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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-11-03
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>November 3, 2004
 PM addresses American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce conference, outlines government policy
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, addressing the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce conference on Tuesday night, outlined government policy and criticized the policy of previous PASO party governments, saying "it was not merely creative accounting but it was a deadlocked practice of deceiving citizens."
Karamanlis reminded that in 2002 Euro stat had submitted the first major revision of fiscal data, adding that at that time as well considerable deficits and secret debts had been left out of the budget.
The prime minister further said that possible insistence on the same practice would lead to a compulsory intervention by the EURO with unfavorable consequences for the economy and the country and noted that "one gives solutions to problems when one recognizes reality. There is no self-healing in the economy."
Karamanlis stressed that "the first budget we prepared shows the big, difficult and safe leap we are attempting to have the economy pass from the vacuum of beautification, unreliability and uncertainty to the firm base of reliability, solvency and confidence."
He reiterated that the government has ruled out the imposition of new taxes, a decrease in the incomes of working people and a restrictive policy, saying that "we do not convey the cost to the citizen and we do not adopt solutions which ignore the social result."
Outlining his policy further, Karamanlis said "we are responding with a social responsibility plan which is based on the utilization of public property, the promotion of a new generation of privatizations, the containment of consumer expenditures in the public sector, the combating of state extravagance, confronting corruption and vested interests, the handling of tax evasion, the securing of transparency and honesty in management."
The prime minister stressed that "transparency, equal opportunities and the existence of common rules for all are a precondition both for fiscal improvement and the creation of a new development environment."
Referring to the tax bill, Karamanlis underlined the increase in tax-free income to 11,000 euros and promised to decrease tax percentages in 2006 and 2007, as well as to gradually decrease the taxation of businesses over the next three years.
Karamanlis also said top priority will be given to the deregulation of energy markets, the utilization of the property of the public sector and the use, following the end of the Athens Olympic Games, of projects with cooperation between the public and private sectors. He reiterated that revenues totaling 1.6 billion euros are expected from privatizations in 2005.
The prime minister, summing up his government's economic policy, placed emphasis on support for small and medium-size enterprises and for rural areas, extroversion in the economy, tourism and a speed-up in the absorption of EURO funds, as well as a rational utilization of the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF).
PASO response: Commenting on the premier's speech, main opposition PASO spokesman Nikos Athanasakis said that Karamanlis gives the "image that he is not aware of his position and more so of his responsibilities that were assigned to him by the Greek people."
 Transport and Alternate Culture Minister discuss transport infrastructure and Olympic facilities during Greek Economy Conference
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Modernization of transport and communications infrastructure and use of Olympic venues post-Games were the main topics Transport and Communications Minister Michalis Liapis and Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia discussed on Tuesday, the second and final day of the Greek Economy Conference held by the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in Athens.
Regarding transport, Liapis said that the government, utilizing funds from the Third and Fourth Community Support Frameworks, plans to upgrade the country's transport system through international connectivity of road networks, the upgrade of urban road networks, and improvement of road safety, better environmental protection and conservation of energy.
The government's priorities regarding the telecommunications sector, according to Liapis, is the modernization of networks, digitalization of long-distance networks, as well as the development of 'intelligent' and international networks. Additionally, emphasis will also be given to the infrastructure on the islands, and in mountainous and border regions.
"One of our goals is for all cities with a population of 10,000 or more residents to be connected to an optic network," Liapis said. "Special pricing policies aimed at rate reduction will go into effect; ¬ 155 million from the Third Community Support Framework will go towards the development of broadband networks, while a telecommunications bill will be submitted to Parliament by the end of this year, which will include EURO directives," he added.
Palli-Petralia focused on the issue of Olympic facilities, saying that "No Olympic facility will be sold." But, she explained, the government does not wish management of the facilities to be a loss-making venture, "while no Greek taxpayer should have to pay another euro, since he/she has already paid for permanent facilities and infrastructure works." The alternate culture minister also said that "the cost of the Olympic Games will soon be announced in parliament."
As of November 1, Palli-Petralia explained that all the Olympic facilities are under the culture ministry's jurisdiction. She said that there are quite a lot of legal problems regarding the ownership status of the facilities, while for the decision-making process regarding their management, consensus of regional communities is necessary.
Additionally, Palli-Petralia said that there will not be a package deal regarding the facilities, but each facility will be examined separately. Regarding the Olympic venues, Palli-Petralia emphasized that the objectives are to contain state expenditures for their maintenance, to link their presence with the development in surrounding areas in which they are located, to benefit citizens, and to engage the business community in the maintenance and development of new infrastructure. "We are pursuing the most transparent solutions for investment, and boosting employment and additional works," she said. "All those with serious investment plans should come and talk to us," she added.
