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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-08-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

August 2, 2002


  • [01] Police arrest another 'N17' suspect
  • [02] Turkey seen as downgrading 'threat' from Greece
  • [03] 'Washington Post' article on EU affairs, Greek presidency
  • [04] Church of Albania to celebrate anniversary of its re-establishment
  • [05] Analyst: Economy shows high growth, major incomes inequality
  • [06] Greek PMI eases to 52.9 in July
  • [07] Six new vessels raise the Greek flag
  • [08] PM briefed over Aegean ferry routes
  • [09] Intralot in lottery system supply to Turkey
  • [10] EU subsidy return sought by agro ministry from cooperatives, farmer
  • [11] Agriculture minister unveils plans to develop stock-breeding zones
  • [12] Emirates Airline starts Athens-Dubai-Perth flights
  • [13] Ten companies express interest in GNTO marketing tender
  • [14] Greek stocks end up, led by blue chips
  • [15] Deputy sports minister briefs PM on Olympics projects
  • [16] OSE announces sponsorships for three athletes
  • [17] Pre-Olympic sailing event to be held this month
  • [18] Border guards detect 21 Iraqi illegal immigrants in caravan
  • [19] No hostage situation in Crete bank robbery, police say
  • [20] President flies to Paris alone for meeting with Annan
  • [21] European Parliament invites leaders to discussion
  • [22] Britain's objective a reunited Cyprus to join
  • [23] Cyprus introduces Prize for preserving archeological heritage

  • [01] Police arrest another 'N17' suspect

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    Another suspected member of the ''November 17'' terrorist group, often referred to with the codename ''Aris'' by other suspects already remanded in custody, was arrested Thursday afternoon.

    According to initial reports, the man placed in custody was identified as Sotiris Kondylis, 41. He was arrested off an Athens street by a police counter-terrorism squad and was reportedly under surveillance. He was taken to the Athens police headquarters where he is being questioned, reports state.

    Police consider the man referred to as ''Aris'' as a leading member of the terror group's ''second generation'' assassins, with participation in numerous 'N17' attacks after 1990.

    Earlier, two of the most recent suspects arrested in the ongoing investigation, Nikos Papanastasiou and Patroklos Tselentis, were led to a specially renovated maximum-security cellblock at Korydallos Prison. Only Savvas Xiros, whose arrest triggered the biggest criminal probe in Modern Greek history, remains hospitalized in an Athens hospital.

    Counter-terrorism service interrogates new 'N17' suspect: The 15th suspected member of the ''November 17'' terrorist group, arrested near his home in the Athens district of Vyronas on Thursday, was interrogated by the counter-terrorism service in the afternoon.

    The new suspect is Sotiris Kondylis, 41, who is considered a basic member of the group's operational team and was known by his codename ''Aris.''

    It is not yet clear whether Kondylis, who is married and has two daughters who are junior and senior high school students, accepts to cooperate with police and give information on his activities as well as on those of the terrorist group.

    However, according to what has been revealed in testimonies made by other arrested suspects, as well as evidence collected by the counter-terrorism service, Kondylis was allegedly involved in the clash in the Athens district of Sepolia and the robbery at the Ergasias Bank in Peristeri in 1990.

    In addition, he had also been allegedly involved in the murder of Turkish national Omer Sibachioglu in 1994, the attempted murder of another Turk, Denis Bulukbasi, in 1991 and possibly in other activities of the ''November 17'' urban guerrilla group.

    Following the arrest of Kondylis, it is believed that the only member of the terrorist group's operational arm still at large is Dimitris Koufontinas, who is allegedly the group's top hitman.

    The counter-terrorism service has been patrolling various areas in past days where Koufontinas had reportedly appeared but he has still not been found.

    One of the counter-terrorism service's main targets, apart from catching Koufontinas, is the arrest of the group's secondary or ''regional'' members, estimated as being between 12-15 people, to have the ''November 17'' group fully broken up.

    Two more 'N17' terrorist suspects taken to Korydallos prison: Two more November 17 terrorist group suspects were taken to the Korydallos prison from the police general headquarters under draconian security measures on Thursday.

    The two suspects, Patroklos Tselentis and Nikos Papanastasiou were taken to specially arranged cells where they will remain in custody until they stand trial.

    Consequently, a total of 13 defendants charged with alleged participation in the terrorist group have already been taken to the Korydallos prison.

