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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-08-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

August 9, 2002


  • [01] Defense minister refers to 'oversights, negligence' in Kos affair
  • [02] Police calls on citizens to aid in Koufontinas' manhunt
  • [03] PM Simitis congratulates Munich medallists
  • [04] Deputy FM visits World Camp in Chalkidiki
  • [05] Budgetary revenue rises 6.1 pct January-July
  • [06] Retail sales price index rises sharply in May
  • [07] 67.5 mln Euro pledged to finance Information Society plans
  • [08] Winner named for power plant project
  • [09] Stocks slip, try to consolidate
  • [10] FEI officials visit ATHOC headquarters, Olympic Games equestrian facilities
  • [11] American woman sustains serious head injuries in sailing accident
  • [12] August 'full moon' concerts at archaeological sites scheduled
  • [13] Balkan Youth Festival to be held in Greece August 15-18
  • [14] Greece wins gold medal in the javelin at European Athletics Championships
  • [15] British Ěinister says Cyprus doing extremely well towards EU accession
  • [16] Turkish Cypriot party leader calls for increased UN role
  • [17] Turkish Cypriot journalists jailed for 'defamation'

  • [01] Defense minister refers to 'oversights, negligence' in Kos affair

    Athens, 09/08/2002 (ANA)

    The national defense minister on Thursday cited what he called “serious oversights, errors and carelessness by personnel” in referring to the mysterious theft of weapons from a military depot on the island of Kos last week.

    Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, previously the national economy minister, also cautioned that a military-led investigation to track down the culprits behind the break-in would “take some time”. Speaking at a press conference, he declined comment, however, on the ongoing course of investigations, indirectly avoiding any remark as to whether a terrorist group could be behind the theft.

    The army has repeatedly hinted that the culprits have served or are currently assigned to the camp.

    Moreover, Papantoniou, who was vacationing on the popular Dodecannese holiday island when the break-in of the weaponry was announced early Friday morning, said the theft was an “isolated incident”.

    The Kos affair has drawn widespread and media attention and elicited concern because of similarities to the Sykourio theft, when the notorious “November 17” terrorist gang raided an army warehouse at the Sykourio camp in central Greece in the late 1980s.

    Finally, both the minister and the army chief of staff announced that officers and NCOs on duty during time the theft reportedly took place will be reprimanded.

    Military officials announced over the weekend that 17 handguns, three light machine guns and three infantry assault rifles had been stolen from the camp.

    Strict action against military responsible for theft on Kos: Strict punitive action was taken on Thursday against military personnel in various degrees responsible for the loss of weapons during the mysterious theft incident at an army depot on the Dodecannese island of Kos last week, press sources said.

    The same sources said that the army base commander at the rank of brigadier general was punished with a 20-day imprisonment and removal of his command, while action has been initiated for his immediate replacement.

    The lieutenant colonel commanding the 544th National Guard regiment was hit with two months suspension and temporary suspension of pay, while administrative procedures have been already initiated for his permanent separation from service, the sources said.

    The commander of the 282nd national guard regiment was punished with 15 days in jail, the commander of the 80th national guard company received twenty days in jail, while the MSgt and the active reserve officer on duty at the time of the incident were disciplined with 30 days and 10 days in jail, respectively, the same sources said.

    At a time when Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou was vacationing on the popular Dodecannese holiday island, military officials on Kos announced over the weekend that 17 handguns, three light machine guns and three infantry assault rifles had been stolen from the camp.

    [02] Police calls on citizens to aid in Koufontinas' manhunt

    Athens, 09/08/2002 (ANA)

    Police called on Greek citizens to aid its efforts in discovering the whereabouts of alleged terrorist Dimitris Koufontinas, who is being sought by police since the beginning of July.

    In a press release issued on Thursday, police called on citizens to inform authorities on suspicious persons renting apartments since the beginning of July or in cases where a person rents an apartment, while already having a permanent residence. Also, the continual residing of a person in a home that previously was not inhabited.

    They also pointed out that citizens should be alert in cases where persons carrying small packages of food or clothes entering apartments for unusual visits.

    Among other points the press release made was that Koufontinas was a beekeeper so he may be hiding in areas where beehives are placed in different times of the year, so those as well should be under surveillance.

    The press release stressed that similar methods were used in Germany, and were successful in leading to the arrest of terrorists.

