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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-08-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

August 21, 2002


  • [01] Alleged co-founder of notorious ''November 17'' terrorist group denies charges
  • [02] Culture minister meets with director-general of UNESCO
  • [03] PASOK to announce more municipal candidates on Tuesday
  • [04] Greek MEP asks EU to intervene for release of Turkish-Cypriot journalists
  • [05] KKE honorary president hospitalized
  • [06] Gov't views market price hikes with concern, fears rise in inflation
  • [07] New gov't fuel bill to ensure fair prices, quality
  • [08] OA approves start to talks with bidder for catering subsidiary
  • [09] Parliament rejects ND claim privatization bill unconstitutional
  • [10] New stake in Public Power Corp. to be floated by November
  • [11] Stocks nose up in moderate trade
  • [12] Phone link devised for Athens 2004 Olympics
  • [13] International Equestrian Federation members visit ATHOC headquarters
  • [14] Government meeting decides on anti-flooding measures
  • [15] Cyprus Ambassador denounces ''conviction'' of Turkish Cypriot journalists
  • [16] UN protest violation of status quo near Pyla

  • [01] Alleged co-founder of notorious ''November 17'' terrorist group denies charges

    Athens, 21/08/2002 (ANA)

    The jailed man authorities charge is the co-founder and leader of the notorious “November 17” terrorist group on Tuesday again denied any involvement with lethal ultra-leftist gang.

    Alexandros Giotopoulos, 58, repeated his denial in the face of multiple felony charges to a special appellate-level prosecutor, who visited him at a maximum-security cellblock at Korydallos prison.

    Giotopoulos, the Paris-born son of a noted pre-WWII Trotskyist leader has been implicated as the elusive terrorist group’s leader by more than a half dozen suspects arrested and also jailed at Korydallos awaiting trial.

    Another meeting with prosecutor Leonidas Zervombeakos may follow in the next few days, as the alleged “N17” ringleader’s attorney charged that his client was given a copy of the indictment against him only hours before his latest deposition on Tuesday – something he claimed did not allow his client enough time to prepare his statement.

    Meanwhile, police continued their wide-ranging "N17" investigation this week, with the focus now apparently on examining whether the more than dozen arrested suspects had ties to other revolutionary or anarchist groups, or even international terrorist.

    According to reports, handwritten notes purportedly written by Giotopoulos and found in an "N17" hideout in Athens, allude to such links. Authorities are also examining a computer hard drive found at the Patmos street hideout that Savvas Xiros -- the man whose capture in late June during a botched bomb attack apparently led to the terror group's unraveling - claims belongs to Giotopoulos.

    Special magistrate examines former MP as witness in N17 case: Former New Democracy MP Lefteris Papadimitriou is one of the most important witnesses in the November 17 terrorist case in the view of appeals court justice Leonidas Zervombeakos, who has been assigned as special examining magistrate on this case.

    Zervombeakos, who on Tuesday began taking statements from witnesses, began the process by examining Papadimitriou.

    The former MP had come face to face with the N17 terrorists in December 1992, when he was attacked outside his home. One of the very few survivors of an N17 attack, Papadimitriou had seen the faces of members of the group when he was shot in the legs. He is also reported to have seen and described a blonde woman standing behind the two hit men, whom he would be able to recognize from a photograph.

    The former MP again informed Zervombeakos that he intended to file a civil suit on his own behalf and asked for a copy of the case file before he made his statement.

    The special magistrate also took statements from police officer Ioannis Papafotis on Tuesday morning, who had been injured in a shootout with the terrorists in Sepolia in November 1991. He will complete his statement on Wednesday, at which time he will also declare his intention to file a civil suit with his lawyer Lefteris Papadimitriou.

    Over the next few days, Zervombeakos will take statements from police officer Socratis Kotsias who was also injured in the Sepolia shootout and will be filing a civil suit represented by Papadimitriou, who is also expected to represent the family of public prosecutor Constantine Androulidakis.

    ''N17'' suspect says Giotopoulos is undisputed group leader: Alleged co-founder of "N17" Alexandros Giotopoulos was identified as the only and undisputed leader of the notorious terrorist group by suspect group-member Savvas Xiros in his deposition given to a public prosecutor on Tuesday.

    "Undoubtedly there were no other members with leadership activities in November 17", Xiros said. "Giotopoulos would not have allowed it".

    The Paris-born son of a noted pre-WWII Trotskyist leader, 58-year-old Giotopoulos on Tuesday repeated his denial about any involvement with the ultra-leftist gang.

