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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-08-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

August 14, 2002


  • [01] Bush letter to Simitis praises Athens over anti-terrorism efforts
  • [02] Latest testimony by N17 bomber departs from previous statements
  • [03] Greece offers humanitarian aid to Russia, Czech Republic
  • [04] Third revision of electoral rolls further reduces double entries
  • [05] Gov't launches plan to widen police computerization
  • [06] Number of new firms rises, capital drops
  • [07] Hellenic Petroleum to launch petrol stations in Bulgaria
  • [08] Eight bids received for GNTO business plan project
  • [09] Stocks nose down in thin trade
  • [10] First Olympic 'test event' begins at sailing site
  • [11] Xiros brothers of 'N17' fame may have been backers of Greek film
  • [12] Denktash panics over Turkish Cypriot joint vision
  • [13] Parties condemn second Turkish offensive
  • [14] RSF demands immediate release of T/C journalists

  • [01] Bush letter to Simitis praises Athens over anti-terrorism efforts

    Athens, 14/08/2002 (ANA)

    The government on Tuesday released a recent letter sent by US President George W. Bush to Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis that congratulates Athens for the recent high-profile break-through in efforts to fight terrorism, referring directly to the more than dozen arrests of "November 17" suspects.

    In his letter, Bush cites "successful" law enforcement operations against an "organization responsible for three decades terrorist attacks" that underscores Greece's "important contribution" to the global war on terrorism.

    Bush also expressed his confidence that bilateral Greek-US cooperation regarding the all-important security issue will increase in the run-up to the 2004 Athens Olympics.

    [02] Latest testimony by N17 bomber departs from previous statements

    Athens, 14/08/2002 (ANA)

    In his latest testimony to special magistrate Leonidas Zervombeakos, suspected November 17 member Savvas Xiros is seen to depart significantly from earlier statements made to public prosecutor Ioannis Diotis during the preliminary examination.

    Xiros testified to Zervombeakos on Sunday, while he had previously signed statements before Diotis in hospital on three separate occasions, in the presence of the head of the anti-terrorist unit.

    Perhaps the most significant departure is his admission that he was the one who fired on British diplomat Stephen Saunders with a G3 pistol after the gun of fellow-terrorist Dimitris Koufontinas jammed.

    In earlier statements, Xiros had said that Loukas had carried out the shooting on his own.

    A common thread running through all his accounts, however, is that the man with the code-name ''Lambros'' selected the targets and that his companion Alicia Romero Cortez and ex-wife Angeliki Sotiropoulou were not involved in the organization and knew nothing about his illegal activities.

    In statements to the authorities on July 20, Xiros had also denied taking part in the rocket attack on then finance minister Yiannis Paleokrassas whereas on Sunday he claimed to have been present and named Koufontinas as the one who pressed the button that set off the rocket.

    Police have yet to capture Koufontinas, who disappeared shortly after Xiros' capture and is currently the most wanted man in Greece.

    Similarly, in previous statements he had not identified the killers of MP Pavlos Bakoyiannis, while on Sunday he again claimed that Koufontinas had carried out the killing.

    There is also nothing in the preliminary examination to indicate that Theologos Psaradellis was not a member of the terrorist group.

    Xiros describes his initiation into November 17 in a secondary role in the hit on US military attache William Nordeen and how he gradually became one of the organization’s key hit men, along with Koufontinas.

    He admits being involved in nearly all the attacks by the group and said that ''Lambros'' - believed to be Alexandros Giotopoulos - was the leader.

    [03] Greece offers humanitarian aid to Russia, Czech Republic

    Athens, 14/08/2002 (ANA)

    The Greek foreign ministry decided to send 150.000 dollars in aid to Russia, as a contribution to a disaster relief fund of that country, which faced terrible flooding.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos following a telephone conversation with Foreign Minister George Papandreou took the decision.

    The sum will be handed over by the Greek embassy in Moscow, along with a letter of solidarity to the Russian people.

    A similar move was made by the Greek foreign ministry toward the Czech Republic, which was also inundated by rain and experienced heavy damages. Loverdos called on the country's ambassador to Athens and offered Greece's assistance in further humanitarian aid and rescue squad assistance.

    [04] Third revision of electoral rolls further reduces double entries

    Athens, 14/08/2002 (ANA)

    Double entries on the electoral rolls have been reduced to 76,000 cases following a third revision of the rolls, the interior ministry reported on Tuesday.

    The third revision has yet to be completed by 96 municipalities around the country, while three small municipalities have yet to carry out their first revision.