    In related events, police announced that the ballistic tests of all weapons found in the ''November 17'' safe houses were concluded. According to the tests, a 0.45 caliber, a 0.38 caliber and a 7.65 caliber pistols were used in illegal activities, while none other of the vast armory held by the terrorist group were identified as weapons used in such actions.

    There is only doubt about two 0.38 caliber pistols that were in bad condition and results were not easily gleaned.

    Prosecutor denies alleged "N 17" member's petition for access to case file: An appellate court prosecutor denied the petition of an alleged member of the murderous organization ''November 17'' to have access of his case file, justifying the ruling by pointing out that the law allows such access 30 days after the initial appearance of the defendant before a prosecutor.

    Pavlos Serifis initially appeared before a prosecutor on July 30.

    Now the case was sent to a council of appellate court judges.

    3 coast guard officers charged in Xiros photo case: A military prosecutor has filed charges against three coast guard officers over the case of a photograph showing an injured Savvas Xiros- a reputed "November 17" operative- lying in a hospital bed only hours after a bomb inadvertently went off in his hands - a photograph that later appeared on a television newscast and several newspapers.

    Personal data authority calls for respect of alleged terrorists' private life: The Personal Data Protection Authority on Thursday issued a press release noting that the publication of personal data of the family and private life of the arrested alleged terrorists of ''November 17'' infringes upon their rights.

    Also the authority reiterated the rights for the respect of the dignity, personality and private life of citizens.

    [03] PM Simitis congratulates Munich medallists

    Athens, 09/08/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Thursday sent a message to gold medallists Katerina Thanou and Katerina Vogoli congratulating them for their victories in the women's 100-metre sprint and discus, respectively, at the European Athletics Champion-ships in Munich on Wednesday.

    The prime minister also extended his congratulations to athletes Tassoula Kelesidou and Alexandros Papadimitriou who won the bronze medal in the women's discus and men's hammer-throw, respectively.

    "To all of you who did your best and made us proud, I express the conviction that you will continue steadily in this direction", the prime minister's wire said.

    Katerina Thanou won the gold medal in the women's 100-metre sprint, clocking 11.10 seconds, while Katerina Vogoli won the gold medal in the women's discus with a throw of 64.31 meters.

    [04] Deputy FM visits World Camp in Chalkidiki

    Athens, 09/08/2002 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis on Thursday visited the World Camp at Poseidi, in the northern Greek peninsula of Chalkidiki, a venue that is hosting Hellenes from around the world.

    "We want Greece and Hellenism on a journey through the 21st century with the highest demands. We are trying to construct the links of this chain", the deputy minister told more than 600 young campers.

    Organized for a second consecutive year by the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, the World Camp is realized with the support of the foreign affairs ministry and the general secretariat of Hellenes abroad.

    [05] Budgetary revenue rises 6.1 pct January-July

    Athens, 09/08/2002 (ANA)

    Budgetary revenue rose by 6.1 percent in January to July 2002 in comparison with the same period a year earlier to total 22.8 billion drachmas, the finance ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

    The figure resulted from a 7.6 percent rise in regular revenue (Value Added Tax, income tax, stock transactions tax) and a 19.5 percent drop in special categories of income, the statement said.

    VAT collected rose to 7.0 billion euros, up 11.1 percent on January-July 2001, it added.

    [06] Retail sales price index rises sharply in May

    Athens, 09/08/2002 (ANA)

    The retail sales price index rose by 12.0 percent in May 2002 against the same month a year ago, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said on Thursday.

    NSS said in a statement that the sharpest increases were noted in large foodstuffs stores (+15.3 percent), department stores (+20.9 percent), and shops selling foodstuffs, beverages and cigarettes (17.0 percent).

    The retail sales price index was revised this year to exclude Value Added Tax.

    [07] 67.5 mln Euro pledged to finance Information Society plans

    Athens, 09/08/2002 (ANA)

    The finance ministry on Thursday said that 67.5 mln Euro have been pledged to finance three training plans mainly targeting the unemployed, within the scope of the Information Society Project.

    Designed to assist participants in acquiring basic skills in the use of computers, IT and communication, as well as work experience in IT specialties, the plans will offer training to a total of 170,000 unemployed, aiming to reduce digital illiteracy and improve their job prospects.

    Initiatives and interventions for sustainable employment in the information society for disadvantaged groups are financed and supported by the ministry within the scope of the Third Community Support Framework (CSF), with the conviction that they will significantly contribute to the socio-economic growth of the country with a positive impact in the rise of employment.

