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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 01-05-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

May 16, 2001


  • [01] US secretary of state confident Greece can effectively handle terrorism
  • [02] EU foreign, defense ministers conduct joint meeting on Union's security, defense policy
  • [03] FM Papandreou satisfied with convening of EU-Cyprus association council
  • [04] Spokesman says Turkey to be judged by implementation of European Court's ruling
  • [05] Athens' reaction to Berlusconi victory in Italy
  • [06] PM Simitis says stronger framework necessary for human rights
  • [07] Kaklamanis meets head of OSCE assembly's French delegation
  • [08] Universities continue protests over TEI bill; rectors meet with ND leader
  • [09] Sensitive personal data guide processing published by the
  • [10] Greece worries over increase in electronic fraud
  • [11] Environment minister reports drop in Athens air pollution vs. the late '80s
  • [12] Romania's Iliescu offers condolences over Greek general's death
  • [13] Military exercise 'Sarisa 2001' ends in central Macedonia on Tuesday
  • [14] Left wing, green parties establish 'forum for dialogue and joint action'
  • [15] Solidarity group in Greece, calls for international support for Turkish prisoners
  • [16] Greece to begin limited euro coin circulation December 15
  • [17] EU ministers discuss energy security and energy market deregulation
  • [18] Public investments program course "very satisfactory", gov’t says
  • [19] Greece's privatization program moves smoothly
  • [20] Economist conference to focus on Balkan telecom prospects
  • [21] Minister welcomes modernization of passenger shipping fleet
  • [22] Athens bourse to propose introduction of short selling
  • [23] ASE finds support at 3,000 level
  • [24] Battle of Crete commemoration events open, Blair sends message
  • [25] Exhibition on the Parthenon to open at Museum in Zagreb
  • [26] 'Byzantine Hours' exhibition in Mystras, Athens and Thessaloniki
  • [27] Athens 2004 officials present projects' progress to IOC in Salt Lake City
  • [28] Gov't comments on latest 2004 issue to arise
  • [29] Kokkalis Foundation sponsors event on sports, regional development
  • [30] Cyprus-EU Association Council convenes
  • [31] Cyprus calls on Turkey to abide by European court's ruling

  • [01] US secretary of state confident Greece can effectively handle terrorism

    WASHINGTON, 16/05/2001 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    US Secretary of State Colin Powell on Tuesday expressed his absolute support and confidence in Greece's ability to handle the threat of terrorism effectively and organize safe Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.

    Powell was speaking in reply to a question by Senator Ben Campbell, while testifying at the US Senate's Foreign Operations Subcommittee.

    Despite the Republican legislator's insistence on the need for pressure to be exerted by the US on Athens to safeguard the security of American and other athletes who will be participating in the Olympiad, Powell substantively rejected the spirit of the question.

    "I don't want to misstate this, because I also have confidence in the Greek authorities, and I know that they are committed to having safe games. But we certainly should monitor their preparations to make sure our youngsters are not being put in conditions of danger. But I have confidence that the Greek authorities know how to deal with this kind of thing, and any concerns we do have, we should present to them," he said.

    Powell also admitted that "there has been a general area of concern because there is a potential for this kind of activities just about anywhere in the world", insisting that "it's not endemic to Greece. I mean, we had our own homegrown whacko, whoever it was, who set a bomb off in Atlanta."

    [02] EU foreign, defense ministers conduct joint meeting on Union's security, defense policy

    BRUSSELS, 16/05/2001 (ANA - B. Demiris)

    The European security and defense policy dominated discussions of the joint meeting of the European Union's and candidate member-states foreign and defense ministers here on Tuesday.

    During the meeting Turkish Defense Minister Sabahattin Cakmakoglu objected to Cyprus' participation in the talks and mechanisms of the EU's Joint Foreign Policy and Security Policy, reiterating the stance of the Turkish government.

    Responding to his Turkish counterpart, Greek Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos spoke of the Turkey's and Cyprus' participation in the European security and defense as two equal member-states of the United Nations.

    He underlined that with this statement by Cakmakoglu and related actions of late, Turkey is attempting to strengthen its position in light of Cyprus' accession to the European Union.

    "Turkey seems to be in a period of preparation and formulation of claims and demands against Greece, so as to strengthen its position in light of Cyprus' accession to the European Union," he said.

    On his part, Swedish Defense Minister Bjorn Von Sydow, who is presiding over the meetings as his country currently holds the six-month rotating EU presidency, spoke of the importance of contributions by candidate member–states to the Union's "European Army", adding that such contributions strengthen the ability of the Union to manage crisis.

    Sydow also said that there is no space for the presentation and resolution of bilateral problems during the meetings for the planning and design of the European defense.

    Cyprus' Defense Minister Socrates Hasikos stressed that Cyprus will contribute to the European defense and security to the extent allowed by its abilities.

    Tsohatzopoulos also noted that during the meeting ministers reiterated the decision of the Nice Summit, which mandated that the European military force should be operational by the end of 2001.

