|Monday, 20 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-02-24
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Minister shrugs off findings of opinion poll24/02/2002 19:37:43
Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Sunday brushed off the findings of an opinion poll that gave the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party a lead of 6.3 percentage points over ruling PASOK in voter preference.
"The gap is great between a poll conducted in the middle of a four-year term of office and the outcome of elections at the end of the four years. ND knows this," Venizelos told reporters in reply to a question.
The survey by Metron Analysis, which was published on Saturday in the Imerissia financial newspaper, gave ND 37.2 percent of voter preference against 37.5 percent in an equivalent survey in November 2001. PASOK secured 30.9 percent of the vote from 32.2 percent in November.
"ND was sure it would win the national elections in 2000. But what happened?, said Venizelos, posing a rhetorical question.
"In the end, PASOK will be judged on the basis of its growth programme for the country, on preparation for the 2004 Olympics, on how the public will feel in terms of certainty," he added.
 Main opposition accuses PM of divisive rule24/02/2002 19:17:19
The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Sunday accused Prime Minister Costas Simitis of using divisive tactics in power.
"It is clear that (ruling) PASOK is distubed by the fact that (ND leader) Costas Karamanlis has come to unite Greeks and not divide the country, which is something Costas Simitis has been doing systematically," party spokesman Thodoris Roussopoulos said.
Roussopoulos also accused PASOK of flirting with left-wing parties in any elections that it expected to lose.
"One of the best known tales is that of the pledges PASOK makes to the Left each time it sees election defeat ahead. The latest edition of the myth is enriched with 'ghosts from the past'," he said.
Roussopoulos was commenting on statements earlier in the day by government spokesman Christos Protopapas, who had criticised ND for its attack on statements by the prime minister on Saturday.
Protopapas had questioned the authenticity of a call by Karamanlis for party members to court supporters of all parties.
 Weather Forecast: Rain, storms on Monday24/02/2002 18:53:33
Cloud turning to rain and isolated storms are forecast in all parts of the country, especially in the Aegean area. Snow will fall on high ground in the north and centre. Winds northwesterly, very strong, turning gale force at sea. In the north, temperatures will range from 3C to 11C; on the rest of the mainland and in the Ionian from 6C to 15C; and in the Aegean islands from 8C to 14C. Light cloud over Athens with with temperatures between 8C and 14C. Morning showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 6C to 11C.
 Australian newspaper calls for return of Parthenon Marbles24/02/2002 18:34:28
MELBOURNE (ANA/S.Hatzimanolis) - The Melbourne-based Sunday Herald Sun newspaper has called on British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is to visit Australia next week, to return the Parthenon Marbles to Athens.
"Many museums around the world are afraid of the idea of the sculptures returning to the Parthenon in case a bad precedent is set," the newspaper said in a lead article published on Sunday.
"Careful study on a case-by-case basis is required, and in the case of Elgin, there is no longer any doubt that these treasures were looted from Greece, and that they must be repatriated for justice to be done," the article said.
It added that ethnic Greeks in Australia had collected over 30,000 signatures in a petition for return of the Marbles that will be presented to Blair during his visit.
The Sunday Herald Sun, which has a circulation of 550,000, published a copy of the petition for readers to sign.
 Cypriot parliamentary defence group to Athens for talks24/02/2002 18:15:09
NICOSIA (ANA/G.Leonidas) - A delegation of the Cypriot parliament's defence committee is to visit Athens for talks with National Defence Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.
The officials, who arrive in Athens on Sunday, will also meet leaders of the armed forces and members of the Greek house's foreign policy and defence committee.
They are also expected to hold talks with Foreign Minister George Papandreou and parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis during their three-day visit.
 Gov't spokesman raps main opposition over jibes at PM24/02/2002 17:58:52
The government spokesman on Sunday rapped the leader of the main opposition New Democracy party, Costas Karamanlis, for criticising the prime minister over the weekend and asking ND members to court an all-party vote.
"Making false overtures to the democractic world ... is an endeavour that fails to convince," spokesman Christos Protopapas said.
He was asked by a reporter to comment on allegations made by Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Saturday that conservative forces were engaged in a smear campaign against the government, implying that ND was involved.
Protopapas replied: "It is clear that we are currently seeing an alliance of people trying to degrade politics; of vested interests wanting to manage the resources and growth prospects of the Greek public; and of conservative forces of the Right who, incapable of talking politics, essentially know about and monitor these adverse developments, and, I would say, rub their hands in glee."
"Naturally, we will uncover the alliance. This is a battle that concerns the quality of democracy. At some point, the mask will fall away," Protopapas added.
 State hospitals back to normal Monday after strike24/02/2002 16:58:57
State hospitals will re-open on Monday after a two-week strike by doctors severely disrupted services.
Trade unions accepted a proposal by the labour ministry for talks on their grievances that will last until March 20.
Unions are seeking salaried status and job security for about 5,500 doctors employed on a contractual basis.
 Minister: Ailing social insurance deters investors, job creation24/02/2002 16:41:22
Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said in an interview published on Sunday that a non-viable social insurance system deterred investments and job creation.
Christodoulakis told the Express on Sunday financial newspaper that the state had no incentive to maintain an ailing system.
He also said that investments in Greece this year would rise by a robust 8.7 percent.
The government is attempting to overhaul the country's endebted social insurance system, with a new round of talks set to begin in March.
 Main opposition leader woos voters from all parties24/02/2002 15:56:32
The leader of the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party, Costas Karamanlis, has asked party members to court voters from all parties.
"I am asking you to extend a hand to all our fellow citizens. We trust all Greeks, regardless of whether they vote for the (ruling) PASOK party, Communist Party of Greece, or Coalition of the Left and Progress," Karamanlis said in the northern town of Veria on Saturday.
He also launched a new offensive against Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who earlier in the day had charged that right-wing forces were engaged in a smear campaign against the government, implying that ND was involved.
"Mr Simitis is panic-stricken at his forthcoming (election)defeat. A panic-stricken prime minister trying to divide the Greek public by calling up ghosts from the past is dangerous," Karamanlis claimed.
"The country is not being governed, and the premier is fully aware of this. He has lost control of the situation. He cannot take decisions," the ND leader said.
 Undersea tremor near Patras, no injuries24/02/2002 15:30:38
A tremor was recorded in the early hours of Sunday with an undersea epicentre in the Patraikos Gulf, west of Patras. No injuries or damage were reported,
The tremor, 180 kilometres west of Athens, measured 4.5 on the Richter scale, the Athens Observatory's Geodynamics Institute said in a statement.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday24/02/2002 15:03:23
Indicative tourist buying rates per euro until Monday
U.S. dollar 0.881
Pound sterling 0.616
Danish kroner 7.492
Swedish kroner 9.228
Japanese yen 118.0
Swiss franc 1.491
Norwegian kroner 7.824
Cyprus pound 0.581
Canadian dollar 1.402
Australian dollar 1.711
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