    [08] Winner named for power plant project

    Athens, 09/08/2002 (ANA)

    Mechaniki SA, an Athens-quoted engineering contractor, on Thursday was named the lowest bidder for a project to build a drainage gallery at a hydroelectric plant being built by the Public Power Corporation (PPC) in central mainland Greece.

    The project is budgeted at 33.6 million euros, with a completion deadline 24 months after a contract is signed by the two sides.

    When the gallery is built, Mesohora, with a capacity of 160 MW, will be able to launch operations.

    The PPC is also listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    [09] Stocks slip, try to consolidate

    Athens, 09/08/2002 (ANA)

    The Athens bourse finished slightly lower on Thursday in a bid to consolidate, despite rising markets elsewhere in Europe.

    The general share index shed 0.10 percent to end at 2,124.96 points. Turnover was 65.3 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.03 percent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 0.21 percent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities 0.16 percent down.

    Of 360 stocks traded, declines led advances at 177 to 122 with 61 issues remaining unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Public Power Corporation, Football Pools Organization, Sex Form, and Alpha Bank.

    Derivatives Market Close: Equity index futures nose down: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished slightly lower on Thursday, nudging contracts into the red.

    Turnover was 74.5 million euros.

    The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.03 percent up; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 0.21 percent lower.

    Trade was slim in stock futures, with Alpha Bank drawing the highest turnover.

    Bond Market Close: Prices drop in heavy trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Thursday finished lower in heavy trade focusing on three-year paper.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 4.94 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 35 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 3.0 billion euros.

    Sell orders accounted for the bulk of trade.

    [10] FEI officials visit ATHOC headquarters, Olympic Games equestrian facilities

    Athens, 09/08/2002 (ANA)

    Officials of the World Equestrian Federation (FEI) on Thursday visited the headquarters of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) and the under construction Olympic equestrian facilities at Markopoulo, eastern Attica.

    The FEI representatives said the facilities were of a high standard and fully covered the needs for the equestrian tournament at the Olympic Games.

    The president and director of the FEI Veterinary Committee, Leo Jeffcott and Frits Sluyter respectively, were briefed during their two-day stay by ATHOC adviser Spyros Kapralos and other ATHOC officials on the preparations for the holding of the equestrian tournament.

    The FEI delegation also met on Wednesday with Agriculture Ministry officials with whom they discussed special hygiene regulations.

    [11] American woman sustains serious head injuries in sailing accident

    Athens, 09/08/2002 (ANA)

    A New Zealand sailing team member was hospitalized at Tzanneion Hospital in Piraeus after sustaining a serious head injury during practice in the sea region of Aghios Kosmas on Thursday morning.

    American national Kimberly Birkenfeld, 42, who was in command of the Mistral-type sailing boat, collided with the escort vessel in which was her trainer Bruce Kendal.

    The New Zealand team is taking part in the ''Saronic Gulf-Regata 2002''.

    [12] August 'full moon' concerts at archaeological sites scheduled

    Athens, 09/08/2002 (ANA)

    The culture ministry will again organize concerts at some 56 archaeological sites around the country in a few weeks to celebrate regal August's full moon - scheduled for the evening of Aug. 22 leading into the early morning hours of Aug. 23.

    Sites will remain open from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., while the Acropolis in Athens, the Temple of Aphaia on the Saronic island of Aegina, the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion and ancient Olympia will also remain open to the public, although no musical events are planned.

    Admission is free to all the concerts.

    [13] Balkan Youth Festival to be held in Greece August 15-18

    Athens, 09/08/2002 (ANA)

    The 3rd Balkan Youth Festival will be held from August 15-18 in the municipalities of Litohoro, Katerini and Eastern Olympus in the prefecture of Pieria.

    Competing in the festival - in music, video and art - will be young people from 12 countries of the Balkans and of the broader region and specifically from Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Yugoslavia, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Moldavia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Romania, Slovenia and Turkey.

    [14] Greece wins gold medal in the javelin at European Athletics Championships

    Athens, 09/08/2002 (ANA)

    Greece won a gold medal in the women's javelin at the European Athletics Championships in Munich on Thursday.

    Mirella Maniani won the gold medal with a throw of 67.47 meters.

    After the 3rd day of competition, Greece has three gold and two bronze medals.

