|Sunday, 15 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-01-05
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>January 05, 2004
 ND leader tours Nafplio, calls for early elections in February
Athens, 05/01/2004 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis toured the town of Nafplio, in the Peloponnese, on Sunday morning and urged the ruling PASOK party to choose and select its leader and call early elections in February.
Karamanlis said 2004 is the year of great political change, a year for the government of all Greeks and of responsibility, understanding, honesty, modesty and humility.
The ND leader further said it will be a year for a government which shall care for all citizens and not for organized interests and for a government for all and not a few.
Karamanlis said his party is struggling with faith and optimism to handle problems at a time when the establishment is looking for another leader and another wrapping to cover up its failure.
He also added that his party will continue to voice its positions with boldness, responsibility and realism and present ambitious proposals to handle new poverty, the high cost of living, unemployment and problems in the health and education sectors.
Gov't spokesman says ND possessed by 'nervousness and anxiety': Commenting on a speech given by main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis at Nafpio, Peloponnese, on Sunday morning, Press and Mass Media Minister and government spokesman Christos Protopapas said that the ND was possessed by ''nervousness and anxiety.''
''The nervousness and anxiety possessed by the ND cannot be hidden. It will also lead them to spasmodic actions. In the elections, where work, programs and personalities are judged, they will receive an answer by the Greek people,'' Protopapas said.
 Finance minister comments on political developments during visit to Hania
Athens, 05/01/2004 (ANA)Finance and Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, speaking during a visit to the city of Hania on the island of Crete on Saturday, commented on political developments currently taking place in the country and on initiatives to be taken by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
''Prime Minister Costas Simitis said he will undertake initiatives to enable PASOK's policy to be consolidated before the Greek people and the best possible conditions to be shaped for the impending electoral confrontation with the conservative party,'' he said.
Christodoulakis further said the prime minister has shown all these years that he cares for the country's interests and the positive course of the PASOK party with a great sense of responsibility.
Referring to the upcoming general elections in the country, the minister said new policies must be promoted which the country needs and, on the basis of these policies, the suitable framework should be created to lead the PASOK party to victory in the elections in the spring.
"Politics in Greece is not only an issue of organizational reclassification. It is primarily an issue of proposals, ideas and positions and their reliable materialization and implementation," Christodoulakis said.
 FM Papandreou more popular than PM and ND leader, poll shows
Athens, 05/01/2004 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou appears to be ahead of Prime Minister Costas Simitis and main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis in popularity, according to a nationwide opinion poll carried out on the three politicians by the Metron Analysis company and published in the Sunday newspaper ''Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia.''
According to the poll, conducted in November 2003 among 2,200 people on the question of overall popularity, Papandreou comes first with 72.2 percent and is followed by Karamanlis with 54.3 and Simitis with 51.4.
The foreign minister enjoys greater popularity than the prime minister both among voters of the ruling PASOK party (91 percent compared to 84.2) and among those of other parties.
Karamanlis has greater popularity than Papandreou only among ND voters (88.4 percent as against 56.7), while among voters of other parties he is behind both the foreign minister and the prime minister.
Papandreou is also ahead of the two party leaders in popularity as regards the social background, profession and age of voters. He is also ahead of them among men and women respondents (with 69 percent and 75.3 percent respectively, compared to 52.9 and 55.5 for Karamanlis and 52 and 50.7 for Simitis).
Karamanlis appears to be more popular among right-wing and centre-right voters, while Papandreou is more popular among centre-left, leftist and centrist voters, as well as among voters who declare that they do not belong to any of the above sectors.
 FM tells 'Ethnos' imminent elections will decide Greece's future for next decade
Athens, 05/01/2004 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou, speaking to the Sunday newspaper ''Ethnos tis Kyriakis'', said the imminent elections are crucial as they will decide the future of Greece for the next decade.
Papandreou added that the ruling PASOK party will carry out the election struggle in a coordinated fashion and through its renewal and unity.
The foreign minister reassured that PASOK will conduct this struggle with a plan and a vision for the future and with optimism and faith in its principles and values.
''We have done serious work with Costas Simitis as prime minister, who changed the image of Greece and gave the people self-confidence, security and prospect,'' Papandreou said, adding that ''at the same time we have a plan and a vision for the future of our country, for the future of the new generation and for Greece in the 21st century.''
