NEWS

Congress in praise of ’04 security

US lawmakers have sent a letter to Prime Minister Costas Simitis praising security arrangements for the 2004 Olympic Games. In the letter dated December 5 and obtained by Reuters, 70 members of Congress said they were happy with the scale of the measures taken for next August’s event. «We all appreciate the fact that Greece’s $750 million security budget is the largest in Olympic history – over three-and-a-half times that of the last Summer Olympics in Sydney in 2000,» they said. «It is impressive that more than 41,000 security personnel at the Athens Games is four times the number used in any other Games.» Recent bombing attacks in neighboring Turkey have sounded alarm bells, with security analysts saying Athens was more at risk than any other previous Olympic city. «We thank you for the extraordinary measures you are taking,» the letter added. Athens will spend 650 million euros ($784 million) in all on security and deploy more than 45,000 security staff. (Reuters)