Asked by the ANA about the "export" of Greece's know-how in construction, Palli-Petralia replied that "each country which hosts an Olympic Games imports know-how from the previous [host country]; we did the same with the Australians, who as advisors for 2004, especially on issues of security, were handsomely paid." Similarly, China has expressed interest in receiving advice from the Greeks on issues of security, organization and construction, according to Palli-Petralia.
Olympic Properties President Christos Hadji-emmanouil also touched on the subject, saying that "First and foremost, utilization of Olympic facilities will be done within a crystal-clear legislative framework." He added that private investment in terms of provision of services and management of the commercial aspect of the facilities is necessary in order to contain costs associated with the maintenance of facilities which run into tens of millions of euros annually. Finally, Hadji-emmanouil said that by February 2005 calls for the expression of interest regarding the facilities and the self-financing of auxiliary works will be ready.
 PM Karamanlis meeting with Kyrgyz president Akayev
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met Tuesday with visiting President of Kyrgyzstan Askar Akayev, with whom he discussed bilateral relations and the situation in the wider region, according to an announcement.
Akayev is on an official visit to Athens at the invitation of President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos.
 EURO Foreign Ministers' Council discusses Middle East, Iraq
BRUSSELS 3/11/2004 (ANA/G.Zitouniati)The situation in the Middle East following Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's declining health and developments in Iraq were the issues discussed during the EURO Foreign Ministers' Council meeting held here on Tuesday.
The EURO foreign ministers agreed that the EURO must contribute in intensifying efforts towards a resolution now that the region is going through a transitional period.
After being briefed by EURO High Representative on foreign policy and security Javier Solana, the EURO foreign ministers agreed that circumstances are more pressing than ever for Europe to take the initiative in resolving the Middle East issue.
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, who represented Greece at the meeting, emphasized that "it is evident we are entering a new era as regards the Middle East, which could be seen as a 'window of opportunity' for the EURO to play a more active role in promoting the road map formulated by the UN, the EURO, the US and Russia."
The EURO foreign ministers' council also discussed developments in Iraq and preparations for the summit meeting, to which Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has been invited. "We want to send a positive message and to encourage Allawi," the Netherlands' Foreign Minister Bernard Bot, who also presided over the meeting, said. However, the Council has yet to agree to what extent and in what way the EURO should play a role in Iraq.
 Gov't says fiscal audit absolutely necessary; dismisses main opposition leader's criticism
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)The government on Tuesday sharply criticized remarks a day earlier by main opposition PASO leader George Papandreou over the contentious and wide-ranging "fiscal audit" initiated by the Karamanlis government in the past few months.
"Mr. Papandreou's statements are dictated by a need for opposition tactics," government spokesman Thodoris Roussopoulos told reporters during his regular press briefing.
Papandreou, the former foreign minister in the previous two PASO governments, referred to "government mistakes" and a "parody of an audit" during an address before a Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce conference.
Roussopoulos reiterated that the government's audit was entirely necessary to pinpoint the "true situation (of the Greek economy), as well as to allow us to prepare improvements in the problematic situation left over by PASO".
 Gov't: No revision of Nat'l defense doctrine
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)The government on Tuesday dismissed reports that the country was considering a revision to its national defense doctrine, following questions directly linked to a spate of high-profile Turkish air and sea violations in the Aegean region.
Asked specifically about the recent provocations by NATO member and European Union hopeful Turkey, government spokesman Thodoris Roussopoulos emphasized that every violation of national airspace or territorial waters is recorded, with the NATO alliance and the EU's rotating presidency briefed accordingly.
 Deputy FM Yiannis Valinakis says no great differences if Bush or Kerry wins elections
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, speaking in an interview with the NET television channel on the American elections on Tuesday, said he does not think there will be great differences if President George W. Bush or Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry wins the elections in the United States.
"I do not think we will have great differences if Mr. George Bush or Mr. John Kerry wins. We, as a government, regardless of what each one of us has in his mind and heart, must and can manage our relations with the United States in the best possible way and in accordance with the interests of the Greek people," he said.
Asked about relations between the U.S. and the European Union, Valinakis said "we want an America which will listen to the opinion of Europe more and we want the U.S. to listen to European positions more."
Valinakis said such a thing can create a more multifaceted policy in international relations in the future, adding that the EURO is a voice of moderation and such a voice is good on the international scene.