    Sources said that Xiros recognized Giotopoulos' handwriting in a"N17" statement that authorities had found in an Athens apartment used as a hideout by the group.

    He also told the public prosecutor that the 1996 mortar attack against the heavily guarded US Embassy in Athens had been unsuccessful because he had adjusted the course of the rocket.

    Finally, Xiros, who has been under medical treatment in Athens' Evangelismos hospital for injuries he suffered during a blotched bomb explosion at the port of Piraeus last June, told the prosecutor that the younger generation of "N17" members had been taught the use of weapons by older members of the terrorist organization.

    [02] Culture minister meets with director-general of UNESCO

    Athens, 21/08/2002 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday had a meeting with Director-General of UNESCO Kushiro Matsura, at a central Athens hotel, also attended by the Greek good-will ambassadors to UNESCO Vassilis Vassilikos and Marianna Vardinogianni.

    In his pre-meeting statements to the press, the culture minister said that he was happy to meet with the director-general of UNESCO, whose priority and basic aims was the promotion of the importance of the preservation of symbolic cultural heritage. Venizelos said that, in view of UNESCO's congress in Istanbul on 16 and 17 September, he wished to discuss with Mitsuko the importance of the legacy of the Olympic Games for the global symbolic cultural heritage

    The director-general of UNESCO extended his gratitude to the culture minister and Marianna Vardinogianni, adding that this was his second visit in Greece and that he had the opportunity to visit significant archaeological sites.

    The first Asian figure to assume the post since the establishment of UNESCO in 1946, Kushiro Matsura was elected as director-general of UNESCO on 15 November 1999 after a 40-year-long career in diplomacy.

    [03] PASOK to announce more municipal candidates on Tuesday

    Athens, 21/08/2002 (ANA)

    Ruling PASOK will announce its candidates for the remaining prefect races on Tuesday, the party said in a statement on Monday.

    Meanwhile, Prime Minister Costas Simitis met with PASOK secretary Costas Laliotis on Monday for some two hours to discuss political developments, upcoming tours and candidates for the upcoming municipal elections in October.

    [04] Greek MEP asks EU to intervene for release of Turkish-Cypriot journalists

    Athens, 21/08/2002 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress Euro Parliament deputy Alekos Alavanos on Tuesday asked the EU to intervene for the release of two Turkish-Cypriot journalists incarcerated by the Turkish-Cypriot regime.

    Alavanos said the pair, Sener Levent and Memduh Ener, had been jailed for six months for publishing an article that criticized Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the Turkish occupation army in their newspaper ''Afrika'' and had incurred the wrath of the regime by supporting a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem and Cyprus' accession to the EU.

    [05] KKE honorary president hospitalized

    Athens, 21/08/2002 (ANA)

    Honorary Communist Party of Greece (KKE) president Harilaos Florakis checked into an Athens hospital on Tuesday, as the veteran political leader apparently showed signs of a mild respiratory ailment. A battery of tests was ordered by attending physicians at the "Erythros Stavros" (Red Cross) hospital.

    A medical bulletin is expected to be issued on Wednesday.

    KKE secretary general Aleka Papariga, among others, visited Florakis on Tuesday.

    [06] Gov't views market price hikes with concern, fears rise in inflation

    Athens, 21/08/2002 (ANA)

    The government is increasingly concerned about rising prices on the high street - with more goods and services expected to go up from September - and the effect these might have on the course of inflation, sources revealed on Tuesday.

    Later in the day, Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos is due to make statements on the issue later on Tuesday after a series of meetings with ministry staff and market representatives.

    Meanwhile, consumer groups are preparing a boycott on September 3 to protest the price hikes, which are one of the chief complaints made to consumer organizations and the development ministry's 1720 phone line.

    Complaints about food products and prices rises figure high on the list and are one of the main triggers of consumer protests.

    As of September, however, prices rises in a range of services will be an additional drain on household budgets. These will include insurance fees, public utility rates, school bus fees, tuition fees and others.

    Minister reports unjustified consumer price hikes within fair market: Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Tuesday that unjustified hikes had been seen in the consumer market although prices overall were fair.

    Checks were being conducted in street markets and other retail outlets to root out profiteering, Tsohatzopoulos told a news conference.

    In addition, authorities were working to uncover cartels in the fuel market, especially in isolated regions of the country, he added.

    Largest trade union group raps gov't over inflation, price hikes: The country's largest trade union umbrella group said on Tuesday that it had complained to the government about severe price hikes in the consumer market, rekindling inflation.

