In Brief

Souflias promises to tidy up Greek environmental practices Environment and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias said yesterday he was angry at the high incidence of Greek violations of EU environmental legislation, which cause the country to be frequently referred to the European Court by the Commission, particularly concerning waste landfills, and promised that the situation will change. Speaking at the Fifth Heleco International Exhibition and Conference on Environmental Technology at the Helexpo fair center in Maroussi, he said the country has a final deadline of 2008 to close all 1,300 unofficial landfills and the ministry is planning official sites in all 13 regions of the country. He urged municipalities to stop opposing such plans and help to find solutions. Furthermore, he blamed previous governments for the fact that despite a great deal of money spent, the waste-treatment plant on the islet of Psyttaleia, off the Attica coast, is still without a sludge-drying unit and the ministry is expediting a solution. The Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) is holding a forum on «Technology Platform for Research and Technology in the Construction Sector, focusing on Sustainable Construction and the Protection of the Cultural Heritage,» as part of the exhibition on Saturday. OTE gets watchdog approval for corporate rate cuts OTE Telecom said yesterday it got approval from telecoms regulator EETT for corporate rate cuts aimed at staving off competition and retaining customers. In December, OTE announced the rate cuts in its corporate package OTE Business, trimming the costs of local and long-distance tariffs by 10-25 percent. The lower tariffs needed regulatory approval. OTE has launched price cuts and introduced competitive packages in recent months amid intensifying competition from the smaller carriers and mobile operators. The strategy has helped it maintain an 85 percent market share at the end of September. (Reuters) Bank of Cyprus The Bank of Cyprus will examine its capital requirements arising from expansion plans at a board meeting on February 24, it said yesterday. In a separate announcement to the Cyprus bourse, the island’s largest financial group said it was examining the possibility of expanding its operations to southeastern Europe and particularly the Balkans. The bank said the review was called for by regulatory requirements of the central bank. (Reuters) Hellenic Petroleum Refiner Hellenic Petroleum yesterday denied press reports that it plans to sack up to 500 workers. «Any reports regarding 400 to 500 redundancies at the company are unfounded and false,» Hellenic Petroleum said in a statement. The refiner also said it plans to invest 150 million euros in the next five years to upgrade its facilities according to environmental requirements, dismissing reports that it does not have any investment plans. (Reuters)