    Speaking on the EU–NATO problem on the use of NATO infrastructures that arose on Turkey's insistence to participate in the Union's decision making process on defense issues, Tsohatzopoulos said that this is an issue of the relations between the EU and NATO and expressed the hope that it would be resolved during the NATO defense ministers' meeting scheduled for May 29-30 in Budapest.

    On his part, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou stressed that since the last meeting of NATO member–states' foreign ministers in December, where Turkey blocked the use of NATO infrastructures by the EU – and especially the planning unit – there has been no special development in the defense cooperation between the Union and NATO.

    He noted that there have been talks with several NATO member-states, EU member–states and the United States but no solution has been found to date for the issue.

    He stressed, however, that in any event the principle of independence of the Union's political decisions on defense issues would be maintained.

    French Defense Minister Alain Richard called on Turkey to change its stance with regard to the European defense policy, saying "the stance of Turkey should change ... there are no advantages for our Turkish friends in maintaining this negative stance, which is against their interest in coming closer to the EU".

    German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping was in agreement with his French counterpart, saying "Turkey will not stop the European Union to move ahead with its plans for the formulation of a common defense".

    [03] FM Papandreou satisfied with convening of EU-Cyprus association council

    BRUSSELS, 16/05/2001 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    The reconvening of the EU-Cyprus Association Council on Tuesday following a four-year hiatus, elicited the satisfaction of Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides.

    Papandreou outlined the European Union's common position, formulated in a joint communique, expressing its regret over stagnation taking place in intercommunal talks on the Cyprus issue under the UN's auspices, indirectly placing responsibility for their discontinuation on the Turkish Cypriot side and calling on it to return to the negotiating table for a resumption of dialogue and a successful outcome to the process.

    The text stresses that a solution to the war-divided island's political problem is not a precondition for the accession of Cyprus and includes the same formulation contained in conclusions drawn at the EU Helsinki summit in December 1999.

    The joint EU-Cyprus communique also refers to the positive image of the economy of Cyprus, as well as to the course of accession negotiations, which shows Cyprus leading all candidate countries in harmonizing practices, laws and regulations with established practice in the EU.

    Kasoulides stressed the importance of the association council's meeting after a four-year delay caused by the "objections" of certain European countries.

    He also praised the content of the joint communique, primarily regarding the placing of responsibility for the deadlock on the Turkish Cypriot side, stressing that the texts and bilateral contacts make it all the more clear that the accession of Cyprus will not be prevented to the degree that it is not responsible for the "complication" in talks at the UN.

    "We hope that in 2002 we will have completed accession negotiations and we shall be among the first countries for enlargement. If Cyprus is prevented then, it will be once and for all," Kasoulides said.

    On his part, Papandreou referred to the joint meeting between foreign and defense ministers, saying the proposal for an international conference on the Balkans met with reservations from many member–states that saw the risk of an issue concerning the questioning of borders being raised and of a different outcome from what is being pursued by the EU.

    Papandreou held private talks with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem on the sidelines of the council meeting, with whom he reviewed the state of Greek-Turkish relations.

    He also met with the head of Cyprus' negotiating delegation George Vassiliou.

    [04] Spokesman says Turkey to be judged by implementation of European Court's ruling

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Tuesday Turkey is being evaluated and given points on its performances in various sectors and the implementation of the European Human Rights Court's ruling is one of the very important issues on which Turkey is being evaluated.

    The European Court of Human Rights last week found Ankara guilty of massive human rights abuses in Cyprus during the 1974 invasion of the island republic and after.

    Reppas said the fact alone of Turkey's condemnation has historic significance, adding that Greece is raising this issue with the international community because it is up to the international community to oblige Turkey to honor the decision.

    Commenting on changes taking place in Turkey's penitentiary system, Reppas said changes have got underway and should be brought about with speedier paces, but added that "nobody can be satisfied with the situation prevailing at present, not only in Turkish prisons but in Turkish society as well."

    He further said the changes in the penitentiary system are an important element in the framework of the partnership relation between the European Union and Turkey.

    [05] Athens' reaction to Berlusconi victory in Italy

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    Athens emphasized on Tuesday that "a sovereign people's decision in a country must be respected by all other countries", a reference to the cool reaction by several EU states regarding the election victory of media mogul and center–right leader Silvio Berlusconi in Italy over the weekend.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Greece hopes the new Italian government's course will continue to emphasize a positive contribution towards European developments.

    Additionally, he said Athens trusts that bilateral relations will remain at the same very high level and even improve.

    Meanwhile, European Commission President Romano Prodi on Tuesday also sent a letter of congratulations to Berlusconi for winning Sunday's Italian general election.

    "In the name of the Commission and on my personal behalf, I congratulate you and the coalition which supported you for the election victory," Prodi, himself a former Italian premier, said.

    ND leader congratulates Berlusconi on election victory: Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis cabled Italian tycoon Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday, congratulating him for his conservative coalition's victory in general elections held in Italy last Sunday.

