people, lead to dismissals instead of an overall settlement of the problem and push thousands of contract workers to unemployment.''
GSEE and ADEDY jointly tabled a draft law to the plenum of Parliament and to the political parties calling for all the contract workers to be made permanent.
The press conference was followed by a protest march to Parliament.
 Greek inflation rose to 2.9 pct in September, Euro stat says
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Greek annual inflation rose to 2.9 percent in September from 2.8 percent in August and was the third higher in the Euro zone after Spain (3.2 percent) and Luxembourg (3.1 percent), Euro stat said on Monday.
The EU executive's statistics agency, in its monthly report, said that annual inflation fell to 2.1 percent in the Eurozone and the EU-25 in September from 2.3 percent in August. The consumer price index was 2.2 percent in September 2003 in the Eurozone and 2.0 percent in the EU-25.
Finland (0.2 pct), Denmark (0.9 pct), Holland and the UK (1.1 pct) recorded the lowest inflation rates in the European Union, while Latvia (7.7 pct), Hungary (6.7 pct) and Slovakia (6.4 pct) recorded the highest rates in September. Greek inflation ranked 11th in the EU-25. The consumer price index rose in Greece, Lithuania and Malta, it fell in 20 EU member-states and remained unchanged in Denmark and Sweden, Eurostat said.
 Deputy transport & communications minister Nerantzis guest of honor of Israeli ambassador Aviram at telecoms business event
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Greece's deputy transport and communications minister Anastasios Nerantzis was the special guest of honor of Israeli ambassador to Greece Ram Aviram at a business luncheon on Monday aimed at further expanding Greek-Israeli cooperation in the telecoms sector.
Elisha Yanay, senior vice-president of Motorola International and president of Motorola Israel, was the keynote speaker at the meeting, which was attended by representatives of important Greek and Israeli companies in the telecoms sector, including Intracom, CosmOTE, Forthnet, INfo-Quest, Rad, CMER, and Elbit.
Motorola Israel and Israeli telecom companies already have a highly developed cooperation with Greek authorities, since they supplied Greece with telecommunications equipment during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
 Tourism minister Avramopoulos to attend CERN 50th anniversary event
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Tourist development minister Dimitris Avramopoulos leaves Tuesday for Geneva to represent Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at an official function marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the European nuclear energy organization (CERN).
The event will be attended by senior European leaders, as well as representatives of international organizations.
On the sidelines of the event, Avramopoulos will meet in Lausanne with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge
 Information Society to tender 50-mln-euro projects in 1st quarter of 2005
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Information Society, a government-sponsored program aimed at supporting information technology projects in the country, will tender a series of large and medium-sized projects worth 50 million euros in the first quarter of 2005, Vassilis Asimakopoulos, special secretary for the Information Society said on Monday.
Addressing a 6th annual Conference for Information and Communications, Asimakopoulos stressed that the agency next month would publish a full catalogue of projects scheduled for 2005, and draft a project catalogue for the period 2007-2013 -- ahead of planning a 4th Community Support Framework.
Costas Doukas, president of Information Society SA, said the agency has successfully tendered 18 new open projects, worth 29 million euros and has signed contracts worth 57 million euros since March when he took over.
"Our goal is to ensure transparency, high-quality services and to complete projects worth 145.5 million euros in 2004," Doukas noted.
Representatives of the sector cited problems facing the IT and technology industry in Greece, and urged for a speeding up of procedures by the state to quickly implement projects included in an Information Society program.
 UNITAB congress held in Kavala, northern Greece
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Greece's Agricultural Development and Foods ministry is expected to unveil its decisions over a new subsidy status for tobacco growers for the period 2006-2009 by the end of November, Deputy Minister A. Kontos said on Monday.
Addressing the 29th Congress of UNITAB (the international union of tobacco growers), organized in the city of Kavala, northern Greece, Kontos stressed that the ministry believed that eligible for tobacco subsidy payment would be all those currently working with tobacco cultivation and not those who have transferred their quota rights in previous years.
The Greek minister also announced intensified inspections to avoid any phenomena of mixing Greek with foreign tobaccos.
Tzanetos Karamihas, the president of PASEGES, Greece's largest farm sector union, said the tobacco growing sector would have to face a full disconnection of subsidies by 2010, since 50 percent of tobacco support would be lost.
Karamihas stressed that EU member-states could gradually seek a disconnection of subsidies from production, in quotas, in the transition period from 2006 to 2009.
