|Friday, 24 May 2013|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-06-06
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>June 6, 2002
 President wraps up Melbourne visit, next due in Canberra
MELBOURNE, 06/06/2002 (ANA - N. Megadoukas, S. Hatzimanolis)President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, currently on an Asia-Pacific tour taking in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, wrapped up his visit to the Australian city of Melbourne on Wednesday, after which he is due in Canberra for meetings with the Australian federal government.
The Greek president will depart for Canberra on Thursday morning for the second leg of his official visit to Australia on June 4-9. While in Canberra he will meet Australian Governor-General Peter Hollingworth and Australian Prime Minister John Howard for talks on bilateral and international issues.
He ended his stay in Melbourne by meeting Victoria Premier Steve Bracks late on Wednesday night local time and attending an official reception given by Bracks in his honor.
Stephanopoulos had been received at Victoria's Parliament building by a historic joint session of the Victorian Parliament and Senate - the first time a joint meeting has been activated to greet a foreign head of state.
He was met by Victoria Parliament Speaker Alekos Andrianopoulos, an expatriate Greek, and the president of the Victorian Senate Bruce Chamberlain.
Apart from Bracks, Stephanopoulos also met the heads of Victorian opposition parties during the visit. Both they and Bracks expressed their support for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.
Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Magriotis, who is accompanying Stephano-poulos on his trip, also held talks with Andriano-poulos and Victorian MPs, with whom he discussed the Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish relations, the Greek presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2003 and the organization of the Athens Olympics in 2004, as well as an assembly of expatriate Greek MPs from around the world that will be held in Greece in July.
Earlier on Wednesday, meanwhile, Stephanopoulos was awarded a medal during a special ceremony at Melbourne's La Trobe university, which runs a Greek Studies center jointly supported by Greece and Australia and sponsored by local Greek expatriate Zisis Dardalis.
While in Melbourne, the Greek president also inaugurated an economic forum organized by the Greek General Consulate in cooperation with the Hellenic Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HACCI), during which he urged Australia's business community to triple bilateral trade transactions with Greece by 2004.
''The unbreakable bonds between Greece and Australia and the large Greek expatriate community should be a cause for great joy but it becomes a source of sorrow when we consider how small and insignificant the trade and economic transactions between the two countries are,'' he said.
There were both opportunities and prospects for such closer economic ties but this required new planning, Stephanopoulos added and he encouraged Greek diplomats stationed in Australia to work toward this goal.
The forum was attended by a Greek business delegation that accompanied Stephanopoulos to Australia, as well as local Greek-Australian and Australian business people.
Also among the speakers was Victoria Treasurer John Brumby, who said his government was working toward improving trade and economic ties with Greece.
''We consider Greece our gateway to the European Union and the Balkans, while for Greece we are its gateway to the markets of Southeast Asia,'' he said.
The opportunities for investors in Greece to gain a foothold in the Balkans and southeast Europe were also stressed by Magriotis in his brief address to the forum.
Among other stops made by Stephanopoulos during his visit to Melbourne, whose expatriate Greek community numbers roughly 300,000, was a visit to Alphington Grammar, the bilingual Greek-English school run by the city's Greek community.
 PM tours ancient Chinese capital of Xi'an
XIAN, 06/06/2002 (ANA - V. Mourtis)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday continued his six-day tour of the People's Republic of China, with the ancient Chinese capital of Xi'an on his itinerary.
During his stopover in the city, Simitis and his high-ranking delegation toured a museum housing the famed terra cotta army of thousands of warriors and their horses, an entire 'army' designed follows a 2nd century BC emperor into eternity.
Simitis was also received by the governor of Shanxi province. The Greek delegation departs for Shanghai on Thursday.
 Alternate FM meets Russian deputy foreign minister in Athens
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis on Wednesday received Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Fedotov, who is in Athens to formally ratify agreements between the Russian and Greek foreign ministries for the exchange of know-how related to the training and use of diplomatic staff.
Talks between the two men covered a range of issues, from energy policy to relations between the European Union and Russia, and were described by Giannitsis as very useful.