    Karamanlis congratulated Berlusconi for becoming Italy's new prime minister, wished him every success and "a stable period of office for his government for the benefit of the interests of the Italian people."

    "Our friendly countries are proud to belong to the European Union whose common and splendid future they have the duty to shape. New Democracy looks forward to close and fruitful cooperation with your government and sincerely hopes for the further strengthening of ties between our countries," Karamanlis concluded.

    [06] PM Simitis says stronger framework necessary for human rights

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Tuesday held talks with National Human Rights Committee President Aliki Marangopoulou and said later human rights are always a current issue and a stronger framework should be shaped, particularly in relation to social rights, to consolidate freedoms even more.

    Marangopoulou delivered the committee's annual report on the protection of human rights in the country to Simitis who congratulated her for the committee's "very important work."

    Referring to human rights, Simitis said many are consolidated but there are others, particularly in the informatics sector or the mass media sector, which are in danger, as well as others which should be protected more.

    Commenting on the European Court's decision condemning Turkey for violating human rights in Cyprus, Marangopoulou said it was a "tremendous victory for the government of Cyprus", adding that the foreign ministries of Greece and Cyprus should make greater use of the decision on the international scene.

    [07] Kaklamanis meets head of OSCE assembly's French delegation

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis met the head of the French delegation at the OSCE assembly, Michel Voisin, on Tuesday in Athens. Voisin briefed him on the results of cooperation between Euro-Mediterranean parliaments to promote stability and security in the Mediterranean region.

    In statements afterward, Kaklamanis stressed the efforts being made by Greece and France within the framework of the OSCE and other European and international organizations to promote peace and humanitarian principles, with particular emphasis on human rights, abolishing torture and banning the death penalty.

    [08] Universities continue protests over TEI bill; rectors meet with ND leader

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    University doors remained closed throughout the country on Tuesday as administrators and faculty continued their mobilizations against a recently tabled bill in Parliament affecting Technical Education Institutes (TEI), tertiary level schools that for decades have offered vocational and associate degree-level instruction.

    On his part, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis voiced his opposition to the bill following a meeting in Athens with a delegation of university rectors. In statements afterwards, Karamanlis stressed that "Greek society demands that everyone be evaluated and that meritocracy exist."

    The ND leader clarified that his party is in favor of TEIs being upgraded on the condition that such institutes are thoroughly evaluated, followed by more funding and human resources.

    The four-member delegation of rectors later handed Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis a resolution protesting several articles of the tabled bill.

    Protests: Reactions to the government's education bill, especially the upgrading of TEIs vis-a-vis universities, snowballed this month as debate began in Parliament.

    Under the provisions of the bill, the qualifications awarded by TEIs would be considered equivalent to a first degree from a Greek university, thereby allowing their holders to apply for post-graduate courses.

    The rectors of the country's universities and polytechnics earlier in the month submitted their resignation to Education Minister Petros Efthymiou to protest to the bill.

    In a letter of resignation, Athens Polytechnic Rector Themistocles Xanthopoulos, the academic who has spearheaded much of the opposition, stressed that the academic community has for months attempted to persuade the education ministry that the upgrading of TEIs, while desired by all, "would be false if it only occurs on paper and in law."

    Gov't response: Speaking in Parliament this month, Efthymiou said the upgrade was a "mature right" of TEIs, and in line with the practice in other EU countries. He also pointed out that many TEI graduates had already been accepted for post-graduate courses abroad.

    The minister stressed that the government was not trying to merge TEIs with universities and he accepted a bipartisan proposal to retain the term 'non-university' in the introduction to the bill, removing it only from the individual articles.

    Conversely, one of the key objections aired by representatives of TEI teaching staff to the bill is the fact that it forbids the institutes from offering or managing post-graduate courses.

    Reactions to the bill from the academic community and the opposition have been constant since it was first unveiled in February.

    Universities closed down for three days in April when the bill was first tabled in Parliament.

    [09] Sensitive personal data guide processing published by the

    EU BRUSSELS, 16/05/2001 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    A new guide delineating the use and handling of sensitive private data of European Union citizens and businesses was published on Tuesday by the European Commission, here.

    This new guide also includes information on the rights of citizens and businesses before agencies and individuals who collect, collate and use this data.

    "As everyone of us is a person to which this data refers, we need reassurances that our personal data become a subject of well meant and fair processing and are protected by the law," European Commissioner on internal market affairs Fritz Bolkenstein said.

    "This new guide aims to inform citizens on their rights regarding the processing of these personal data and to provide practical advice regarding actions that citizens can undertake when these rights are violated," he said.

    The guide was based on the 1995 directive issued by the Union entitled "Directive on the protection of data", which member-states were obliged to implement three years after its issuance.

    This directive prescribes that personal data should be collected only for specified, clear and legal purposes, while all those interested should be informed about the aims and identity of those responsible for the processing of the data and all those interested should have the right to access the data and the ability to correct or delete errors.

