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Athens News Agency: News in English, 01-12-31

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece prepares to greet the euro with due pomp and circumstance
  • [02] Prime Minister's New Year message
  • [03] ND leader's New Year message
  • [04] Traffic measures in central Athens for New Year celebrations
  • [05] 2002 Greek Almanac now on sale

  • [01] Greece prepares to greet the euro with due pomp and circumstance

    31/12/2001 17:10:00

    Greece's political leaders and top financial echelons, led by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, will celebrate the arrival of the euro in physical form with a spectacular event at midnight on Monday at the Bank of Greece.

    Apart from a programme of music, videos and accounts dedicated to the history of the drachma, there will also be live links to other events in Greece celebrating the arrival of the euro in the 12 countries of the eurozone, all of which will be broadcast live in Greece and the world.

    Financial institutions such as banks, the stock market and derivatives market and stock brokerages were closed to the public on Monday as they prepared for the switch to the new currency.

    Banks stocked up automated teller machines (ATMs) with the new euro banknotes in preparation for the New Year, and will open their doors again on Wednesday, when they will only be giving out euros.

    Shops were open for last-minute shopping in drachmas only, and will remain shut on Tuesday and Wednesday. The acid test will come on Thursday when shops reopen and euros become legal tender alongside drachmas for the next two months, until February 28.

    [02] Prime Minister's New Year message

    31/12/2001 16:21:30

    Greece must rise to the challenges and opportunities that the New Year will bring, armed with the new-found confidence gained through the successes of 2001, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Monday in his message for the New Year.

    "In 2001 our country took a major step toward modernisation. Our economy consolidated its stability. New development programmes began in all regions of the country. Reforms to health and education went ahead. Preparations for the Olympiad were set on the right path. Social tensions were resolved through consensus and convergence," he said.

    "In a few hours, the year 2002 begins and the new currency, the euro, will enter our lives. The euro is the measure of what we can achieve ...It marks the distance that Greece must traverse and the goals that our society is seeking to attain."

    "The future is not granted. The future is made. It is created by human effort, it is built through our own efforts...We must use the new national confidence we have gained to make real our vision of a strong, modern and dynamic society that will be an equal within the Europe of the future," he added.

    [03] ND leader's New Year message

    31/12/2001 16:21:24

    The 21st century had proved itself a time of radical and world-changing event in human history - such as the introduction of the single European currency in 2002 - and Greece could not afford to lag behind, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis noted during his Monday message for the New Year.

    "Everything about us is changing rapidly. The future cannot wait. It is therefore time that we all come to realise this and promptly change our attitude," he said.

    The introduction of the euro, he continued, which affected Greeks and some 300 million European Union citizens, was a historic event and a bold and decisive step to deeper European unification.

    Greece, he added, should act as a spectator of these events but take a prominent role, seizing opportunities and showing confidence in its abilities and strength.

    One opportunity to do this, he said, would be the Olympic Games in 2004 and he urged all sides to put aside personal ambitions and stand united to promote the interests of the country.

    "Adopting policies of division and conflict and remaining stuck in the attitudes of the previous century will demote Greece to a minor junction in international economic, political and scientific networks," he said.

    "All Greeks together, united, can make real the things we seek. The new age is made to measure for us. Let us therefore, seek high standards. The small and mediocre cannot inspire. Let us aim for high and ambitious goals."

    [04] Traffic measures in central Athens for New Year celebrations

    31/12/2001 16:21:17

    Traffic police are to bar access to several central Athens roads on the nights of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday due to Athens-municipality events and displays to celebrate the New Year, to be centred around Syntagma Square.

    All vehicles will be barred from the following roads between the hours of 10:00 p.m. on Monday until 5:00 a.m. on New Year's Day: Stadiou Street between Amerikis Street and Syntagma Square, Voukourestiou Street between Panepistimiou Street and Stadiou Street, Vas. Georgiou Street from Amalias Avenue to Stadiou Street, Amalias Avenue from Vass. Olga to Vass. Sofias Avenue and on all roads around Syntagma Square.

    Traffic police also warned that additional stretches of road may be closed depending on how heavy the traffic is, including all of Stadiou and Panepistimiou streets and all side-streets leading off them, all of Vass. Sofias Avenue up to the Hilton, all of Vass. Amalias Avenue, Syngrou Avenue from Athan. Diakos Street to Dionysus Areopagitou Street and on Piraeus Street from Iera Odos to Omonia Square.

    Police will also ban parking on Othonos Avenue, while they warned that vehicles might be banned from all central roads leading to Syntagma Square, depending on prevailing conditions, during a New Year's celebration beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday and ending 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday.

    [05] 2002 Greek Almanac now on sale

    31/12/2001 16:20:09

    The 'Almanac 2002' for Greece, published by the Athens New Agency in collaboration with author and originator Costas Digaves, is now out and available in bookshops throughout Greece.

    The 800-page volume, the 19th edition of the Greek 'Almanac', contains a detailed breakdown of major events over the past year in Greece and the world in politics, the economy, culture, sports and science, including obituaries.

    There is also an English-language supplement that lists significant events in Greece over the past year, as well as a section focusing exclusively on the economy.

    The "Almanac 2002" is on sale for 14.50 euros (5,000 drachmas). For more details contact the Athens News Agency at: (010) 6400560 or (010) 6400580.


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