In statements after the meeting, Giannitsis said that Greece was very interested in developing its bilateral relations with Russia, especially in the areas of energy and trade.
The two men also touched on Greece's upcoming EU presidency in the first half of 2003 and the ways in which Greece might help Russia, as well as the prospects of an EU-Russia summit in May 2003.
On his part, Fedotov noted that Greece and Russia had similar positions on many issues and that his talks with Giannitsis had been an opportunity for the two sides to see what they could expect from EU-Russia cooperation in the immediate future.
He said that Moscow viewed the upcoming Greek EU presidency with great optimism.
Fedotov will next have talks with the foreign ministry general secretary regarding the bilateral cooperation agreement between the Greek and Russian foreign ministries and diplomatic academies.
Asked how the entry of Baltic States and countries of central and eastern European into the EU would affect EU-Russian and EU-Greek relations, Fedotov replied that Moscow was concerned over certain issues linked with EU enlargement and with certain problems in the development of trade transactions.
''Specifically, there is the problem of the Kaliningrad region and the transit of goods and passengers. There is an issue concerning the free movement of Russian citizens and their trips between this zone and Russia itself,'' he said.
Fedotov stressed, however, that Russia was in favor of active dialogue with the EU over these issues and expected that its concerns would be taken into account in order to find a good solution.
 Athens praises Turkish decision to cancel military exercise
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)The Greek government on Wednesday called this week's decision by Ankara to cancel its annual 'Efes' military exercise in the Aegean as a "positive" development.
In response to questions during his regular press briefing, acting government spokesman Telemachos Chytiris added that the fact that another Turkish military maneuver -- code-named 'Seawolf' -- wasn't cancelled cannot be "considered a positive development".
 Turkish daily claims 'name dispute' over Bosphorus
ISTANBUL, 06/06/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)A Turkish mass daily on Wednesday claimed that a "name dispute" has erupted within NATO between Greece and Turkey over the Bosphorus Straits, with the paper saying Ankara wants the ancient waterway separating the Black Sea from the Sea of Marmara officially listed as the "Strait of Istanbul".
According to the newspaper "Hurriyet", NATO has even used the new 'Turkified' name in a document prepared for an upcoming military exercise in Romania.
Quoted military sources, however, said discussions within NATO are still underway over the strait's name, while the "Strait of Istanbul" moniker was reportedly the by-product of an alliance ad hoc committee, a more-or-less temporary solution so the exercise would not be cancelled.
 Main opposition leader discusses EU issues with Commission President
BRUSSELS, 06/06/2002 (ANA - B. Demiris)Main opposition leader Costas Karamanlis, head of the New Democracy party, on Wednesday met European Commission President Romano Prodi during a visit to Brussels.
After the meeting, Karamanlis described the meeting with Prodi as useful and interesting, while saying that his party was in favor of a European federation that would be more effective, more transparent, more democratic and with greater solidarity between the member-states.
ND also supported the creation of a European Constitution and wanted to give the European Parliament greater powers, while simultaneously ensuring greater participation by national Parliaments, he added.
Another issue discussed during his meeting with Prodi, he said, was that of EU enlargement.
''We both agreed that Cyprus should be in the first wave of new member-states to join the EU, regardless of whether the political problem had been solved. We all want a solution but this cannot be a condition for Cyprus' accession,'' he stressed.
On the issue of illegal immigration, Karamanlis said he had conveyed his party's positions in favor of a single, common European immigration policy and the creation of a force to guard EU borders.
Finally, he said they discussed the social aspects of Europe, while he stressed the need for faster economic growth that would allow the Community to deal with issues such as unemployment, regional inequalities and social exclusion.
Karamanlis was accompanied by ND MEPs, International Relations and EU secretary Prof. Yiannis Valinakis and ND spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos.
 ND leader meets with Valery Giscard d'Estaing in Brussels
BRUSSELS, 06/06/2002 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday met with the President of the Convention for the Future of Europe Valery Giscard d'Estaing.