Commenting on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, the deputy foreign minister said "we want a solution to whatever problems through the peaceful path and through dialogue."
Valinakis concluded that "when there are trends of one-sidedness on the part of the U.S., so as to impose its own policy, this of course finds us opposed. This opposition is also expressed through the EURO which, from its own functioning, knows how to compose views. That is to say, it knows how to find a way of approach which is moderate and consensual."
 Main opposition leader accuses gov't of 'playing games' with justice, soccer federation elections
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Main opposition PASO leader George Papandreou on Tuesday said the government was "playing games" with justice and with the elections for the Greek soccer federation (EPO), while accusing it of failing to address the real problems of Greek society during its eight months in power, appearing bewildered and unable to govern.
Papandreou was referring to Monday's meeting between Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras and Supreme Court Public Prosecutor Dimitris Linos - during which the minister asked Linos to take action for the reversal of a decision to dismiss the charges in a stock market mismanagement case for the period 1999-2000 - and rumored attempts by the ruling New Democracy party to influence the outcome of EPO elections that also involved ND Secretary Evangelos Meimarakis.
The PASO leader made the statements immediately after a meeting of the party's Parliamentary Group Coordinating Body, which he said had discussed a proposal for reforms to education in view of an upcoming off-the-agenda debate in Parliament, procedures for the naturalization of immigrants and persons of Greek origin and other issues.
 US says all funds disbursed to Cyprus for bi-communal project were well-spent and effectiveWashington D.C. 3/11/2004 (ANA/T. Ellis)
All funds given by the US to Cyprus for fostering bi-communal activities were spent correctly and efficiently, US state department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said Monday, replying to questions during a regular press briefing.
"It is our assessment that the money disbursed was well spent and effective, and consistent with the letter and intent of US law and US policy, which is to foster bi-communal activities," Ereli said.
"We do not have any cause to doubt the utility and value of this program. And we will continue to work with those elements in Cyprus who favor dialogue and partnership and cooperation," he added.
Responding to persistent questions on press allegations that US funds were given out as bribes for a 'yes' vote to the Annan plan, Ereli replied: "This is a charge that has been knocking around for some time. We have clearly and unequivocally said that such charges are absurd and baseless, and they should not be made by responsible journalists. The United States does not bribe people with public money for political ends. And I think it's shameful to suggest so."
 Turkish warplanes violate Greek national air space
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Six formations of Turkish warplanes entered the area of the Aegean on Tuesday without submitting flight plans and violated national air space on six occasions in the region of the central and southern Aegean, press reports said.
In all cases, the 13 Turkish aircraft were recognized and intercepted by Greek air force jets, while in two cases the interception process developed into a mock dogfight.
Two of the Turkish warplanes were armed.
Earlier in the day, a Turkish F-16 warplane participating in a formation of three Turkish aircraft approached a Greek army AB 205 helicopter 1,000 feet higher and 500 feet wider, within national air space, while it was returning from the island of Kastelorizo to the island of Rhodes. The approach was such that it could be a cause for concern. The helicopter reached Rhodes safely.
The formation of aircraft had previously infringed air traffic regulations in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) and violated national air space two miles west of Kastelorizo.
DM says government has taken all necessary action: Asked about the issue of continuing Turkish violations of Greek national air space, Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos said "all this is being watched very closely. The government, with the foreign ministry, has taken all necessary action and the national defense ministry has taken all the suitable measures, following the development closely."
 German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder rejects German Parliament's resolution on FYROM's constitutional name
BERLIN 3/11/2004 (ANA/P. Stangos)German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Tuesday made it clear that he is not bound by a resolution ratified by Germany's Parliament last Thursday, which called on the German government "to work, in the framework of the European Union, for the acceptance of the constitutional name of the 'Republic of 'Macedonia" and suggested the pursuit of a solution to the problem of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) "through dialogue."
Speaking during a joint press conference following his talks with Schroeder, FYROM's Prime Minister Hari Kostov referred to the German Parliament's resolution and expressed his thanks because "Germany uses the name of my country. That is to say 'Macedonia' without any additives."
Asked by the Athens News Agency (ANA) whether he will abide by the resolution ratified by the German Parliament, Schroeder said "the distinction of powers exists in Germany by which Parliament is responsible for legislation, while the exercising of foreign policy belongs to the duties of the government."
He further said that "of course, we take the opinion of Parliament into serious consideration, but I repeat that foreign policy is the business of the government."
Schroeder's clarification in essence confirms assurances given by the German foreign ministry to Greece's Ambassador Dimitris Kypreos last Friday that "the German position remains unchanged."
