|Tuesday, 18 June 2013|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-07-03
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 President's inspection of Fleet ends Naval Week in Greece
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)Events to celebrate Naval Week throughout Greece concluded on Sunday with an inspection of the Hellenic Fleet at Trocadero Bay by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.
Almost the entire Greek Navy's fleet, including frigates, torpedo boats, submarines and speedboats were ranked in four rows in Trocadero Bay for inspection.
Stephanopoulos, accompanied by the political and military leadership of the Armed Forces, boarded the frigate "Elli" to carry out the inspection, while aircraft detached to the Navy and Augusta Bell and Sikorski helicopters carried out aerial maneuvers overhead.
Following the inspection, the president praised the battle-readiness of the Fleet, which he described as "perfectly trained," and said he was confident that it would carry out its mission in the Aegean flawlessly.
National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who said that the Greek Navy had very good, high-technology equipment and that the Greek people could be certain that the high cost of the Armed Forces, including the Navy, was not for nothing, also accompanied the president.
 Simitis urges that Greece take active role in Europe to avoid becoming 'marginalized'
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)In an article appearing in the Sunday paper "Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia," Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed the need for Greece to be actively involved in the dialogue that is currently taking place in Europe over the future of the European Union.
Otherwise, he pointed out, there was a danger that Greece might become marginalized.
According to the Prime Minister, many of Greece's recent successes in the economy and in foreign policy were a direct result of its membership of the EU, and these could well be reversed if the country were pushed to the sidelines.
 Greek force in Albania will leave, Tsohatzopoulos says
TIRANA, 03/07/2000 (ANA - I. Paco)National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, currently on a visit to Albania, announced on Saturday that he had told his Albanian counterpart that the Greek force in Albania would be departing, having completed its mission. Tsohatzopoulos is in the country to attend a conference of the European Socialist Party, of which he is vice-president.
"I told my Albanian counterpart in person about the decision of the Greek government, which I have notified him of some days ago, that with the successful completion of the work done by the Greek armed forces in Albania, the time has come for its departure," he said.
Later in the day, Tsohatzopoulos had meetings with Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta and the president of the Socialist Party Fatos Nano at a Tirana hotel, and a separate meeting with the newly elected Socialist Party general secretary.
Talking to the ANA, the defense minister commented on statements made by the Albanian government spokesman some days ago, which talked about converting the Greek force in Albania from a military to an economic force.
"Greece's military presence has a specific form and this form of presence is now finished. I don't think there is any reason to extend it further. We have completed our mission successfully. The Greek forces will leave now," he said.
Tsohatzopoulos said that there were currently certain plans in development being run by the Greek force. "For these to continue, the Albanian government must begin dialogue to discuss to what extent it is interested in their completion and then we can find ways of working together on the level of military teams."
The minister said he did not yet know whether a part of the 200-man Albanian force might be transferred to Kosovo.
 President Stephanopoulos attends celebrations for the 87th anniversary of Drama's liberation
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos was in the northern Greek city of Drama on Saturday, to attend events celebrating the 87th anniversary since the city's liberation in 1913.
The president received a particularly warm welcome from the residents and authorities of the Drama prefecture, where he was greeted by Drama Mayor Margaritis Tzimas, who handed him a marble bust of Dionysus and proclaimed him an honorary citizen of the city.
At 10 a.m. there was a celebratory mass at the Drama Metropolitan Church, followed by an address and a wreath-laying ceremony at the city's hero memorial.
One hour later, a parade was held with the participation of local schools and sections of the Armed Forces and police. At the end of the parade, the president met and shook hands with ex-servicemen disabled during war.
Afterward, Stephanopoulos accompanied Drama's Mayor to the Drama Town Hall, where he received a full account of the situation in the region, while at 1:00 p.m. there was an official reception in his honor at the traditional "Nisaki" venue in Drama.
 Identity card debate continues to rage from the podium and the pulpit
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)The on-going spat between the Greek Orthodox Church and the government over identity cards, specifically a decision to drop the religious affiliation entry on these state-issued documents, continued on Saturday, with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos using the pulpit to deliver harsh judgements on the "deniers of the faith".
The issue, or rather the europhobic attitudes with which it has recently become linked, also prompted the rare intervention of President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on the same day, who made reassuring comments regarding the consequences of Greece's EMU entry during a visit to the northern Greek city of Drama.