Karamanlis called the meeting useful and said that d'Estaing is an ''acknowledged European who has offered much to Europe, an old acquaintance and a friend of Greece,'' with whom he conducted a general overview of European politics.
During the talks Karamanlis spoke of the common foreign policy of security and defense, which is a Greek priority and the European borders and their common protection, while he also spoke of economic development with community cohesion and the joint immigration policy.
Responding to relevant questions on possible changes in European politics with right-right parties coming to power in many European countries, Karamanlis said that there were not significant differences between the center-right and center-left parties as center-left governments moved during their tenure toward center-right positions, irrespective of whether they were effective in implementing those positions.
''Despite all that,'' he added, ''I do not believe that there is an identity of positions''.
 Greece strongly condemns latest suicide bombing in Israel
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)Greece on Wednesday expressed its abhorrence over the latest suicide bombing in Israel on hours earlier, an attack on a bus filled with passengers in the town of Megiddo that caused at least 16 deaths and left dozens of people seriously injured.
Acting government spokesman Telemachos Chytiris stressed that the Greek government strongly condemns the murder of Israeli civilians, before conveying Athens' condolences to the families of the victims.
"Violence does not bring peace and understanding, it brings greater suffering to the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. We call on the Palestinians to immediately take the necessary steps for an end to acts of violence; we call on the Israelis to show self-restraint so that violence is not rekindled; and we call on both sides to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible, so that a peace agreement on the basis of a relevant UN resolution can proceed," he said.
 Parliament President meets CoE Commissioner for Human Rights
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis had a meeting on Wednesday with the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Alvaro Gil-Robles.
Kaklamanis was briefed by Gil-Robles on his activities in the sphere of human rights, while the parliament president stressed that Greece looked forward to the strengthening of the prestige of the Council of Europe and of its institutions and that of the European Court, ''the decisions of which for the victims of the continuing tragedy of Cyprus are not being implemented by the Turkish government.''
On his part, Gil-Robles expressed his concern over the climate prevailing in Europe and throughout the world following the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001.
Gil-Robles is currently visiting Greece for meetings with government officials, representatives of non-governmental organizations, spiritual leaders and representatives of gypsies for whom he shows particular interest regarding the situation of their human rights.
 State Department issues report on trafficking of persons
WASHINGTON, 06/06/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)The trafficking of women is very developed in Greece and constitutes a serious problem for the country, according to this year's relevant State Department report publicized on Wednesday.
Greece and 18 other countries are ranked in the third and worst category regarding the degree of the problem's seriousness. The authorities of these 19 countries, the figure has decreased from 23 last year, appear not to be making necessary efforts to handle the problem.
The report presents the prostitution ring in Greece as being very developed, adding that this is primarily based on the trafficking of women from eastern Europe.
Greece is characterized ''primarily a final destination and to a lesser degree an intermediate station'' for women and children taken to the country from Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Albania, Yugoslavia and Romania with the purpose of sexual exploitation.
Women also arrive in Greece, but to a lesser degree, from Tunisia, Algeria, the Philippines, Thailand, Moldova, Georgia, Poland and Kazakhstan.
The report mentions that Greece is not making considerable efforts to handle the problem, which is rendered more difficult by the absence of relevant legislation. It added, however, that the government has started to take measures in the right direction lately.
Apart from Greece, the third and worst category regarding the degree of the problem's seriousness also includes Albania, Turkey, Romania, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Armenia, Russia, Belarus, Cambodia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Myanmar, Sudan, Tajikistan, Bahrain, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
 Group to launch campaign to raise public awareness of terrorism issues
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)A campaign to sensitize public opinion on issues of terrorism will be launched on Saturday by a group called 'Os Edo' created by terrorism victims and their relatives in Greece.
The group announced at a press conference on Wednesday that it would begin its campaign on Saturday by handing out stickers with its logo, which will also be distributed by the Sunday papers.
The stickers can also be ordered from the group's website (www.osedo.gr), while on Monday stickers with a contact e-mail from which the public can find out about the campaign will be available on printed stickers.