 Inner Cabinet approves 4-year program on equality
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)The Inner Cabinet on Tuesday approved a four-year program and strategy for the policy on equality between men and women, following a presentation by internal, public administration and decentralization minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
Pavlopoulos said that the issue was being looked at under the prism of the triptych Development, Employment and Social Cohesion, adding that to date it had been handled in a piece-meal fashion and as a side issue.
He said all the measures the government would take, at both legislative and daily policy levels, and in accordance with the mandates of the European Union and the country's obligations to international organizations, had been approved.
Measures would be taken to boost employment among women, as one of the biggest problems in the country was unemployment among women, their equal participation in development in both the public and private sector, without obstacles and limitations, particularly in the public sector, to their careers, he said.
Problems concerning the marginalization of women were also being tackled, with their equal participation in the social process, as well as the problem of violence against women inside and outside the home.
Of major importance, Pavlopoulos added, was the program concerning the education and training of women so as to eliminate stereotypes that do not enable women to participate equally in the entire social process.
 MP Kanelli briefs local press over testimony at Milosevic trial
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy and noted journalist/commentator Liana Kanelli on Tuesday briefed local media over her recent testimony before the United Nations-backed tribunal in The Hague trying former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.
The outspoken Kanelli referred to her testimony as an "extremely valuable and painful" experience.
Moreover, the KKE deputy charged that Milosevic's previous defense team resigned after asking her only 10 percent of the questions initially intended.
Kanelli underlined the fact, as she said, that the words "NATO" and "bombings" were heard for the first time during the almost two-and-a-half-year prosecution of Milosevic.
Among others, she specifically pointed to a map showing Serbia without a portion representing a modern-day version of "greater Kosava", as she charged, adding that it was similar to a Nazi plan of 1939 for the future dismemberment of Yugoslavia.
Additionally, Kanelli charged that the majority of foreign press articles about her testimony failed to identify her as a Greek parliament deputy, while she promised to table a report, court transcripts and videotapes with the Parliament president for archival purposes. Kanelli spoke at the Athens Bar Association.
 Budget for 2005 to show 2.8% deficit
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Deputy Finance Minister Peter Doukas said on Tuesday that the 2005 budget would show a deficit of 2.8% against 5.3% in 2004.
The growth rate would be 3.9% of gross domestic product if crude oil prices stood at around 45 US dollars per barrel, Doukas told a conference of the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce.
Expenditure would rise at a rate lower than nominal GDP, except for special cases including the state social insurance organization (IKA) and the OGA farmers' pension fund, where spending would increase by about 15%, the minister said.
 Greek Farm minister visits South Korea, Japan
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Greek Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evaggelos Basiakos are currently in an official visit to South Korea and Japan. During his stay in Seoul and Tokyo, the Greek minister met with government officials and discussed issues covering the Greek farm sector and promoting Greek farm products in the two Asian countries' markets.
Basiakos attended a dinner ceremony organized by Greek farm products' importers in South Korea and met with the country's Commerce Minister Kim Hyun-Chong. The Greek minister also laid a writhe at the War Museum in Seoul to honor the 186 Greek soldiers killed in the Korean War.
Basiakos also met with Japan's Parliament speaker Yokei Kono in Tokyo and discussed bilateral issues with Farm Deputy Minister Yoshito Kajiya, Foreign Minister Istunori Onodera and Economy, Commerce and Industry Minister Akihito Yamamoto.
 Thessaloniki could become the base of a regional energy market, minister says
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)The Greek government is promoting the creation of a common market for electricity and natural gas and has already recommended the city of Thessaloniki to become the base of such a market, Development Deputy Minister George Salagoudis said on Tuesday.
Addressing a conference in Athens, organized by the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, Salagoudis presented the government's policy to promote energy networks and to deregulate domestic energy markets. The Greek minister stressed that a deregulation of the domestic electricity market "needed new investment capital" and noted that the government was promoting specific policy measures.
The measures included: the immediate tendering for the pre-purchase of electricity availability contracts (with a power of 900 MW), completing a dialogue over introducing a new code of management of electricity energy systems, proceed with a gradual completion of a regulatory framework to deregulate electricity market according to community directives and restructuring a regulatory framework for electricity production by Renewable Energy Sources.
The government was also adopting measures to save energy and to reduce electricity energy costs in the country, Salagoudis said. The minister stressed that the country's natural gas distribution system would be interconnected with Turkey's natural gas network and the European Union has agreed to fund completion of the project along with a Greece-Italy natural gas project and a Greece-Slovenia pipeline.
