|Friday, 23 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-08-26
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 26, 2002
 Police focus turns to groups linked to 'N17'
Athens, 26/08/2002 (ANA)Efforts to eradicate the last vestiges of urban terrorism in the country continue to be at the forefront of national developments, as police are now focusing attention to terrorist groups linked to the notorious ''November 17'' gang.
The anti-terrorist squad has reportedly begun to evaluate evidence found in two “N17” hideouts in Athens that point to individuals other than the alleged members of ''November 17'' arrested over the past month and a half.
Police are still searching for Dimitris Koufondinas, who is accused of being a top “N17” assassin and the lethal terrorist group’s “treasurer”, among others. Meanwhile, another half dozen individuals have been questioned by police over recent days in connection with terrorist activities.
According to reports, all terrorist activities from 1974 to date are under investigation.
The high-profile investigation is also reportedly shifting to individuals involved with the infamous ''Revolutionary Popular Struggle'' (ELA), as well as less active terrorist gangs.
Commenting on developments surrounding the case, high-ranking main opposition New Democracy (ND) deputy Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that ''ND supported the government in the fight against terrorism, but we mean the total fight against terrorism and the eradication of all terrorist groups. We will not accept less than that''.
 Greek plan for aid to Albania to be signed on Monday
TIRANA 26/08/2002 (ANA - M. Vihou)Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos began a two-day visit here on Sunday, meeting with Athens' ambassador and top representatives of the ethnic Greek community in the country.
On Monday, Loverdos will meet with Albania's Foreign Minister Ilir Meta and with Economy Minister Arben Malaj for the signing of a bilateral agreement for aid to Albania.
The 50-million-euro aid package is part of Greece's high-profile Balkan reconstruction plan.
Afterwards, Loverdos will meet with Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano.
In a related development regarding the recent controversy in the neighboring country over the long lines of Albanians guest workers and ethnic Greeks of Albania awaiting to enter Greece in the last few days, Loverdos expressed his disappointment over the fact that such an “incident”, as he called it, is being exploited by certain circles here.
“It’s unfortunate that this incident -- somewhat expected with the issuance of ‘green cards’ that numerous Albanian immigrants received this year and which allowed them for the first time to safely return and vacation in their native land without fear of not being allowed to return -- has become the object of exploitation by certain demagogues.”
He also said another two new border crossings will open on the frontier with Albania in the near future.
 Greece, Albania & FYROM commit to trilateral cultural exchanges
Athens, 26/08/2002 (ANA)The culture ministers of Greece, Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) met on Saturday at a lake district of northwestern Greece where the borders of the three Balkan states converge, before signing a declaration promoting trilateral cultural exchanges in the region.
Greek minister Evangelos Venizelos also invited his counterparts, Albania’s Arta Dade and FYROM’s Samoilovska Svetanova, to an informal summit of EU culture ministers next May in Thessaloniki.
Finally, the three ministers agreed to ask the Athens 2004 organizing committee (ATHOC) that the “Olympic Torch Relay” pass through the Prespes Lake region dividing the three countries.
 ND deputy criticizes gov't for lack of briefing on environmental issues
Athens, 26/08/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) deputy Dimitris Sioufas on Sunday stressed that ''it is the obligation of all parliamentarians that represent the democratic states of Earth is grand and the times are not holding back what is coming'', in relation to the environment.
Speaking ahead of the international conference for the environment, which will take place in Johannesburg, he expressed his discontent, saying that ''the current government, once again, confronts issues of great importance, unprepared and alone, as it did not even brief the Greek parliament on the issues''.
 Greek ministers visit Cyprus
NICOSIA 26/08/2002 (ANA - G. Leonidas)Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, upon his arrival here on Sunday, expressed Athens' optimism over the island republic's prospects for accession into the European Union.
Tsohatzopoulos is visiting the island republic to hold talks with Cyprus Minister of Trade and Tourism Nikos Rolandis, and is expected to sign bilateral agreements concerning energy, technology and tourism.
Also in Cyprus, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis met with the Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and discussed the Cyprus problem and the country's EU accession course, as well as relations with Turkey.
 Development minister announces "White Lists" for low price products, services
Athens, 26/08/2002 (ANA)Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos announced on Sunday, during an interview to an Athens Sunday paper, that his ministry will draft lists of products and services with lower than the average prices, in efforts to reduce profiteering.
These ''White'' lists, he added will be published along with ''Black'' lists of products and services that are under par or over priced.
 Gov't offers penalty breaks for IKA debts
Athens, 26/08/2002 (ANA)The labor ministry has tabled a rider offering to write-off a substantial portion of penalty charges slapped on thousands of businesses in country for debts owed to the Social Security Foundation (IKA), the largest state-run health and pension provider in the country.
A write-off of 80 percent of penalty charges is envisioned for businesses that eliminate their debt entirely; 50 percent for businesses opting for a payment installment plan.
The labor ministry amendment deals with verified debts from 1988 onwards.
 Prespes Festival attract 5,000 people
Athens, 26/08/2002 (ANA)A series of events began in Florina prefecture with ''Prespes Festival'' on Saturday night as under the full moon artists conducted a concert in the presence of a crowd of about 5,000 that included political leaders from Greece, Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
The festival, which derived its name from the Prespes Lakes that are on the border of the three aforementioned countries, is a yearly affair that this year was included in the ''New Balkans'' events, unfolding in Northern Greece and the southeastern European region.