    The directive also allows for the necessary legal recourse and recovery of damages in the event that regulations were violated.

    One of the obligations of member-states is to set up one or more independent agencies to monitor the implementation and to promote the necessary legislation for the protection of private personal data.

    [10] Greece worries over increase in electronic fraud

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    Greece on Tuesday expressed its worries over an increase in electronic fraud in the country and said it would take measures to protect citizens and businesses.

    The warning came from a Hellenic Agency for the Prevention of Telecommunications Fraud (EFTA), an agency with founding members Cosmote, Panafon-Vodafone, Telestet and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization.

    In its debut press conference, Andreas Stricca, Telestet's representative to the agency, referred to telephone calls made through stolen or distorted citizens' data and the activity of the international organized crime with access to private telephone centers or fixed and mobile communication systems.

    The cost of telecoms fraud in Greece ranges from 80-100 billion drachmas annually, a figure capable to finance expansion programs in the sector and to facilitate a more relaxed billing policy to consumers.

    The agency aims to combat telecommunications fraud through a systematic information campaign to consumers, exchanging of information on fraudulent methods and taking measures to prevent an explosion of fraud following the deregulation of the Greek telecommunications market.

    The agency also plans to collaborate with government authorities to protect consumers.

    EFTA said it would hold a seminar May 26 in Athens, under the auspices of Greece's Union of Judges and Prosecutors.

    [11] Environment minister reports drop in Athens air pollution vs. the late '80s

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    Environment Minister Costas Laliotis, who claimed that this was due to the “Attiki-SOS” program begun in 1994, reported a sizeable reduction in air pollution around Athens on Tuesday.

    The minister presented figures that showed reductions ranging from 46 per cent to 13.5 per cent for major atmospheric pollutant in 1994-2000 compared to 1987-1993.

    More dramatic were the reductions for primary pollutant gases, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide, but average levels of ozone also dropped by 13.5 per cent, while soot was reduced by 15.9 per cent.

    Laliotis said that the reduction in Athens pollution levels was also evident from the fact that no emergency smog measures had needed to be taken since 1996.

    He noted that pollution levels had improved even though the three main factors contributing to it had been exacerbated.

    Specifically, he said that the capital's fleet of cars had more than doubled since the late '80s, rising from 1,437,734 vehicles to 3,156,031 in 2000. Similarly, the amount of fuel consumed had increased in line with the number of vehicles, while average wind speeds had dropped from 2.58 m/second to 2.39 m/second.

    The minister pledged a radical reduction in pollution levels by 2004, which he said would be achieved when the additional lines of the Athens metro began operating, the Attica highway was completed, and Kifissos Avenue was broadened. He also listed a series of other measures, such as overhauling the existing bus fleet, building a new suburban railway, etc.

    Laliotis said that negotiations were underway with taxi-drivers to discuss modernization in that sector.

    Commenting on the "exhaust emissions" cards required by law, the minister revealed that up to 20 per cent of cars had never obtained one while a further 7 per cent were using cards that had expired.

    He further claimed that the Athens metro had single-handedly brought about a 4 per cent drop in sulphur dioxide levels since coming into operation, while carbon monoxide levels and nitrogen dioxide levels had dropped by a 7 per cent.

    [12] Romania's Iliescu offers condolences over Greek general's death

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    Romanian President Ion Iliescu on Tuesday conveyed his condolences to his Greek counterpart Kostis Stephanopoulos over the death of Greece's army academy commander Lt. Gen. Alexandros Xiras, who was killed in a traffic accident outside the Romanian city of Sibiu on Monday.

    Lt.-Gen. Xiras, 54, was on an official visit to the country at the invitation of his Romanian counterpart.

    The Romanian driver and co-driver of the vehicle used to transport the Greek officer were also killed, while another Greek army major was injured in the accident.

    Iliescu is also expected to contact Lt. Gen. Xiras' family.

    [13] Military exercise 'Sarisa 2001' ends in central Macedonia on Tuesday

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    The regular national military exercise codenamed "Sarisa 2001" came to an end at the firing range near Thessaloniki on Tuesday, in the presence of Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Apostolakis and officers of the National Defense General Staff Chief.

    Later, Apostolakis said "the armed forces were never better equipped," adding, however, that "armaments are not an end in itself for us. Even more so it is not within our aims to enter an arms race with anyone".

    The exercise aimed at examining the operational possibilities of the Second Army Corps.

    [14] Left wing, green parties establish 'forum for dialogue and joint action'

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    Left-wing and green parties of Greece, as well as organizations belonging to socialist and ecological movements, gathered at Athens' Zappeion Hall on Tuesday to present an initiative for the creation of a "forum for dialogue and joint action by the Left."

    Prominent participants included the Coalition of the Left and Progress party and the Ecologists party, while the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) and the Socialist Labor Party sat in as observers.

