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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-03-08

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

March 8, 2004

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't points to successful Olympics, series of measures as top achievements of first year in power
  • [02] Karamanlis, KKE leader discuss Kosovo issue
  • [03] FM Molyviatis meets with Albanian human rights party leader Doules
  • [04] Deputy FM stresses importance of cohesion policy funding
  • [05] Gov't spokesman says no further clarifications requested by EU over 'primary shareholder' law
  • [06] Finmin briefs EU commissioner on media ownership law
  • [07] Papandreou satisfied with results of PASOK congress
  • [08] Athens and Nicosia working to defend Cyprus' interests
  • [09] Communist Party leader opposes European constitution
  • [10] Government spokesman says government's interest in all Jerusalem Patriarchate issues known
  • [11] EU Troika shocked by police violence in Istanbul
  • [12] President Stephanopoulos receives new ambassadors
  • [13] Greece calls for feasible Lisbon strategy goals
  • [14] Development minister visits Moscow for oil pipeline project
  • [15] Finmin in talks at EU on growth pact
  • [16] Greece lagging on EU-funded road, rail projects
  • [17] ND honorary President criticizes Bank of Greece's policy
  • [18] Cyprus, Greece to set up shipping committee
  • [19] Prosecutor seeks court action against former state finance officials
  • [20] ASE extends suspension of trading in Emphasis Information Systems
  • [21] Athenians enjoy cheapest water prices in Europe
  • [22] Stocks drop in across-the-board selling
  • [23] State services on the alert as Ardas river swelling
  • [24] Health minister, political parties issue messages on World Women's Day
  • [25] President Stephanopoulos gives awards to overseas Greek media
  • [26] Interior minister discusses legislation quality with OECD official
  • [27] Dimitris Paxinos re-elected Athens Bar Association president
  • [28] Goulandris Museum to launch information program on environmental problems
  • [29] Greece to participate in World Book Day on April 23
  • [30] Presentation of EU MEDIA program for European audiovisual industry
  • [31] Cyprus spokesman critical of Talat's positions
  • [32] Government notes US views on money laundering effort in Cyprus

  • [01] Gov't points to successful Olympics, series of measures as top achievements of first year in power

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    The Karamanlis government on Monday marked the one-year anniversary of New Democracy's landslide victory (March 7, 2004) over rival PASOK and the party's return to power after an 11-year hiatus.

    In citing what he called the government's top achievements in its first 12 months, government spokesman and Minister of State Thodoris Roussopoulos first referred to the utterly successful hosting of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games of Athens.

    In quick order, moreover, he cited bank sector legislation abolishing certain forms of penalty interest rates -- especially ones aimed at individual borrowers -- terminating the much-vilified LAFKA contributions by pensioners, quicker payments for crop damages, efforts to find a permanent resolution to the long-standing issue of thousands of public sector contract employees' status, a new development law, abolition of the so-called "mathematical formula" for awarding public works projects and the high-profile "primary shareholder" law aimed at curbing state contractors' influence in the broadcast media field.

    Roussopoulos, who briefed reporters at a regular press briefing, also underlined the government's efforts at fighting state waste and red tape, both part of ND's "banner" pre-election promises.

    Asked about a series of opinion polls to see the light of day recently, the government spokesman stressed that "citizens know the poor economic situation has been caused by PASOK's policies over the past 10 years. The current government has begun the effort to tidy up the economy in favor of Greek citizens," Roussopoulos said.

    The latest opinion poll, published a day earlier by the "Eleftherotypia" daily, gives ruling ND 36.1 percent of respondents' votes, a 4.1-percent lead over PASOK (32 percent). ND leader Costas Karamanlis garnered a 49-percent figure on the question of "most capable for the post of premier", with one-time foreign minister and PASOK leader George Papandreou trailing with 32.3 percent.

    In comments on the controversial LAFKA (an acronym that in Greek is short for 'Solidarity Account of Social Security Entities') contributions and last week's announcement by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis himself that he government will refund contributions taken from pensioners -- between 1998 and July 1, 2004 -- Roussopoulos reminded that ND made good on its promise to abolish the regime employed by the previous two Simitis governments.