"Our national identity is not in any danger from the European Union," he stressed. "Greece is not a small country, neither geographically nor population-wise, compared to other EU member-states - for example, Belgium, Luxembourg and others."
Continuing, the president said that Greece's entry into the eurozone had upgraded the country "historically and economically," while pointing out that Greece's national income was as high as the sum total of that for all the other Balkan countries put together.
Stephanopoulos made the comments while attending events for the 87th anniversary of Drama's liberation in 1913.
Back in Athens, meanwhile, during the morning sermon at the Agioi Anargyroi Church in Ilioupoli, Archbishop Christodoulos was telling the congregation that "we are going through a period of reaction..."
"Some say the Church is some sort of club, like those in football, or a kind of association. Others say it is a political party that gathers supporters among the poor and disaffected. They have even gone as far as to say that in the Church there is another Greece, not that of the modernists, the clever people, but one of die-hard reactionaries."
Christodoulos was also critical of journalists who had written that the Church-organized rallies in June were attended by the more "marginal" sections of society.
The Church, the Orthodox prelate noted, would continue to say "yes" when others said "no" and the opposite, because it had to remain free. "We must not give in and compromise with the lawless interests of our time," he stressed.
In fact, while ordaining two new priests, the Archbishop also spoke at length about the young people that fill the Church, surmising that this was because they had nowhere else to turn. "Where can they find succour? From the sinful powers-that-be? From those who announce one thing and do another?"
Youth was not entirely on Christodoulos' side on Saturday, however. The identity card issue was discussed at length during the first day of the 6th Session of the Youth Parliament, where teenage deputies appeared to be voting "none of the above". Scathing criticism of both sides was voiced, with the junior parliamentarians taking a dim view of the altercation between Church and State. The most heavily applauded statement of the day was "religion is not something that you write down on a piece of laminated paper."
Government officials urge Church to enter talks: An invitation to the Orthodox Church to initiate dialogue with the government - but not on the controversial issue of identity cards - was made on Sunday via an interview with the paper "Typos tis Kyriakis" by Deputy Education Philippos Petsalnikos. Petsalnikos urged Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos to begin dialogue on all issues concerning relations between the Church and State except identity cards.
PASOK General Secretary Costas Skandalidis, meanwhile, talking to the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia," has asked "that channels of communication open immediately between the Church and State with a pre-arranged agenda."
Justice Minister Michalis Stathopoulos, on his part, described a proposed referendum by the Church over identity cards as a "divisive action" in an interview with the Athens daily "Avgi".
PASOK secretary proposes direct dialogue between Simitis and the Archbishop: Ruling PASOK party secretary Costas Skandalidis on Sunday proposed a direct dialogue between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos for whatever misunderstandings to be lifted without, however, the decision taken to remove religion from identity cards to be doubted.
Skandalidis made his proposal in an interview published in the Sunday newspaper "Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia."
"A corridor of communication should open immediately. We should allay the fears of the Hierarchy on the 'religious declassification of the state' and it should accept that a police identity card does not judge 'religious nationality'. A direct dialogue between the Prime Minister and the Archbishop should take place on an agreed agenda," he said.
Lamia Metropolitan urges for compromise in dispute with government over Ids: In statements during his sermon in Lamia, Fthiotida Metropolitan Nikolaos revealed concern on Sunday over the increasingly confrontational tone of a dispute between the Greek Orthodox Church and the government regarding identity cards.
The Church's leadership has objected to a government decision to scrap the religious affiliation category on state-issued IDs, asking that it be retained on an optional basis.
Even as he invited the congregation to attend a jubilee in honor of the Virgin Mary in Lamia's football stadium that evening, also to be attended by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, he warned that this would not be another venue for protests.
"Do not think that this will be another people's rally. I will not allow it. This will be a festival for youth," he said.
Christodoulos will be arriving in the city at 8:00 p.m.
In this morning's sermon, the Metropolitan clearly distanced himself from the hard-liners fighting the decision, and spoke about the need for a compromise, while expressing fears that the dispute might end up hurting innocent people.
"Who can play around with the lives and fortunes of simple people, who must use the identity card given to them by the government in order to collect their pensions and salaries," he noted.
"This is a very difficult time in which a compromise solution must be sought, when we must put aside petty stubbornness and see what the people want," stressed the metropolitan. "We live through difficult moments. Things are still unclear," he added.