 Noted Greek film comedian dies at 80
Athens, 26/08/2002 (ANA)Noted stage and film comedian Yiannis Gionakis died on Sunday at the age of 80. A funeral is scheduled for Monday afternoon at the Athens First Cemetery.
He is survived by his wife, two daughters and three grand-children.
Born in Athens in 1922, he studied medicine, but soon gave it up for the stage, later becoming one of the most prolific thespians in the country's robust film industry during the '60s and early '70s.
 11 Afghan illegals picked up on Symi
Athens, 26/08/2002 (ANA)Eleven illegal immigrants, all Afghans, were arrested by the coast guard on the small Dodecanese island of Symi early Saturday morning. The illegals – six men, two women and three children – told authorities they were transported to the island from the neighboring Turkish coast by a Turk migrant smuggler aboard an inflatable craft, according to a press release issued by the merchant marine ministry.
Top UN envoy on Cyprus returns for resumption of talks NICOSIA 26/08/2002 (CNA)
Alvaro de Soto, UN Secretary General's special adviser on Cyprus, returns to the island later today, for the resumption on Tuesday of the direct talks he has been conducting between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides.
De Soto is scheduled to have separate meetings with President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on Monday, with a view to preparing the ground for a meeting in Paris in early September between Clerides, Denktash and the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Peace talks, underway since January, are set to resume Tuesday after a three week break. Annan has invited Clerides and Denktash to the Paris meeting in a bid to push the talks forward and try to crack the core issues under discussion (governance, security, territory and property) as he indicated to the two leaders back in May during his visit to Cyprus.
California Assembly and Senate pass joint resolution on Cyprus NICOSIA
26/08/2002 (CNA)A joint resolution, adopted recently by the Assembly and the Senate of the state of California, calls on the US President to encourage initiatives to help promote and achieve there unification of Cyprus within the context of the UN peace effort.
The resolution also asks the Administration to continue to strongly support Cyprus' accession to the European Union without a settlement being a precondition.
"The Legislature calls upon the President of the US to increase the administration's efforts to encourage initiatives that will help promote and achieve reunification, reconciliation, stability and prosperity in Cyprus within the context of the ongoing efforts under the UN Secretary General's auspices and on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions," the joint resolution said.
It requested the US government to "continue to strongly support the accession of Cyprus to the EU, without a settlement of the Cyprus problem being a precondition for accession.
"The joint resolution comes as the UN-led peace talks are resuming this week, after a three week break, and in the wake of repeated Turkish threats that it would annex Cyprus' northern Turkish occupied areas should the Republic join the EU, without a prior political settlement.
The joint resolution, introduced by Lou Papan, notes that Turkey for 28 years "illegally occupies 37 per cent of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus and during that time has continually violated the will of the international community.
"It refers to UN Security Council resolutions providing for a settlement based on a state of Cyprus with a single sovereignty, international personality and a single citizenship with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded and comprising two politically equal communities, as described in the relevant Security Council resolutions, in a bicommunal bizonal federation.
Green Party appeals to British Premier to solve antenna issue NICOSIA
26/08/2002 (CNA)The Movement of Ecologists and Environmentalists, Cyprus' Green Party, has sent a letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair to protest against the erection of a huge antenna by the British at one of their bases here.
"I trust that due to the seriousness of the matter you will take the time to look into it closer and find a way to work out a solution of the issue", a letter dated August 23 and signed by MP George Perdikis says.
He expressed hope that Blair will understand that the work currently under way needs to be stopped immediately and that it is much easier to relocate the antenna than relocate a sensitive wetland of international importance, such as the Akrotiri Salt Lake, where the antenna is being built.
In his letter to Blair, the Cypriot MP stresses that the installation of a mega antenna of 500.000 Watts is due to take place at the Akrotiri wetland, a unique ecosystem of fresh and saltwater habitats worthy of inclusion in the Ramsar Convention list of international importance wetlands.
"It is most ironical that while the British appear to be very sensitive in matters of protection of wildlife and animal welfare, in this case the British government takes no note of the pleas of environmental activists and concerned citizens to protect the Akrotiri wetland that is vital to the survival of thousands of migratory birds" the letter to British Premier says.
The Cyprus Green Party is preparing a series of demonstrations in Britain against the erection of the antenna. The demonstrations will be held outside Buckingham Palace and Downing Street, between September 27 and October 1.Moreover during this time, members of the Party will hold meetings in London on the matter with Cypriots living in Britain, British environmentalist organizations, as well as with the British Green Party.
The Akrotiri Salt Lake was designated to be included in the list of Wetlands of International Importance of the Ramsar Convention.
The site supports a significant number of rare species, including 13endemic and rare plant species and 32 bird species specially protected under the European Birds Directive. A number of species of water bird winter on or migrate through the site, including around6.000 flamingos. Under the terms of the Ramsar Convention, the British Bases are obliged to promote the conservation and wise use of the Akrotiri Ramsar site.