Papandreou further considers 2004 as being a year of great challenges for the country and the democratic party and referred to the Athens Olympic Games and to national issues.
''We shall continue steadfastly the effort to solve the Cyprus issue and the Greek-Turkish difference on the delineation of the continental shelf in the Aegean, on the basis of both the principles of international law and of international treaties,'' the foreign minister said and stressed that the PASOK government will continue to defend the aim of Greece being a country of peace and stability.
 PM extends condolences to French president for French air crash victims
Athens, 05/01/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis sent a message of condolences to French President Jacques Chirac for the loss of 135 French tourists, who lost their lives when an Egyptian airliner crashed in the Red Sea on Saturday morning, according to an announcement issued by the prime minister's press office later in the day.
Simitis expressed his profound sorrow to the French president, the announcement said, and added that ''I also wish to convey to you the profound grief of the Greek people and I ask of you to convey our earnest condolences to the families of the victims.''
 Communist party leader meets political party leaders in Cyprus
NICOSIA, 05/01/04 (ANA - G. Leonidas)Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, currently on a visit to Cyprus at the invitation of the Cypriot leftist party AKEL, continued her contacts with Cypriot political parties on Saturday.
Papariga met with New Horizons party leader Nikos Koutsou on Saturday morning and then left for the coastal town of Limassol for talks with Democratic Rally party leader Nikos Anastasiades.
She also held a meeting with ADHK party leader Dinos Michaelides later in the day.
Papariga is due back in Athens on Saturday night.
 Democratic Social Movement leader says party will not cooperate with PASOK
Athens, 05/01/2004 (ANA)Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) party leader Dimitris Tsovolas, speaking at a press conference in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Sunday, ruled out the possibility of cooperation between his party and the ruling PASOK party.
"DHKKI has no ideological and political connection with modernizing PASOK," he said.
Referring to his party's future, Tsovolas stated categorically that those who claim that DHKKI will fail to enter Parliament (a minimum of 3 percent of votes in an election is required for a political party to enter Parliament) will be disappointed.
 ND, Coalition party leaders extend condolences to family of deceased journalist
Athens, 05/01/2004 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis extended his condolences to the family of well-known Greek journalist Maria Rezan who died at an Athens hospital on Saturday at the age of 82.
''We are bidding farewell today to a great Greek woman,'' Karamanlis said, adding that her life and work will remain an indelible example for every woman, every journalist and every Greek.
ND spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said on his part ''Maria Rezan holds a distinguished position among the great Greek women of the 20th century. The journalistic work she will bequeath to us will remain a point of reference for the journalists of the future.''
Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party leader Nikos Constantopoulos said in a similar statement ''Maria Rezan lived a difficult life worthily with her struggles. She gained the sincere respect and love of all.''
 PM visits public library in Pirgos
Athens, 05/01/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his wife Daphne, currently on a brief vacation in the town of Korakohori in the prefecture of Ilia, visited the public library in the town of Pirgos on Saturday, according to an announcement issued by the prime minister's press office.
The prime minister toured the library during his visit and was given a briefing on its work and activities.
Simitis, who was accompanied by the prefect and PASOK party deputies and candidates from the prefecture, also spoke to well wishers who expressed their optimism over his PASOK party's victory in the upcoming elections and shared their optimism over the party's victory.
 Light earth tremor jolts Pirgos
Athens, 05/01/2004 (ANA)A light earth tremor measuring 4.4 points on the Richter scale occurred at 21:24 on Friday, northeast of the town of Pirgos in the Peloponnese at a distance of 190 kilometers west of Athens. No damage was reported.
Seismologists at the Athens National Observatory said the jolt is no cause for concern and is part of usual seismic activity.
 Archbishop Christodoulos says effort being made to remove religion from nation
Athens, 05/01/2004 (ANA)Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos said in his sermon at Saint Dimitrios Church, in the Athens district of Kato Patissia, on Sunday that the so-called dark forces are making an effort to remove religion from our nation.
Archbishop Christodoulos said we are living in an era in which an effort is being made by the so-called dark forces to have religion marginalized, adding that our people are showing that they are not prepared to bow to extortions and young people in particular.