In support of Christodoulos, however, the metropolitan said he was "a spiritual figure that is fighting for the truth," and that one could not lightly pass judgement unless one had first-hand experience "of the torment and the electric chair that the Archbishop's throne in Athens has become."
Kappa Research poll shows that 54 percent of Greeks favor optional listing of religion in identity cards: The Sunday newspaper "Vima tis Kyriakis" published a poll prepared by the Kappa Research company on behalf of the government showing that 54 percent of respondents favor the optional listing of religion affiliation in identity cards with 31 percent against.
Moreover, 59 percent said demonstrations organized by the Church were excessive, while 37.2 expressed support for them, while 42 percent said their opinion of the Archbishop changed for the worst and 31.7 said their opinion of the Archbishop was upgraded.
The poll also revealed that 50 percent of respondents do not base their religious beliefs on the listing of religion in identity cards, as against 46 percent who attach great importance to their religion being listed.
 PASOK secretary Skandalidis visits Patriarch Vartholomeos and briefs him on IDs issue
ISTANBUL, 03/07/2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Ruling PASOK party secretary Costas Skandalidis visited Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos at the Fanar on Saturday, conveying Prime Minister Costas Simitis' thanks to him and briefing him on relations between the Church and the state.
"I briefed the Ecumenical Patriarch on what is happening in Greece and on the course of relations between the Church and the state," Skandalidis said after meeting the Patriarch.
"We had the opportunity to exchange views on modern-day problems," the Ecumenical Patriarch said on his part and praised Skandalidis' devotion to the Church.
"I conveyed the Prime Minister's greetings and thanks for mediation made at times to enable this crisis to be defused and a substantive dialogue to open on the issues of our times between the state and the Church," Skandalidis said and called on the Ecumenical Patriarch to continue his effort.
Skandalidis further said that "it is better for our country for there to be consensus and a common course."
PASOK's secretary was among members of the "Ecumenical Hellenism" program, which visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
In a related development, the Ecumenical Patriarch welcomed the members of the "Ecumenical Hellenism" program, saying that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is a bastion of universality and added that peoples have been helped to develop their own image without competing between them, as is the case with nationalism.
The Patriarch said nationalism in the language of the Church comes from "an internal feeling of insecurity and jeopardy. Namely from the feeling of a poor existence."
In the afternoon, the mission of the "Ecumenical Hellenism" attended a Church service officiated by the Archbishop of Poland Savvas at Saint Nicholas Cathedral. The Ecumenical Patriarch was also present.
 Greek-Turkish forum makes proposals to Greek and Turkish FMs on the Aegean
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)The Greek-Turkish forum's "political analysis group" has ad-dressed a letter to the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Turkey, George Papandreou and Ismail Cem respectively, proposing a series of actions to resolve problems faced by the two countries in the Aegean.
The Greek-Turkish forum is a non-governmental organization composed of politicians, university professors, former diplomats and journalists from the two countries. It is aimed at curbing differences between Greece and Turkey.
The letter proposes the solving of differences in the Aegean based on decisions taken at the European Union's Helsinki summit, as well as the existence of common interests between the two countries. It added that these common interests are focused on the sectors of shipping, cooperation in environmental protection, tourism and solving differences in a peaceful manner.
"Three are the key issues in relations between the two countries: The delineation of the continental shelf, of territorial waters and of airspace and conflicting interpretations on restrictions set out by international treaties concerning the militarization of certain Aegean islands," the letter said.
 Identity cards, television, and social ills discussed by 5th Youth Parliament
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)The fifth session of the Youth Parliament, in which 350 teenage deputies are given the chance to air their grievances and express their views and proposals while their adult counter-parts go on holiday, began on Saturday with discussion of a wide range of topics.
A particularly controversial issue proved to be the dispute between the Orthodox Church and State over identity cards - which the 16-year-old students will soon be asked to obtain - which provoked heated comments and sharp criticism aimed at both sides.
The junior parliamentarians were also sharply critical of the role of the media in society, particularly television and its constant images of sex, violence and crime. One speaker described television as "a soft drug, that lulls young people and abuses the language."
Other speakers addressed the issues of unemployment, social inequity and corruption in the police, while, hitting on an issue closer to home for most of the assembly, one girl spoke about the lack of free time for children in school.
