In Brief

Greece, Turkey on bridge-building initiative to boost cooperation Not content with just mending bridges in an often rocky relationship, Greece has proposed building an actual bridge on its border with Turkey to boost local economic cooperation, the Greek Foreign Ministry said yesterday. The new bridge is expected to complement a crossing already spanning the Evros River, the natural land frontier lying between Greece and Turkey. The Greek proposal was «favorably received» by Turkey, the Greek deputy foreign minister, Evripidis Stylianidis, said during a briefing on the results of a Greek-Turkish interministerial economic meeting in Athens. Stylianidis also welcomed Turkey’s recent decision to waive visa charges on Turkish citizens visiting Greece for 48 hours. Some 500,000 Greeks who visit the neighboring country every year are not required to purchase a visa. The two countries on Sunday are scheduled to start work on a Greek-Turkish pipeline bringing Caspian Sea gas into Europe. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan are expected to inaugurate the project. (AFP) Door still open for more Olympic Airlines suitors Greece has not ruled out other bidders for national flag carrier Olympic Airlines even as it held talks with one of the interested groups, the country’s transport minister said yesterday. «We are in one of the final stages. Negotiations are ongoing. No company has been excluded and in the coming weeks we should have some specific result,» Michalis Liapis told reporters. On Tuesday, the Finance Ministry named Olympic Investors-York Capital and said they were discussing the sale of Olympic Airlines following a proposal from its legal and financial advisers. It did not provide details on the bidder. The government has said it was talking to a total of three bidders for the airline. The other two parties have not been named. Liapis has said the sale is the carrier’s last chance for survival. (Reuters) Onboard sales Greek retailer Folli-Follie has agreed with six Chinese airlines and Qatar Airways to sell its products on board their carriers during flights starting today, it announced. Folli-Follie said in a statement the deals would enhance its brand awareness in Asia and the Gulf. Analysts welcomed the move, saying it would boost revenues. «We consider this agreement of high importance, both in terms of revenue enhancement as well as in terms of brand awareness gains,» Marfin Analysis wrote in a note. It said the Chinese market could become a significant tourism destination as Beijing loosens restrictions on outbound travel. The retailer listed the Chinese airlines as China Southern, China Eastern, China Northern, Air Asia, Hainan Airlines and Shanghai Airlines. Folli-Follie has operations in 20 countries, focusing on Japan and Southeast Asia. It said shareholders at yesterday’s annual meeting approved a dividend of 22 cents for 2004, which translates into a 0.9 percent yield based on Wednesday’s closing share price. (Reuters) Digital classes Free computer training for 100,000 Greeks is the new initiative by the European Computer Driving License Hellas (ECDL Hellas) through 100 ECDL «equal-skills» programs at all municipalities, the company’s president Vyron Nikolaides announced last week. ECDL Hellas offers in Greece the internationally recognized certification program for IT knowledge.

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