The group also plans to send messages via the Cosmote mobile phone network and urged banks and public utilities to give funds to support its efforts.
In addition, it has called on the 'Constantine Karamanlis' Institute and the 'Andreas Papandreou' Foundation - named after two of Greece's most influential public figures in the late 20th century who belonged to opposite political camps - to organize a joint seminar dedicated to Greek terrorism and to promote an open dialogue that moved outside party-political and ideological lines and beyond the scope of simple law enforcement issues.
Many of those at the press conference were relatives of people killed by the shadowy Greek terrorist group 'November 17', whose members have eluded capture for over quarter of a century.
They included two former ministers, one in a PASOK and another in a New Democracy government, who had themselves been attacked by the group and survived.
They said they had chosen to start their campaign on June 8 so that it coincided with the latest murder by the group, that of British Embassy military attache Stephen Saunders who was killed by the group in Athens two years ago.
The anniversary of his death will also be commemorated by the British Embassy in Athens, which plans to hold a wreath-laying ceremony at 7:45 near the spot where Saunders was killed in Filothei.
The ceremony will be attended by Saunders' widow Heather, British Ambassador Sir David Madden, a number of Greek officials, as well as members of the Greek and British military services.
A memorial service will later be held at the Anglican Church of St. Paul's on Philellinon St in Athens at 11:00.
 EU okays one batch of aid for Hellenic Shipyard, probes another
BRUSSELS, 06/06/2002 (ANA - B. Demiris)The European Union's executive Commission said on Wednesday that it had approved 29.5 million euros in state aid to Hellenic Shipyard that was given to fund a voluntary early retirement scheme for 200 workers before the company was sold into the private sector.
At the same time, the EU will launch a probe into another round of state aid that was awarded to Hellenic in the form of tax relief to offset losses from previous years.
The relief appeared to be incompatible with EU legislation on shipyards, the Commission said in a statement.
A contract was signed last month for the sale of Hellenic Shipyard to Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) AG and Ferrostaal Aktiengesellschaft, both of Germany, at a price of 47.1 million euros.
The buyer was Greek Naval Shipyard Holdings SA, a subsidiary of the two German firms created to undertake purchase of the formerly state-owned shipyard. Greek Naval has a share capital of 41 million euros.
The sale price comprises 6.1 million euros for the stock in Hellenic, formerly known as Skaramangas Shipyard, and 41 million euros to increase the shipyard's share capital.
The German buyers said during a tour of the yard after the contract was signed that their first modernization plan for the shipyard totalled 15 billion drachmas, and was due for immediate implementation.
New Democracy deputy Nikolaos Tsiartsionis has claimed that talks with the company's buyer lacked transparency; and that the state was set to lose 200 billion drachmas from the sale.
Rival Elefsina Shipyard has sought recourse at the European Union over what it calls unfair competition from Hellenic Shipyards.
Elefsina said that it had lodged a complaint with the EU's competition committee charging ''major distortion and breaches of competition rules by Hellenic Shipyard.''
In the complaint, Elefsina said that illegitimate state subsidies had been given to Hellenic, and that a privatization tender for the firm contained irregularities. The facts had been made known to authorities but no action was taken.
The European Union's executive Commission has approved the purchase, saying that regulatory approval was given as the acquisition of Hellenic by the two corporations did not breach rules of fair competition.
Earlier this year, HDW, the largest shipyard in Germany, was acquired by One Equity Partners, a subsidiary of Bank One of the US. The yard's new owners have said the buyout will not affect plans for Hellenic Shipyards.
Thyssen Krupp, a metals and shipyard company, is now a member of the HDW group, replacing Babcock.
Under its new owner, HDW has said that Hellenic Shipyards is seen as a major factor in the German company's future European strategy.
 National Bank' governor reiterates expansion aim
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)National Bank still aims to become a large Greek competitive bank in European and international level, despite an unsuccessful effort to merge with Alpha Bank, Theodore Karatzas, the bank's governor, told a television interview.