Salagoudis said the government believed that a Turkey-Greece-Italy natural gas pipeline would become an energy hub in the region and expressed his optimism that Greece, Bulgaria and Russia would soon sign a political memorandum to build an oil pipeline from Burgas (Bulgaria) to Alexandroupoli (Greece).
 Finmin to Germany for talks
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Wednesday is to meet Germans who have invested in Greece during a visit to Frankfurt.
Among the investors are representatives of major German companies with subsidiaries in Greece.
In addition, Alogoskoufis will speak at a meeting arranged by Deutsche Bank; and on Thursday hold talks with the current president of the Eurogroup and of the European Union's finance ministers.
He will also hold talks in Berlin with his German counterpart.
 Minister sees good outlook for investments
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Tuesday that the outlook was good for investment in Greece.
"Greece, with the transport, information technology and telecoms infrastructure it has obtained, and with the more favorable business environment, is to offer more and more investment opportunities in the future," Sioufas told a conference of the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce.
Among the areas he singled out were tourism, energy, processed farm products, and transport and shipping.
 Unions call for protests against unemployment and cost of living increases
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)The General Confederation of the Workers of Greece (GSEE) decided on a series of rallies to be held nationwide from December 13-15 in order to protest against unemployment and the rising cost of living, after a management meeting held on Tuesday.
On December 15, a rally throughout the Attica region will be held, most likely accompanied by a work stoppage.
According to GSEE, price increases of 15% on basic consumer goods and the 40% increase on the price of oil have dramatic consequences on household budgets, and on the living conditions of workers and pensioners. To offset the rising cost of living, GSEE is demanding substantial wage increases, a ¬ 50 increase on the monthly wages of low-income workers and pension increases equivalent to those agreed under the national collective labor pact.
GSEE is also demanding an increase - as opposed to a decrease - in spending for public investment in the budget, immediate promotion of the development law in Parliament taking into consideration proposals made by labor unions, and a substantial reinforcement of social expenditures in order to narrow social inequalities.
Finally, GSEE is also demanding supportive measures for the unemployed, including an increase in unemployment benefits and an extension of the time one is entitled to receive them.
Unions criticize gov't, bank governor: The country's largest trade union umbrella group on Tuesday criticized both the government and the governor of National Bank of Greece, Takis Arapoglou, who spoke earlier at a conference held by the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce.
The General Confederation of Employees of Greece said in a statement that Arapoglou's statements posed a threat to the economy and to employment.
"It seems that the government and the bankers they have appointed have double standards. They give tax privileges and financing to large companies, leading to asphyxiation of small and medium sized business activity, which is the backbone of the country's industry," the statement said.
 Development minister says gov't committed to promoting R&D in Greece
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)"The government's goal is for research and development spending to represent 1.5% of GDP by 2010," Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Tuesday, speaking at a conference held by the ministry's General Secretariat for Research and Techology (GGET), titled "The Future of European R&D policy."
Sioufas emphasized the government's interest in effectively promoting research, development and innovation in Greece, adding that the government is committed to reinforcing basic research and is hoping to create significant infrastructure that will make Greece a leader in European R&D policy in southeast Europe, the Balkans and the Near East.
Conference attendees included national representatives of the 6th European Union Research Framework, researchers of the ministry's research institutions, and university faculty members. Speakers at the conference were Secretary General for Research and Technology Professor Yiannis Tsoukalas, General Manager for Research for the EURO Achilleas Mitsos and Christos Vassilakos, who spoke on behalf of the Greek Permanent Representation in Brussels.
 PASOK MPs demand gov't briefing on the problems of domestic passenger ferry services
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Twenty main opposition PASO MPs on Tuesday sent a letter to the head of the Parliamentary Committee for Production and Trade, demanding that Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis be called to brief the committee on the problems faced by domestic passenger shipping, particularly the measures being taken to ensure continued ferry services to the more remote Greek islands and those taken to discourage the formation of 'cartels' in the domestic market.
They also ask that Parliament be informed on the government's ticket-price policy for vulnerable social groups using ferry services, such as students, armed forces conscripts and the disabled.
 Appeals Prosecutor asked to investigate options for re-opening stock market case
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Supreme Court Public Prosecutor Dimitris Linos, following up his meeting on Monday with Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras, on Tuesday sent on the Misdemeanors Council order that ceased prosecution for a stock market mismanagement case to the Appeals Court Public Prosecutor, asking him to investigate whether it was possible to lodge an appeal against the decision.