    Apart from the 76,000 cases that remain, an additional 20,000 double entries were created as a result of the revision process and due to new registrations.

    According to the latest updated records, the electorate consists of 9,865,000 voters. This number is expected to drop further after the revision process has been fully completed.

    The ministry also said that the campaign to inform the public about the new voter registration cards had been successful, with over 30 per cent of the new cards distributed so far and 150,000 cards sent out in central Athens alone. They estimated that the problems would be largely solved if up to 60-70 per cent of the cards have been sent to their owners next month.

    Responding to questions regarding alleged links between ruling PASOK and terrorist groups, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis said that the parties formed after democracy was reestablished were the pillars of the political system and operated in the best possible way ''to lead the country where it now is in such a short time.''

    [05] Gov't launches plan to widen police computerization

    Athens, 14/08/2002 (ANA)

    The government on Tuesday announced a 29-million euro plan to widen computerization in the police force that will include an internal link for police stations nationwide.

    Carrying out the project, which is funded by the public order ministry, is Information Society SA. The deadline for completion is the end of 2004.

    Named Police On Line, the project was announced by Deputy National Economy Minister Christos Pachtas, who oversees the government's information society project.

    Pachtas also said in a statement that the interior ministry would fund a scheme worth 75 million euros to upgrade computerization in public administration.

    [06] Number of new firms rises, capital drops

    Athens, 14/08/2002 (ANA)

    Set up in 2001 were 5,083 new SA and Ltd companies, up 4.8 percent on a year earlier, but total capital fell sharply to 1.5 billion euros against 2000, when large firms were created in the energy and financial services sectors, the ICAP research group said in a survey released on Tuesday.

    Almost half of the newly created firms in 2001 were in the services sector, the same as the previous year, the survey said.

    In 1997-2001, 23,280 SA and Ltd companies were set up, the survey said.

    Most new companies to be established in terms of number and capital were in Attica and Central Macedonia, ICAP added.

    [07] Hellenic Petroleum to launch petrol stations in Bulgaria

    SOFIA, 14/08/2002 (ANA - B. Borisov)

    Athens-quoted Hellenic Petroleum plans to invest more than 100 million US dollars in evolving a network of petrol stations in Bulgaria, the Dnevnik newspaper reported last week.

    In an interview to the newspaper published on Friday, the group's representative in the neighboring country, Ioannis Prodromidis, said that the project by EKO-ELDA would focus on stations mainly for the capital.

    [08] Eight bids received for GNTO business plan project

    Athens, 14/08/2002 (ANA)

    The Greek National Tourism Organization has received eight bids in a tender for consultants to devise an operational growth plan for the state tourism agency's bureaus abroad, the GNTO said in a statement on Tuesday.

    The firms who submitted offers were KPMG Kyriakou Consultants SA, Diadikasia-Global View, Infogroup, TEC, EOO Group SA, Diadikasia Northern Greece SA, 01 Pliroforiki, ¡˜  Hellenic Investments, the statement said.

    [09] Stocks nose down in thin trade

    Athens, 14/08/2002 (ANA)

    The Athens bourse finished slightly lower in slim trade on Tuesday, with players focusing on medium capitalization paper.

    Investors took short-term profits in selected stocks including Alpha Bank and the Football Pools Organization.

    The general share index shed 0.21 percent to end at 2,131.67 points. Turnover was 47.3 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.40 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 0.55 percent higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities 0.64 percent down.

    Of 347 stocks traded, declines led advances at 152 to 132 with 63 issues remaining unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecoms, Darig, Football Pools and Alpha Bank.

    Derivatives Market Close: Equity index futures trade around par: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished around par on Tuesday, with trade brisker than in the main market.

    Turnover was 80.0 million euros.

    The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.40 percent down; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 0.55 percent higher.

    Among stock futures, Hellenic Telecommunications Organization drew the highest turnover.

    Bond Market Close: Prices rise in brisk trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Tuesday finished higher in active trade, tracking German paper, with playing focused on five-year paper.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of around 4.92 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 37 basis points after touching 38 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 2.3 billion euros.

    Buy orders accounted for the bulk of trade.

    [10] First Olympic 'test event' begins at sailing site

    Athens, 14/08/2002 (ANA)

    The first "test event" for the 2004 Athens Games got underway here on Tuesday, two years to the day when the next Olympics will return to the city where the first modern Games were held in 1896.