    The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), which represents nearly a million state and private employees, said that its members had suffered both as wage earners with diminishing purchasing power due to inflation; and as consumers amid a barrage of price rises.

    In a letter to Deputy Commerce Minister Christos Theodorou released on Tuesday, the GSEE charged that wage earners were footing the bill for higher corporate profitability.

    It called on public utilities to set an example by showing price restraint.

    [07] New gov't fuel bill to ensure fair prices, quality

    Athens, 21/08/2002 (ANA)

    Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Tuesday that a new, wide-ranging government bill aimed to ensure fair prices and quality of fuel, as well as adequate stocks, a drop in transport costs and protection of the environment.

    Improvement would be attained by vertically integrating the fuel market, allowing refineries to trade and undertake retail sales; and use suppliers abroad, Tsohatzopoulos told a news conference.

    In addition, gas stations will be able to buy fuel directly from refineries through cooperatives.

    The minister added that the bill introduced the principle of collective responsibility for adulterated products.

    [08] OA approves start to talks with bidder for catering subsidiary

    Athens, 21/08/2002 (ANA)

    The board of Olympic Airways has approved a start to contractual negotiations with Athens-quoted Everest SA, which won a sale tender for a 51-67 percent stake in Olympic Catering SA, a subsidiary of the national carrier.

    The other bidder in the tender was Grigoris Snacks SA with the Veroukas Group.

    If bargaining with Everest breaks down, OA is expected to begin negotiations with snack chain Grigoris and Veroukas, owner of a supermarket chain.

    [09] Parliament rejects ND claim privatization bill unconstitutional

    Athens, 21/08/2002 (ANA)

    During a debate in Parliament's summer session on Tuesday on the bill for the privatization of state enterprises, an appeal lodged by the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party that the bill was unconstitutional was rejected.

    ND parliamentary spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos raised the issue of the unconstitutionality of the bill, arguing that Article 9 paragraph 3 of the bill was in flagrant contradiction with Article 5 paragraph 1, Article 28 and Article 43 section 1 and 2 of the Constitution.

    Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis termed the ND's objection ''as a secondary issue from the point of view of substance, given that what is being sought is the simplification and adjustment of the statutes of the S.A. companies.''

    The debate is continuing on each article of the bill.

    [10] New stake in Public Power Corp. to be floated by November

    Athens, 21/08/2002 (ANA)

    The government is to float a further 10-15 percent stake in the Athens-quoted Public Power Corporation (PPC) by November, Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos told reporters on Tuesday.

    The exact percentage for sale in the PPC, a heavily traded stock on the Athens Stock Exchange, will be decided by the finance and development ministries.

    Turning to the search for a strategic investor in Athens-quoted Hellenic Petroleum, Tsohatzopoulos said that talks with the provisional winner of a tender for sale of a 23.4 percent stake - Lukoil of Russia with the Latsis Group - were nearing completion.

    In addition, procedures were underway to find a strategic investor for the Public Gas Enterprise, the minister added.

    [11] Stocks nose up in moderate trade

    Athens, 21/08/2002 (ANA)

    The Athens bourse finished higher on Tuesday in moderate turnover, traders said.

    The general share index gained 0.20 percent to end at 2,175.23 points. Turnover was 77.8 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.39 percent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 0.19 percent higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities 0.01 percent up.

    Of 359 stocks traded, advances led declines at 206 to 84 with 69 issues remaining unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecoms, Football Pools, Klonatex, and Informatics.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 57.4 mln euros.

    Bond Market Close: Turnover at 2.0 bln euros.

    [12] Phone link devised for Athens 2004 Olympics

    Athens, 21/08/2002 (ANA)

    National organizers of the Athens 2004 Olympics announced on Tuesday that they had devised a telecommunications link for the world-sporting event, working with Athens-quoted Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE).

    The fixed-line and mobile system, which includes internet access, will link all athletics and other sites in the games through a five-digit number, organizers said in a statement.

    The system to be implemented by OTE, a sponsor of the 2004 Olympics, is expected to handle about 23,000 fixed-line phones, 9,000 mobile phones and 16,000 televisions and videos (cable), the statement added.

    [13] International Equestrian Federation members visit ATHOC headquarters

    Athens, 21/08/2002 (ANA)

    Members of the International Equestrian Federation on a visit to the headquarters of Olympic Organizing Committee "Athens 2004" on Tuesday, said that huge progress had been made since their visit last March.

