ECONOMY

In Brief

Rules for building tourism accommodation relaxed A decision signed yesterday by the ministries for Economy and Environment frees applicants seeking licenses to build furnished villas, houses and flats for tourists from submitting Environmental Effects Studies (MPEs). The same will apply to very small hotels (with a capacity up to 50 beds) being built inside town planning zones. The applications for MPEs by small and medium-sized hotels (up to 300 beds) within town planning zones are also simplified. Tourism Development Deputy Minister Anastassios Liaskos said yesterday that problems which had troubled the tourism sector for years have now been solved. Intralot signs agreement with Israeli lottery firm Gaming-systems operator Intralot has signed a deal to design and maintain an interactive gaming system for Israeli national lottery firm Mifal Hapayis, the company said yesterday. Intralot, the world’s third-largest lottery supplier by sales, said in a statement the new system can support five main games as well as four languages. It did not provide financial details. Mifal Hapayis Chairman Shimon Katzenelson said the Israeli firm expects to launch the new system by the first quarter of 2006. Intralot expanded into the Middle East last month, signing a deal with Egypt Post to install and operate an online computer system for financial transactions. (Reuters) Cosmopolis opens Piraeus BOTIFIN SA, member of the Piraeus Real Estate Group, is today opening its second Cosmopolis recreation center in Greece, at the junction of Kifissias Avenue with Attiki Odos in Athens, following the one in Komotini, northeastern Greece. The new Cosmopolis covers 8,700 square meters and includes 12 Odeon cinema screens, 1,500 square meters. of dining and entertainment spaces and 480 parking slots. This is Odeon’s break into the Athens market. The other spaces, including several stores, will gradually open through October. New Cyprus FM Michalis Sarris was appointed as Cyprus’ new finance minister yesterday and is tasked with steering the island into the eurozone within the next three years. The appointment comes after Makis Keravnos resigned on Tuesday. Sarris retired as a senior manager at the World Bank last year. He is a former Cyprus central bank employee and served on the board of Laiki Bank, the island’s second-largest bank. (AFP) NEL in court A French court will hear the compensation claim of listed Maritime Company of Lesvos (NEL) against France’s SEMT Pielstick next Tuesday. NEL is asking for 29 million euros of damages for repeated engine problems in the three Aeolos speedboats built by the French company. (Two were withdrawn this summer.) NEL also announced it has no debts to the Greek State while those to the Seamens’ Pension Fund (NAT) are gradually being paid. Chipita-Nigeria Food company Chipita Int’l said yesterday it is negotiating with the Levendis Group for the creation of a joint standardized croissant production unit in Nigeria.