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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-08-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

August 19, 2002


  • [01] Squall causes flash floods, power outages in Athens
  • [02] Top priority now to locate Koufontinas and four other suspected "N17" members
  • [03] US State Dept. declassifies 1964-1968 files on Greece
  • [04] Softex board adamant it will lay off its entire workforce by August 23
  • [05] Press Minister Protopapas on terrorism, 2004 Olympic Games
  • [06] Leonardo DiCaprio to play role of "Alexander the Great"
  • [07] Cyprus commemorates army officers killed in helicopter crash
  • [08] Christofias: Sovereignty is not negotiable

  • [01] Squall causes flash floods, power outages in Athens

    Athens, 19/08/2002 (ANA)

    A sudden summer squall in the early afternoon on Sunday caused flash flooding in certain low-lying portions and coastal areas of the greater Athens area as well as brief power outages in several downtown districts of the Greek capital.

    According to reports, the fire brigade received more than 1,000 emergency calls to pump out flooded basements and apartments. Two major thoroughfares, including a stretch of a popular Athens coastal boulevard, were also briefly shutdown. An overflow of the usually trickling Kifissos River -- Athens' major floodway -- also caused severe problems in the western industrial neighborhoods of the capital.

    Dozens of vehicles, including buses, were left abandoned in the floodwaters, from downtown Athens all the way to the seaside.

    No fatalities, fortunately, reported in a Greek capital city mostly deserted by holiday-makers over the weekend.

    [02] Top priority now to locate Koufontinas and four other suspected "N17" members

    Athens, 19/08/2002 (ANA)

    The anti-terrorism squad's top priority now is locate Dimitris Koufontinas who is described by police as the ''tough'' member of the notorious ''November 17'' terrorist group.

    At the same time, the men of the anti-terrorism squad are trying to gather data so as to proceed in capturing another three men who, according to those leading the investigations, belong to the operational sector of the first generation of ''November 17''.

    According to the same sources, the men heading the investigations have their sights on a specific woman called ''Anna'' who they are watching in order to collect data which would allow for her arrest.

    Meanwhile the alleged co-founder and leader of the "November 17" urban guerrilla group on Friday requested and was granted a stay until Tuesday to provide a statement to a relevant prosecutor.

    Alexandros Giotopoulos, 58, was scheduled to provide a customary pre-trial statement to special appellate court prosecutor Leonidas Zervombeakos on Friday. The former is being held in solitary confinement at a maximum-security cellblock in Korydallos prison since his arrest last month.

    An attorney for Giotopoulos later told reporters on Friday that his client had previously requested a 30-day extension for providing the statement, something that was not granted by the prosecutor's office.

    The Paris-born Giotopoulos has denied from the onset all charges filed against him or involvement with terrorism, while stressing that he does not even know any of the suspects recently arrested in the high-profile "N17" investigation.

    [03] US State Dept. declassifies 1964-1968 files on Greece

    Athens, 19/08/2002 (ANA)

    Translated segments of the US State Department's recently declassified files regarding Greece, US-Greece relations, Cyprus and Turkey between 1964-1968 were reprinted in several local papers over the weekend.

    The documents' release comes after a delay of a few years, as the US government is obligated to declassify material dealing with the country's foreign policy no later than 30 years. The declassification process began in 1993 and ended in 1999, with the completed tome of 833 pages covering the Jan. 24, 1964 to Dec. 31, 1968 period. The files come from the State Department's archives, the National Security Council and the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin.

    Some 0.04 percent of the files slated to be declassified were also not released, according to reports.

    The documents apparently show Washington's keen interest in the 1967 Greek elections (which never took place) and the Center Union's prospects of electoral victory, as well as the emergence of what were termed, in the documents, as ''radical elements'' in that party associated with Andreas Papandreou.

    The State Department files also record Washington's stance towards the April 21, 1967 coup leaders and efforts of then King Constantine for the military junta's overthrow.

    [04] Softex board adamant it will lay off its entire workforce by August 23

    Athens, 19/08/2002 (ANA)

    The Italian owners of Softex, a paper industry in Drama, northern Greece, on Saturday reiterated the decision it had announced on July 24 to lay off all workers in the factory by August 23.

    On Monday the trade unionists of SOFTEX will meet in Athens with Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos to ask him to intervene in order for the units in Drama not to close which would result in the loss of more than 500 jobs.

