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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-04-05
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Elections - Simitis - Kozani05/04/2000 23:03:38
Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday warned that victory of the main opposition New Democracy in Sunday's election would at best spell a freeze in real wages.
"The New Democracy leader (Costas Karamanlis) has openly told 350,000 families of civil servants that he will freeze their wages at their present purchasing power. This is what conservative governments do everywhere. And we all know that the incomes policy in the public sector is a compass for incomes policy in the private sector," he said at an election rally in this western Macedonia town.
He said that his ruling PASOK party guaranteed wage rises considerably above inflation and a substantive welfare state, and that New Democracy wore a mask of promises concealing the ugly face of liberal experiments.
"Greeks are being called upon to decide whether to let the liberal hurricane of New Democracy demolish the welfare state and put in its place the iron laws of the market," he said.
He reminded that during the 1990-1993 tenure of power by the main opposition 2,000 people had lost their jobs in the area, but were reinstated when he was industry minister in the successor PASOK government.
Simitis reiterated his party's commitments for a 10,000 drachma increase in the wages of the lowest paid through a scheme of government subsidies of their social security contributions, and for steady increases in farmers' pensions.
 Karamanlis-Visit-Central ND election booth05/04/2000 23:01:16
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday visited his partyĘs central election booth in Syntagma Square, central Athens, and addressed party supporters.
He said that ND listens to societyĘs calls and overcomes the dividing political lines of the past, the existence of which have injured Greece, adding that ND was open to all Greeks as those able are few and can not be left out.
Karamanlis stressed that his party does not pay attention to the political beliefs of people, as its only criterion is that of ability and honesty, adding that the only mission of the state is to serve the citizens and especially those who do not have the means.
Later in the evening, Karamanlis visited a party organised by ND for youths at the Zappion Hall grounds.
 Greece - Website05/04/2000 22:39:45
Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday presented Greece's website which will be launched on an experimental basis on Friday, April 7.
The website, entitled "Greece Now" and to be found at the address http..//www.greece.gr., was developed by the foreign ministry and covers a broad range of themes through 150 articles on the country's internal and external affairs, economy, culture, environment, education and Greek expatriate communities.
Papandreou said the launching of the site was a small but important step "in the direction of modernising the country's foreign policy tools".
 Greece-Soccer Cup-Semifinals05/04/2000 21:55:05
The first leg of the Greek Soccer Cup semifinals were held on Wednesday.
AEK Athens trounced Panionios Athens 4-1 at home and Ionikos Piraeus scored a 2-0 away victory against Kalamata which had two of its players sent off.
The second leg matches will take place in two weeks time.
The Cup final will be held on May 10.
 Concert for Cyprus in London05/04/2000 21:09:54
Well-known Cypriot-born singer Alexia, accompanied by young singer Dimitris Fanis, will perform a benefit concert at the Piccadilly Theatre in central London on Sunday, April 9, in support of the Lobby for Cyprus.
The two artists will showcase a programme mostly comprised of well-known Greek songs by Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hatzidakis, Stavros Xarhakos, Manos Loizos, Vassilis Tsitsanis and other composers.
The Lobby for Cyprus is an independent organisation, based in the U.K. with the aim of reuniting Cyprus.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, after Turkey invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Thursday05/04/2000 19:34:27
Following are indicative foreign exchange rates for commercial banks released by the central bank for the next working day
Thursday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar 344.254
 Weather Forecast-Thursday05/04/2000 18:23:28
Scattered cloud is forecast throughout the country on Thursday with rain in the west. Temperatures will remain fairly high for the time of year.
Winds westerly, moderate to strong, turning very strong in parts of the south.
 Church - Parochial schools - Girls05/04/2000 18:08:32
The Autocephalus Orthodox Church of GreeceĘs Holy Synod met on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Archbishop Christodoulos, with the issue of girls attending the ChurchĘs parochial high schools topping the agenda.
According to reports, no decision was reached on the issue, as several Metropolitan members of the Holy Synod aired opposing views.
Additionally, it was reported that 15 womenĘs advocacy groups have petitioned the Holy Synod to allow girls to attend the high schools.
 Rau - Thessaloniki - Visit05/04/2000 17:47:44
Visiting German President Johannes Rau toured the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki on Wednesday, where he again touched upon the controversial issue of war reparations towards the victims of wartime occupation (1941-44) in Greece.
In answering questions by a group of pupils at ThessalonikiĘs German school, Rau noted that ?the only compensation that could be given to the relatives of victims is, maybe, a monetary sum as a symbolic gesture.?
He qualified his statement by adding that even in such a case the idea only marks a proposal he would have to then convey to the German federal government.
RauĘs presence in Thessaloniki comes one day after a historic pilgrimage to the mountainous township of Kalavryta, in the northwest Peloponnese, where he paid homage to the roughly 1,300 men and boys executed by Nazi occupation troops in December 1943 as reprisals. Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos accompanied the German head of state on the unprecedented visit to Kalavryta and other nearby stops.
Local officials at ThessalonikiĘs Macedonia Airport greeted the German president in the morning, before he began an itinerary that also included visits to the local archaeological museum and the cityĘs Protestant parish.
Asked about the prospects of TurkeyĘs accession to the European Union, Rau noted that ?at the moment conditions for its (Turkey) entry donĘt exist.?
He added that the length of the negotiation process with current EU candidate-state Turkey depends on the latter, while stressing that in the 14 years since the last visit by a German president to Ankara, ?evidently not enough progress has been made on the issue of human rights and democratic freedoms.?
In reference to Cyprus, Rau said the island republicĘs accession would have to precede any possible Turkish entry into the bloc, whereas international cooperation and unanimity is necessary for a solution to the islandĘs political problem.
Rau also touched on an issue Athens has tabled before its EU partners on several occasions when he was asked if the Greek-Turkish borders also comprise the UnionĘs external borders. In a brief remark, he simply noted that such an issue is a ?difficult situation?, before reminding that both Greece and Turkey ∑ in the midst of an ever-heightening climate of rapprochement over the past few months ∑ are NATO allies.
Additionally, the German president further said he was ?torn? over whether to favour or oppose NATOĘs attack against Yugoslavia last year over the Kosovo, although he made it clear that ?the war was not caused by the United States but comprised the decision by NATO member-state governments?.
Finally, when asked by students at the German school what impression he would conceivably convey to his countrymen of Greece and its youth, Rau said: ?Greece is a captivating country with a long tradition and with a new generation curious about the future, with an international outlook and a deep national conscience.?
 ADEX-close05/04/2000 16:15:21
Derivatives prices lost ground on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday following declines in the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40, which ended 0.12 and 0.41 percent lower, respectively.
Turnover was extremely thin at 5.9 billion drachmas.
A total of 728 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, with a turnover of 3.8 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 2,679.75 points, the May at 2,690, the June at 2,698 and the September contract at 2.750 points.
A total of 807 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, with a turnover of 2.1 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 655.50 points, the May at 656.25 and the June contract at 665 points.
 ASE-close05/04/2000 16:09:17
Equity prices ended mixed to lower on Wednesday as investors remained on the sidelines ahead of Sunday's general elections.
Market sources expect the Greek bourse to move "more freely" the day after the elections as it would focus again on economic fundamentals.
The general index ended 0.01 percent lower at 4,813.02 points, off the day's highs of 4,822.51 and the day's lows of 4,771.39 points.
Turnover was an improved 148.26 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.12 percent lower at 2,725.72 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 0.42 percent to 669.33 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 805.86, up 0.05 percent.
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