    The "Sailing International Regatta" began at the Aghios Kosmas sailing center in a coastal southeast Athens suburb, where a variety of the sailing events will be held for the 2004 Games. Another sailing regatta test event is scheduled for August 2003.

    Int'l Sailing Federation director satisfied with sailing center: International Sailing Federation Director of Sailing Jerome Pels on Tuesday expressed his satisfaction over the Athens 2004 Olympic Games Sailing Center installations, which will be used for the first time in a test event on Friday.

    ''The international federation is very pleased with the installations. It is exactly what we need for this test event, especially regarding the port facilities for the yachts,'' he said.

    The facilities are sufficient for the Games as well, since the number of participants in the upcoming test event will be about double than that of the actual Games.

    [11] Xiros brothers of 'N17' fame may have been backers of Greek film

    MELBOURNE, 14/08/2002 (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis)

    Suspected terrorists Savvas and Christodoulos Xiros, the two brothers who have confessed their involvement in the notorious terrorist group ''November 17'', appear to have been also patrons of the Greek film industry.

    According to a dispatch from the ANA correspondent in Melbourne on Tuesday, the two brothers are mentioned in the credits of the Greek film ''Tell Morphine I'm still looking for her'' which was entered into the 10th Greek Film Festival of Melbourne.

    Festival organizer Costas Markou reports being surprised to see Savvas and Christodoulos Xiros thanked ''for their assistance'' by the producers at the end of the credits.

    According to the producers, a workshop owned by Savvas Xiros was used for the needs of the film about two years ago.

    ''We needed a place, where according to the script we could place the garage of the 'fence'. Finally, through some people we knew in the film industry, the warehouse was found, it was acceptable and the owner offered it for free, without ever coming in contact with him,'' one of the producers said, thus as it is customary they thanked him by giving him credit in the film.

    As for Christodoulos Xiros, the producers said that they mentioned a person with the same name as that of the now accused ''November 17'' member.

    The film, which is about drug addiction, will not be shown during the festival on August 28-September 10 because it shows explicit scenes about drug taking that organizers believe will be too shocking for the audience.

    [12] Denktash panics over Turkish Cypriot joint vision

    NICOSIA, 14/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Eighty-six ''non-governmental organizations'' in the Turkish-occupied areas of the Cyprus Republic have announced their ''joint vision'' for a solution of the Cyprus problem before the end of the year and the island's accession to the European Union, a move that appears to have sparked a wave of panic in Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Turkish Cypriot daily ''Kibris'' reported on August 10 that the 86 NGOs called on President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash to mutually play a constructive role in UN-led talks to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Two days later, ''Yeni Duzen'' wrote that the ''joint vision'' called ''Solution and EU'' had caused panic and that Denktash had reportedly given his advisors instructions to act in the direction of reducing the influence of the ''joint vision''.

    The ''joint vision'' was announced at a press conference, during which Chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce Ali Erel said the 86 NGOs were in agreement over the need for a speedy Cyprus settlement and over the common denominator of EU membership.

    Erel said the joint vision was the result of a two-month work period, adding that the declaration, which reflects the views of the majority, did not comprise a minority status for the Turkish Cypriots, nor did it call for the rejection of their rights.

    He called on politicians to take the vision's message into consideration and noted that the NGOs' goal was to attain what has been achieved in the world, in Turkey and in the free areas of the Cyprus Republic.

    ''We do not want to consider the hellish scenario in the event that a solution is not reached'', he said.

    The ''joint vision'' notes that a Cyprus settlement and EU membership were necessary in order to solve the problems of the Turkish Cypriots, adding that the lack of a settlement adversely affects the Turkish Cypriots and causes mass migration.

    It points out that the Cyprus problem should be solved before the end of the year 2002 and that the Turkish Cypriots and the people of Turkey will suffer the most if a solution is not reached by the end of the year.

    The NGOs explain the need for a single international entity and for effective legislative, executive and judicial organs that will be

    able to conduct relations with the EU.

    The ''joint vision'' notes the need to solve the problem of property, in a manner that will prevent new mass migrations, and notes that a solution and EU membership will advance the Turkish Cypriots towards a bright future.

    The NGOs add that their countless proposals for structural reforms have been disregarded by the various so-called ''governments'' in the Turkish-occupied areas of the Republic.

    ''We should not renounce our demand for self rule, nor should we surrender to the Greek Cypriots our political equality and our founding partnership rights granted to us by the 1960 Cyprus Republic agreements in a bid to overcome the current difficulties'', the ''joint vision'' notes.