 Envoy says Greece supports preservation of unified state of Yugoslavia
BELGRADE, 03/07/2000 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)Greek Ambassador Panayiotis to Belgrade Vlassopoulos said in Podgorica on Saturday that Greece supported the preservation of the unified state of Yugoslavia and is friendly disposed towards both Serbia and Montenegro.
Vlassopoulos held talks in the Montenegrin capital with government and opposition officials.
During talks with Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic, the ambassador underlined that the Greek government steadfastly supported Montenegro's state policy, which is orientated towards democratization and reforms.
Vlassopoulos said bilateral political cooperation between Montenegro and Greece is at an enviable level and that common efforts should be made to promote economic and other kinds of cooperation.
Djukanovic sent his thanks and greetings to Prime Minister Costas Simitis and announced that an identity of views was reached on most issues raised in the talks with the Greek ambassador.
Vlassopoulos also visited Budva and met with Serb Renewal Movement President Vuk Draskovic and was briefed on the state of his health following the recent attempt on his life.
 Synaspismos rejects PASOK proposal for cooperation
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nicos Constantopoulos rejected proposals by the ruling PASOK party, as expressed by PASOK secretary Costas Skandalidis, for cooperation between the two parties.
Constantopoulos was outlining his positions on the party's political and policy program at the close of Synaspismos' 3rd regular congress on Sunday.
Constantopoulos said the distance between words and practice, as well as duplicity, is a phenomenon, which, unfortunately, follows the policy and electoral practice of PASOK from its founding until the present day.
"If Mr. Skandalidis' views mean that PASOK is pondering after the elections on a possible change in its strategy, then the coalition would be the last to refuse to assess the importance of such a change. And with regard to PASOK, our criterion is the specific government policy and the specific government political attitudes. Therefore, what we on our part note is that with this criterion we aim at promoting our own proposal and we evaluate and judge the attitudes and proposals of others," Constantopoulos said.
He said a dialogue between a party in power and an opposition party cannot take place in the air and reminded of his party's proposal on the need to shape a new social and political majority, a proposal, which was rejected by PASOK.
Constantopoulos expressed regret over the refusal of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) to attend the opening of the congress, saying the position of KKE was a phenomenon of political fanaticism.
He also let it be understood that the Coalition cannot cooperate neither with KKE nor with the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) due to the positions of these two parties, saying that "we have a different orientation."
Constantopoulos' positions were adopted by a majority of 85.5 per cent of the delegates.
Nikos Constantopoulos re-elected Coalition party president: Nikos Constantopoulos was re-elected president of the Coalition of the Left and Progress party following a ballot held at the party's congress on Sunday night. He was re-elected with 83.8 percent of the vote (912 votes for him, 163 blank and 13 invalid), while receiving 65 percent of the vote at the previous congress.
Constantopoulos expressed his satisfaction over the result of the vote.
Meanwhile, the counting of votes for the election of a new Central Committee was continuing until late at night.
 President has won the hearts of the Greek public according to survey
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos is apparently the most popular public figure in Greece at this time, according to a survey by Kappa Research published in the Athens daily "To Vima" on Sunday.
More than 90 per cent of respondents said they thought well of Stephanopoulos, while Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos came second with 64.8 per cent and Olympics Organizing Committee chairwoman Yianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki came third with 63.5 per cent.
Next in line were Orthodox Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos (61,3 per cent), Prime Minister Costas Simitis (56.8 per cent), Coalition of the Left leader Nikos Constantopoulos (43.7 per cent), main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis (43.7 per cent), ND honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis (39.4 per cent), Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas (32.8 per cent), Liberal party leader Stephanos Manos (31.6 per cent), Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga (16.8 per cent) and Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras (15.9 per cent).
 Greek university deans meet in Alexandroupolis
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)Education Minister Petros Efthymiou held talks on Sunday with Greek university deans participating in their 36th session in Alexandroupolis, northern Greece, saying a coincidence of views was reached on many points and a part of what was discussed will be implemented gradually.
"We agreed that higher education in Greece should become even more qualitative, even more competitive and substantive to contribute decisively towards our country being in the front line of developments in the European Union to enable it to be in a position to safeguard its major national interests," he said.
Efthymiou also had an informal meeting with the Metropolitan of Alexandroupolis Anthimos on the sidelines of the session.
