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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-02-25
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Gov't's confrontation with ND a political one, premier says25/02/2002 22:21:42
The government's confrontation with the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party is not about who holds power, but a clearly political confrontation reflecting different political proposals and different social groups, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Monday, speaking to ruling PASOK deputies from southcentral Greece.
"This is the truth," the premier said, adding that "ND can not handle reality and it is attempting to muddy the waters".
Simitis also said that ND represents the most "conservative establishment and believes in the political and social backtracking," noting that ND's political proposal was and still is a conservative one.
"ND represents the neo-liberal recipe, which wants to transform the society of citizens in a society of the market," he said, adding that "there can be genetically modified products, but there can not be modified parties".
The premier also spoke of the ruling party's efforts to cooperate with center-left political forces, stressing that PASOK should "walk on new political roads" with all the other progressive political forces, the forces of the left and center-left.
 700 ancient Greek artifacts from 110 museums on exhibition in Berlin25/02/2002 22:20:38
Seven hundred artifacts from 110 museums from around the world will comprise the "Classical Civilization-Idea or reality" exhibition, which will open its doors on Friday in Berlin, under the auspices of Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his German counterpart Gerhard Schroeder.
Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos announced the Friday opening here in Athens on Monday, stressing that the exhibition in Berlin coincides with the decision of the German government to temporarily return to Greece parts of the Ancient Olympia Philippeion building, adding that this decision was "in contrast to the decision of the British government to keep the Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum".
A cultural program entitled "The Classical Civilization Today" will also take place as part of the exhibition, delving in the forms of usage of classical themes in modern art and science. The exhibition and the cultural events that accompany it will take place at the Martin-Gropius- Bau and will end in June.
 Defense minister to visit Germany next week25/02/2002 22:19:09
Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou will carry out a two-day visit to Germany as of next Monday, his first in this capacity.
According to sources, during his meeting with his German counterpart Rudolf Scharping, Papantoniou will discuss issues related to the "Euroforce" and bilateral issues concerning armaments.
Papantoniou is also expected during his visit to participate in a dinner held for NATO Secretary General Lord George Robertson, who is in Berlin participating in events organized by the Atlantic Security and Military Affairs Centre in Potsdam and the U.S. ASPEN Institute.
 ESHEA condemns murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl25/02/2002 22:17:56
The Athens Journalists Union (ESHEA) in an announcement on Monday condemned the murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl and expressed its condolences to his family and colleagues.
ESHEA said the hideous murder of the Wall Street Journal journalist by his kidnappers in Pakistan again brings to the forefront that thousands of journalists fall victim in the line of duty and as the International Journalists Federation reminds, more than 1,000 journalists and employees for the mass media have been killed this past decade by political groups, criminals or armed forces.
 900th day Athens 2004 Olympic Games lapel pin presented in Athens25/02/2002 22:16:48
The Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) on Monday celebrated the 900 days run-up to the events with the presentation of an "Athens 2004" lapel pin at the Kalimarmaro Stadium in central Athens.
The lapel pins are apparently among the most popular commercial items for Olympic Games' enthusiasts, with the lapel pin series noting the days of the run-up to the Olympics being the most popular.
ATHOC will present eight more designs each marking 100-day periods before the Games.
 Papandreou concludes visit to Lithuania25/02/2002 22:16:39
VILNIUS (ANA A. Makridis) Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou wound up his official visit here on Monday following talks with the countrys Prime Minister Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas and his counterpart Antanas Valionis, as Lithuanias standing request to join Euro-Atlantic structures dominating talks.
Additionally, Brazauskas became the latest international leader to sign Athens ongoing initiative for an ?Olympic Truce? during the holding of the Olympic Games.
On his part, Papandreou stressed that ?Lithuania is a country, just
 Finance minister woos German investors ahead of 2004 Olympics25/02/2002 20:09:26
FRANKFURT (ANA/A.Lidorikis) - Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Monday urged German investors to seize business opportunities in Greece, especially ahead of the 2004 Olympics to be hosted by Athens.
Addressing the Frankfurt Chamber of Trade and Industry, the minister said that Greek markets were being deregulated, incentives were available for business and investment, and the Olympics offered scope for new projects.
Christodoulakis identified key investment opportunities in telecoms, energy, tourism, new technology, privatisation, renewable energy and Olympics-related projects.