    Additionally, he said that although no ND pre-election promise mentioned the retroactive rebate of LAFKA contributions, the government nevertheless proceeded with a political decision opening the way for the repayment instead of waiting for the issue to be adjudicated by the administrative appeals court system. In the fallout of last week's political fray following the abrupt dropping of a lawsuit demanding the retroactive rebate by a litigant pensioner who also served as a political aide to Deputy Economy Minister Petros Doukas, Roussopoulos again countered by stressing that average pensions increased by 1 to 5 percent in the wake of the LAFKA abolition, a departure from the previous PASOK governments that extended the LAFKA regime with two different laws.

    The litigant, Vassilis Goulas, resigned from his post the following day.

    Finally, Roussopoulos said a stepped effort to curb waste by the state has saved some three billion euros in needless expenditures continued by past governments.

    [02] Karamanlis, KKE leader discuss Kosovo issue

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday received the leader of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Aleka Papariga, at his office, with the latest developments over the Kosovo issue dominating the agenda of the one-hour meeting.

    Papariga reportedly voiced her party's categorical disagreement with the prospect of the currently UN-administered province being granted independence from Serbia.

    "If Kosovo becomes independent, and given the developments in the (Balkan) region, a Pandora's Box will open, with a chain reaction possible in the Aegean, Cyprus and Thrace," she warned, while stressing that UN Resolution 1244/99 for Kosovo must be implemented.

    The Kosovo issue has apparently again crept onto the international spotlight amid signs of increased diplomatic activity and speculation of upcoming deliberations at the international level. Thousands of international peacekeepers, including a Greek military contingent, keep the peace in the landlocked and impoverished province sandwiched between Serbia proper, Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), a strife-plagued land that is home to a large majority of Albanians and shrinking enclaves of Serbs, gypsies and other minorities.

    [03] FM Molyviatis meets with Albanian human rights party leader Doules

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    Foreign minister Petros Molyviatis on Monday met with leader of the Human Rights party of Albania, Vangelis Doules, ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections in the neighboring country.

    Molyviatis reiterated the Greek government's interest in the Greek minority in Albania and in the holding of smooth elections.

    "The European Union, too, is particularly interested in these elections, the conduction of which will be a criterion for the country's European prospect," Molyviatis said, and noted the need for unanimity among the Greek minority.

    Doules expressed appreciation for Greece's firm support regarding the Greek minority issues in Albania, adding that his party could and would back Albania's European prospect.

    He stressed, however, that "the issue of respect of human rights is, first of all, a domestic affair of Albania".

    Doules also met with Coalition leader Alekos Alavanos, while he is due to meet with prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday.

    [04] Deputy FM stresses importance of cohesion policy funding

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, speaking in Riga on Monday, stressed the importance of the continuation of cohesion policy funding, saying that it is a top priority for Greece to enable the continuation of Greek regional convergence with the rest of Europe.

    Valinakis participated in the informal conference of Deputy European Affairs Ministers in the capital of Latvia, focusing on the amount of funds and activities, regarding the environment and agricultural development, to be financed by the European Union over the period between 2007 and 2013.

    The meeting was the fourth to take place, after those held in Warsaw, Athens and Ljubljana and was attended by 17 of the 25 EU member-states which exchanged views and attempted to find common positions and ways of supporting the European Commission's proposals concerning the 4th Community Support Framework.

    [05] Gov't spokesman says no further clarifications requested by EU over 'primary shareholder' law

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    The government spokesman on Monday reiterated that the issue of any possible Cabinet reshuffle falls under the domain of the prime minister, in answer to an oft-recurring query made by reporters during the daily press briefings.

    Regarding the high-profile "primary shareholder" law passed by the government earlier this year, spokesman Thodoris Roussopoulos said no further clarifications have been requested by the European Union. However, he did note that Interior and Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos has sent the European Commission two European Court decisions in relation to the law.

    Roussopoulos, along Pavlopoulos and Economy Deputy Minister Christos Folias, traveled to Brussels late last month to brief Internal Market Directorate-General Alexander Schaub over the legislation, one of New Democracy's pre-election promises.

    Finally, the spokesman stressed that no individual, including a politician, needs permission to attend religious services, in answer to a question on whether any government officials will participate in the planned all-night vigils being organized by the Church of Greece on Monday evening.