    Probe launched into 'N17' testimony leaks: An Athens first instance prosecutor on Thursday began a criminal investigation into the disclosure and press leaks of confidential testimony taken from more than a dozen suspects charged with crimes related to the "November 17" terrorist group, including one instance of illegal taping of an individual's initial pre-trial verbal statement.

    According to sources, the latter incident deals with statements provided by Alexandros Giotopoulos, the alleged co-founder and leader of the notorious ultra-leftist urban terrorist group.

    [02] Turkey seen as downgrading 'threat' from Greece

    ANKARA, 02/08/2002 (ANA- A.Abatzis)

    Several significant changes have reportedly been made to Turkey's so-called "national security paper", changes that apparently downgrade "threats" towards the country supposedly emanating from Greece and Syria.

    The report was first broadcast over the CNN-Turk network here, which also said the revised 'paper' referred to a "danger from the east", something that more-or-less points to Iraq and Iran.

    Additionally, the television network said a segment citing a danger from far-right groups engaged in "Mafia-like" activities has been deleted.

    Portions of the "national security text" had first been leaked to the press in 1997. The specific policy paper, which is edited regularly, encompasses the thoughts and strategy of Turkey's powerful military-controlled national security council. The text also comprises the basis for the Turkish general staff's military strategy contingency plan.

    [03] 'Washington Post' article on EU affairs, Greek presidency

    WASHINGTON, 02/08/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    Denmark's recent assumption of the European Union's rotating presidency and Greece's chairmanship of "euro-defense" and "euro-zone" affairs was the focus of a recent article in the "Washington Post's" diplomatic affairs section.

    According to new Greek ambassador to Washington, George Savvidis, who was quoted in the article, a decision at the recent Nice EU summit allows the Union to use it own recourses with NATO's assistance in specific operations, such as assuming the ongoing peacekeeping force in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

    "Along with European countries, Turkey can negotiate its own participation or stay out, but it cannot block such a decision," Savvidis was quoted as saying.

    [04] Church of Albania to celebrate anniversary of its re-establishment

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    A series of events begin in Tirana on Friday to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Albania's re-establishment, with a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate expected to attend as well.

    A church service as well as a synod meeting amongst Orthodox clerics and a church-laymen's congress is also scheduled, followed by a youth festival.

    In the 10-year period since the Church's re-establishment, and following the banning of all religions by a Stalinist regime that ruled the neighboring country for almost five decades, Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios and his associates have established an Orthodox seminary, an ecclesiastical high school, repaired some 290 churches, created 20 ecclesiastical centers, hospitals, clinics, orphanages, youth camps and even a publishing company in Albania, among other.

    [05] Analyst: Economy shows high growth, major incomes inequality

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    The domestic economy is characterized by the maintenance of growth rates higher than the European Union average, accompanied by major inequalities in incomes, a think-tank said on Thursday.

    In a quarterly report, the Institute of Economic and Industrial Research said that growth stemmed chiefly from stronger productivity, resulting in an improvement in per capita income but at a slower pace than the rise in gross domestic product.

    In addition, job creation was occurring at a lower rate than in the EU, which had led to the maintenance of high unemployment, the report said.

    Research and development were lagging, although belated moves to deregulate energy and telecommunications were productive.

    Finally, the economy displayed major inequality in incomes, with 22 percent of the population classified below the poverty line against an EU average of 18 percent.

    At the same time, regional inequalities were gradually being ironed out, and the percentage had dropped of people leaving formal education early, the report said.

    [06] Greek PMI eases to 52.9 in July

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 52.9 in July from 53.8 in June 2002, seasonally adjusted, although it remained on an expansion trend for the eighth consecutive month, official figures showed on Thursday.

    The July reading was the lowest since February and reflected increases both in manufacturing production and new supplies.

    The volume of new orders for businesses rose in July for the eighth consecutive month, while one-third of respondents in the latest survey said orders rose significantly in the month, while less than 20 percent reported lower new orders.

    The monthly index, compiled by NTC Research of the UK with the Greek Procurements Institute, is designed to offer an overview of conditions in the manufacturing sector. Readings above 50 show growth, while below 50, slowdown.

    [07] Six new vessels raise the Greek flag

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    Six new vessels raised the Greek flag, Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis said on Thursday.

