|Monday, 12 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-08-30
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 30, 2002
 EU Balkan policy needs time to show results, FM says
HELSINGBORG 30/08/2002 (ANA - Ch. Poulidou)The European Union's policy in the reconstruction of the Balkans needs more time to produce results, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Thursday said, in his address to European Union's regional conference "for the prevention of crisis" here.
"The development aid offered by the Union has healed wounds before and after the appearance of crises," Papandreou said, adding that "the culture of preventing crises, should permeate the logic of the Union's foreign policy".
"The prospect of the association with the European Union and the prospect of enlargement, are two elements that have been proven to facilitate the long-term prevention of crises," the Greek minister stressed.
Papandreou pointed out the Inter-Balkan cooperation as a successful implementation of the Union's crises management policy.
He also outlined several Greek initiatives that served the cause of the "prevention of crises".
This regional conference was part of a Swedish effort, which began during the Goteborg Summit of the Union and had taken the form of an EU program, which was evaluated during the Seville Summit and will once again be evaluated during the Greek presidency of the Union.
 PM replaces 2 cabinet members
Athens, 30/08/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis has chosen Florina-area Parliament deputy George Lianis as the new sports deputy minister, a portfolio he also held between 1993 and 1996.
Lianis, a noted journalist first elected to Parliament in 1989 with PASOK, takes over the post from Yiannis Kourakis, who leaves the position in order to run in the Irakleio, Crete, mayoral race.
Additionally, Simitis tapped Irakleio-area deputy Manolis Stratakis to replace Spyros Vougias as deputy transports and communications minister. Vougias also resigned his post to run in a mayoral race this October, specifically for Thessaloniki's town hall.
Stratakis, an agronomist by training, assumes his first cabinet post.
 PM to make annual economic policy speech on Sept. 7
Athens, 30/08/2002 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to make the premier's traditional annual economic policy speech on September 7 at the start of the two-week Thessaloniki international trade, which he will inaugurate a day earlier.
Taking part in the trade fair are 1,168 exhibitors from Greece and abroad.
The featured country at this year's event is France.
 Main opposition leader and US envoy discuss terrorism
Athens, 30/08/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis and United States Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller had a 45-minute meeting in Athens on Thursday to discuss various issues related to the fight against terrorism.
Departing from the meeting, Miller said that he and Karamanlis had the opportunity to discuss a number of issues following the end of the summer holidays. He also noted that he was working with the Greek government in the terrorism case to ensure that effective trials were carried out.
Asked whether the United States might ask for the extradition of terrorist suspects so that they might be tried in the US, Miller said that the US aimed to do whatever they could to help the law enforcement agencies in this case.
 Temporary court order freezes alleged 'N17' suspects' assets
Athens, 30/08/2002 (ANA)A Piraeus first instance court on Thursday temporarily froze the property and assets of 15 suspects currently jailed and awaiting trial on charges connected with the “November 17” terrorist group, and until a formal hearing on a relative motion is held on Oct. 2.
Attorneys for the Greek Post Office (EL.TA) on Thursday petitioned for a 2.49-million-euro freeze on the property and assets – the first of its kind by a state-affiliated agency --- against the 15 jailed “N17” suspects and Dimitris Koufodinas, Greece’s most wanted fugitive. The latter is an alleged top “N17” assassin and operations chief.
The first instance judge’s order prohibits any change in the legal status of the jailed men’s property and assets of up to 2.49 million euros, along with interest and court costs, until the hearing.
The post office’s motion comes in an effort to reclaim hundreds of millions of drachmas (before the euro’s introduction) taken in a handful of robberies of post-office branches blamed on “N17” gang members over the past decade.
 Papageorgopoulos officially unveils re-election bid for Thessaloniki
Athens, 30/08/2002 (ANA)Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos on Thursday officially announced his candidacy to keep his town hall seat in Greece’s second largest municipality.
New Democracy-backed Papageorgopoulos made the expected announcement while unveiling the names on his election ticket, named “Thessaloniki-Anagennisi (renaissance)”. He stressed that his greatest achievement over the past four years was tabling the municipality’s first ever-balanced budget, and a series of infrastructure projects in the northern Greek port city.
His toughest opponent by all accounts will be PASOK-backed Spyros Vougias, who resigned his post of deputy transport minister on Thursday to run for the office. Vougias unsuccessfully vied for the Thessaloniki mayor’s seat in 1998 with the backing of the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos).
