NEWS

Lower bids for 2004 security

Two days before the government is expected to announce the final winner of a tender to provide costly security systems for the Athens 2004 Olympics, yesterday the runner-up submitted a considerably lower bid. The French-US consortium TRS brought its bid down to 264.4 million euros, just short of the government target of 270 million. The preliminary winner, US-led SAIC, made a final offer for 278 million. The lucrative contract drew only two bidders. Meanwhile, yesterday an interministerial meeting on the Olympic preparations chaired by PM Costas Simitis discussed funding for «overlays,» projects ranging from signposting and information kiosks to the furnishing of venues. According to deputy government spokesman Telemachos Hytiris, Simitis stressed that «the Olympic overlays must proceed at a very rapid pace.» Hytiris also announced that controversial plans for a new power substation on Mt Hymettus that was supposed to have met electricity requirements for the Games have been shelved.