    [06] Finmin briefs EU commissioner on media ownership law

    BRUSSELS 8/3/2005 (ANA/M Spinthourakis)

    Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Monday that he briefed the European Union's internal market commissioner, Charlie McCreevy, on a new Greek law that regulates ownership of media and development firms in order to avert a conflict of interest in state construction projects.

    "The purpose of the meeting was for the commissioner to learn the overall political aspect of the matter. He had not been briefed on this before by a Greek minister," Alogoskoufis told reporters in the Belgian capital.

    Declining to speculate on the future of the law, which has prompted queries from the EU, the minister reported that beyond the legislation's political implications, Greek and EU experts were studying its legal technicalities.

    [07] Papandreou satisfied with results of PASOK congress

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Monday expressed his satisfaction with results of his party's four-day congress, which ended on Sunday at a coastal sports arena.

    Papandreou made the statement as he arrived at the Olympic tae kwon do indoor hall in the early afternoon to participate in a cleanup effort at the site by volunteers and party cadres.

    Asked about results of the congress, Papandreou said all expectations were surpassed by what he called the large turnout and delegates' enthusiasm, which he added was primarily achieved through the substantive discussions that took place.

    He also focused on the congress' election results of members of the party's national council for reconstruction.

    [08] Athens and Nicosia working to defend Cyprus' interests

    NICOSIA 8/3/2005 (ANA/CNA)

    The governments of Greece and Cyprus are in constant communication and are working together, both within and outside the EU, to defend the interests of the Republic of Cyprus and the people of the island, House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias said on Monday, after a meeting with Greek Minister of Education and Religious Affairs Marietta Yiannakou.

    Christofias said the governments of Greece and Cyprus ''are making joint efforts to create the preconditions for a constructive and fruitful dialogue, in the context of the UN, on the basis of the Annan plan, so as to bring about the necessary changes to the plan that would express the wishes and expectations of both communities, especially the Greek Cypriots, after the referenda, to have a viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem.''

    Yiannakou said it was very important for Greece ''to support Cyprus, so that the implementation of the acquis communautaire is absolute, since this is the meaning of Cyprus within the EU,'' adding that the acquis communautaire ''comes before any solutions or plans,'' because both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots ''have the right to enjoy all the benefits that all EU citizens enjoy.''

    The Greek minister assured that the two governments were in close contact, because the Cyprus problem ''remains the main national issue and both sides should know this.''

    The meeting was attended by Cypriot Minister of Education and Culture Pefkios Georgiades and Greek Ambassador in Nicosia Christos Panagopoulos.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Separate simultaneous referenda were held in April 2004 on a solution plan proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. It was rejected by the Greek Cypriot community and accepted by the Turkish Cypriot community.

    [09] Communist Party leader opposes European constitution

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, addressing an event organized by the party's Athens Party Organization on Monday, urged the people to provide a double "no" for both the European constitution and the European union.

    Referring to the issue of a referendum on the European constitution, she said "the referendum process, even in conditions of disinformation, provides the opportunity of open confrontation among different views and, therefore, relatively better information."

    Papariga further said the double "no" to the European constitution and the EU ''is the most accurate and clear blow which can be dealt, particularly during the period we are going through, when a new round of reactionary measures is being scheduled to speed up the Lisbon Treaty which has become timely now with the known Barroso Manifesto.''

    [10] Government spokesman says government's interest in all Jerusalem Patriarchate issues known

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, commenting on Monday on a decision taken by an Israeli court on the election of the Patriarch Irineos, said the interest of the government in all issues of the Jerusalem Patriarchate is reasonable and known.

    He added that Deputy Foreign Minister Panayiotis Skandalakis visited Jerusalem last week.

    Roussopoulos further said that the Greek government is giving and will give its support to the Patriarchate to the degree that is necessary.

    [11] EU Troika shocked by police violence in Istanbul

    ANKARA 8/3/2005 (ANA/A.Ambatzis)

    The EU Troika has expressed concern over ''disproportionate force'' used against women and young people demonstrating in Istanbul in connection with International Women's Day.

    In a joint statement they issued ahead of a Ministerial Meeting between the EU Troika and Turkey in Ankara on Monday, EU representatives,

    President of the EU Council Jean Asselborn, Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, and British Minister for Europe Denis MacShane ask the Turkish authorities ''to carry out an investigation into this event to prevent similar incidents in the future''.