    The decision by the board of Softex to close the ''Athenian ''Paperworks'' will need approval from Greece's Labor ministry, that has already expressed its opposition to such a move.

    Paolo Forlin, current chairman of Softex board, opposes selling the company.

    [05] Press Minister Protopapas on terrorism, 2004 Olympic Games

    Athens, 19/08/2002 (ANA)

    The basic aim of the government is for terrorism to be completely eradicated, Press and Mass Media Minister Christos Protopapas said at a press conference in Hania, Crete early Saturday afternoon.

    He noted that through the eradication of terrorism Greece will become one of the safest countries in the world.

    Protopapas also referred to the opening of the files of foreign secret services.

    ''We had the opportunity to read in the Press, but also in the electronic mass media, the information from the opening of these files. We were not surprised with what we saw there. It is known that there was a relation between the certain secret services of certain countries with what had happened during that critical ten-year period. And I would say that it was no chance that even former U.S. president Bill Clinton, during his visit to Greece, had apologized for the role which certain U.S. services had played in the creation of the junta and the black period which followed for Greece."

    The minister also referred to the preparations for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. ''Our country aims at holding the best Olympic Games,'' he said.

    He added that in the second half of September the government and the prime minister will undertake initiatives to project the Olympic cities and Olympic works which are being carried out with the cooperation of the Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee (ATHOC).

    [06] Leonardo DiCaprio to play role of "Alexander the Great"

    MELBOURNE, 19/08/2002 (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis)

    Distinguished Australian director Baz Luhrmann, known for his recent film success of Moulin Rouge with Nicole Kidman, has announced that in early 2003 the screening will start of his new film on the life of Alexander the Great.

    The screening of the film on the victorious Greek army commander will take place in Morocco with Leonardo DiCaprio the protagonist.

    It is a Universal Pictures production which is expected to cost 180 million dollars.

    According to producer Dino De Laurentis, the 27-year-old DiCaprio, who won acclaim for his performance in the "Titanic", "is a superb actor and ideal to play the role of Alexander the Great."

    Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper reported the relevant news.

    [07] Cyprus commemorates army officers killed in helicopter crash

    NICOSIA, 19/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus commemorated on Sunday the tragic loss of its late National Guard Commander, Lieutenant Evangelos Florakis and the other four army officers, killed July 10, 2002, when their helicopter crashed near the south western town of Paphos.

    The other army officers killed were Air Force Commander, Brigadier Stelios Demenagas, Lieutenant Nikos Georgiou and the two helicopter pilots, Flight Lieutenant Paris Athanasiades and Flank Officer Michalis Shiakallis.

    In his eulogy, at a memorial service held here for the five army officers, Cyprus new National Guard Commander, Lieutenant Athanasios Nikolodemos stressed that ''our vision is to establish powerful, effective and efficient armed forces that will consist a reliable deterrent and will fight to win a war, should this be needed''. He also stressed the need to continue efforts ''to upgrade the National Guard's fighting capability, for the sake of Cyprus, which struggles for the survival of Hellenism on this holy land.''

    He also noted that the five offices were killed while serving their homeland and stressed that the struggle to reunite Cyprus, divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974 has had a cost both for Cyprus and Greece since dozens of their army officers have been killed, in time of peace, while on duty.

    Defense Minister Socrates Hasikos, who attended the service, along with other officials of the government, political parties and the army and dozens of people told the press that Cyprus occupation can be terminated only with such sacrifices and wished that these officers be the last to die in time of peace.

    Asked about the investigations that started just after the crash to find out the causes of the tragic accident, Hasikos said that the report about the circumstances under which the helicopter crashed was not ready yet and stressed that every aspect of this case should be investigated in detail.

    A memorial service for the five officers was also held on Sunday morning at Kouklia, the village near which the helicopter crashed. The local authorities plan to build a monument, at the spot of the crash, to honor the five men.

    [08] Christofias: Sovereignty is not negotiable

    PAPHOS, 19/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    House of Representatives President and acting President of the Republic Demetris Christofias has stressed that Cyprus sovereignty is single and indivisible.

    Christofias also underlined that apart from expressing its readiness for a solution of the Cyprus problem the Greek Cypriot side should be decisive on issues that are not negotiable, such as sovereignty.

    Sovereignty is indivisible and that is what the UN believes, he added.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

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