|Friday, 27 November 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-03-12
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>March 12, 2005
 Papoulias to be sworn-in as new president on Saturday; Karamanlis praises outgoing StephanopoulosAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
Outgoing President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Saturday will turn over the head of state post to former foreign minister Karolos Papoulias, who was elected by a large majority of Parliament MPs last month.
On Friday, Stephanopoulos received Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at his office, with the latter praising the manner in which the outgoing president exercised his duties over the past 10 years, calling his tenure as "exemplary".
"During his 10-year tenure, Mr. Stephanopoulos served the state, the institution, the country and Hellenism, in general, with a very high degree of responsibility," Karamanlis said after exiting the presidential mansion.
Stephanopoulos has served for two terms as the president of the republic, a total of 10 years.
Both major parties in Parliament, ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK, expressed their support for Papoulias, a top one-time PASOK cadre, who received a record number 279 votes out of the 300 MPs in the legislature.
The 15 deputies from Parliament's two smaller parties, the Communist Party (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) voted "present".
Papoulias will be sworn-in in Parliament's main chamber after first laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
 Outgoing President Stephanopoulos meets Parliament PresidentAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
Outgoing President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos met with Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki at the Presidential Mansion on Friday.
Psarouda-Benaki termed the meeting as "cordial and moving."
In statements after the meeting, Psarouda-Benaki said that she expressed to Stephanopoulos "her deep feelings of respect for him," underlining "his excellent positive presence in the functioning of the institutions."
The new president, Karolos Papoulias, will be sworn in on Saturday.
 PASOK calls on its deputies to attend swear-in ceremony for presidentAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
Main opposition PASOK's Parliamentary group secretary, former minister Dimitris Reppas, on Friday sent letters to all of the party's deputies underlining the need for their attendance at Saturday's swear-in ceremony for new president of the republic Karolos Papoulias, himself a one-time PASOK foreign minister.
"As you can easily understand, a possible absence, especially under the current circumstances, may become the object of various speculation and interpretations," he said, adding that deputies' attendance belies respect for the institutions and an expression of honor and affection for Papoulias.
In a related development, one PASOK deputy, Theodoros Koliopanos, on Friday announced in writing that he would not attend the swear-in ceremony in protest against the Church of Greece's hierarchy, which he called undemocratic, among others.
 Gov't on FYROM 'name issue'Athens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
The government on Friday reiterated that Athens continues to support bilateral negotiations with the neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the latter's name, a standing 'thorn' in otherwise excellent relations.
Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros made the statement at his regular press briefing in answer to questions citing a "pending resolution" of the dispute.
"Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. (Yiannis) Valynakis held talks in New York over a solution to the problem, which is none other than a mutually acceptable name within the framework of the United Nations," Antonaros added.
Asked if optimism is warranted, the spokesman said: "After three years of inactivity by the previous (Greek) government, the pace today has accelerated".
Relations between Greece and the former Yugoslav state to its north have dramatically improved since the two countries signed an interim agreement in New York nearly 10 years ago under the UN's auspices. Currently, only the "name issue" ranks as a difference, albeit a prickly one, between Athens and Skopje.
Successive Greek governments, the overwhelming majority of public opinion in the east Mediterranean country as well as numerous ethnic Greek communities around the world are adamantly opposed to FYROM's attempt to use the name "Macedonia", citing historical and political reasons.
Under the terms of the agreement, Greece and FYROM are responsible for continuing negotiations to find a mutually acceptable solution.
According to recent figures, Greece ranks first in terms of foreign investment in FYROM, roughly 300 million euros.
 PM says in Spanish newspaper interview terrorism endangers values of our cultureMadrid, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, in an interview with the Spanish newspaper ABC published on Friday, stressed that "terrorism constitutes a grey veil which covers all the levels of our democratic society and endangers the values of our culture."
Karamanlis said Greece remains committed to the common struggle and reminded that it remains actively involved in the efforts of NATO for safeguarding stability and peace in the international system.
"The struggle against terrorism must be carried out effectively on the one hand, but in the framework of the law on the other, as suits modern democratic countries. There is a crucial balance between security and the protection of individual rights, in accordance with the fundamental principles of the EU," the prime minister said.