UNITAB's president Remy Losser, addressing the Congress, stressed that the union would focus its future action on the market and the price of tobacco. Losser criticized the provisions of a revised Common Agriculture Policy and particularly efforts to shrink the tobacco sector.
UNITAB's secretary-general Francois Vedel said that EU member-states with a developed tobacco sector would always have problem in competing with third countries from Latin America and Africa, but noted that production conditions and the quality of European tobacco was better by far.
UNITAB's Congress, organized by PASEGES, brings together 13 national delegations and a total of 360 representatives.
 Manufacturing sales up 6.4% in 2003
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Greek manufacturing enterprises showed a 6.4% rise in sales in 2003 against the previous year, to total 39.8 billion euros, ICAP, a business research organization said on Monday.
Earnings before tax increased by 9.6% to 2.3 billion euros versus 2002, ICAP said.
The survey was conducted on the basis of published results from 5,356 manufacturers.
 Teletypos sells shares in Multichoice Hellas S.A.
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Athens-quoted Teletypos SA informed market authorities on Monday that it sold 11,900 stocks in Multichoice Hellas S.A., representing 7.0% of the company's share capital, to Dikomo Investments Sarl for 559 euros per share.
In addition, Teletypos Cyprus Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Teletypos, sold 59,500 stocks in Multichoice for 559 euros per share to Tiledrasis SA, the Greek company said in a statement.
Proceeds of the two sales will cover 12.5.% of Tiletypos Cyprus' holding in NetMed NV of the Netherlands, Multichoice's parent firm, which operates subscriber TV in Greece and Cyprus.
 Athens Int'l Airport ranks 2nd in world and Europe for 2003
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Athens International Airport (AIA) received two AETRA awards for "Overall Passenger Satisfaction" for 2003, within the framework of the annual Airports Council International (ACI) World Assembly held in Lisbon from October 11-15.
Specifically, Athens International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" ranked second in the world after the airport of Cape Town in the airport size category of 5-15 million passengers per year, and number 1 in Europe in the same category. AIA also ranked second in Europe, behind Copenhagen Airport, regardless of airport size category.
 Olympic Airlines offers discount air fares to New York
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Olympic Airlines on Monday announced discount air fares to New York by December 15.
The Greek national carrier said that passengers traveling to New York by December 15 would be offered a discount fare of 578.36 euros (round trip) from around 750 euros currently. OA travels to New York using Airbus A-340 aircraft.
 Technical Olympic USA authorized to list on NYSE
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Technical Olympic USA, Inc. is to transfer listing of its common stock to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) from the Nasdaq National Market, the company said in a statement on Monday.
The firm, a subsidiary of Athens-quoted Technical Olympic SA, anticipates its shares will begin trading on the NYSE on November 9, 2004.
"Our listing on the NYSE is a key milestone in our company's history and recognition of the progress we have made since the Engle and Newmark merger in June 2002," said Antonio B. Mon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Technical Olympic USA (TOUSA).
"Our participation in the world's largest stock exchange should enhance the company's visibility to the investment community and create a more efficient trade execution process for our shareholders," Mon added.
Technical Olympic USA, Inc. is a leading homebuilder in the United States, operating in 15 metropolitan markets located in four major geographic regions: Florida, the Mid-Atlantic, Texas, and the West, the statement said.
TOUSA designs, builds, and markets detached single-family residences, town homes, and condominiums to a diverse group of homebuyers. It also provides financial services to its homebuyers and others through its subsidiaries, Preferred Home Mortgage Company and Universal Land Title, Inc.
 Trade delegation from Kyrgyz republic visits Piraeus Technical Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)A delegation of officers from the Kyrgyz republic, headed by Minister of Development, Industry and Trade, Bolotbek Djumabekou, recently visited the Piraeus Technical Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The delegation was welcomed by the President of the Chamber, George Kassimatis and other officials.
Djumabekou stated that the Kyrgyz republic was a democratic country with private enterprises and a free economy and that it was a member of the World Trade Organization. He further added that prospects for foreign investments were very good and that average customs tariffs were 5%, that 42% of imports do not incur customs levies and that his country had good bilateral relations with Russia, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, China and Turkey.
 Greece seeks competitive fruit & veg sector under EU reform
BRUSSELS 19/20/2004 (ANA/M.Spinthourakis)Greece on Monday sought an improvement in competitiveness in the output of fruit and vegetables under a European Union overhaul of its common market organization for the sector.