    ''We were shocked by images of the police beating women and young people demonstrating in Istanbul in connection with International Women's Day. We condemn all violence, as demonstrations must be peaceful'', the European officials stated.

    They noted that ''on the eve of a visit by the EU during which the rights of women will be an important issue, we are concerned to see such disproportionate force used against demonstrators''.

    In statements after the joint meeting, attended on the part of Turkey by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, Asselborn highlighted the incidents, in which the police used force against demonstrators, and spoke of a relevant EU proclamation.

    Rehn referred to the issue of Turkey signing the protocol with which the EU-Turkey association agreement will be extended in a way which will allow the 10 new EU member-states, including the Republic of Cyprus, to be included in the agreement. Rehn underlined that the protocol should be signed by Turkey before October 3, date for the beginning of Turkey-EU accession talks. On his part Gul said that relevant negotiations were continuing and that the protocol ''will be signed''.

    [12] President Stephanopoulos receives new ambassadors

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Monday received the new ambassadors of Peru Luis Felipe Galvez Villarroel, Australia Paul Joseph Tighe, the Netherlands Johannes Anthonius Franciscus Maria Forster and Portugal Carlos Neves Ferreira, as well as the Vatican's Nuncio Archbishop Patrick Coveney who delivered their credentials to him.

    The ceremony was attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Panayiotis Skandalakis and the Presidency of the Republic's secretary general Costas Elianos.

    [13] Greece calls for feasible Lisbon strategy goals

    BRUSSELS 8/3/2005 (ANA/V Demiris)

    Greece on Monday called for feasible targets in implementing the European Union's Lisbon strategy, for the bloc as a whole and for each member country.

    "The targets set at the Lisbon summit in 2000 were extremely high, which has meant that the whole of Europe has fallen below the measure. Steps to achieve all of these targets must be implementable and realistic, and should be assessed every year," Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas told an EU competitiveness ministers meeting in the Belgian capital.

    The meeting was called to prepare for a spring council that will debate the Lisbon Agenda, the bloc's economic reform plan forged in 2000.

    Five years after its launch, the strategy is not expected to meet targets. To preserve the EU’s model of sustainable development for the future, the bloc's economy and competitiveness must be strengthened, officials say.

    The Commission has set out a concrete action program for the EU and its member states to generate sustained economic growth and more and better jobs. In February, the Commission re-launched the strategy, seeking agreement on a new partnership for growth and jobs at the spring meeting on 22/23 March.

    [14] Development minister visits Moscow for oil pipeline project

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    Development Deputy Minister George Salagoudis will visit Moscow on Tuesday to attend a meeting of a Tri-party Commission formed to promote construction of an oil pipeline in Burgas-Alexandroupoli.

    A meeting in the Russian capital on January 25, delegations from Greece, Bulgaria and Russia agreed to set up an Initiative Group by oil companies interested in the project, with TNK-BP as a coordinator. The Group will submit its recommendations on the project to a Tri-Party Commission before the signing of a political memorandum by the three governments.

    Speaking to reporters, the Greek minister said that "the reactivation of a Tri-Party Commission underlines the clear decision of all three countries to proceed with the completion of this ambitious project. With cautious steps and through an honest dialogue we make progress towards achieving our common goal".

    [15] Finmin in talks at EU on growth pact

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis is to meet the European economics commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss revision of the stability and growth pact along with the bloc's Lisbon strategy.

    The talks are preparation for an EU finance ministers meeting on March 22-23, the minister's office said in a statement on Monday.

    Alogoskoufis is in the Belgian capital to attend meetings of EU and eurozone ministers on March 7-8.

    The minister will then travel to London to present the Greek economy, especially privatization, to global institutional investors on Wednesday, when he will also meet the head of the Bank of England, Mervin King, the statement said.

    [16] Greece lagging on EU-funded road, rail projects

    BRUSSELS 8/3/2005 (ANA/M Spinthourakis)

    Greece is lagging in the implementation of key programs funded under the European Union's Second Community Support Framework (CSF) funding package, according to the bloc's regional policy commissioner, Danuta Huebner.

    "Basic programs under the second CSF so far remain open, such as road networks and railways," Huebner was quoted as saying in a written response to a question by a eurodeputy of the ruling New Democracy party.