Asked whether terrorism in Greece has been eradicated with the trials for the November 17 and Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) groups, Karamanlis said "we achieved a very important victory against terrorism in Greece. This success was possible thanks to the joint efforts of all political forces and the unshakeable conviction of citizens that in our liberal society democratic institutions, individual freedoms and human dignity cannot possibly be stigmatized by criminal acts, particularly when this takes place with an appeal in the name of politics and ideas. The members of N17 were tried and convicted in accordance with the charge."
Describing his economic strategy, the prime minister said the main target is a new economic policy stretching up to 2010, adding that the Greek economy has great potential, but needs a policy that will be steadfastly oriented towards development, employment and social cohesion.
"Our task is difficult, primarily over the next two years. We want to tidy up Greece and we are optimistic that we shall succeed," Karamanlis said.
 Gov't confirms that intelligence service files on Vavylis destroyed in March 2000Athens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
The government on Friday confirmed that intelligence service documents referring to the fugitive at the centre of an ongoing furor linked with the Church of Greece's hierarchy -- and especially behind-the-scenes developments prior to the election of a new Jerusalem Patriarch in Sept. 2001 -- were destroyed in March 2003.
Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said the destruction of the relevant National Intelligence Service (EYP) files pertaining to fugitive drug smuggler Apostolos Vavylis was cited in a press release issued a day earlier by the public order ministry, and in the wake of a formal administrative investigation ordered by Minister George Voulgarakis.
Moreover, Antonaros advised that whatever conclusions should be drawn from date of the documents' destruction -- March 13, 2000 -- a more-or-less indirect reference to the previous PASOK government.
In his report, EYP director Amb. Yiannis Korantis refers to the documents' destruction "under conditions that deviate from those prescribed and in force".
Asked if the previous government was aware of the intelligence files' destruction, Antonaros responded that "this is the focus of the investigation".
Finally, he said the entire probe has been turned over to a relevant prosecutor
 Council of Europe adopts Greek proposal on mass mediaKiev, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
The intervention of the Greek government on a European level regarding the ownership status of the mass media proved to be successful.
The 46 countries which took part in the 7th meeting of ministers of the Council of Europe which was held in Kiev, on politics in the mass media, adopted a proposal by Greek Minister of State Theodoros Rousopoulos with which is deemed necessary both on a national and European level, the taking of measures for transparency in the ownership status of the mass media.
 Greek and Bulgarian defense ministers sign military and defense agreementAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
The defense ministers of Greece and Bulgaria signed a military and defense agreement in Athens on Friday. The agreement settles economic and legal issues of past years, as well as information protection and crisis management in peace missions in the framework of Partnership for Peace.
It also examines the potential of the two countries in the research and technology sector and for this reason a delegation of the Greek Aerospace Industry will be visiting Bulgaria.
The defense minister accepted an invitation from his Bulgarian counterpart to visit Sofia at a date to be set through diplomatic channels.
 Greek Deputy Minister calls on Turkey to contribute to Cyprus solution
Nicosia, 12/3/2005 (ANACNA)Greece's National Defense Deputy Minister Ioannis Lambropoulos has called on Turkey to contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem and stop disputing Greece's sovereign rights, if it would like to carry on with its European course. Lambropoulos was speaking at a ceremony held Friday at the military cemetery at Macedonitissa Tomb in Nicosia, where he received on behalf of the Greek government the remains of three Greek soldiers who were killed during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Their remains were identified through the DNA method.
''We extend a hand of friendship in every direction. The other side (Turkish) must understand that we must live in peace,'' the Greek official noted, adding ''Turkey must stop threatening Greece's sovereign rights, must respect the international treaties and rules, the UN resolutions and must contribute to a just, peaceful and viable solution to the Cyprus problem.''
He pledged that Greece would do its utmost for Turkey's accession to the European Union. However, he said Turkey must understand that ''in order to join the EU it must contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem and, of course, to stop disputing our sovereign rights.''
 Turkish PM expects Greece and Greek Cypriot side to take first step on Cyprus issue
Istanbul, 12/3/2005 (ANA/A. Kourkoulas)Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan expects Greece and the Greek Cypriot side to take the first step on the issue of Cyprus, according to a report by the Anatolian news agency on a press interview in Madrid, where Erdogan has arrived to attend the Madrid conference.
Following talks with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Erdogan said Annan desires a solution to the issue of Cyprus by October 3, the date on which Turkey's negotiations will begin for its accession to the EU and stressed that "efforts by Mr. Annan for a solution to the problem are continuing."