The case concerned multiple breach of duty charges against board members of the Athens Stock Market and Capital Markets Commission related to the bourse "bubble" of 1999-2000, which cost millions of small-scale investors their entire savings. The justice minister had called Linos on Monday, asking him to investigate the possibility of lodging an appeal against the decision to stop prosecution in the case.
Justice Minister rejects criticism of 'interfering' with justice over stock market case: Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras on Tuesday rejected criticism leveled against him over his meeting with Supreme Court Public Prosecutor Dimitris Linos the previous day, during which he asked Linos to try to overturn a ruling that dismissed charges of stock market mismanagement against board members of the Athens Stock Market and Capital Markets Commission.
Papaligouras denied that his action constituted interference with justice, saying it was the duty of the State to ensure that all judicial decisions were just, correct and absolutely in accordance with the law.
"The true intentions of those protesting about so-called interference in the course of justice is to cover up the government intervention in the stock market in 1999-2000, which siphoned off the savings of 1.5 million small-scale investors," the minister stressed.
The Union of Justices and Public Prosecutors expressed its opposition to the minister's actions during an announcement on Tuesday, saying that all sides should avoid involvement, instigation, suggestion or intervention, whether direct or indirect, in the work of justice at all times.
It particularly stressed that such actions were unacceptable when cases were still unresolved, since they gave the impression of intervention in the personal independence of justices or of influencing those trying the case, especially when they originated from the minister of justice, who played a decisive role in judges' career advancement.
The minister's actions were fully supported by the government, however, which said on Tuesday that it absolutely agreed with his handling of the issue and stressed that the 'stock market bubble' would be fully investigated.
Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos also noted that Greek citizens - the millions of victims of the 'bubble' - understood why main opposition PASO was reluctant to have an in-depth investigation into the affair.
Roussopoulos rejected arguments that the meeting with Linos constituted interference with justice, noting that the minister had acted within the framework of his constitutional rights, while stressing that the announcement issued by the ministry did not "prejudice" the Supreme Court prosecutor's work, since it was issued after the meeting and after ascertaining that the prosecutor held the same view.
 Hellas Sat 2 satellite extends presence to South Africa
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Major European television networks and channels are already using the Hellas Sat 2 satellite for broadcasts to South Africa, according to an announcement by the company.
The BBC will broadcast the U.S. presidential elections to the black continent through Hellas Sat 2, while Eurovision will broadcast the women's world soccer championship from Thailand.
These broadcasts show the confidence foreign media have in the satellite, as well as the fact that Hellas Sat 2 is at present the most reliable solution for broadcasts to South Africa.
A delegation of Hellas Sat's sales department has returned from South Africa where it held contacts expected to lead to contracts for leasing the satellite's capacity in the near future.
 Education minister and Athens mayor discuss shortage of school buildings
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou and Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyanni had a one-hour meeting on Tuesday to discuss the shortage of school buildings the Municipality of Athens faces.
At the end of their meeting, Yiannakou said that a dedicated workgroup would be set up in order to formulate a plan which would produce tangible results within a five-year timeframe.
The mayor emphasized that Athens faces an especially serious problem with 21% of the municipality's schools operating morning and afternoon classes. Bakoyanni stressed that the municipality wishes to contribute to the education minister's planning process.
Asked where new school buildings would be built in the centre of Athens, Bakoyanni said that 18 months ago 41 sites had been set aside for the construction of new schools and efforts are being made to speed up the process so that the Organization of School Buildings can realize its program.
Yiannakou said that the goal was to reduce the percentage of schools operating both in the morning and afternoon to 7% from 21% currently.
Finally, the education minister was asked to comment on the fact that Athens TEI remained closed on Tuesday, requiring additional subsidies. Yiannakou explained that although the finance ministry has already provided additional subsidies, the schools were found to have a deficit of ¬ 505 million. "The finance ministry is doing everything it can," Yiannakou said, adding that she expects the problems to be resolved soon.
 Kenteris-Thanou case file to Supreme Court for further probe into state funding for Aias club
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)The public prosecutors handling a doping investigation involving star Greek sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou on Tuesday sent part of the case file concerning state funding for the sports club "Aias" to the Supreme Court, in order for it to decide whether the affair warrants further investigation and must be sent to Parliament.
According to the prosecutors Spyros Mouzakitis and Athina Theodoropoulou, there are indications that political figures may be liable in the Aias funding case.
Meanwhile, Mouzakitis and Theodoropoulou have also referred parts of the case file concerning some doctors at KAT hospital to the Appeals Prosecutors' Office with a recommendation that it be filed; since the specific doctors had not adopted the claims of the two athletes concerning injuries ostensibly sustained during a motorbike accident that the prosecutors believe was faked.