He further noted that all, and young people even more so, have become disappointed with many people and many things and so the Church is their haven and support.
 Record number of New Year messages sent through mobile telephony
Athens, 05/01/2004 (ANA)A record number of New Year messages were sent on New Year's Day through SMS, compared to previous years.
According to data released by the four mobile telephone companies, a record 35.9 million messages were sent on New Year's Day.
A total of 13.6 million messages were sent through Vodafone. This number is a record for Greece and is up 10 per cent compared to the previous year and two times greater than on a normal day. In the first two hours on the New Year's Day 3.1 million messages were sent.
From Cosmote 13.2 million messages were sent. From 7 a.m. until the afternoon, the proceeds from messages sent through Cosmote went to philanthropic institutions.
From Telestet 8 million messages were sent and 1.1 million through Q-Telecom.
 Gunman robs supermarket of 1,500 euros
Athens, 05/01/2004 (ANA)A man armed with a pistol robbed a supermarket in the Athens district of Neos Kosmos of 1,500 euros on Saturday afternoon and succeeded in escaping on foot.
The gunman had initially entered the supermarket as a customer. He pretended to buy a few items and when he reached a cash desk he dropped the things he was carrying, threatened cashiers with his weapon and snatched the 1,500 euros from three cash desks.
According to reports, the robber is probably a drug addict living in the area and police are focusing their investigations in this direction.
 President Papadopoulos to address PACE on January 28
STRASBOURG, 05/01/04 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos will address the plenary of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on January 28, at the invitation of the body.
According to the agenda, the president will be in Strasbourg on the same day that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be meeting in Washington with US President George Bush.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan may be arriving in Strasbourg to address PACE on the same day as President Papadopoulos, at the invitation of Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer. The agenda also allocates time for an address by an ''official guest'', whose name will be verified later.
After delivering his address, President Papadopoulos will reply to questions from PACE members.
This will be followed by a discussion on a report on the situation in Cyprus prepared by Hungarian reporter on Cyprus at the PACE Political Affairs Committee Matyas Eorsi, who is expected to visit the island from January 11 to 15. Eorsi's report will be discussed by the committee to convene on January 8 in Paris. During his stay in Strasbourg, President Papadopoulos is expected to meet with Schwimmer and PACE Chairman Peter Schieder, as well as other Council of Europe officials and foreign ministers from CoE members.
He may also meet with Kofi Annan, if the UN Secretary General is in Strasbourg at the time.
On January 29, a discussion will be held on if and how Turkey is implementing European Court of Human Rights decisions, based on a report prepared by Dutch reporter on Turkey at the PACE Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee Eric Jurgens. CNA has learned that Ankara is seeking a postponement of this discussion for the next PACE session in April.
 FM Iacovou sees high level of US interest in Cyprus
NICOSIA, 05/01/04 (CNA/ANA)There is a high level of interest on behalf of the US for a solution of the Cyprus problem before May 1st, when Cyprus will become a full member of the EU, Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou told CNA on Saturday, commenting on a letter sent by US President George Bush to Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
In statements to CNA, Iacovou said that the US interest for a Cyprus settlement is due to the US desire to assist Turkey in its bid to enter the EU.
Commenting on the US president's request of Simitis to advise Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos to fulfill the terms UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has set to restart his good offices mission on Cyprus, Iacovou said that this view is within the US position to back Annan's views on Cyprus as set out in his last April report to the UN Security Council.
''‘he US stance on this matter has not changed,'' Iacovou told CNA, adding that the Greek Cypriot side has explained both to US Ambassador to Cyprus Michael Klosson and to the State Department's Special Coordinator on Cyprus Thomas Weston that ''we are willing to go to negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan.''
Iacovou pointed out that this view has been approved by the majority of the National Council, top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem, noting that only the National Council could alter this view.
With regard to the fact that Bush sent this letter to Simitis and not to President Papadopoulos, Iacovou said that this letter was
addressed to both Simitis and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the context of Annan's remarks regarding the ''motherlands''.
The minister also said that Bush did not address this letter to President Papadopoulos because an issue of who would send this letter to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and how would arise.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.