 Strategic investor at DEPA to promote Greece as energy hub, Tsohatzopoulos says
Athens, 30/08/2002 (ANA)Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Thursday said that the promotion of Greece as an energy hub within the broader region and securing sufficient and insured energy supply represented top priorities of his ministry.
Speaking after a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Public Natural Gas Enterprise (DEPA), Tsohatzopoulos said “today, a decision was taken regarding the terms of the tender for a strategic investor at DEPA, to enable progress with the shareholding reorganization plan, as it has been developed by the government for two years now. This way will ensure collaboration with important players of the international natural gas market.”
With the strategic investor, DEPA will develop an energy hub in Greece aiming at the new common market for power and natural gas, which is created on a European level and could be completed by 2006. This way DEPA will obtain modernization with the contribution of the strategic investor to be selected; along with the Public Power Enterprise (DEH) they will promote Greece to an energy hub. This would secure adequacy and insured supply to the Greek and European markets, the minister added.
The strategic investor at DEPA will be asked to buy up to 35% of the share capital, in which DEH has a 30% acquisition right. Hellenic Petroleum already owns a 35% stake in DEPA's share capital.
 OTE reports 14.3 percent drop in 1st half pre-tax profit
Athens, 30/08/2002 (ANA)Hellenic Telecommunications Organization on Thursday reported a 5.5 percent rise in turnover and a 14.3 percent drop in its pre-tax profit in the first half of 2002 compared with the same period last year.
Group turnover totalled 2.092 billion euros from 1.983 million, while pre-tax profits fell to 370 million euros from 432 million in the January-June period this year, reflecting slower revenue growth rate, increased sales expenses and higher operating expenses in newly set-up mobile telephony companies in Bulgaria and FYROM.
Mobile telephony revenues rose 45.6 percent, while revenues from new services increased by 8.1 percent in the first six months of the year. Group EBITDA remained at 44 percent, one of the higher rates in Europe.
OTE said it ranked second in Europe on borrowing terms and remained among the elite companies in the telecommunications sector in Europe (with credit ratings of A and A1 by S&P and Moody's Investors Service, respectively).
Lefteris Antonakopoulos, the group's chairman and managing director, said group results in the first half of 2002 reflected the impact of changes in the markets and noted that mobile telephony and new services remained the spearhead of development.
Domestic telephony revenues totalled 1.065 billion euros, down 1.9 percent from 2001, reflecting reduced rates in local and long-distance calls by 15.2 and 30 percent respectively.
International telephony revenues fell 4.4 percent, while mobile telephony revenues jumped 45.6 percent to 422 million euros, from 290 million in the first half last year.
Other telecommunication revenues rose 1.3 percent in the January-June period. New services' revenues rose 8.1 percent, reflecting a 35.2 percent increase in ISDN revenues, a 4.6 percent rise in line leasing and data broadcast and a 73.1 percent rise in Internet services revenues due to a 42 percent rise in OTEnet's customer base.
Services cost rose 9.6 percent to 1.384 billion euros, reflecting a 3.9 percent rise in staff spending and a 64.6 percent raise in general cost.
Net financial expenses totalled 58 million euros in the first half from 40.3 million last year, due to increased borrowing.
Parent turnover totalled 1.690 billion euros from 1.67 billion last year, an increase of 1.2 percent, while EBITDA fell 11.6 percent to 633 million euros from 716 million last year. Excluding special charges, pre-tax profits would total 322.3 million euros, a decline of 10.9 percent from last year.
Cosmote reported a 28.2 percent increase in turnover and a 22.4 percent rise in net profit in the first half of 2002.
AMC reported a turnover of 54.5 million euros and net profit of 19.5 million euros, OTEnet reported a 44.6 percent increase in turnover to 22 million euros, Romtelecom's revenues rose 2.3 percent with net profit totalling 29.6 million euros (from a loss of 14.7 million last year), Armentel's turnover eased to 32.8 million euros from 34.3 million, while Telekom Srbija reported a turnover of 227.5 million euros and profits of 35.7 million euros in the first half of the year.
Cosmobulgaria (Globul) reported a turnover of 18 million euros after just nine months in operation.
 Merchant marine minister meets with South Korean Trade Minister
Athens, 30/08/2002 (ANA)Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Anomeritis on Thursday met with visiting South Korean Trade Minister Hwang Doo-Yun to discuss issues of bilateral interest, the completion of a merchant marine agreement between the two countries, as well as information on issues pertaining to Greece’s presidency of the European Union.
