ECONOMY

In Brief

Olympic media village to go ahead despite court ruling Greece will stick to plans to build a housing complex for 1,600 journalists covering the 2004 Olympic Games, despite a recent court ruling canceling their construction permit on environmental grounds. «A legislative amendment will be tabled soon, the lodgings will be built,» Nassos Alevras, deputy minister in charge of the Olympics at the Culture Ministry told AFP. On Saturday, Greece’s highest administrative court published a ruling canceling the ministerial authorization for the project close to the Olympic stadium on the grounds of violations of environmental and building legislation. A shopping mall, which is to be built alongside reporters’ rooms, will shrink in size to be in conformity with the court’s ruling, Alevras added. A total 10,500 journalists are to be lodged in seven media villages throughout Athens. (AFP) Commission puts brake on disputed method in awarding public projects The European Commission has asked Greece to cancel all auctions of public projects until the so-called «mathematical formula» in determining the winners is replaced. The formula, originally introduced to combat the practice of excessive discounts, has been criticized as adulterating competition and a tool in the hands of contractors who use it to divide contracts among themselves. The Commission’s call comes only a few days before a scheduled auction of the last segments of the Egnatia Highway in northern Greece, budgeted at a total of 900 million euros. Geothermal energy Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos has unveiled a draft bill for tapping the country’s geothermal energy potential, useful in a broad variety of applications. He said the known deposits of geothermal energy amount to an annual equivalent of 185,000 tons of oil, and that apart from the two fully explored and ready-for-use fields of Milos and Nisyros whose power production potential equals 170 megawatts, the total likely potential exceeds 500MW. The bill provides for production licenses to private firms with a duration of between five and 30 years. Cosmofon The second mobile operator in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and a subsidiary of Greece’s OTE, is launching its network today. Cosmofon hopes its signal will cover 90 percent of the country by the end of 2003. Its rival, Mobimak, already has 400,000 subscribers Change of names Mining company Silver & Baryte, which plans expansion into China, Russia and North America, is to renamed S&B Industrial Minerals in the autumn, to help the homogenization of the group at home and abroad, a statement said. Shareholders approved a 0.23-euro-per-share payout. IT firm Despec Multimedia said it is to be renamed as Centric Multimedia, to highlight its autonomy within the Despec group and leadership in its market segment. Greece-Turkey The first Greek-Turkish Energy Forum, planned for June 18 and already postponed once, has fallen victim in part to the latest flareup in tension between the two countries. The organizers said the cancellation became necessary after most scheduled Turkish speakers and Turkey’s large energy concerns showed a change of heart about participating.