Representing Greece at a meeting of EU farm ministers in Luxembourg, Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos said that the sector was important for Greece as it represented 30% of gross value of farm output.
Needed was a common market organization for fruit and vegetables that would boost competitiveness. The current institutional framework had led to disequilibrium in the organization of EU output, in turn resulting in inadequate growth of producers' organizations in many of the bloc's member countries, Basiakos said.
Required were measures to help improve operation of producer organizations, lay down crisis management procedures and safeguard output against adverse weather conditions, including introduction of a European strategy to promote consumption of fruit and vegetables that would emphasis their nutritional value, the minister added.
 Civil servants to strike Thursday
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Civil servants are to stage a 24-hour nationwide strike on Thursday in a bid for higher pay.
The move followed a deadlock in talks with Deputy Finance Minister Peter Doukas.
Among demands of the ADEDY union are a starting wage of 1,100 euros; a bonus of 176 euros for new recruits and other sectors where the measure has not been introduced; and an increase in the tax-exempt bracket.
 Stocks drop in blue chip selling
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Stocks finished lower with players selling blue chips and pressure seen on engineering contractors Hellenic Technodomiki and Aktor, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 2,409.51 points, showing a decline of 0.52 percent. Turnover was 169.5 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.51 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.61 percent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 1.08 percent down.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 194 to 88 with 68 remaining unchanged.
 Composer, former culture minister Mikroutsikos briefs PM Karamanlis on Patras Cultural Capital of Europe 2006 preparations
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met Monday with renowned composer and former culture minister Thanos Mikroutsikos (March 1994-January 1996 under the PASOK government), who briefed him on preparations for the Patras Cultural Capital of Europe 2006 program, as artistic director of the Patras 2006 organizing committee.
After the meeting, Mikroutsikos -- who served as alternate culture minister from October 1993 to March 1994, when he took over the ministry helm after the death of minister Melina Mercouri told reporters that he briefed the premier in detail on the Cultural Capital of Europe institution, which he explained was not simply "panegyric but also development-oriented", and also conveyed the city's views on the matter, noting a great delay "due to the circumstances".
Karamanlis, in turn, said he agreed with the "developmental vision", and pledged that the relevant decisions will be finalized and announced by early November.
The western port city of Patras, Greece's third largest city and also the third Greek city to hold the title of Cultural Capital of Europe (in 2006) -- which was also an Olympic City during the Athens 2004 Games -- envisions growth of the local economy through the projection and development of its rich cultural heritage.
The late actress and culture minister Melina Mercouri had first put forward the idea for the institution of a "Cultural Capital" in the early '80, with Athens being designated the first Cultural Capital of Europe in 1985.
 Local gov't campaigner Katrivanos, journalist Linardatos buried at A' Athens Cemetery
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Theodoros Katrivanos, a former leftist deputy and resistance fighter in World War II, who later emerged as a tireless campaigner in local government, was buried at the A' Athens Cemetery on Monday with state honors. He died on Saturday at the age of 85.
Politicians and local and prefecture officials gathered to pay tribute to Katrivanos and expressed their condolences to his family.
Present at the funeral, among others, were Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos, Internal Affairs, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Deputy National Defense Minister Vassilis Mihaloliakos, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni, Deputy Parliament President Sotiris Hatzigakis, Athens-Piraeus Supra-Prefect Foffi Gennimata, deputies and former deputies and local government officials.
Wreaths were also sent on behalf of main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou, National Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos, National Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, Education and Religious Affairs Minister Marietta Yiannakou, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias, ruling New Democracy (ND) Central Committee Secretary Vangelis Meimarakis, ND Honorary President Constantine Mitsotakis and by other political figures.
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.
Also buried at the A' Athens Cemetery on Monday was journalist and historian Spyros Linardatos. He died on Thursday at the age of 81.
Present at the funeral were Synaspismos leader Constantopoulos, deputy government spokesman Vangellis Antonaros and the presidiums of journalist unions, including that of the Athens Journalists Union (ESHEA).
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.
 ELA and 17N cases to court of appeals in 2005
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)Those convicted in the Popular Revolutionary Struggle (ELA) case, as well as Michalis Kassimis and Yiannis Serifis who were found innocent regarding bomb charges, will appear before a three-member panel in the appeals court on February 7, 2005.
The 15 people convicted in the 17N case as well as Yiannis Serifis and Angeliki Sotiropoulou who were found innocent, will appear before the five-member appeals court on December 2, 2005.