    [15] British Ěinister says Cyprus doing extremely well towards EU accession

    LONDON, 09/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    British Minister for Europe Peter Hain stated on Thursday that Cyprus is doing incredibly well in its accession negotiations with the European Union.

    Hain was speaking to CNA after opening a photo exhibition entitled ''Images of a New Europe'', at the Mall Galleries, presenting new images of all 13 candidate countries.

    ''Cyprus has closed 28 of the thirty chapters. We are looking to Cyprus joining. It is very important we get an agreement there so that a united Cyprus will be joining. A political settlement to enable both communities in Cyprus to come in as part of the new Europe. We have got to make sure that we get the political solution.

    That’s absolutely crucial,'' he said.

    Asked whether Britain supports the ongoing talks for a reunited bizonal, bicommunal federated Cyprus, Peter Hain said that ''for a bizonal, bi-communal Cyprus with a new political settlement. I am confident we can get that with good will and a lot of effort on both sides.''

    I see the prospect for a united Cyprus joining, he said.

    ''It is tough negotiations to be concluded but the UN Secretary General's special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro De Soto is doing very well,'' he said.

    ''The Secretary-General is looking at it closely. Britain is engaged, America is engaged, Europe is engaged, we want to see them succeed,'' he added.

    To the question whether Britain sticks to the EU Helsinki conclusions that the political solution is a not a precondition for Cyprus' accession to the EU, Peter Hain answered: ''Of course, we will stick firmly by Helsinki, we always have been. We were in fact the architects of it''.

    [16] Turkish Cypriot party leader calls for increased UN role

    NICOSIA, 09/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    A Turkish Cypriot party leader has urged the UN to play a more active role in the peace effort they are leading with a view at facilitating a comprehensive settlement prior to a decision by the European Union in December on Cyprus' accession.

    Reports in the Turkish Cypriot press carried the statements of Housein Agulemli, leader of the Communal Liberation Party, to this effect and also said that a public dispute between Mehmet Ali Talat leader of the Republican Turkish Party and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Rauf Denktash on the latter's approach to the peace effort continued Wednesday too.

    ''The time has come for the UN, present at the direct talks, to assume a more active role, in order to lead the Cyprus question to a resolution,'' Agulemli said, speaking in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.

    He said the UN has to contribute to a solution before December, when the European Council meets in Copenhagen to decide on Cyprus' accession so that both communities on the island join the EU together.

    His special adviser Alvaro de Soto represents the UN Secretary General at the direct talks. President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash began talks in January this year but no progress has been achieved in cracking the core issues (governance, sovereignty, territory and property) because of Denktash’s insistence on two separate states.

    Talat has accused Denktash of contributing with his wrong policies to the accession of Greek Cypriots and said ''we support joining the EU together with the Greek Cypriots and not after them.''

    He criticized Denktash about an attempt to create a negative climate against the EU, by attacking everybody, after the Turkish National Assembly adopted reforms in line with EU demands.

    The RTP leader called on Denktash to put a halt to such tactics and to try and understand the EU better in cooperation with political parties and various organizations and associations.

    Denktash had criticized Talat when he came under attack for trying to divide the Turkish Cypriots in two camps, those who want peace and those who work against it.

    Meanwhile, according to the Turkish Cypriot newspaper ''Afrika'', the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ali Erel has said that around 70 social organizations, numbering some 35,000 members, have signed a joint declaration about the solution of the Cyprus question and EU accession.

    The organizations intend to give a press conference on Friday to announce their vision on Cyprus.

    [17] Turkish Cypriot journalists jailed for 'defamation'

    NICOSIA, 09/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    An illegal court, in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, on Thursday passed a six-month ''jail'' sentence against the editor in chief of the main opposition daily and one of his reporters for purportedly defamatory articles against Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    The so-called court said the two defendants will have to pay five billion Turkish pounds (about 30,000 US dollars) if they ''commit the same offence afresh.''

    About 400 ''libel'' cases are pending before illegal courts in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus against Levent and other Turkish Cypriot journalists.

    On Wednesday, the illegal court found Levent and Ener ''guilty'' of ''libel'' against Denktash, his bogus state, the occupation army and ''motherland'' Turkey, in an article Ener wrote, entitled ''Who is the number one traitor?''

    The article appeared on July 29, 1999, in the Turkish Cypriot daily ''Avrupa'' that came under attack by the Denktash regime in occupied Cyprus.

    The paper was renamed ''Afrika'' and continues publication, in spite of repeated raids to its offices and confiscation of equipment.

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