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Athens News Agency: News in English, 01-02-06
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Foreign Ministry-Lockerbie Case06/02/2001 19:55:48
The government, through an announcement by the foreign ministry, on Tuesday, expressed its satisfaction over the verdict of the Scottish court in the Lockerbie case "which gave justice, according to the principles of the International Court and international legality."
The announcement said that this decision constitutes an important step in the procedure of equal re-entry of Libya in the international system and added that it is necessary for all sides to work constructively and in good faith for the comletely smooth normalisation of relations in the immediate future between Libya and the rest of the world.
Finally, the foreign ministry announcement noted that the Greek government believes that through this decision new prospects are opening for the further development of bilateral relations with Libya on all levels while the two countries' efforts for establishing peace and security in the Mediterranean region are strengthened.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Wednesday06/02/2001 18:22:46
Wednesday's buying rates
U.S. dollar 362.615
German mark 172.829
French franc 051.531
Pound sterling 530.986
Irish punt 429.202
Belgian franc 008.379
Luxembourg franc 008.379
Dutch guilder 153.389
Italian lira (100) 017.457
Austrian schilling 024.565
Danish kroner 045.289
Swedish kroner 037.909
Finnish mark 056.852
Spanish peseta 002.032
Portuguese escudo 001.686
Japanese yen (100) 315.772
Swiss franc 219.711
Norwegian kroner 041.348
Cyprus pound 583.266
Canadian dollar 239.998
Australian dollar 198.780
 Spokesman - ex-king - 'El Pais' interview06/02/2001 17:36:26
Greece is obliged to allow its ousted former king, Constantine, to visit the country during the Olympic Games, government spokesman Telemachos Hytiris acknowledged on Tuesday.
He was responding to questions regarding an interview with Constantine published by the Spanish newspaper "El Pais," in which the erstwhile monarch said that he was certain to win a court case against the Greek government over confiscated royal property in Greece, part of which he said he intends to sell, and announced that he would visit Greece in 2004 while the Olympic Games were being held in Athens.
Regarding Constantine's visit during the Olympic Games, the spokesman said that under the contract signed by each host country, it was obliged to allow all members of the International Olympic Committee, of which Constantine is one, to attend the Games.
Asked what travel documents the king would use to enter the country, the spokesman said that this would be dealt with at the proper time.
 ECB-foreign exchange06/02/2001 17:06:03
The European Central Bank set its euro/dollar reference rate at 93.22 cents on Tuesday, pushing the US dollar/drachma rate at 365.53 drachmas.
The ECB also set the euro/yen at 107.05 yen (3.18 drachmas), the euro/sterling at 63.66 pence (535.26 drachmas), the euro/Swiss franc at 1.5385 francs (221.48 drachmas) and the euro/Cyprus pound rate at 57.95 cents (588 drachmas).
 Greece-mutual funds-report06/02/2001 17:03:01
Greece's equity mutual funds showed negative returns in January, although money market funds recorded slight gains during the same period, a report by the country's Institutional Investors Union said on Tuesday.
The domestic mutual funds market remaines in the red in the last 16 months at the despair of Greek investors and savings owners who cannot find alternative investment or savings products to ensure positive returns for their money.
Mutual funds' assets totalled 10.187 trillion drachmas in January, off 338 billion drachmas or 3.21 percent in the month. The decline reflects a 9.38 percent fall in domestic mutual funds' equity assets due to a decline in share prices on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Domestic fixed-income mutual funds' assets, however, increased 7.79 percent in January raising their market share to 17 percent.
Three new mutual funds were launched in January, all from ETBAbank.
 Weather Forecast-Wednesday06/02/2001 16:58:07
Mostly sunny weather is forecast throughout Greece on Wednesday, with limited visibility early in the morning. Winds west-northwesterly, light to moderate. In the north, temperatures will range from 1C to 16C; on the rest of the mainland from 3C to 20C; and in the islands from 8C to 18C. Sunny in Athens, with temperatures between 8C and 20C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 3C to 14C.