Commenting on the issue of religion affiliation being listed in identity cards, Efthymiou said "the present situation, as it stands with the government's absolutely clear positions does not mean at all that there is no ground for social and institutional positions as well, through the absolutely distinct roles of the Church and the state."
On his part, Anthimos said the minister's meeting with the Archbishop and their own at present "is an opportunity for an exchange of views on the specific issue through an aspect of hopes and possibilities."
 Papoutsis inaugurates fishing refuge in Evros
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis on Sunday inaugurated a Fishing Refuge in Makri, Evros prefecture. Papoutsis was in the nearby city of Alexandroupolis this weekend for events celebrating Naval Week.
The 850-million-drachma project has been completed extremely rapidly, finishing five months ahead of schedule. It was funded by the Second Community Support Framework and the government and will serve the fishing industry in the surrounding region.
Last night, meanwhile, Papoutsis said that the government's ultimate goal was to supply every port in Greece with fire-fighting boats.
Papoutsis made the statement after an accidental fire disrupted a display by the Alexandroupolis Coast Guard, involving scuba divers and coast guard vessels, while he was watching. The fire was caused by a spark from a smoke bomb, which set alight one of the tugs being used in the display and was quickly put out.
Commenting afterward, Papoutsis noted that such real accidents showed that one needed to be ready for any eventuality and that this was precisely was the Coast Guard's special forces were trained to do.
He also pointed out that the Coast Guard had recently had very positive results, was being equipped with new equipment and had the best training of any special force in the country.
 British doctor fails in bid to swim from Delos to Paros in support of the Parthenon Marbles' return
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)Strong currents he encountered three miles off the island of Paros on Sunday prevented British doctor Christopher Stockdale from swimming to it from the island of Delos in an effort to sensitize world public opinion in favor of the return of the Parthenon Marbles from Britain to Greece.
However, the inhabitants of the island, film director Jules Dassin, in his capacity as President of the "Melina Mercouri Foundation", and Minister of the Aegean Nikos Sifounakis welcomed the British doctor as "a victor in a struggle of the good", as Sifounakis said.
Stockdale had started his effort at 10 a.m. on Saturday from Delos, the island where, according to mythology, Apollo was born. He covered 23 of the 26 miles distance to Paros, which was chosen because, according to history, the island was used to keep the funds of the Athenian Alliance, which were used to build the Parthenon.
"At some time the marbles will return to Greece and Christopher Stockdale will be one of the fighters and victors of good," Sifounakis said in his welcoming address.
 ABNA 10th assembly concludes with agreement for more cooperation
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)The 10th General Assembly of the Association of Balkan News Agencies (ABNA) concluded its proceedings in Athens on Saturday with an agreement to upgrade cooperation between the member-agencies and to develop new forms of activity, particularly in new technologies.
The members also agreed to changes in ABNA's organizational structure and accepted an application by the Moldovan press agency, Moldpres, to join the association.
In addition, the assembly reaffirmed its desire for the pluralistic dissemination of information in the Balkans, saying that this would contribute to a climate of peace, security and prosperity in the region.
In terms of organization, the meeting decided to set up two three-member working groups, one to organize an initiative for the promotion of the Athens Olympics in 2004 throughout the Balkans and the other to deal with ecological concerns in the region. The members also decided to extend the terms of the rotating presidency and general secretariat to one and two years respectively, while the order of rotation will now be based on the alphabetical order of the news agencies, rather than the cities in which they are based.
Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who spoke about Greeces basic foreign policy axes in the Balkans, opened the meeting.
The assembly was also addressed by Athens News Agency general director Andreas Christodoulides, who referred to the need for more effective and far-reaching cooperation between the Balkan news agencies in order to deal with the increasing competition and radical changes taking place internationally in the field of information.
Christodoulides is the current ABNA president, a position he will hold for another six months following the decision to extend the term to one year.
The member-agencies also re-elected Spyros Kouzinopoulos, general director of the Macedonian Press Agency (MPA) of northern Greece, as general secretary and extended his term by a year and a half.
ABNA heads addressed by foreign minister: The 10th general assembly of the Association of Balkan News Agencies (ABNA) opened in Athens on Saturday, with discussions focusing on extending the terms for the organizations rotating leadership and general secretariat, as well as expansion.
Participants heard an opening address delivered by Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who greeted ABNA member-states' heads by outlining Athens' basic policy axes for the entire Balkan region, including respect for human rights and existing borders, as well as upgraded cooperation and multilateral development.