    In a joint statement, the parties and movements involved made it clear that the initiative did not seek to annul or undermine the individuality or autonomy of any political party.

    "We are not today announcing the founding of a new party of the Left or a new federation of parties but an organized political framework for dialogue and common action that can respond to the demands of thousands of supporters of the Left and the increased political needs of the time."

    The main focus in the coming months, the group said, was to defend the social nature of the state insurance system, prevent Parliament passing a law on terrorism that is being debated on Tuesday and oppose the forces of the new order, with particular emphasis on environmental issues.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) had been invited to participate in the initiative but refused.

    [15] Solidarity group in Greece, calls for international support for Turkish prisoners

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    A solidarity group for the prisoners in Turkey on Tuesday requested of international bodies to intervene on behalf of Turkish prisoners who are on hunger strike protesting the conditions of incarceration.

    The solidarity committee held a press conference to present a letter it addressed to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Anan, European Commission President Romano Prodi and the European Parliament.

    In the letter, the committee requested the immediate transfer of hunger strikers to hospitals for the provision of medical care to those who needed, the reconstitution of unobstructed communication of prisoners with their relatives and lawyers and the abolition of censorship in relation to information about the prison system within Turkey for Turkish citizens.

    According to the latest information, provided by the committee, 22 political prisoners have lost their lives during this hunger strike, 28 prisoners were murdered, 15 lost their memory permanently and more 100 were still participating in this hunger strike till death.

    [16] Greece to begin limited euro coin circulation December 15

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    Greece will begin circulating a limited number of euro coins from December 15 to allow consumers to adjust with the new single European currency ahead of its official circulation January 1, 2002 in the eurozone.

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said that commercial banks and the Hellenic Post Office would distribute 3.0 million packages with the new euro currency to small- and medium-sized enterprises.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting of a national euro coordinating committee, Papantoniou said that all conversions from drachmas to euros would be made in a way not to impose any burden on consumers.

    The Greek government also plans to promote "gentlemen’s' agreements" between the state with employers in order to avoid any speculative moves during the conversion period.

    Papantoniou said that Greek citizens were among the most well informed over the new currency among EU member-states.

    "The government is doing a good job," he said.

    [17] EU ministers discuss energy security and energy market deregulation

    BRUSSELS, 16/05/2001 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    The council of European Union energy and industry ministers examined the strengthening of security for energy supply and the speeding up energy market deregulation during their two-day meeting ending on Tuesday.

    Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, referring to the European Commission's new proposals on the faster deregulation of energy markets, supported the possibility of hastening relevant work, but taking the geographical and energy particularities of member-states into consideration as well.

    In cases of emerging natural gas markets, such as the Greek one, he requested transitional periods in the retail sector. In addition, he stressed the need for promoting necessary energy links in the Balkans.

    Addressing the meeting, Christodoulakis underlined the necessity for shaping a "South European Energy Dimension" which should include full electricity network links between EU countries and adequate and alternative natural gas supplies.

    He also called for the inclusion of natural gas pipelines linking Greece, Turkey and Italy, for which specific studies are being prepared, in the funding programs of west European networks.

    On the question of strengthening supply security, Christodoulakis pointed to the great importance of promoting dialogue with producer countries, strengthening and modernizing energy infrastructures in the Balkans and in countries in central and eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, as well as of the further dynamic development of renewable sources.

    [18] Public investments program course "very satisfactory", gov’t says

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    A total of 30.5 percent - a very satisfactory rate - of the government's Public Investments Program was completed by the end of April, National Economy Deputy Minister Christos Pahtas said on Thursday.

    Pahtas said that during the first four months of 2001 the government has issued funding decisions worth 847.797 billion drachmas, out of a total of 2.780 trillion drachmas of public investment program.

    [19] Greece's privatization program moves smoothly

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    An information bulletin on the privatization of Thessaloniki Port will be published by the end of the month, while a deadline for submitting bids in a tender to sale HELEXPO ends on May 23, National Economy Ministry secretary-general, Spyros Travlos, said on Tuesday.

    Travlos said that the government would publish by the end of June an information bulletin on the sale of up to 20-25 percent of the Thessaloniki Water and Drainage Organization.

    [20] Economist conference to focus on Balkan telecom prospects

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    Transport and telecommunications ministers from Balkan countries along with regional telephone utility executives will gather in Athens this week for an "Economist" sponsored conference focusing on the telecoms sector.

    Market deregulation, new legal frameworks in the Balkans as well as opportunities and prospects available the regional telecoms sector are some of the topics up for discussion.

    Greek Transport and Transportation Minister Christos Verelis is scheduled to address the event.

    The conference begins on Thursday and ends on Friday.

    [21] Minister welcomes modernization of passenger shipping fleet

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis on Tuesday welcomed the modernization of the country's passenger shipping fleet at a time when the sector was about to undergo deregulation.

    Speaking in the port of Piraeus, Papoutsis was launching a new ship belonging to ANEK, a Cretan passenger shipper.