    The six new vessels were: "Decathlon" a tanker owned by Juliet Shipping Co Ltd and managed by Tsakos Energy Navigation, "Zim New York" and "Zim Shanghai" two container ships owned by Angistri Corporation and managed by Costamare Shipping Co, and the tankers "World Crest", "World Kidred" and "World Kronos" owned by Anole Shipping Co and managed by International Operations SA.

    [08] PM briefed over Aegean ferry routes

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis was briefed by Aegean Minister Nikos Sifounakis on Thursday over the nagging issue of ferry-boat connections to the Aegean's remote island destinations. A ministry study on those specific routes is pending.

    [09] Intralot in lottery system supply to Turkey

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    Inteltek, a joint venture led by Intralot, on Thursday said it has won an international tender for the supply, installation, support and operation of an integrated on-line lottery system in Turkey.

    The company has signed a contract with "Sportoto", Turkey's state lottery organization.

    Under the agreement, Intralot will supply a system that will also provide an electronic sales network, such as fixed and mobile telephony, Internet and digital television.

    Cukorova Holding Group, one of Turkey's largest business groups with a leading position in the financial, telecommunications and media sectors, holds a majority stake in Inteltek.

    Cukorova Group includes Turkcell, Turkey's largest mobile telephony operator with a market share of 65 percent, Super On-Line, an Internet service provider with a 55 percent market share and Digiturk, the only digital television platform in Turkey with 850,000 subscribers.

    The contract has a five-year duration and the beginning of operations is expected in early 2003. The joint venture will have a percentage on the lottery's turnover.

    [10] EU subsidy return sought by agro ministry from cooperatives, farmer

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's agriculture ministry has decided to seek the return of European Community subsidies from two farming cooperatives and an individual farmer after the failed to comply with the terms of the subsidy, it was announced Thursday.

    By order of agriculture minister George Drys, the ministry is seeking the return of 1,200 euros and 202,000 euros from the two cooperatives respectively and the sum of 40,0-00 euros from the farmer.

    The return of the subsidies is being sought from the cooperatives because they engaged in sham and irregular dumping of peaches, nectarines and apples, and from the farmer because he failed to adhere to the commitments he undertook in the plan to improve his crops by virtue of which he received the subsidy.

    "Ensuring the Community reinforcements and subsidies, as well as their upright management, comprise a fundamental priority of the agriculture ministry's political leadership," a ministry announcement said.

    [11] Agriculture minister unveils plans to develop stock-breeding zones

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    A Third Community Support Framework program has ear-marked payment of 72.1 million euros to the Greek livestock industry to fund infrastructure projects in the sector, Agriculture Minister George Drys said on Thursday.

    Mr. Drys said the program envisages funds for the development of livestock parks - stock breeding production areas based on the model of industrial zones in Greece.

    Prefect and municipal authorities will manage the funds for supplying road access, water and sewage networks, electricity and waste management services.

    Mr. Drys said that the ministry has also approved payment of 5.0 billion drachmas to the farmers' pension fund to pay compensation for damages suffered during the winter.

    The Greek minister said that this year's cotton production was progressing according to plan and said he did not expect any surplus production, ensuring payment of maximum subsidies to Greek cotton farmers.

    [12] Emirates Airline starts Athens-Dubai-Perth flights

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    Emirates Airline announced the start of scheduled flights connecting Perth, Australia, with Athens, Greece, via Dubai, beginning Friday, 2 August.

    The Athens-Dubai-Perth line will be serviced four times a week. Emirates said it would use a Boeing 777-200 aircraft carrying more than 300 passengers and 12 tons of baggage.

    Emirates Airline is one of the most rapidly growing international airlines. It has four scheduled flights from Athens to Dubai (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) every week.

    [13] Ten companies express interest in GNTO marketing tender

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    A total of 10 companies expressed interest in an international tender for drafting a marketing action plan for conference-trade fair tourism in Greece, organized by National Tourist Organization.

    The candidate companies were: Grant Thornton, Synergon, JBR Hellas, Trek Consulting, Interbrand Associate, Market Analysis, I Force, Athens Economic University and Martakis Tourist Consultants.

    Greek tourist authorities plan to draft an action plan for a business market plan aimed to penetrate into foreign markets of conference and trade fair tourism.

    [14] Greek stocks end up, led by blue chips

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    Greek stocks returned to positive territory on Thursday, after Wednesday's fall, led by gains in blue chip stocks like Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (up 3.53 percent), although the wider market recorded losses in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index rose 0.42 percent to end at 2,124.29 points, with turnover a low 83.8 million euros.