In 2001, 16 ships were constructed at Korean ship-yards totalling 2,337,304 gt. Already in 2002, the construction of 58 Greek-ownership vessels has been requisitioned, 50 of which will be constructed in Korea, six in Japan and two in China.
Both men expressed satisfaction over the progress of bilateral issues, while the Greek minister requested from the Korean official his country’s support on sea-transportation matters toward Greek “quality” vessels.
 Greece ranks first in CD pirate copies sold in Europe
Athens, 30/08/2002 (ANA)The sale of CD pirate copies climbed during the past two years, while Greece ranks worst in Europe and tenth in the world, Greek and foreign representatives of the record industry said on Thursday.
We were used to seeing this phenomenon in places such as Asia or Latin America, but now it is rapidly becoming a European problem, the president of EMI Recorded Music told a press conference.
The record industry asked for intensified involvement from police and law enforcement authorities, as a matter of fact claiming that organized crime circles are hiding behind the CD-vendors on the street.
According to data presented by the recording industry, for each new CD in circulation at least three pirate copies are sold, while in Greece 50 per cent of CDs sold are pirate copies
 Greek stocks end 1.18 percent lower in ASE
Athens, 30/08/2002 (ANA)Greek stocks remained continued losing ground on Wednesday under pressure from falling stock prices in international markets.
The general index dropped 1.18 percent to end at 2,138.18 points, with turnover a low 86.5 million euros.
All sector indices ended lower, with the Textile, Retail and Holding sectors suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day (4.29 percent, 2.33 percent and 2.02 percent, respectively).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 1.43 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 1.30 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 1.15 percent lower.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 256 to 56 with another 40 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Informatics, Football Pools Organization, Sex Form, and Technical Olympic.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 90.5 mln euros Thursday
Equity Index Futures:
Day's Market Turnover: 90.5 mln euros
Bond Market Close: Turnover at 3.4 bln euros Thursday
·Benchmark 10-year bond spread over bund: 34.50 bps.
 IOC officials congratulate Angelopoulos-Daskalaki
Athens, 30/08/2002 (ANA)“Athens 2004” President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki scored a personal triumph on Thursday in Lausanne where she gave a detailed briefing to the International Olympic Commission (IOC) Executive Committee over the progress of preparations for the Olympic Games 2004.
Both the IOC President Jacques Rogge and the President of the Coordinating Committee of the IOC Dennis Oswald had the best things to say at the briefing over the management of “Athens 2004” during the past two years, according to Organizing Committee sources.
The IOC President told Angelopoulos-Daskalaki “after every-thing that I heard about the organization of Regatta 2002, I believe that you can stop preparations for the sailing event. I am impressed by your progress”, the sources said.
The “strict” IOC Coordination Committee president purportedly told “ATHOC”’s leader that with the new “Athens 2004” management – especially after the test sailing events that were recently held at Aghios Kosmas from 15 through 23 August – the international federations felt especially confident in her efforts; “Obviously you are on the right track”, Oswald told Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, according to the same sources.
After receiving congratulations from Rogge and Oswald, the President of “Athens 2004” referred to her presentation before the members of the IOC Executive Committee regarding the on-going Olympic projects, the construction of 17 athletic installations and the security of the Olympic Games 2004. The President of “Athens 2004” especially paused on the police arrest of 15 suspected members of the “N17” terrorist group, reiterating that security at the Olympic Games 2004 remained top priority for Greece.
Angelopoulos-Daskalaki on Friday handed 184 certificates to an equal number of volunteers, the first such group for the Olympic Games 2004, who got “wet” behind the ears with their volunteer services during the entirely successful organization of the Sailing Regatta 2002.
On a related note, the Organizing Committee hailed the appointment of PASOK deputy George Lianis to the office of Deputy Sports Minister.
 Photo exhibition at Syntagma metro station remembers 9/11
Athens, 30/08/2002 (ANA)The US embassy in Athens and the Attiko Metro company S.A. will sponsor a photo exhibition at the central Syntagma metro station this month focusing on the around-the-clock recovery efforts at the World Trade Center towers in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The exhibition -- which lasts from Sept. 5 to Sept. 13 -- features works by noted American photographer Joel Meyerowitz, who received special access to the WTC site in order to document the heroic efforts of emergency personnel and construction workers. The exhibition, entitled “Images From Ground Zero,” is touring cities around the world over the next few months. After Athens it will move to Thessaloniki, where it will be displayed at the Casa Bianca exhibition hall.