    By the end of 2003, the former Greek government had failed to complete 23 programs, including many plans for public works, and was given an extension to provide the EU with additional information, said eurodeputy Kostas Hatzidakis in a statement on Monday releasing contents of the commissioner's letter.

    Only a year old, the current government had submitted the data in order to finalize the 23 programs, but completion was impossible for the rail and road projects, Hatzidakis said.

    "The inability of the (previous) PASOK government to manage EU funds correctly is a major legacy for the current government," he added.

    [17] ND honorary President criticizes Bank of Greece's policy

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    Honorary ND President Konstantinos Mitsotakis on Monday strongly criticized a decision by the Bank of Greece to include cost provisions of 660 million euros in its 2005 budget to fund a voluntary early retirement program in the bank, saying that this cost would finally burden the country's budget and the Greek people.

    Mitsotakis stressed that the Greek central bank could operate with just one-fifth of its existing staff and noted that the early retirement program was a social unfair move that also posed a challenge to the country's fiscal condition.

    "Given the problems of the economy, savings should be offered exclusively to those in need and not to the privileged few," he said.

    Mitsotakis also criticized Bank of Greece governor Nikos Garganas saying he was late in revealing to true state of the economy. He added that the central bank's early retirement program combined with the cost of an early retirement program in Emporiki Bank (estimated at 600 million euros), exceeded by 50 percent the total amount of money needed for the government to pay retroactive rebates of supplementary pension contributions to the country's 900,000 pensioners.

    [18] Cyprus, Greece to set up shipping committee

    NICOSIA 8/3/2005 ( (ANA/G Leonidas)

    Cyprus and Greece are to set up a joint shipping committee, authorities said in a statement on Monday.

    The decision to found the committee, whose brief includes interstate sector cooperation, was taken during a visit to the island republic by a delegation from the Greek merchant marine ministry, the statement said.

    [19] Prosecutor seeks court action against former state finance officials

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    An Athens public prosecutor on Monday recommended that court proceedings should begin against the former chairman and board of the Public Securities Company (DEKA), a state securities manager, for breach of faith.

    Evidence contained in an investigating magistrate's report indicated unwarranted mass purchase by DEKA of banking and other stock on the Athens bourse in 2000, bulling up the market before general elections in April of that year and hurting state finances when the stock's price later declined, according to the appeals court prosecutor.

    The enquiry was held after a former president of the currently ruling New Democracy party, Miltiades Evert, submitted evidence of foul play to judicial authorities.

    Accused are DEKA's ex-chairman, Ioannis Kousoulakos, and the board's other five members. All six have denied wrongdoing, saying the state benefited from the transactions.

    [20] ASE extends suspension of trading in Emphasis Information Systems

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    The Athens Stock Exchange on Monday announced it was extending a suspension of trading in Emphasis Information Systems' listed shares and convertible bonds.

    The decision was taken after a meeting between the Capital Markets' Commission with the company's executives who said that Emphasis no longer has a management and could not offer detailed information over its financial situation.

    Emphasis executives said the company planned to call for an extraordinary general shareholders' meeting on March 31 to discuss developments in the company.

    [21] Athenians enjoy cheapest water prices in Europe

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    The city of Athens has the cheaper water among eight large European capitals, while it ranks second after Madrid with low drainage fees, Athens Water (EYDAP) said on Monday.

    EYDAP's president and chief executive A. Glyniadakis said that the company's aim was to take over water networks in east and west Attica regions over the next four years.

    Presenting official comparative figures for water charges in Europe, Glyniadakis said that water fees totalled 18.13 in Athens, while drainage fees 10.15, for a total charge of 71.75.

    London 50.95 20.80 71.75

    Madrid 25.03 2.24 27.27

    Paris 28.71 23.36 52.07

    Berlin 55,04 71.68 126.72

    Helsinki 62.08 62.08 124.16

    Brussels 45.76 --- ---

    Vienna 41.60 42.24 83.80

    [22] Stocks drop in across-the-board selling

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    Stocks finished lower in across-the-board selling after a rise at the start, traders said.

    The Athens general share index closed at 3,092.08 points, marking a decline of 0.44%. Turnover was 171.2 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.70% down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.17% lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.76% down.

    Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 233 to 70 with 51 remaining unchanged.