"Greek banks must try raise their figures to become more competitive as after the country's entry in the eurozone, any comparisons were not made in local but in European and international level. Mergers and acquisitions, however, are not the only way to improve a bank's figures," Karatzas said. He was referring to the autonomous development of a financial institution.
Karatzas noted that a decision for a merger between National Bank and Alpha Bank was purely based on business interest and that the government was informed after the agreement was reached.
The Greek banker said that domestic interest rates offered by commercial banks were among the lowest in the eurozone not only in the housing credit but the consumer credit markets and noted that a gap between lending and deposit interest rates has shrunk significantly.
Karatzas said that the bank hoped it could achieve a target to raise its international activities' contributions to 20 percent of the Group's profits this year. "We are aiming higher, to reach 30 percent," he said.
Commenting on a significant decline in Greek banks' profitability in the first quarter of 2002, compared with the same period last year, Mr. Karatzas stressed that "one should not compare profits of a convergence period with profits of a new era, marked by the country's entry in the eurozone. What's important is the organic profitability growth and comparisons with other eurozone banks."
He said that National Bank would continue emphasizing in its retail banking activities and dismissed talk of over-debted Greek households, as borrowing as a percentage of GDP was still lower from many European Union countries.
 Greek, Turkish ministers discuss shipping cooperation
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)Greek Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis and Turkish State Minister Ramazan Mirzaoglu on Tuesday agreed to promote mutual interests in the shipping sector, and particularly protection of the marine environment.
The two ministers, who met aboard the Turkish-flag passenger vessel "SAMSUN" harbored in the port of Piraeus, said that the two countries indented to cooperate in promoting sea tourism and to develop ferry lines between Greece and Turkey.
Mr. Anomeritis said that his meeting with Mr. Mirzaoglu was very interesting "not only because of our common issues, but for issues relating with the European Union and the international shipping industry."
"I feel happy to attend the biggest shipping trade fair, the "Posidonia 2002", alongside my honorable and friend Greek minister," Mr. Mirzaoglu told reporters after the meeting.
The Turkish State Minister expressed the hope that the two countries would make positive steps in shipping cooperation to benefit both countries. "Our aims include promoting sea tourism and developing regular ferry lines between the two countries," he said.
"Our peoples expect from our governments to improve bilateral relations and we will adjust to the wish of the people," he noted.
 OTE telecom to boost investment in Romania
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), a heavily traded stock on the Athens bourse, plans to increase its holding in Romtelecom of Romania, also aiming for the provision of mobile phone services in Yugoslavia, the OTE Group's chairman, Lefteris Antonakopoulos, said on Wednesday.
Management would place emphasis on raising returns from existing investments, as well as improving domestic services ahead of the 2004 Olympic Games to be hosted by Athens, Antonakopoulos, newly elected to his post, told a news conference.
OTE's investments abroad total about 1.5 billion US dollars, which have so far brought lower returns than forecast, he noted.
Currently facing hardship, Romtelecom needs a capital injection of about 450 million dollars. OTE is willing to contribute 250 million dollars of the total, of which 50 million dollars have been approved, Antonakopoulos said.
The remainder would come from banks that have expressed interest in acquiring a holding in Romtelecom.
The Romanian government was expected to decide on the offer by the end of September. The company needed lower staffing levels and higher rates, Antonakopoulos noted.
 Greek participation in Skopje trade fair
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)A total of 70 Greek companies are participating in this year's 52nd International General Trade Fair in Skopje, June 4-7, held at the Skopski Saem Exhibition Center.
The fair, organized by Skopski Saem, was inaugurated by the President of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Boris Trajkovski.
The Greek participation represents companies from the machinery-industrial equipment, building materials, food-beverage, paints, household goods, and packaging product sectors.
 Greek households' debt in record 8.13 bln euros in March
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)Greek households' debt, including consumer, personal and credit card debt, rose 36.1 percent in March from the same month last year to a record 8.13 billion euros, the Bank of Greece said on Wednesday.
The central bank said that consumer loan debts totalled 2.1 billion euros, personal loan debt reached 2.2 billion, while credit card debt exceeded 3.9 billion euros in March.