    The Telecommunications and Retail sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (up 2.24 percent and 0.62 percent, respectively), while the Textile and IT Solution sectors suffered the heaviest losses (2.54 percent and 1.87 percent, respectively).

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks fell 0.80 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.42 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.37 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index fell 0.82 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 227 to 90 with another 41 issues unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Space Hellas, Football Pools Organization, Intralot, and Folli Follie.

    Derivatives Market Close: Equity index futures flat in thin trade: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange were flat in scant trade on Thursday, with contracts on the high capitalization index showing a discount of up to 1.0 percent. Contracts on the mid-cap index traded at a slight premium.

    Turnover was 47.8 million euros.

    The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips gained 0.42 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks lost 0.37 percent.

    In stock futures, the most active trade was seen in Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, which is trading at a discount.

    Bond Market Close: Prices rise in active trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Thursday finished higher in heavy trade focusing on five-year paper.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.07 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 34 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 2.0 billion euros.

    Buy orders accounted for over half of trade.

    [15] Deputy sports minister briefs PM on Olympics projects

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    Deputy sports minister Yannis Kourakis on Thursday briefed Prime Minister Costas Simitis on progress in preparations for the Olympic Games to be held in Athens in 2004 and the drafting of a sports bill.

    Kourakis told reporters after the meeting that all projects were underway and that all outstanding matters concerned the timetables of the projects.

    He added that under the ''Greece 2004'' program the capitals of every prefecture throughout the country would acquire fully-equipped sports facilities.

    With respect to the disagreement the inclusion or non-inclusion of soccer teams participating in the Greek championship in the Stichima soccer pool, Kourakis explained that under current legislation and the rules of the OPAP soccer pools organization the inclusion of teams participating in the championship was prohibited, but allowed only when those teams were playing in friendly matches or in UEFA events.

    As regarded his replacement at the ministry, given his candidacy for the Mayor in Heraklion, Crete, in October's municipal elections, Kourakis said the issue was being taken care of and his successor, who would be selected by the premier, would take over his post at the ministry in late August or early September.

    [16] OSE announces sponsorships for three athletes

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Railway Organizationís (OSE) administration announced sponsorships for three athletes at a ceremony held at the transport ministry's amphitheatre on Thursday.

    The athletes awarded the sponsorships are the sprinters Aristotelis Gavelas and Vassilis Sengos and marathon runner Theodoros Zachos.

    The athletes' sponsorship has a two-year duration and is aimed at improving and facilitating their preparation conditions during the crucial period before the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

    [17] Pre-Olympic sailing event to be held this month

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    An Athens 2004 pre-Olympic sailing regatta will be held from Aug. 16-23 off the Aghios Kosmas coastal district in southeast Athens.

    The event is designed to allow athletes to be familiarized with the maritime and weather conditions at the specific sailing venue. The regatta is the first of two sailing test events.

    The first pre-Olympic regatta will be held at temporary facilities of Aghios Kosmas, while a new Olympic Sailing Center is under construction and is expected to be ready for a second test event in August 2003.

    The Athens 2004 organizing committee (ATHOC) has promised to conduct a series of test events based -- as closely as possible -- on a real event environment.

    Although only one test event is scheduled for each competition at each Olympic facility, sailing is the only sport for which two pre-Olympic events have been scheduled.

    [18] Border guards detect 21 Iraqi illegal immigrants in caravan

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    Border guards arrested two German tourists on the Soufli-Alexandroupolis motorway in northern Greece on Thursday for carrying 21 Iraqi illegal immigrants in a caravan.

    The two Germans were identified as Andrea Klokler, 41, who was driving the vehicle, and Kristian Schiller, 26, who was the co-driver.

    A subsequent investigation revealed that the illegal immigrants had entered Greece in the region of Lykofos, in the northern Evros prefecture, and were heading for Athens.

    The caravan was confiscated, while the two Germans and 21 Iraqis will be brought before a public prosecutor in the city of Alexandroupolis.

    [19] No hostage situation in Crete bank robbery, police say

    Athens, 02/08/2002 (ANA)

    There was no hostage situation following an armed bank robbery in Crete, police said on Thursday, and attributed the early reports to a ''misunderstanding''.