Regarding other elements of the case, such as the missed doping test, the activities of the two athletes' coach Christos Tzekos, the staged motorbike accident and the involvement of KAT hospital doctors that certified injuries sustained in the alleged accident, charges are due to be filed over the coming days.
Kenteris and Thanou, gold and silver medalists at the Sydney Olympics, respectively, were forced to withdraw from the Olympics in Athens after they missed a scheduled IOC doping test and became caught up in a doping-related scandal.
 Television Council puts a stop to viewing of TV program 'Your Opportunity'
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)The National Radio and Television Council (ESR) on Tuesday unanimously decided the final halting of private channel Alpha's television game "Your Opportunity".
The ESR members said of the program that it was both "downgrading and insulting to the human dignity of the participants as it asked them questions relating to their personal and family life which does not concern work."
The television game, where the "lucky" unemployed person finds a job if he manages to be voted by the public, was denounced by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) which stressed that work was a service and not a type of offer for this kind of televised cannibalism."
 Thessaloniki police disrupt prostitution network which exploited foreign women
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Thessaloniki police announced on Tuesday that they disrupted a network which transported to Greece foreign women with the purpose of advancing them into prostitution, with the arrest of two persons.
Specifically, following information, A Greek national, resident of Thessaloniki, was arrested. He would arrange, at a cost, following a telephone understanding with a potential client, a rendezvous with a foreign woman.
Investigations revealed that the network illegally transported to Greece a considerable number of women and housed them in an apartment for procuring into prostitution. Clients would pay between 70 and 140 euros for services rendered but the culprits took the entire amount as they asked of the women to pay back the sum ranging between 2,600 and 2,800 euros for the cost of their transportation to Greece from their country.
In a search which followed at the apartment where the foreign women were held, a second Greek national was arrested.
Police confiscated a car, the sum of 2,340 euros, a bank deposit booklet with 8,013 euros and four mobile telephones.
The two culprits will appear before the public prosecutor.
 Greek prostitutes march to Culture ministry to protest over brothels' bill
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Members of the Greek Union of Prostitutes on Tuesday marched to the culture ministry to protest against the implementation of a bill that denies a license to brothels situated in densely occupied areas.
A spokesman for the union stressed that a decision by the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE) to modify the bill should be upheld, and said that it was "unacceptable" and an "international scandal" to equate legal and illegal prostitution.
 Parliament Foundation's "Libraries of Hellenism" exhibition to open on Wednesday
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)An exhibition of old books, photographs, maps, manuscripts and other artifacts entitled "Libraries of Hellenism" - the first organized by the Parliament Foundation at its new exhibition space on the corner of Mitropoleos and Filellinon streets on Syntagma Square - will be inaugurated on Wednesday night by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki.
The books and other artifacts originate from regions occupied by the once thriving Greek communities in western Thrace, spanning the area from Adrianoupolis (present-day Edirne in Turkey) to Varna, within the borders of Bulgaria. The exhibition concludes a series of events to mark the 80th anniversary in 2000 since Western Thrace became part of Greece. It will run until the end of January.
 Russian avant-garde painting exhibit opens in Berlin
BERLIN 3/11/2004 (ANA/P.Stagos)The "Color and Light in the Russian Avant-Garde" exhibit, opened at Berlin's Martin Gropius Bau on Tuesday, showcasing approximately 330 paintings from the Costakis Collection, which is housed at the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki.
The exhibit is under the patronage of President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Federal President of the Republic of Germany Horst Koehler, and the Federal President of the Republic of Austria Heinz Fischer. The exhibit was jointly organized by Berlin's Hellenic Culture Foundation and Berliner Festspiele.
The exhibit will run through January 10, 2005.
 Professor D. Trichopoulos awarded 'Gulius Richmond' Prize for discovering that passive smoking causes lung cancer
Athens 3/11/2004 (ANA)Professor of epidemiology and academic D. Trichopoulos has been awarded the "Gulius Richmond" Prize for his discovery that passive smoking causes lung cancer.
The discovery by the top Greek professor in the sector of epidemiology led to the recognition in 2003 by the World Health Organization (WHO) that passive smoking causes carcinogenic exposure.
This prize, which is the highest awarded in the sector of public health by America's renowned Harvard University and with which in the past Senator Edward Kennedy was also honored, was shared by Trichopoulos with a group of four American lawyers who utilized the discovery by the Greek professor and achieved, through a series of economic and legal reforms, the reduction of the frequency of smoking in the United States by 40 percent.