"We've developed a comprehensive strategy for a Balkan approach, especially after the Kosovo crisis, which aims to check crisis spots and create conditions of political stability and economic development in the area. The long-term goal is to include the entire region in European institutions," Papandreou said in his address, read out at the beginning of the assembly.
 Delegation of Turkish journalists invited to visit Kavala
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)A delegation of Turkish journalists, currently visiting the northern Greek city of Kavala at the invitation of local municipal authorities, were shown around the city's sites on Saturday, while they will visit other sites in the area before Sunday, when they are scheduled to leave. The idea behind the initiative is to promote Kavala as a tourism destination in neighboring Turkey, through the stories written by the visiting journalists.
This is the second visit to Kavala by journalists and photo-reporters for Turkish printed and electronic media, following a similar initiative last year by Kavala prefectural authorities.
 Greek and Turkish town complete twinning ceremony
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)The towns of Vathi on the Greek island of Samos and Kusadasi on the Turkish coast came one step closer on Saturday and Sunday, following the completion of a two-day twinning ceremony in the Turkish town.
Vathi Mayor Philippos Petrouskas stressed during a brief speech on Sunday that the two towns should pool their efforts for the protection of the environment. He also called for continued efforts in establishing trade links, and for cooperation in tourism and cultural events, but always with respect for international law.
 Exhibition of elephant bones and other remains show that Crete was once very different from now
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)Elephant bones and other rare finds that shed light on the prehistoric landscape of Crete were presented by the Marine Antiquities Service at an exhibition in Hania organized to celebrate Naval Week on the island.
The finds were discovered in an under-water cave on the Cretan coast, with the assistance of the "Friends of the Deep" association.
Exploration of the cave revealed an elephant tooth and many bones from elephants and deer. This leads archaeologists to believe that Crete was once linked to Africa and inhabited by many species that no longer exist on the island.
 Four-day conference on environmental protection begins on Thassos
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)An international scientific conference discussing the protection and restoration of the environment began on the island of Thassos on Sunday and will run until July 6.
During the course of the conference, 400 scientists will present their work, giving detailed presentations of their research and applications studies on matters concerning the environment. Among these will be 290 Greeks, while the rest are from the US, Canada, Germany, England, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Yugoslavia, Albania, Morocco and other countries.
The scientists will exchange information and experiences, present new ideas and achievements in the area of environmental protection and discuss educational, political, legislative and research needs to promote these.
The conference was organized by the Environmental Mechanics department of the University of Thrace and the Environmental Mechanics Center of Stevens University in the US, in collaboration with Hellenic Link. It is funded by the Greek Parliament as part of events celebrating the 80th anniversary since the liberation of Thrace.
 American professor arrested for antiquities smuggling
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)American archaeology professor Michael-Martin Kumpf, 55, was arrested at Athens international airport at dawn on Sunday after being found in possession of an ancient urn 22 centimeters high dating back to the post-Minoan period which is subject to laws on antiquities.
Kumpf was due to appear before a public prosecutor later in the day.
 British envoy David Madden hosts luncheon for former and future Chevening Scholars
Athens, 03/07/2000 (ANA)The British Ambassador to Athens David Madden hosted a luncheon on June 29 at his residence for former and future Chevening Scholars, according to a British Embassy press release.
Professor Elias Beriatos, Secretary General of the Ministry of Environment and Yianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, President of the 2004 Olympics Organizing Committee, also attended.
"The British Chevening Scholarship program is the Premier British Government Scholarship scheme for international students. Chevening scholarships are prestigious awards focussing solely on postgraduates. The program currently provides globally around 2,200 new scholarships a year," Madden said in an address.
The British ambassador also said that Greeks constitute the largest group of foreign students in universities in the United Kingdom, amounting to around 30,000.
"Scholars are selected to study in fields relating to priorities in our bilateral relations with Greece. Two current priorities are the 2004 Olympics and the environment," he added.
 Greek-Australian athletes 'hall of fame' to be set up
MELBOURNE, 03/07/2000 (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis)The Cultural Committee to Celebrate the New Millenium, set up by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, on Sunday announced that it was founding a "Hall of Fame" for Greek-Australian athletes.
According to the organizers, all Australian citizens of Greek descent are free to join, provided that they have been selected for or have competed in any national sports team in Greece, Australia or any other country.