    [23] State services on the alert as Ardas river swelling

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    State services in the northern Evros prefecture are continuing to be on the alert for the fourth consecutive week as the Ardas river is continuing to swell.

    Eastern Macedonia and Thrace regional secretary general Mihalis Angelopoulos inspected work crews in the regions of Lavara and Pythio in the prefecture to ascertain the extent of the problem posed by the rising level of water in the river.

    "We are strengthening the main embankment at Pythio, following the ordeal of the past days, since as of tomorrow we are expecting a new volume of water from Bulgaria," he said.

    [24] Health minister, political parties issue messages on World Women's Day

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    The health ministry will launch a nationwide informative and preventive campaign on handling such women's ailments as breast and genital cancer on the occasion of World Women's Day.

    Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis said "woman is a symbol made to create and provide. It is time for her to enjoy the fruit of her offering. The first step in this direction is the absolute safeguarding of her 'well being' through care for her own health."

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in its message on the occasion that what capitalism provides for the woman is "unemployment, part-time work, volatility and flexibility in employment, training, programs, black labor, 'enterprise', 'active aging', terrorism in the workplace, violence and abuse, prostitution, drugs, as well as quotas in decision-making centers and watches to measure her impoverishment."

    The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology said an essential element in the struggle for equality among the genders is the unified action of the multiform and multicolored feminist movement, its alliance with the radical movements which are struggling for "another world which is feasible", meaning alignment with the movement against neo-liberal globalization.

    [25] President Stephanopoulos gives awards to overseas Greek media

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos gave awards for the year 2003 to Greek overseas media during a ceremony organized by the Communication and Information general secretariats on Monday night.

    The president praised the role played by overseas Greek media which support Hellenism and prolong its life since we no longer have immigrants who renew Greek communities in the world.

    Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said the overseas Greek media keep the flame of Hellenism alive, strengthening corridors of communication between overseas Greeks and between Greek communities and the metropolis.

    The award for the best radio and TV reportage in 2003 in the overseas Greek media was given to the journalists Soula Tellidi from Canada, Andreas Doumas from South Africa and Marios Mankousos from Chile.

    The award for the best article in the overseas Greek printed media was given to the journalists Sotiris Hatzimanolis from Australia and to Andreas Boukas from Sweden.

    The award for the overseas Greek media or agency with the best website of the year went to the Beterlink P/L company from Australia and to Sofia Times Magazin from Bulgaria.

    [26] Interior minister discusses legislation quality with OECD official

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos held talks on the quality of legislation and of regulatory settlements with the OECD's Public Administration and Regional Development director Rolf Alter on Monday night.

    Speaking after the meeting, Pavlopoulos said a considerable effort is being made with regard to the improvement of legislative settlements and the content of settlements.

    "It is known that the Inner Cabinet has ratified the draft law on regulatory reform, meaning such legislation that will regulate how we can legislate in a better way and at the level of laws and at the level of regulatory acts," he said.

    [27] Dimitris Paxinos re-elected Athens Bar Association president

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    Dimitris Paxinos was re-elected president of the Athens Bar Association on Monday after polling 67.02 percent of the vote in the Bar's elections, while his opponent Dimitris Vervesos received 32.98 percent.

    Out of 18,346 eligible voters at the Athens Bar Association, 9,792 lawyers voted in the second round of the elections (meaning a 53.37 participation percentage). The number of valid votes was 8,808, while 427 were invalid and 557 blank.

    [28] Goulandris Museum to launch information program on environmental problems

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    The Goulandris Natural History Museum will launch a new "contract with nature", through its "Gea" centre, to inform and sensitize people on the main environmental problems of the 21st century.

    The initiative by the Gea centre to brief people will be extended to 10 cities in the country, where 18 topics prepared by special scientists will be presented. The presentation of each topic will be based on the local conditions of each city and in accordance with the needs of local societies.

    Presentations will begin in Thessaloniki on April 4, focusing on urban environment and major cities, while the program will be concluded in Athens at the end of the year with an examination of the demographic problem.

    The program will be carried out under the auspices of the development and culture ministries.

    French philosopher Michel Serres was also present at Monday's program presentation.

    [29] Greece to participate in World Book Day on April 23

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    Greece will participate for the first time in World Book Day, set by UNESCO for April 23. The National Book Centre (EKEBI), following a proposal by the Athens Publishers and Booksellers Society (SEBA), will organize visits by 50 writers to 50 schools in the country in April 11-22.