 Cyprus government concerned over lack of progress in CMP
NICOSIA 3/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)The Cyprus government has expressed concern over the lack of progress in the negotiations of the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP).
Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said on Tuesday ''efforts are underway through the UN to put pressure on the other side to proceed according to the issues agreed on for the missing.''
The spokesman said ''there appears to be a continued effort and a delaying tactic on the part of the Turkish side.''
Chrysostomides said the government of the Republic of Cyprus ''is especially concerned over the progress of CMP meetings concerning the ascertainment of the fate of the missing.''
Despite statements by Rustem Tatar, the Turkish Cypriot representative in CMP, in June 2004 at the Council of Europe, where he put forward a proposal to revive the work of the Committee, ''there seems to be a continued effort and a delaying tactic on the Turkish side which does not allow the whole effort to produce any result,'' the spokesman added.
He said that, based on the proposal, Turkey ought to have set up a special committee in Cyprus' occupied areas to deal with the issue of missing persons.
However, it seems that they exploited the resumption of CMP's work and aimed at gaining political advantages and avoiding taking any further action on the basis of the decision in the fourth interstate appeal of Cyprus against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights, Chrysostomides said.
''We are determined to proceed in the right direction and take all necessary action through the UN,'' the spokesman noted, adding that the UN is anticipating positive decisions on the Turkish part.
There are over 1.000 Greek Cypriot persons listed as missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and about 500 Turkish Cypriots listed as missing.
 EURO Commission to amend Green Line Regulation
NICOSIA 3/11/2004(CNA/ANA)The European Commission considers amending its ''Green Line'' regulation, so that the trade of citrus fruits and some animal products from the Turkish-occupied northern part, is allowed through the Cyprus government's controlled areas.
European Commission official Leopold Maurer said here on Tuesday that the Commission would also propose a higher level of duty free cigarettes and alcohol for European travelers via the dividing line in Cyprus, the so-called Green Line.
Addressing a bi-communal conference in Nicosia entitled ''Facilitating commercial activity across the Green Line'', Maurer said that the opening of more crossing points via the Green Line, should be agreed upon by the two sides in Cyprus.
He reassured that the Commission would act immediately and adopt any necessary changes to facilitate trade.
Asked when the Commission would be able to establish any new measures, Maurer expressed the opinion that they could be adopted even before the end of this year.
The EU's specific rules for the movement of goods across the Green Line, entered into force 23 August 2004. Maurer said that during the first two months, some 100.000 euros have been traded over the line.
Referring to the animal products, the EURO official said that a special Committee of the European Commission would decide as to which products would be included in the list for trade.
Asked what would be the impact on the Green Line regulation when Turkey extends its Customs Union with the Republic of Cyprus, Maurer ''this would have no influence on the Green Line regulation as such, because the north will be outside the customs territory. It would only affect commerce between Turkey and the Cyprus government's controlled areas''.
Noting that the Turkish Cypriot chamber of commerce is concerned that the Turkish Cypriots would not benefit from the extension of the Customs Union, he said ''the Green Line regulation would have to be adopted to allow such trade of Turkish goods from the north to the south''.
Answering a question the EURO official said that the Commission has not foreseen anything regarding exports of Turkish Cypriot goods to third countries.
''The Green Line regulation is a very complicated legal document. We try to bring together the two business communities and we hope that the Green Line regulation can be developed in a more positive way. There can not be a completely free movement of goods before the solution of the Cyprus problem'', Maurer said.
The Republic of Cyprus became a member of the EURO in May 2004. According to the EURO Accession Treaty, the implementation of the acquis communautaire has been suspended in the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkish troops since 1974.
 Confusion over US dollar issue in Cyprus, spokesman says
NICOSIA 3/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)The Cyprus government is making efforts to clarify the issue of millions of US dollars allocated by the Congress for bi-communal projects, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said on Tuesday, adding that there has been an attempt to create confusion around this issue.
Asked to comment on a statement by US State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli that the money disbursed was well spent and effective and that charges were absurd and baseless, the spokesman said he hoped ''they are absurd and baseless.''
He reminded that State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher admitted that millions of dollars have been disbursed to Cyprus, adding that ''there are funds that were not revealed as usual by UNOPS and there was also a small amount of money allocated directly by the Embassy and other places but not UNOPS.''
''Our effort is to clarify this issue, the Planning Bureau is asking, as every year, for full details. There is an effort to create confusion and a blackout, which I believe is not justified,'' the spokesman said.