Housing loans totalled 16.9 billion euros, up 40 percent compared with the same month in 2001.
In the monthly report, the Bank of Greece said that investment in repos (repurchase agreements) fell one percentage point to 27.2 billion euros over the same period, while deposits fell 5.0 percent to 10.1 billion euros.
Deposits by both companies and households totalled 127.8 billion euros.
 Unions call 24-hour strike against social security bill
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) have called a general strike on June 18 to protest the social security reform bill tabled in Parliament.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, ADEDY President Spyros Papaspyros reiterated the civil servants' disagreement with measures being promoted by the government, calling for the system's adequate funding and decent pensions for people working in the public sector.
Papaspyros said the civil servants want the bill withdrawn, pensions being assessed at 80 percent of salaries, pensioning on completion of 35 years of work without an age limit, the inclusion of benefits in the main salary and in pension - carrying remuneration, the consolidation of successive insurance and the inclusion of public branches in the sectors of heavy-duty and unhygienic work.
He announced that the strike called will be held on June 18 when the discussion on the bill will begin at a Parliamentary plenum session.
The strike announced last Friday following a majority vote taken by GSEE's administration is expected to be set on the same day (the decision was taken by all labor groups with the exception of PASKE).
Working people in the private sector also want the bill withdrawn and the implementation of the proposals contained in decisions taken at GSEE's congress.
 Greece to get cash back from
EU BRUSSELS, 06/06/2002 (ANA - B. Demiris)Greece is to receive 182.9 million euros from the European Union out of a total of 15 billion euros that the 15-nation bloc had budgeted for spending under its 2001 budget, but finally had never used.
The remainder will be distributed among the EU's other member countries.
 Best olive oil in the world in 2002 comes from Sitia, Crete
MADRID, 06/06/2002 (ANA - M. Kourmousi)Following a worldwide competition among olive oil producers, the Madrid-based UN agency International Council of Olive Oil chose an olive oil from Sitia, Crete as the best in the world for 2002.
The olive oil is produced, bottled and distributed by the Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (EAS) of Sitia.
The Sitia olive oil won the ''Mario Solinas'' gold medal. Taking part in the competition were hundreds of products from all the olive oil producing countries, which are members of the UN. Among them were many Greek olive oils.
Other Greek olive oils also received distinctions, including one by the ''Minerva'' company and the olive oil of Botsakis producers from Iraklio, Crete.
 Importance of electronic communication stressed by Verelis
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis on Wednesday spoke of the importance of the Internet and the policies of his ministry in the sector, during a one-day conference organized by the ministry.
The conference entitled "e-communicate -Internet in Greece" focused on Greece's work on these new technologies.
"Our aim is for all Greeks to have access to the Internet, as well as to provide information on all those issues that may influence the family and the formulation of the personality of children," Verelis said.
Deputy Transport and Communications Minister Spyros Vougias estimated that over the next five years 100 per cent of Greece's businesses will have a presence in the Internet, the tele-medicine center will be activated and these technologies will be applied in education needs of remote regions of the country.
 US subsidiary of Technical Olympic to issue corporate bond
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)Newmark Homes Corp. of the US, a subsidiary of Athens-quoted engineering contractor Technical Olympic, is to issue 350 million dollars of corporate bonds in the US, with Salomon Smith Barney acting as main coordinator.
The bond issue forms part of a merger with Engle Homes Inc, another homebuilder and subsidiary of Technical Olympic.
Newmark is to be renamed Technical Olympic USA after the merger, and trade on New York's NASDAQ market.
For merger are three subsidiaries of the Greek company - Newmark Homes Corp., Engle Holdings Corp. and Technical Olympic Inc, Engle's owner.
In addition, the parent company will sell another subsidiary, Westbrooke Acquisition Corp.
Technical Olympic Inc. wholly acquired Engle Holdings Corp. in a public offer in November 2000.
On completion of the merger Engle Homes Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Engle Holdings, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Newmark.
The merger was due for completion on May 31.