    After visiting the Olympian Equestrian Center in Markopoulo, an eastern Attica area near the new international airport, the first vice president of the federation, Freddy Serpieris, and escorting members said that the representatives of "Athens 2004" provided them with clear answers, everyone sharing the conviction that things will go very smoothly in 2004.

    Serpieris and the other visiting members of the Federation were briefed on issues related to the design of the Olympic Equestrian installations, the preparation of the test events and hospitality.

    [14] Government meeting decides on anti-flooding measures

    Athens, 21/08/2002 (ANA)

    The government would dig deep into its coffers to cover public defense needs and this was the decision and will of the prime minister, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis said on Tuesday after a meeting to discuss the weekend floods.

    In the meeting with Deputy Public Works Minister Yiannis Tsaklidis and Civil Protection Secretariat General Secretary Dimitris Papanikolaou, it was decided that 10,000 sand bags would be placed in special storage facilities near bridges where problems occurred in heavy rainfall, such as on the previous Sunday, which would be used to keep the river from flooding its banks.

    In addition, metal barriers would be erected along the length of the river over the next 15 days until the works along the bank were completed in order to contain the waters.

    Skandalidis said that the process of recording the damage would be completed on Tuesday and that he would personally ensure that the payment of compensations was speeded up.

    According to the latest estimates, 45 houses in N. Faliro and 25 in Moschato suffered damage during the latest downpour, while the number of homes that also suffered damage in the floods in June is much larger.

    Flood damages prompts protests by Moschato residents: Residents of the flood-stricken Moschato district, southwest of downtown Athens, on Tuesday blocked a major road intersection at the Kifissos River junction, a spot where the river twice overflowed over the last 20 days from sudden summer squalls.

    The working-class district's mayor and its municipal council members also joined the protest, demanding that immediate measures be taken to widen the concrete-bottom waterway, the greater Athens area's primary tributary for funneling rainwater and run-off into the sea. Only a trickle of water usually runs down the river, known since antiquity by the name Kifissos.

    According to the mayor of Moschato, a lawsuit has already been filed against anyone responsible - through omissions - for aggravating flood damages, with additional demands for a temporary suspension of construction on Kifissos.

    More than 1,000 residences and 1,500 vehicles were destroyed during floods on July 8, while damages from the latest flooding on Sunday has not been calculated.

    Among others, residents and local officials charged that the town planning ministry inspectors and contractors with failing to properly widen and deepen the tributary, especially at the Kifissos and Pireos street intersection.

    [15] Cyprus Ambassador denounces ''conviction'' of Turkish Cypriot journalists

    NICOSIA, 21/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus' Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Alexandros Vikis, has sent a letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson and to the President of the UN Human Rights Committee, denouncing the recent ''conviction'' of two Turkish Cypriot journalists by the illegal regime in Cyprus' northern territories, occupied by Turkey since 1974.

    In his letter, that will circulate as an official document of the Human Rights Committee, Vikis said that the ''conviction'' of Sener Levent, Editor in Chief of the Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (formerly Avrupa) and Memduh Ener, editor of the same paper was aiming to muzzle the freedoms of press and expression in the Turkish Cypriot community.

    Vikis requested the intervention of both the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the President of the UN Human Rights Committee so that the two journalists be released.

    On August 8, an illegal court in the Turkish-occupied part, found Sener Levent and Memduh Ener ''guilty'' of ''libel'' against Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, the occupation army and Turkey, in connection with an article Ener wrote on July 29, 1999 and imposed on each of them a six-month ''jail sentence''.

    The imprisonment of the two journalists followed a series of harassment acts by the illegal regime against this newspaper and its journalists.

    [16] UN protest violation of status quo near Pyla

    NICOSIA, 21/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    The UN have protested a violation of the status quo by the Turkish occupation forces near the village of Pyla, south east of Nicosia, UN acting spokesman Major Dezso Kiss told CNA on Tuesday.

    He said the UN considers the construction of a wall near a Turkish military observation post "a permanent violation of the present status quo in the area."

    Major Kiss said the UN have protested the violation "at the highest military level."

    Replying to questions, he said there has been no reply yet from the Turkish military since the UN protests.

    The Cyprus Republic Foreign Ministry raised the issue with the UN at a meeting here last week.

    Last week Defense Minister Socratis Hasikos said the Turkish occupation forces had made some changes to the wall surrounding a military observation post, overlooking Pyla village, which is inhabited by both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

    On Turkish designs to extend a road leading to Pyla, Major Kiss said it was made clear to the Turkish Cypriot village chief at a meeting on Monday that the UN oppose any such move.

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