    The new vessel, named 'Hellenic Spirit', was ordered from the Rosen Mekaniske Verksteder AS shipyard.

    [22] Athens bourse to propose introduction of short selling

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    Authorities of the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday voted to propose to the capital markets commission that short selling should be introduced.

    Coupled with the launch of margin trading, the move would help to upgrade the bourse and bring it closer into line with markets abroad, authorities said in a statement.

    On May 31, the bourse is due for reclassification as a mature market from its current status of emerging bourse.

    [23] ASE finds support at 3,000 level

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    Equity prices lost more ground on Tuesday, undermined by lack of domestic buying interest and a low turnover, with the general index finding support at the 3,000 level on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Shares in the banks and telecommunications sectors were mostly hit while smaller capitalization stocks resisted pressures.

    Analysts said that moves by developed markets' foreign institutional investors, probably next week, could offer a breathe to the Greek bourse, currently on a losing streak. The market has fallen in the nine out of the last 10 sessions.

    The general index ended 0.97 percent lower at 3,022.52 points, near the day's lows of 3,019.17 points. Turnover was a low 131.89 million euros, or 44.94 billion drachmas.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.11 percent lower at 1,754.44 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 0.21 percent to 353.16 points.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: 6,456.99 -1.19% Telecoms: 1,036.90 -1.78% Insurance: 1,411.52 -1.61% Investment: 1,044.44 -0.46% Construction: 1,396.69 -0.66% Industrials: 1,801.18 -0.22% Holding: 3,571.21 -0.49% Base metals: 967.74 +0.62% Minerals: 1,035.83 +1.05% Publishing: 865.95 -1.76% Textiles: 1,042.18 -0.86% Retailing: 1,139.89 -0.27% IT: 941.27 +0.25% IT solution: 893.05 +0.12% Wholesale: 881.97 +0.57% Food & Beverage: 851.02 -0.19%

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalization shares ended at 305.38 points, off 0.12 percent.

    Broadly, advancers narrowly led decliners by 157 to 153 with another 45 issues unchanged.

    Viosol, Eskimo, Etma, ANEK Lines, Doudos, Korfil, Sound-Vision and Stabilton scored the biggest percentage gains, while Spider, Lambropoulos, VIS, CAP Cosmetics, Xifias, Lazaridis, Lambrakis Press, Athina, Texapret and Aspis Life suffered the heaviest losses of the day.

    National Bank, Hellenic Telecoms, Alpha Bank, Commercial Bank and EFG Eurobank Ergasias were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Leading shares' closing prices (in euros): National Bank: 39.26 Alpha Bank: 29.60 Commercial Bank: 50.18 Egnatia Bank: 5.48 Eurobank: 16.74 Piraeus Bank: 13.80 Lambrakis Press: 11.48 Altec: 6.22 Intrasoft: 9.12 Technodomiki: 7.02 Titan Cement: 39.78 Hellenic Telecoms: 15.12 Panafon: 6.84 Hellenic Petroleum: 8.86 Attica Enterprises: 8.04 Intracom: 19.24 Mytilineos: 7.70 Minoan Lines: 4.62 Viohalco: 10.98 Coca Cola HBC: 15.40

    Five-year bonds show yield of 4.99 pct in auction: The state on Tuesday auctioned 1,100 million euros of five-year bonds that produced an average weighted yield of 4.99 percent, the Public Debt Management Organization said.

    The auction, which was a reopening of a February 19, 2006 fixed-income issue at 6.00 percent, was oversubscribed by 2.9 times, said the organization, which belongs to the finance ministry.

    Settlement is May 18, 2001.

    Bond prices mixed in volatile trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Tuesday finished mixed in moderate to heavy volatile trade.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.58 percent from 5.57 percent a day earlier.

    The yield spread over German bunds was 48 basis points from 49 basis points in the previous session.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 1.07 billion euros (366.3 billion drachmas) from 1.83 billion euros (624 billion drachmas) in the trading day before.

    Sell orders accounted for just over half of turnover.

    Derivatives show volume decline in April vs. March: The Athens Derivatives Exchange in April posted a 19.00 percent drop against March in the number of contracts traded, authorities said in a statement on Tuesday.

    Contracts in April totalled 287,072 contracts from 354,690 deals in March, the statement said.

    The decline stemmed mainly from the fact that there were fewer trading days in April at 19 against 22 in March, it added.

    Equity futures drop, tracking Athens bourse: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Tuesday, tracking the general index of the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 1.11 percent down, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 0.21 percent lower.

    Traded were 8,473 contracts on turnover of 57.4 million euros.

    [24] Battle of Crete commemoration events open, Blair sends message

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    Events commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Crete, considered a turning point in World War II, began Tuesday in the town of Hania with the presentation of certificates of honor to some 8,000 resistance fighters, and a message by from British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

    On Friday, a ceremony will be held during which the flags of allied forces will be raised at Fort Firka, with 200 Battle of Crete veterans from Australia, Britain and New Zealand and their families joining their Greek comrades.