 ICOMOS, technical chamber criticize bill on cultural heritage
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)The Technical Chamber of Greece and ICOMOS criticized on Wednesday the bill for the protection of Greece's cultural heritage submitted in Parliament this week.
Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos briefed the members of the two organizations on the advantages of the bill, reiterating that it is a perfect piece of legislation, fully modernized and harmonized with the European Union.
In response ICOMOS in a press release stressed that ''the title of the bill is misleading because it does not deal with cultural heritage itself, except in seven lines of article 5 and then it calls for future Presidential Decrees''.
The international organization also said in its press release that it will seek recourse in the national and international bodies condemning the bill.
 Greek stocks end 1.44 percent up on Wednesday
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)Greek stocks ended Wednesday's session sharply higher in the Athens Stock Exchange in what traders described as selective buying of stocks across the board.
The general index ended 1.44 percent up at 2,290.92 points, with turnover at 100.5 million euros.
The Insurance sector was the only one to suffer losses (-0.10 percent), while the IT Solutions, Retail and Telecommunications sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (2.60 percent, 2.08 percent and 1.84 percent, respectively).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.52 percent higher, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 1.40 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 1.35 percent up.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 274 to 55 with another 29 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded shares in value were Public Power Corporation, Hyatt, Coca Cola HBC, and Hellenic Telecoms.
Equity index futures at discount: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday ended lower in moderate trade.
Turnover was 75.5 million euros.
The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips gained 1.40 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks rose 1.52 percent.
Bond prices mixed in light trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Wednesday finished mixed in light trade focusing on five-year paper.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.46 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 29 basis points.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 1.3 billion euros.
Buy orders accounted for just over half of trade.
 Olympics organizers exceed cash target for licensed goods
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)National organizers of the 2004 Athens Olympics announced on Wednesday that they had exceeded their target by 120 percent in the first phase of a program to collect revenue from trademark goods.
Revenue from the first phase totalled more than 3.0 million euros, the organizing committee said in a statement.
The most popular categories of product in terms of sales were sports goods (40 percent), jewellery (28 percent) and pins (13 percent).
The most popular item was a white tee-shirt carrying the 2004 Olympics emblem.
The program's second phase began in March and will end in December 2004. Revenue is anticipated at 73 million euros, three quarters of which exist in the form of banking guarantees.
Sales in the Olympics store have jumped 500 percent since the introduction of the event's mascots, Phoebus and Athena.
 V. Papandreou speaks on the occasion of World Environment Day
Athens, 06/06/2002 (ANA)Environment and Town Planning Minister Vasso Papandreou on Wednesday stressed the need for citizens to realize that they also had an individual responsibility for the environment's protection.
Speaking on the occasion of World Environment Day, Papandreou said it was important for citizens to improve their attitude, adding that with simple gestures everyone could help safeguard the environment and not damage it.
"There's a problem with people becoming aware (of the problem). Many people must understand that they have an individual responsibility for the environment," she said, before touching on several high-profile environmental maladies plaguing the greater Athens area.
Specifically, the minister reiterated that the much-maligned Kifissos River running through much of western Athens - one of a handful of streams identified by ancient writers when referring to the city-state during antiquity -- has been filled with rubble and narrowed by illegal construction, a situation she called "unacceptable".
Among others, she forecast that state services would begin demolishing illegal structures along the shallow river's watercourse.
Regarding the ominous smog often covering the Greek capital on many a breeze-less day over the summer, Papandreou expressed a hope that several major and ongoing projects in the area will reduce traffic volume and congestion, thereby lessening air pollution.
Referring to one of greater Athens' other significant shortcomings vis-a-vis other major west European cities, namely, the lack of green space and parks, Papandreou promised that "park space will be significantly increased in Attica prefecture".
In an unrelated development and speaking on the latest political situation in the country, the veteran politician said ruling PASOK is indeed "in a difficult current state. There are problems, maybe because the expectations of some citizens weren't met. However, a major effort is underway, which will appear and in turn unveil the true picture (of the government's work)."