 Turk teen accused of migrant trafficking; 20 illegals detained on Kos
Athens, 30/08/2002 (ANA)Twenty illegals were detained early Thursday morning on a remote beach of the Dodecannese island of Kos, while a young Turk national piloting a fishing boat was later intercepted off the island and accused of ferrying the group over from the Turkish mainland.
According to the coast guard, the 17 men and three women all hail from the strife-torn central African country of Rwanda.
Coast guard vessels intercepted a boat identified as the fishing vessel “Mefe” during the incident as it sailed in Greek waters. The only person aboard, 17-year-old Turkish national Basar Erkan, was arrested, reports state.
Both the Turk and the 20 Rwandan nationals will face a local prosecutor.
Additionally, three Afghan nationals were spotted early Thursday morning aboard an inflatable dinghy off the island of Hios. All three were picked up by the coast guard.
 Turkey's military threats "unacceptable", says spokesman
NICOSIA 30/08/2002 (ANA/CNA)Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou described as "unacceptable" renewed threats by the Turkish military that a serious crisis will break out if the European Union accepts in its ranks a divided Cyprus.
The spokesman said the government has no intention of becoming a vehicle through which Turkey can promote its policy on Cyprus in Europe.
Such policies, he pointed out, aim at frightening the EU about possible consequences from the accession of a divided Cyprus with the sole objective of putting a halt to the Republic's EU membership.
The spokesman also said that government policy should be aimed at those forces in Turkey that wish to see changes in their country and bring Turkey closer to Europe.
Commenting on the possibility of a serious crisis in the event of Cyprus' accession to the EU, prior to a political settlement, Papapetrou said Nicosia and Athens consider such a possibility rather remote, only to stress that nobody should underestimate or ignore Ankara's threats.
His comments were made in response to statements yesterday by outgoing Turkish armed forces Commander Huseyin Kivrikoglu who warned, as he handed over the command of the military to his successor, that unless the EU takes seriously into consideration the current situation in Cyprus, it will be faced with "a grave crisis.
"The EU decided in Helsinki that a political settlement in Cyprus would facilitate accession but it is not a precondition for it. Turkey continues to maintain some 35,000 troops in the northern part of Cyprus and backs the self-styled regime in Turkish occupied Cyprus, which is seeking the recognition of the international community.
 Britain is very supportive of Cyprus' accession, say MPs
NICOSIA 30/08/2002 (ANA/CNA)Britain is very supportive of Cyprus' accession to the European Union, British members of Parliament said here Thursday after a meeting with President Glafcos Clerides.
They also said their visit at such an important time with regard to the membership talks and the UN-led peace negotiations would enable them to defend their positions in the House of Commons even better.
Speaking after the meeting, Rudi Vis said at the moment there are two types of negotiations going on in Cyprus, the EU accession negotiations and the UN-led direct talks for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem.
Vis said they were lucky to come at the beginning of this period and that now they can defend their positions in the House of Commons.
Speaking about the British involvement, Vis said "Britain is very much in favor of Cyprus becoming a member of the European Union".
 Greek Cypriot side favors submission of UN proposals
NICOSIA 30/08/2002 (ANA/CNA)The Greek Cypriot side would favor the submission of UN proposals on the Cyprus issue, as long as they are within the framework of UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus, Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou stressed here on Thursday.
Papapetrou warned that if the UN does not put forward any proposals, this "would perpetuate the deadlock in the Cyprus question" and he pointed out that "a non solution would consolidate today's de facto division of the island".
"We should not facilitate any move that might rule out the submission of UN proposals on the Cyprus issue," the spokesman said, adding that the Greek Cypriot side "has a legitimate right to ask and demand that UN proposals should be consistent with the UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus."
Addressing the 19th conference of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK), the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) and the First International Conference of Cyprus Youth Overseas, Government Spokesman expressed the opinion that the UN would not submit any proposals before the elections in Turkey take place.
The Spokesman also warned that the next four months would be crucial for the future of Cyprus.
He said that there is now more than ever before intense interest on the part of the international community in the Cyprus problem.
"Our moves should be such, so that things develop in a favorable direction", he added. Papapetrou reiterated that the Greek Cypriot side has sought to link its two objectives, Cyprus' accession to the EU and the political solution, in the belief that the accession course would act as a catalyst on a settlement.
Referring to Turkey's EU accession prospect, he said that Cyprus and Greece both encourage the European course of Turkey under the European conditions.
"Greece is willing to set a date for the beginning of Turkey's accession negotiations with the EU, as long as Turkey fulfils some conditions", Papapetrou explained.