 Greece, Russia, Bulgaria move closer to oil pipeline projectMoscow, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
Greece, Bulgaria and Russia on Thursday took another step towards building an oil pipeline linking Burgas with Alexandroupoli, after representatives at a three-party meeting in Moscow agreed to sign a political memorandum on the project on April 15.
Greek Development Deputy Minister George Salagoudis participated in the Intergovernmental Commission's meeting in the Russian capital.
An initiative group, formed by oil companies interested in the project, examined all financial aspects, saying that the three governments' positions on the project were fully satisfactory and recommended that all three representations sign a political memorandum.
The signing of the protocol will take place in Sofia.
Under the protocol, the political memorandum could be signed earlier if procedures were finished ahead of time.
The initiative group examined all data related with the oil pipeline, covering both the condition prevailing in the Black Sea and any alternate routes of promoting crude oil exports.
A report, prepared by the group, concluded that the Burgas-Alexandroupoli project was the best plan and in the interest of all three parties, the oil industry and companies.
The Greek minister expressed his satisfaction over the development and particularly for the fact that all interested companies concluded that the project was viable.
Salagoudis stressed that the Greek side would rather see the immediate signing of the political memorandum -- "There is no use of losing more time over a plan thoroughly checked by all sides and particularly by the ones who will pay for it," he said -- but stressed that he respected internal procedures in Russia that could take up to one month to complete.
He expressed a hope, however, that "these procedures could be accelerated to reach a signing sooner".
The Greek minister noted that the initiative group would present the viability study of the project to all other oil companies with activities in the Black Sea region, "in order to have more companies in the project and to proceed with the formation of an international consortium to build the pipeline".
Salagoudis said the Burgas-Alexandroupoli project, budgeted at around 700 million US dollars, would benefit all three countries and boost economic cooperation between Russia, Greece and Bulgaria.
 SEBE unveils new five-year business planAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
The Union of Northern Greece Industries (SEBE) on Friday unveiled a five-year business plan aimed to better support Greek export enterprises in an international trade arena.
The business plan aims to boost the out-going nature and competitiveness of enterprises based in Northern Greece and of the Greek economy in general. It also envisages a re-organisation of the Union aiming to promote a more efficient marketing policy. SEBE said its new business plan was based on estimates over global trade trends, the impact of China's entry into the World Trade Organisation, an expanding European Union and developments in the Greek economy.
SEBE said its ambition was to adopt a new strategic role in supporting its members and Greek exporting companies in general.
 Greek GDP up 4.2 pct in fourth quarter, yr/yrmAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
Greece's Gross Domestic Product rose 4.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, compared with the same period in the previous year, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.
NSS, in its report on the country's economic growth, said that GDP was up 4.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2003.
The statistics service said that investments were up 5.8 percent in the October-December quarter, compared with the same period in 2003, contributing to an 1.2 percent increase in final demand.
NSS said that exports rose 12.1 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with the corresponding period in the previous year, adding 2.1 percent to total demand, while imports rose 7.8 percent over the same period.
Spending on final consumption rose 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter, adding 2.3 percent to total economic demand in the country.
 Gov't tables draft law on oil product distribution and storageAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
The Greek government on Friday tabled a draft law to parliament aimed to better control the distribution and storage of oil products in the country.
The draft law envisages the creation of a new directorate within the Development ministry with the task of inspecting distribution and storage of fuel. The new legislation also offers to Greek-based refineries the ability to supply the domestic market with oil products, on certain conditions, resets the minimum storage space for oil product distributors and amends existing regulation on penalties. Under the new draft legislation, owners of forest or forest areas must allow the construction of underground tunnels to build natural gas pipelines.
 Greek merchandise trade deficit down in January, yr/yrAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
Greece's merchandise trade deficit totalled 2.255,4 billion euros in January 2005, from 2.395.9 billion euros in the same month last year, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.
NSS, in its monthly report on the country's trade balance, said that the value of imports-arrivals in January totalled 3.164 billion euros from 3.266 billion euros in the same month last year, for a decline of 3.1 percent, while the value of export-deliveries totalled 909.2 million euros from 870.6 million euros over the same period, an increase of 4.4 percent.
The statistics service said the figures covered only the country's merchandise trade, excluding services and non-registered transactions.
 IKA to pay LAFKA retroactive rebates to all pensionersAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
The Social Insurance Fund (IKA), Greece's largest pension fund, on Friday said it would pay retroactive rebates of LAFKA supplementary pension contributions to all eligible pensioners in the country. An IKA announcement said that the fund would pay retroactive rebates to all pensioners regardless of past rejection decisions by the fund.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis last week said the government would pay retroactive rebates to pensioners in five six-month tranches beginning July 2006.