    Events will culminate on Saturday and Sunday, attended by Greece's President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos, the Duke of Kent representing Britain, New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark, Australian and Greek ministers, former Greek premier Constantine Mitsotakis, and the armed forces chiefs of the allied countries.

    On Sunday night, the Battle of Crete will be re-enacted at historical Maleme airport.

    The Battle of Crete took place in May 1941 when Australian, New Zealand, British and Greek forces that had retreated to the island of Crete fought alongside the local population against the invading Nazi forces. Crete was the last part of Greece to come under German occupation, and losses were heavy on both sides during the famous battle, in which Germany deployed the largest number of paratroopers in World War II.

    It is considered the most crucial battle of World War II, as it delayed the German attack on Russia long enough for the Wehrmacht to be caught in the Russian winter.

    Hania prefect George Katsanevakis, who is petitioning for the Battle of Crete to be designated an official European holiday, announced that the first installment would be forthcoming of some 600 million drachma earmarked for building a Battle of Crete Monument in the Hania town of Galatas.

    British Prime Minister Tony Blair sent the following message on the commemoration:

    "It is now 60 years since the people of Crete stood alongside Allied forces from the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand to face attack by German aircraft and airborne forces. The courageous and stoic resistance by the defenders of Crete during those days in May 1941 did much to lift the spirit of the Allies. In commemorating the Battle of Crete we also remember the Royal Navy's attempts to defend Crete and, when the Allies were defeated, their evacuation of Allied troops to Egypt.

    "After the Battle, thousands of Allied troops who were not captured by the Germans hid in the mountains and villages. The people of Crete, in spite of reprisals, gave refuge to these troops, fed and clothed them and helped them escape to their countries. The Allies will always owe a debt of thanks to the Cretan people for their bravery and support. As the passage of time reduces the number of veterans who return to Crete to commemorate the Battle, and particularly in the last year of official commemoration, it is important that we of following generations remember your sacrifices and bravery.

    "I have the greatest pleasure in sending my warmest greetings to all of the veterans who make the pilgrimage and to the courageous Cretan people who steadfastly supported the Allies. The principles of peace and justice for which we fought in 1941 are still relevant today. I salute you for your selfless dedication to that cause."

    [25] Exhibition on the Parthenon to open at Museum in Zagreb

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    The Greek Institute of Culture and the Mimara Museum (Ante and Wiltrude Topic Mimara Art Collection) are to present an exhibition on "The Parthenon and the Western Frieze: Restoration and conservation" in Zagreb, which will open on May 24.

    The opening of the exhibition has been timed to coincide with an official visit to Croatia by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, which will take place on May 23-25.

    The exhibition, which will run until June 17, features a life-size reconstruction of the Parthenon's western frieze that was made from a 19th-century mould at the British Museum, in addition to architectural drawings, photographs and models depicting the famous Parthenon temple built by the ancient Athenians.

    [26] 'Byzantine Hours' exhibition in Mystras, Athens and Thessaloniki

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    An exhibition named "Byzantine Hours" will be organized in Greece by the culture ministry and will be developed simultaneously in Mystras, Athens and Thessaloniki between August this year and January 2002.

    The exhibition refers to Byzantine culture and includes Byzantine antiquities from the country's museums, findings from recent excavations and Byzantine exhibits from 42 museums around the world.

    [27] Athens 2004 officials present projects' progress to IOC in Salt Lake City

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) members presented in Salt Lake City, USA, the progress of projects for the Games in Athens to International Olympic Committee members.

    Spyros Kapralos, special advisor to ATHOC, and ATHOC Press Services Director Costas Vernikos organized the presentation, which took place in the presence of IOC Press Committee President Kevan Gosper, IOC Executive Committee member Gunilla Lindberg, IOC members Willi Lujan Kaltschmitt and others.

    Several international news agencies were also represented in the presentation.

    [28] Gov't comments on latest 2004 issue to arise

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    The government on Tuesday referred to "spectacular progress" regarding 2004 Olympic preparations, one day after a high-ranking cabinet committee overseeing coordination amongst several ministries and Athens 2004 organizers (ATHOC) was chaired by Greek PM Costas Simitis.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas was responding to a question during his regular press briefing over a proposal tabled during Monday's meeting to transfer the Olympic slalom and canoeing venue from the Schinias site, east of Athens, to coastal stretch of land across from Athens' old airport. A rowing center would still be constructed at Schinias.

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis also addressed the issue on Tuesday, saying alternative solutions are being studied for the slalom and canoeing venue with announcements due to in a few weeks.

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who said the relocation would spare the area of “heavy construction” and associated repercussions to the surrounding environment and nearby Marathon, made the proposal on Monday. He also said the landmark Marathon battle site would not be affected with the transfer.