    Police in the town of Tymbaki in Heraklion, Crete, said that two men who entered a hotel minutes after a nearby National Bank branch was held-up were lottery ticket vendors, and there was no hostage situation at the hotel.

    They said that after reports that two of the four bank robbers had fled to the hotel, police raided the hotel and detained the two men, who turned out to be lottery ticket vendors.

    Four unidentified gunmen burst into a National Bank branch in the town of Tymbaki at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, and grabbed approximately 300,000 euros, according to early estimates.

    The cashier managed to sound the alarm as the hold-up was in process, and police were waiting outside the branch as the robbers exited. The gunmen opened fire against police, who returned the shots.

    Two of the robbers gave themselves up to police, while the other two fled. It had been initially thought that the two robbers who escaped had fled to the hotel and were holding hostages.

    No one was hurt in the exchange of fire, according to initial reports.

    [20] President flies to Paris alone for meeting with Annan

    NICOSIA, 02/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said on Thursday that President Glafcos Clerides would be flying to Paris for a meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on September 6, accompanied only by a minute taker.

    Papapetrou said Annan would be seeing President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash separately and then the three of them would have a joint meeting.

    Asked if the invitation suggested who should be accompanying the leaders of the two communities, Papapetrou said the UN chief requests that they be accompanied ''by one minute taker'', adding that Ambassador Minas Hadjimichael would probably be acting as minute taker in this case.

    Replying to questions, Papapetrou said the Greek Cypriot side would be satisfied to see ''a different political will on behalf of the Turkish side, so that the path would open for a solution to the Cyprus problem''.

    He also said the government had no indication that the UN would be submitting any ideas or documents during the Paris meeting.

    President Clerides and Denktash have been engaged in UN-led direct talks in Nicosia since January this year, with a view to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. They are now in their fifth round of talks.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    [21] European Parliament invites leaders to discussion

    NICOSIA, 02/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou announced on Thursday that President Glafcos Clerides received an invitation on Wednesday evening from the President of the European Parliament's Foreign Relations Committee to participate in a discussion on the Cyprus problem before the body, with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Papapetrou said President Clerides would study this letter in the light of his meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, scheduled for September 6, in Paris, and would reply later.

    He added that the letter did not specify when the leaders of the two communities should hold their discussion, but said he understood the invitation was for either September or October.

    Asked in what capacity Denktash was invited, Papapetrou said both leaders are negotiators in talks to solve the Cyprus problem and this is how the Turkish Cypriot leader was invited.

    Papapetrou said the invitation was made in order ''to help the European Parliament in the efforts of the two negotiators to find a solution''.

    [22] Britain's objective a reunited Cyprus to join

    EU LONDON, 02/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    British Minister for Europe Peter Hain has stressed that Britain's objective is a reunited Cyprus acceding to the EU, but he also reiterated the Helsinki European Council conclusions that a solution to the Cyprus issue is not a precondition for EU accession.

    Replying to Labor MP Chris Smith's letter who raised concerns about Britain's policy on Cyprus, Hain reiterates that his country's policy has not changed.

    He notes that the government of Britain strongly supports Cyprus' application to join the EU and adds that Cyprus has made excellent progress in its accession negotiations.

    ''We expect, providing progress is maintained, that it will be able to complete negotiations in time for a positive decision at the Copenhagen European Council in December'', Hain stresses in his letter.

    He also notes that the Helsinki European Council conclusions, which form the basis of Britain's as well as the EU's policy, underlined that a settlement would facilitate, but would not be a precondition for Cyprus' accession.

    ''Our objective is that it should be a reunited Cyprus which accedes to the EU. To that end we support the current talks between the two leaders in Cyprus to reach a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement'', Hain notes in his letter.

    Cyprus opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998 and is considered to be a front-runner among the candidate countries in closing the negotiating chapters.

    [23] Cyprus introduces Prize for preserving archeological heritage

    NICOSIA, 02/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus cabinet has decided to introduce a Prize for the preservation and projection of Cyprus' archeological heritage.

    The Prize will be awarded every two years by the President of the Republic or the Minister of Communications and Works, within the framework of a conference on archeology organized every two years.

    An official press release said the Prize will be awarded to personalities or organizations, "in recognition of their services in preserving, protecting and projecting Cyprus' cultural heritage."

    The first prize winner will be honored in November 2002, during an international conference on archeology to be held in Nicosia.

    A seven-member selection committee has b

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