 Main opposition calls PM's claim of cost-cutting fraudulentAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
The main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) said on Friday a claim by the prime minister that the government had economized three billion euros was fraudulent.
"I would ask the prime minister and government spokesman whether they believe funds of 1.4 billion euros cut from the public investment program could be classed as waste, or monies that were destined for people on low pensions, or farmers pensions," PASOK spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said in a statement.
 Lambrakis Press, Alpha Satellite TV in joint publication ventureAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
Lambrakis Press and Alpha Satellite TV on Friday announced the signing of a partnership agreement for the joint publication of magazines in the Greek market.
A Lambrakis Press announcement to the Athens Stock Exchange said that the joint company's initial equity capital would total 500,000 euros and would be paid in half by the two partners with the aim to total 2.0 million euros in the next two years.
The initial duration of the agreement is 30 years, while the board of the new company will be equally distributed between the two partners. Lambrakis Press will take over the management of the company.
 Germanos acquires Uzbekistan mobile phone operatorAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
Athens-quoted Germanos SA announced on Friday that it had completed the acquisition of Unitel LLC (formerly Daewoo Unitel Co SE), a mobile telephony provider in Uzbekistan.
The purchase was made through Silkway Holding BV of the Netherlands, whose shareholders are Germanos (20%), Panos Germanos (73%) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.B.R.D (7%), Germanos said in a statement.
 Chief of Football Pools Organisation resignsAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
The head of Football Pools Organisation (OPAP), a heavily traded stock on the Athens bourse, tendered his resignation on Friday, citing time pressure from academic commitments.
Anestis Filippidis, who held the post for ten months, is a professor at Thessaloniki University.
Deputy Sports Minister George Orfanos accepted the resignation.
The state-owned gaming company, which handles the state lottery and other games of chance, is supervised by the culture ministry.
The resignation followed a public outcry over statements by Filippidis on arbitration of a domestic soccer championship match, which he later said had been misconstrued.
 Football Pools Organisation denies knowledge of game riggingAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
Athens-quoted Football Pools Organisation (OPAP) told the Athens bourse on Friday that it had no knowledge of soccer games being rigged that are included in its betting games.
The company said in a statement that it operations complied with the law, and results were among the healthiest in the country with earnings before tax of 736 million euros in 2004.
 Gov't to ensure adequate summer staffing at island airportsAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
The government is to ensure adequate summer staffing at the country's island airports ahead of the tourist season.
The decision was taken at a meeting on Friday by Aegean Minister Aristotelis Pavlidis and senior officials of the Civil Aviation Authority.
 Stocks rise in across-the-board buyingAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
Stocks finished higher with players buying across the board, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 3,128.96 points, marking a rise of 0.92%. Turnover was 160.3 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.96% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 1.08% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.66% up.
On a weekly basis, the general index gained 0.75%.
Equity Index Futures:
Foreign Exchange Rates: Until Tuesday
U.S. dollar 1.352
 Alexandria Patriarch receives warm welcome in Johannesburg
JOHANNESBURG, 12/3/2005 (ANA/N. Katsikas)The Patriarch of Alexandria Theodoros II received a warm welcome here by the Greek Ambassador, the High Commissioner of Cyprus, as well as by the ambassadors of Russia, Egypt and many other countries, particularly from Eastern Europe, where there is a strong Orthodox element.
The Greek Ambassador to South Africa Ioannis Economides conveyed to the primate of the Orthodox Church of Africa the compliments of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, the civil leadership of the foreign ministry and of Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, as well as of main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou.
Earlier, at a separate event organized by the diplomatic authorities of many eastern European countries, the strengthening of relations between the Patriarchate and Greece with the Churches of Russia and other countries from Eastern Europe was stressed.
Speaking sometimes in Russian and sometimes in Greek,, the Patriarch of Alexandria, addressing the Russian ambassador, said "Russia has always loved peace and constitutes a great power which has stood by Greece in the past."
 Top cleric furiously denies charges against himAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
High-profile Piraeus Metropolitan Kallinikos, the latest top ecclesiastical leader implicated by recent allegations of sexual misconduct, on Friday tabled written explanations before the standing Holy Synod, the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece's highest administrative body.