 Team of scouts stranded in gorge rescued early Monday
Athens 19/10/2004 (ANA)A team of four scouts, including two minors, who became stranded in a gorge on Mt. Parnitha on Sunday after one of the older members fell and injured herself, were rescued by police and firemen at dawn Monday, and the two minors were unscratched, police said.
The team, comprising group leader Christos Provatas, 30, assistant leader Iphigeneia Tzannakou, 20, and two girls 11 and 13 years old from the Zographou scouting club, set off at noon Sunday on a mountain hike, but Tzannakou slipped and partially slid down Gourou Gorge at about 4:00 in the afternoon, injuring her leg, hip and neck and could not be moved. Provatas suffered light injuries when he tried to break Tzannakou's fall, while the two girls were uninjured.
Provatas managed to contact the Emergency Services with his cell phone, and a rescue operation was immediately mounted, but it took several hours to locate the group, and by then night had fallen, rendering any attempts hazardous, so firemen took blankets and supplies to the group and remained with them until first light, when the rescue operation resumed.
Tzannakou was lifted from the gorge by stretcher, and all four were rushed by ambulance to the Red Cross hospital in Athens, where the woman was reported out of danger.
 Greek university student in England arrested during anti-war demonstration
London 19/10/2004 (ANA/L. Tsirigotakis)A 24-year-old Greek university studying in England has been arrested by British police on charges of disturbing the peace while attending a massive anti-war rally in the center of London, it was learned Monday.
The student, Constantine Ioannou, was arrested with eight other protestors on Sunday after violence broke out during the demonstration, which according to police had a turnout of 20,000 protestors.
Ioannou was due to appear before a local court later on Monday. The usual punishment in such instances is a fine, but British law allows for sentences of up to 6 months imprisonment.
 Spokesman: recognition of the Cyprus Republic not for bargain
NICOSIA 19/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)The Cyprus government has made it clear, through its Spokesman Cyprus Chrysostomides, that the recognition by Turkey of the Republic of Cyprus is not an issue that can be bargained.
He also explained that the political settlement in Cyprus is one thing and the recognition by Ankara of the Republic and internal consultations within the European Union is another.
The spokesman was commenting Monday on reports that there are moves to agree on a package deal at the EU December summit for a solution in Cyprus on one hand and a decision by the EU to start accession negotiations with Turkey on the other. Turkey needs Cyprus' vote to begin membership talks.
Responding to questions, he said that the EU is well aware of the government position on such matters, as it has received the government views in writing.
''I am sure that Turkey is also well aware that certain conditions must be met,'' he added.
 Discussion on EU direct trade regulation deferred to 2005
BRUSSELS 19/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)A European Union regulation on direct trade between member-states and Cyprus' northern Turkish occupied areas is deferred for discussion to 2005, following a decision by the six-monthly EU rotating presidency, currently held by The Netherlands.
According to reliable EU sources, the Dutch presidency considers that the two EU regulations (on direct trade and on financial assistance to the Turkish Cypriots amounting to 259 million euro) must be separated officially, in order to secure approval of the financial aid regulation and defer discussion on direct trade to the next presidency.
The presidency believes that more time is needed to examine the regulation on direct trade, which according to the legal department of the Council of Ministers is incompatible with EU rules and regulations.
The same sources have said the Commission accepts the idea to separate the two regulations in an effort to secure the unanimous approval of the financial aid package.
The stance of the presidency and the Commission is expected to force Britain, a strong supporter of having both regulations approved simultaneously, to back down.
In September there was political agreement at the General Affairs Council on the financial aid regulation, which is expected to be confirmed officially after the European Parliament gives it its seal of approval, expected to take place next week.
 British Minister of State to visit Cyprus
NICOSIA 19/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)Dennis MacShane, Britain's Minister of State, arrives here Thursday for two days of meetings, during which he is expected to be received by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.
On Thursday morning, MacShane will meet House President Demetris Christofias and Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou, who will host a lunch for him.
In the afternoon, he will tour the ceasefire line and meet members of the British contingent of the UN peacekeeping force, serving on the island.
On Thursday evening, MacShane is planning to meet Mehmet Ali Talat, self-styled prime minister in Turkish occupied Cyprus.
On Friday morning, MacShane intends to visit the Karpass peninsula, in the northern Turkish occupied areas of the island, including the secondary school in Rizokarpasso village.
He leaves Friday afternoon.