    It adds that the Turkish Cypriot side should show to the entire world through its actions and approach that it is the side that is interested in an agreement.

    The ''joint vision'' says that a call has been made to the EU, the UN and the US to treat the two sides equally, and stresses the extreme sensitivity shown not to disrupt the process of the talks, which will determine the future of the Turkish Cypriots.

    Replying to questions at the press conference, Erel said the NGOs would try to inform the entire world and Turkey about their ''joint vision''.

    On Monday, the Turkish Cypriot newspaper ''Yeni Duzen'' reported that the ''joint vision'' had caused panic within some circles of the so-called ''presidential palace'' in the Turkish-occupied areas of the Republic.

    It said Denktash had tried to place obstacles in the initiative of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce to announce the ''joint vision'', and to reduce the influence of its ideas.

    According to the report, Denktash had given his advisors instructions to act in the direction of reducing the influence of the ''joint vision'', noting that the Turkish Cypriot leader was getting ready for a counter attack aiming at overcoming the uneasiness he feels from the ''joint vision''. Within the framework of these efforts, ''Yeni Duzen'' lists the ''imprisonment'' of the editor-in-chief of Turkish Cypriot daily ''Afrika'' (formerly ''Avrupa'') Sener Levent and journalist Memduh Ener, who were found ''guilty'' of ''libel'' against Denktash, the Turkish occupation army and ''motherland'' Turkey, and given a six-month ''jail sentence'' each.

    [13] Parties condemn second Turkish offensive

    NICOSIA, 14/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot political parties reiterated on Tuesday the need to unite in the face of increasing Turkish intransigence and unacceptable demands, as they issued statements on the occasion of the launch of the second Turkish offensive against Cyprus in the summer of 1974, which resulted in the occupation of 37 per cent of the island.

    All parties stressed their determination to contribute towards a peaceful settlement, through dialogue, on the basis of UN resolutions and in line with the European Union rules and regulations, which Cyprus aspires to join.

    Turkish troops unleashed a second offensive against Cyprus on 14 August 1974 as the country was trying to come to terms with the devastating effects of the Turkish invasion of 20 July 1974.

    In its statement, AKEL said that any initiative that may be undertaken in the context of the UN-led peace talks must be within the framework of principles as these are outlined in UN resolutions on Cyprus.

    ''We are facing a new deadlock and again Ankara and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are to blame for this because they insist on the creation of two separate states,'' the main opposition AKEL party said.

    It called on the Greek Cypriot side to be more active in the inter-national political arena to point out its readiness to cooperate with the UN but also to express its determination not to deviate from the fundamental principles for one state with a single sovereignty and citizenship.

    The Democratic Rally (DISI) called on the people of Cyprus and the political leadership to unite, saying that this unity will be our weapon that will help us achieve our goals.

    ''We must hand to the generations to come a homeland, united and prosperous, without occupation forces, proud and self-confident member of the EU and looking to the future with optimism,'' the party said.

    The Democratic Party (DIKO) said ''wisdom and determination'' are needed to counteract Turkish policies and contribute to a lasting settlement, based on UN resolutions, international law and the acquis communautaire.

    It said that the international community must abandon its policy of keeping an equal distance from both sides to the peace talks.

    The Social Democrats Movement (KISOS) talked about ''a critical'' phase in the peace talks marked by absence of movement towards a settlement.

    It said that the peace talks should not under any circumstances be used as an obstacle for the successful completion of Cyprus' European course.

    [14] RSF demands immediate release of T/C journalists

    LONDON, 14/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    The international organization ''Reporters Sans Frontiers'' (RSF) has demanded the immediate release of the editor-in-chief of Turkish Cypriot daily ''Afrika'', formerly ''Avrupa'', Sener Levent and journalist Memduh Ener, who were found ''guilty'' of ''libel'' against Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, the Turkish occupation army and ''motherland'' Turkey, and given a six-month ''jail sentence'' each.

    RSF's General Secretary Robert Menard says in a letter to Denktash that their incarceration is ''worthy of the worst regimes''.

    According to a report in London's ''Guardian'' by the newspaper's correspondent in Athens, Helena Smith, under the title ''Denktash under fire after Cypriot journalists jailed'', Menard notes that ''Avrupa'' has endured ''attacks, death threats, confiscation of equipment and fines''.

    All these methods, he adds, ''have failed to silence 'Afrika', which has never hesitated to criticize the policies implemented by the Turkish Cypriot 'authorities' of northern Cyprus''.

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