The elderly Kallinikos, who has been accused by a one-time choir leader of sexual advances dating to 1992, again referred to a conspiracy against him, and also warned that libel suits against his detractors are pending.
Finally, the Holy Synod's members accepted Kallinikos' request that a special investigator be appointed for the case, with Metropolitan of Elassona Vassilios chosen.
 Major cocaine arrest at Athens airportAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
A 22-year-old woman was arrested at Athens airport on Friday in possession of nearly seven kilos of cocaine concealed in shampoo containers, authorities said.
No further information on the suspect was announced, apart from the fact that the woman is a foreign national that arrived on a flight from Italy.
Police believe the suspect is linked with a major international drug smuggling ring.
 Scientific conference on Alexander The Great to be held in New York on SaturdayNew York, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
The branch of the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation in New York will hold a scientific conference on the theme "Alexander The Great and his era", at the foundation's Cultural Centre in Manhattan on Saturday.
The conference is organized within the framework of the exhibition which the foundation is presenting since December 10 entitled "Alexander The Great: Treasures of an epic era of Hellenism". The exhibition will last until April 16 and until now it has been visited by thousands of Americans of all ages.
Speaking at Saturday's conference will be distinguished academics, historians, archaeologists and professors of classical studies, from Greece, the United States and Great Britain.
 Book by archaeologist on the Ancient Agora of Athens also circulated in GreekAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
"The Ancient Agora of Athens, the most important section of the most important city, has yet to offer more while we ascertain how little it has changed since antiquity."
This is the view of archaeologist John Kamp, director since 1966 of the excavations of the American School in the Ancient Agora, and author of the book "The Ancient Agora of Athens , the excavations in the heart of the classical city", which circulated recently also in Greek by the publications of the Educational Foundation of the National Bank.
 Earthquake jolts AthensAthens, 12/3/2005, (ANA)
An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale jolted Athens shortly after noon on Friday, with its epicenter in the sea region of Rafina, 20 kilometers northeast of the Greek capital.
The quake, which struck at 12:30 p.m., was felt in Athens, but no damage was immediately reported.
 Cyprus government seeks sincere resumption of negotiationsNicosia, 12/3/2005, (ANA/CNA)
Cyprus Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said on Friday the Greek Cypriot side has shown its intentions for a sincere resumption of the negotiations on Cyprus, with concrete gestures and practical measures towards the Turkish Cypriot community by taking measures aiming at its financial upgrade.
Chrysostomides said that the Cyprus Government expected Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who discussed Friday in Madrid the Cyprus problem with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, to show real will, with tangible gestures, for the resumption of the negotiations aiming to reach a final and right solution to the Cyprus problem.
He noted that the positions of the Greek Cypriot side are well known and have been outlined to all sides.
He recalled recent actions by Turkey, which show the lack of substantive will to promote efforts for a Cyprus settlement, as the postponement of the Turkish President Ahmed Nezdet Sezer's visit to Finland, because the Cypriot Ambassador to Helsinki would attend a state banquet in the honor of Sezer.
He also noted that on Thursday Erdogan said the he can give money but not ''territory obtained with blood.''
This kind of gestures, Chrysostomides said, are not the practices expected by the Turkish side for the right resumption of the negotiations.
He noted that the Cyprus Government expects the process framework to be set up to secure the good-will resumption of negotiations aiming to reach an agreed settlement of the Cyprus problem.
''I hope there will be real indications of good-will for the resumption of procedures to solve the Cyprus problem,'' Chrysostomides said, noting that ''we are ready to do so any time, when the Secretary General considers it worthwhile to call for negotiations.''
The spokesman said the Greek Cypriot side ''has indeed shown its intention for a sincere resumption of negotiations, with concrete gestures and practical measures towards the Turkish Cypriot community, with measures aiming to its financial upgrade, not only unilaterally but also through the EU,'' noting however that these measures ''have not yet applied due to reasons of pursuing political advantages.''
He added that the financial aid of the Greek Cypriot community towards the Turkish Cypriot community has been particularly important.
 Polish President to pay official visit to CyprusNicosia, 12/3/2005, (ANA/CNA)
Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski will pay an official visit to Cyprus between 16 - 17 March.
During his stay here Kwasniewski will meet Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and delegations of the two countries will hold official talks, headed by the two presidents.
The Polish president will also meet with the Mayor of Nicosia and members of the Municipal Council and will visit the old city of Nicosia and the cease-fire line dividing the island since 1974, when the Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.