 Ecumenical Patriarch arrives in southern Albania
TIRANA, 06/06/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received a warm welcome by ethnic Greeks and the Orthodox faithful of southern Albania during his visit to Vouthroto on Wednesday.
Bartholomew, accompanied by the Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios, arrived in the national forest of Vouthroto by helicopter and was welcomed by the clergy and people who had traveled from Gjirokaster and other regions in southern Albania to welcome him.
He was given a guided tour of the archaeological site at Vouthroto and said ''the region of Vouthroto is very interesting both from a point of view of natural beauty and antiquities of historical significance'', adding that ''Christianity has deep roots in this region.''
On his part, Archbishop Anastasios said ''for us the fact that an ecumenical patriarch is in this place for the first time in centuries, probably for the first time in history, is a unique blessing.''
Earlier, the Ecumenical Patriarch had arrived in Tirana from Istanbul and was welcomed by Archbishop Anastasios, the synod of the church of Albania and Greece's Ambassador to Albania Dimitris Iliopoulos.
The Patriarch's tour of Vouthroto, a unique wildlife reserve and archaeological site, is part of the activities of the environmental conference organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on environmental protection in the Adriatic.
 Ecumenical Patriarchate's 4th ecology ''floating'' conference to begin on Thursday
ISTANBUL, 06/06/2002 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)The Ecology Conference organized by the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate will begin on Thursday and will focus on the protection of the Adriatic Sea's environment.
This will be the 4th such conference organized by the Patriarchate and will begin in Durres, Albania, where Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will board a ship along with the rest of the participants to travel to Venice, stopping in all major coast cities of Italy, Montenegro and Slovenia, while he will also visit land locked Bosnia.
Albania's Archbishop Anastasios will also participate in the ''floating'' conference.
In Venice Vartholomeos will sign the ''Commitment of Venice'' for the protection of the environment with Pope John Paul II.
 Clerides and Denktash press on with security
NICOSIA, 06/06/2002 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash met on Wednesday for two hours in Nicosia, in the context of the fourth round of UN-led direct talks, aiming at a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem.
CNA sources said the leaders of the two communities pressed on with the issue of security, but did not wrap it up.
 Cyprus gets assurances from EU Commissioner
BRUSSELS, 06/06/2002 (CNA/ ANA)European Union Commissioner responsible for enlargement Gunter Verheugen has assured Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides that Cyprus will be one of ten applicant countries to be invited to join the Union, at the Copenhagen summit in December.
Speaking here after a meeting on Tuesday with Verheugen, Kasoulides said the German Commissioner also said that the EU Helsinki decision that a political settlement in Cyprus would facilitate accession but it is not a precondition for membership is still valid.
''We had an excellent meeting, a useful encounter, during which Verheugen reiterated the position that Cyprus will be included in the first ten candidate countries that could join the EU, following a European Council decision in December,'' the minister said.
The Helsinki decision also said that ''all relevant factors'' will be taken into consideration when the EU is to decide on Cyprus' accession and called on Turkey, whose troops occupy the island's northern areas, to contribute to the solution of the problem.
''There is one way Turkey can halt the accession of a divided Cyprus and this is to contribute to reunite the island,'' Kasoulides said.
He explained that at present the relevant factors relate to the attitude of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides at the peace talks, which began in mid January this year under UN auspices.
The foreign minister said it was very important to hear Verheugen delivering such a clear-cut message with regard to the Helsinki decision.
Kasoulides said he discussed ways the EU could contribute to the success of the direct talks President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are engaged in.
He said this month's EU summit in Seville will take a stance on Cyprus.
While in Brussels, the minister addressed the European Policy Center on ''Cyprus in a new Europe'' outlining the government positions on enlargement, developments in the EU and efforts to adopt a new treaty on how EU institutions should operate.
Referring to the Cyprus question, he said the Greek Cypriot side is working in line with UN resolutions to establish a bizonal, bicommunal federation and he called on the Turkish side to follow suit and help achieve a settlement.
He also stressed the need to have a solution that would safeguard the single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality of Cyprus.
The minister was due to return home on Wednesday night.