    The event will provide pupils with the opportunity of becoming acquainted with creators and to come into contact with the process and experience of creation.

    [30] Presentation of EU MEDIA program for European audiovisual industry

    Athens, 8/3/2005 (ANA)

    The European Union's MEDIA program in support of the European audiovisual industry, providing considerable funding, is of particular interest to Greek directors, producers, scriptwriters and film distributors.

    People interested must submit their proposals by May 31, 2005. Information is provided by the Media Desk Hellas, 44 Vassileos Konstantinou street in Athens.

    The amounts of money for each proposal to be approved are the following:10-80,000 euros for separate plans, 60-150,000 euros for plan catalogues, 10-80,000 euros for new talents and 30-150,000 euros for distributors for each film, while independent producers securing certain television coverage will have up to 500,000 euros for each work.

    [31] Cyprus spokesman critical of Talat's positions

    NICOSIA 8/3/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said here Monday that positions outlined by the self-styled prime minister in Turkish-occupied Cyprus reveal his real intentions and his objective to obtain political gains.

    The spokesman expressed hope that what Mehmet Ali Talat had said in his interview with the Greek paper ''O Kosmos tou Ependiti'' would be reversed and that it does not reflect fully the wishes of the Turkish Cypriots, something, he pointed out, the future will tell.

    Chrysostomides questioned Talat's genuine intentions with regard to efforts for a political settlement in Cyprus in the sense that he was saying one thing but appeared to mean something else.

    ''The interview reveals Talat's real face. His positions cause dismay and disappointment. Everybody regarded him as a person who could contribute in good faith towards creating a climate of understanding and cooperation to settle the question of Cyprus,'' the spokesman said, when invited to comment on Talat's interview in which he said the Turkish occupation troops would not leave the island and described as ''a domestic issue'' the exploitation of Greek Cypriot properties in occupied Cyprus.

    Chrysostomides said that in reality Talat is seeking to obtain ''political advantages only and he makes no reference to the wish for reunification but on the contrary he repeats, recalling Rauf Denktash's views, his objective for political equality through a federation comprising two existing states.''

    He said Talat's offensive against President Tassos Papadopoulos and House President Demetris Christofias was ''totally unjustified'' and added that Talat's assertion that he would not make any concessions to Papadopoulos ''are absolutely unfounded and destroy completely his image as a conciliatory political leader with a constructive approach.''

    ''One wonders whether Talat was telling the international community and the European Union one thing but in fact he meant other things. One also wonders whether Talat, through such behavior, was in fact a hypocrite to the outside world while in reality he was aiming to consolidate divisive tendencies.''

    Responding to questions, the spokesman expressed hope that ''what was said would be reversed by the facts and that it does not reflect fully the wishes of the Turkish Cypriot community.''

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974 in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    [32] Government notes US views on money laundering effort in Cyprus

    NICOSIA 8/3/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides on Monday noted US evaluation of efforts by the Cypriot government to

    combat money laundering, saying Nicosia responds to its international obligations on this matter.

    He also said that the US has adopted a different approach with regard to Cyprus on curtailing money laundering and on respect of human rights, as these are outlined in the 2004 State Department relevant reports.

    ''It is considered that the Republic has taken all the necessary measures and that it has fulfilled all its obligations and continues to exercise control on money laundering issues,'' he said.

    On the contrary, he added, the casino operating in the Turkish occupied north, the banking system and the financial institutions are ''actual bodies where money laundering can be promoted.''

    Responding to questions, he said that the government does not question Washington's right to prepare reports but it does question the content of the report on human rights in Cyprus which it considers ''unfair.''

    ''Each state has the right to do what it considers correct. What we are asking is an objective examination of the facts and correct information disseminated to the US as well on the basis of objective and actual data,'' the spokesman added.

    The US report said that the government of the Republic of Cyprus has put in place a comprehensive anti-money laundering regime but should continue to take steps to tighten implementation of its laws.

    The report adds that although casinos, Internet gaming sites, and bearer shares are not permitted in the government-controlled area of Cyprus, the areas under Turkish occupation present a different picture, with 22 essentially unregulated, and primarily Turkish-mainland owned, casinos being the primary vehicles through which money laundering occurs.


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