In addition, places will also be given to anyone that has finished first in any national-level competition in Australia, Greece or any other country, or who has broken a sports world record.
Candidates can be of any age or sex, either professionals or amateurs, alive or dead, as well as disabled.
 President Clerides departs forAthens, Geneva LARNACA, 03/07/2000 (CNA/ANA)
President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides said on Sunday that he would discuss with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan the issue of Turkish troop movements in the area of Strovilia, if the matter had not been settled by the United Nations by July 5.
Speaking on his departure for Athens and Geneva, President Clerides said he would not elaborate on ways the Cyprus government intends to handle the issue, as that would be a warning to the Turkish side on future moves.
President Clerides will meet in Athens with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and members of the Greek government, in view of the third round of UN-led proximity talks on the Cyprus problem, scheduled to begin July 5 in Geneva with a meeting with Annan. The talks will be continued with the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied the northern third of the island. Two rounds of proximity talks have already been held since December, aiming at preparing the ground for substantive negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement.
Responding to questions on the Strovilia issue, President Clerides said that "there is a violation of an agreement between the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and the Turkish troops in that area", adding that "the UN themselves have said that this is a violation of the status and that it is of course the duty of the UN to put right that which has happened".
Asked if the Cyprus government would give UNFICYP some time to restore order in the area, President Clerides responded positively, noting that if the issue was not settled by July 5, when he will meet with Annan, then "this will be one of the first matters I will discuss with him".
He also said that "it would not be right to warn the other side on how we will handle the issue".
Responding to other questions, President Clerides said that the Greek Cypriot side "does not accept the confederation" as a solution to the Cyprus problem, but would "negotiate within the framework set out by the UN's resolutions".
Interview: In an interview with daily "Alithia" meanwhile, President Clerides said that the Greek Cypriot side will attend the third round of UN-led proximity talks on the Cyprus problem with courage and an intention to be flexible, but noted that it awaits a similar stance from the Turkish Cypriot side.
The president said that the Turkish Cypriot side has no right to anything after the non-inclusion of an addendum in the UN Secretary-General's report on the renewal of the UN peacekeeping force (UNFICYP) mandate.
UNFICYP has been in Cyprus since 1964 and its mandate is renewed every six months. Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, had made efforts to include an addendum in the latest resolution on the renewal of the mandate, with a demand for separate consultations with UNFICYP.
Asked about the prospects of the third round of talks, President Clerides said "our side will attend the talks prepared, with bravery and flexibility, depending also on the stance of the other side".
He noted, however, that during substantive negotiations, which would last for at least a few weeks, one would be able to see whether there were any prospects for progress on a Cyprus settlement.
The President said that the Turkish side aims at buying time until Autumn, so as not to make any concessions on the Cyprus problem, but also to avoid any mention of the problem in the text on the partnership relation between the European Union and Turkey, which will be discussed in October.
He said the Turkish side also wants unfruitful time to pass until Autumn, which will be closer to the presidential elections in the United States, so that the power would not be fully involved in the peace process. President Clerides noted that "no matter which peace process was followed, there would be no result if Ankara did not change its policy or if the international community did not change its stance on Ankara".
Asked to comment on the position that the non inclusion of the addendum in the recent UN resolution would negatively affect Denktash, President Clerides said: "First I would like to note that based on this logic, Denktash 'got' something first, before our side 'got' anything. It got the addendum in December, without the UN Secretariat following the necessary transparent procedure".
He said that now it is reaffirmed "by Denktash's reaction that the Turkish side is ready to incorporate the addendum in June in the context of its main strategy to achieve the well-known acknowledgment".
President Clerides added that any tolerance on our side regarding the content of the addendum "would equal acceptance of Turkey's goal".
Referring to Cyprus' European Union accession course, President Clerides said that "our so far successful course to the EU justifies our optimism for membership", adding that the island's application "was submitted by the Republic of Cyprus and therefore if accession is achieved before a settlement, then it would be the whole of the Republic of Cyprus that would accede to the EU".
He said this meant that recognition of the so-called "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", illegally set up in 1983 by the occupation regime and recognized only by Ankara, would be blocked. President Clerides noted that Cyprus' accession course "may serve as a catalyst in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, especially taking into consideration the fact that Turkey has started its own accession course".