 Piraeus Harbour-project06/02/2001 16:41:13
Piraeus Harbour Organisation on Tuesday unveiled an ambitious three-year investment programme envisaging the building of luxury hotels, conference centre, car station and works across the harbour's piers.
The Organisation will seek consent from all social agencies, harbour users and local authorities to ensure the rapid implementation of the programme.
The plan envisages building of a five-star and a four-star hotel in an area located at the central harbour, and of a conference centre.
Piraeus does not currently has a luxury hotel and plans to build one ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
The project for a reconstruction of the harbour's piers is estimated at around 25 billion drachmas.
 Delta Dairy-results06/02/2001 16:31:38
Delta Dairy on Tuesday reported that its profits doubled last year to 3.2 billion drachmas (9.39 million euros) from 1.6 billion (4.69 million euros) in 1999, while turnover jumped to 80 billion drachmas (234.78 million euros) from 73 billion drachmas (214.23 million euros) over the same period.
The company's vice-chairman and chief executive, Antonis Krontiras, said Delta was not planning to raise capital from the stock market in the next two years because of the negative climate in the market and due to the fact that the company's equity capital totalled 45 billion drachmas, while lending fell to zero.
Delta unveiled a new type of yogurt especially made for infants from six months old.
Krontiras said Greece's infant food market's estimated value was 50 billion drachmas and that Delta was aiming to increase its market share (currently 20 percent).
 InterBalkan Medical-results06/02/2001 16:20:40
InterBalkan Medical Centre on Tuesday reported hefty results for the first four months of its operation, with turnover at 2.05 billion drachmas, operating profits at 3.75 million drachmas and an initial capacity rate of 15.2 percent.
The medical centre, based in Thessaloniki, expects its profits to reach 2.3 billion drachmas and turnover exceeding 13 billion drachmas by the end of the year.
A company announcement said, a total of 3,044 patients were hospitalised while another 799 patients were treated at the centre's intensive care unit.
 ASE-close06/02/2001 15:43:53
Equity prices rebounded strongly on the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, reversing a three-day decline which pushed the general index 5.10 percent lower.
Traders said buying activity focused on smaller capitalisation stocks and noted that better-than-expected news over the debt of investors' "red codes" contributed in the creation of a positive climate in the market.
The general index ended 1.82 percent higher at 3,154.35 points, near the day's highs of 3,157.16 points, with turnover an improved 137.28 million euros, or 46.78 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.62 percent higher at 1,839.26 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index jumped 2.98 percent to 328.62 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended 4.11 percent higher at 251.18 points.
 Greece-International Wine Competition06/02/2001 14:59:39
Greece will hold a second International Wine Competition in Thessaloniki, February 28-March 3, to coincide with an international food and beverages trade fair "DETROP".
The wine competition is organised by the Ambelonas Vinters Union and under the auspices of Office International de la Vigne et du Vin and several Greek wine agencies.
The competition is aiming to present the world's quality wines and to further promote and expand the wine culture in the Mediterranean region.
The judging committee will comprise of Greek and foreign wine experts, producers and journalists.
 Greece-professions-deregulation06/02/2001 14:37:42
The Greek government will discuss final proposals on a plan to deregulate so-called "closed shop" professions in the country by the summer, following talks between ministries, unions and agencies.
National Economy and Finance Minister, Yiannos Papantoniou, speaking to reporters after a meeting with Justice Minister Mihalis Stathopoulos, Education Minister Petros Efthimiou and Transport Minister Christos Verelis, said the government's intention was not to fully open so-called "closed shop" professions but to simplify procedures, to combat bureaucracy in business activity and to offer better services to Greek citizens.
Papantoniou said that government ministries would begin a dialogue with trade unions before an Economic and Social Committee meeting scheduled by the summer discussed final proposals.
"We aim to offer solutions based on dialogue and consent for the interest of trade and labour rights," he said.
Papantoniou said the government also plans to introduce simplier procedures on setting-up and operation of businesses by requiring fewer paperwork and lesser time to grant operating licence.
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