    However, ATHOC head Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki reportedly rejected to such a prospect, saying no decision had been made when leaving the meeting at the prime minister's office. According to reports, ATHOC's president has warned that any relocation of the project would jeopardize completion deadlines.

    [29] Kokkalis Foundation sponsors event on sports, regional development

    Athens, 16/05/2001 (ANA)

    Sports ministers from SE European countries as well as members of the International Olympic family will meet in Athens on Monday at the invitation of the Kokkalis Foundation, for a conference entitled "International Sports Convene in Athens: An Opportunity for Regional Cooperation and Development".

    Organizers on Tuesday said the event's aim is to explore the developmental dimension of sports for the entire region.

    Specific topics of interest will include: -- Opportunities for regional cooperation and initiatives in sports -- An overview of the planning of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games -- SE Europe: A potential pool of volunteers for 2004 -- Infrastructure for tourism development and possibilities for regional cooperation -- The Olympic Truce initiative

    Greek telecoms and IT manufacturing tycoon Socrates Kokkalis, the president of the Foundation, will inaugurate the conference, while Athens 2004 organizing committee (ATHOC) head Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki will deliver the keynote address.

    Other speakers include Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Sports Deputy Minister George Floridis.

    [30] Cyprus-EU Association Council convenes

    BRUSSELS, 16/05/2001 (CNA/ANA)

    The pre-accession assistance to Cyprus, including support for operations to contribute to the reconciliation of the two Cypriot communities, were examined during the EU-Cyprus Association Council's 19th meeting held in Brussels on Tuesday.

    According to a joint communique issued after the meeting, chaired by Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and his Swedish counterpart Anna Lindh, the Association Council welcomed the proposal made by the Cypriot side for establishing a joint Consultative Committee, which would allow cooperation between the regions of the two parties.

    It stresses that the Council "welcomed the planned further decentralization of EU assistance to Cyprus, allowing the island to assume a larger responsibility over the implementation of EU pre-accession assistance", underlining "the valuable contribution of the European Investment Bank in financing the development of all productive sectors of the economy".

    It also notes with "satisfaction that the Bank expects that its lending in Cyprus will increase further".

    The communique adds that the Council "emphasized the importance of regional cooperation as a means of fostering stability and good neighborly relations and welcomed Cyprus' continuing role in this regard, including its participation within the framework of the Barcelona process".

    The Council expressed confidence "in the development of relations within the Association Agreement and emphasized the crucial role it is further called on to play until Cyprus' accession to the European Union".

    [31] Cyprus calls on Turkey to abide by European court's ruling

    NICOSIA, 16/05/2001 (CNA/ANA)

    The government considers that Cyprus and Turkey have "an excellent opportunity" to overcome their differences and seek a solution of the Cyprus question, in the light of a European Court of Human Rights judgment that considers Ankara guilty of human rights abuses in Cyprus.

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou on Tuesday expressed the conviction that Ankara would see the ruling as a means to enter a new era that would lead the country into new neighborly ties with its neighbors, including Cyprus.

    "The Court decision offers an excellent opportunity to Cyprus as well as to Turkey to overcome differences and problems that have permeated their relations over the years and to seek a solution in Cyprus which will respect human rights, withstand the test of time and be in line with international law and serve the interest not only of Greek and Turkish Cypriots but also of Turkey itself," Papapetrou said in a statement he read out at his daily press briefing.

    He said the government does not see the decision as something, which Turkey must interpret, as "its own difficulty" but on the contrary it believes that Ankara "must reflect on the decision as a means that would facilitate it to enter a new era and a new relation with its neighboring countries, including Cyprus."

    "This relation should not be one of occupation and confrontation but of good neighborliness, friendship and cooperation," Papapetrou added.

    "Our objective is to see Turkey move into a new era, to follow a new policy, to contribute to the solution of Cyprus. It is not to put Turkey into a tight corner," the spokesman said.

    The Cypriot official said that those in Turkey who claim the decision is of no interest to them are only prolonging the deadlock in the Cyprus question and are avoiding the substance of the issue.

    Replying to questions, he said "the point of the exercise is not to score points but to use this decision as a tool that would lead us all out of the stalemate the absence of a solution in Cyprus for the past 27 years has created."

    Commenting on the reaction of the local political parties to the decision, Papapetrou said the government agreed with the view that the ruling will be put to good use to serve the national interests "without any fanfare for domestic consumption."

    He said the Court has not decided on the just satisfaction with regard to the decision and as normal it allows Turkey some time to comply with the ruling.

    "This decision aims at pushing Turkey in the direction the Europeans wish Ankara to follow," the spokesman said, warning that if Turkey continues to maintain its initial negative reaction, penalties will have to be taken.

    The European Court issued its verdict on Cyprus' fourth inter-state application against Turkey saying the latter is guilty of gross human rights violations against the rights of Greek Cypriot displaced, their rights to property, the rights of missing persons and those of their relatives, the rights of Greek Cypriot enclaved and the rights of Turkish Cypriots living in the areas occupied by Turkish troops since 1974.

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