Greece could also act as a launch pad for investments in southeastern Europe, he added.
The minister held private meetings with 16 German executives whose firms already operate in Greece.
He also met executives of Deutsche Bank, a strategic investor in Athens-quoted EFG Eurobank Ergasias, owned by the Latsis shipping, banking and oil group.
 Hoteliers see tourism dropping sharply in Athens this year25/02/2002 19:48:55
Tourism in Attica, especially in Athens, is expected to fall by up to 20 percent in 2002 against the previous year, the president of the Union of Attica Hoteliers, Spyros Divanis, said on Monday.
Describing 2002 as "a lost year for tourism," Divanis told a news conference that average occupancy rates in Attica hotels would slump due mainly to a decline of up to 50 percent in tourists from the US, who usually account for 30 percent of arrivals in the area.
In addition, air links to Athens were fewer and sports stadiums were closed for refurbishing, which meant that large-scale exhibitions and trade fairs would not be held in a further blow to the industry, Divanis said.
Furthermore, the 2004 Olympic Games to be hosted by Athens would not bring an anticipated boost to the tourism industry as infrastructure projects were delayed, he claimed.
And no discernible progress had been made in 16 months that had passed since the announcement of a series of measures entitled the Olympics Tourism Package, a move aimed to help the industry, Divanis complained.
However, 55 percent of hotels committed for use in the Games had carried out modernisation projects, mostly funded by the owners themselves. Projects completed or underway were worth 171 billion drachmas, with only 3.8 billion drachmas, or 2.2 percent, of the total representing cash from the state.
A shortfall of 2,000 hotel rooms for the Olympics would be covered in time, with more hotels due to commit space and other facilities available that could be put to use, Divanis added.
 Argentine player charged in forged passport case (recasts)25/02/2002 19:48:42
A Piraeus prosecutor on Monday filed complicity charges against an Argentine football star after an investigation showed he transferred to a popular Athens club in August 2000 using a forged Greek passport.
Midfielder Fernando Navas initially transferred to AEK Athens in 2000 before returning to the same team and after his short-term contract expired -- in February 2001 with an Argentine passport.
The Piraeus prefecture office had reportedly issued the forged Greek passport.
Navas was loaned to Aris Thessaloniki early this year after a first-half season of inactivity with league-leading AEK. He earned high marks for his performance last season with AEK, especially in the teams European play.
Additionally, the prosecutor called on authorities to investigate whether club executives were involved with the incident.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday25/02/2002 17:53:44
Indicative tourist buying rates per euro
U.S. dollar 0.879
Pound sterling 0.616
Danish kroner 7.493
Swedish kroner 9.182
Japanese yen 117.5
Swiss franc 1.489
Norwegian kroner 7.815
Cyprus pound 0.581
Canadian dollar 1.405
Australian dollar 1.713
 Contract signed in railway project for airport, 2004 Olympics25/02/2002 17:28:55
A consortium led by Athens-quoted engineering contractor Aktor on Monday signed a contract for 84.5 million euros with Ergose, a projects subsidiary of state Hellenic Railways Organisation, to undertake works for a railway to the airport.
The suburban railway, part of a wider network, will centre on a railway centre in Aharnon.
The airport stretch of the railway will help to cope with increased passenger movement during the 2004 Athens Olympics, beyond easing daily travel for commuters. A station will be built at the Olympic Stadium north of Athens.
The current stage of the project is due for completion in 18 months.
The other four shortlisted engineering contractors in the tender that Aktor's consortium won were Hochtief AG, which built the airport; Terna, GEK and Impregilo Spa; Astaldi; and AEGEK with Evklidis, ETEP and Meton.
Aktor is joined by Hellenic Technodomiki and TEB. The three form an established engineering contracting group in the market while retaining their separate identities.
On Wednesday, bids will be opened for another phase of the airport railway project, including infrastucture work for signals, the electrification of lines, and construction of station buildings.
 Weather Forecast: Scattered cloud on Tuesday25/02/2002 16:43:28
Cloud is forecast in all parts of the country. Winds westerly, light to moderate. In the north, temperatures will range from 0C to 15C; on the rest of the mainland and in the Ionian from 4C to 18C; and in the Aegean islands from 8C to 17C. Light cloud in Athens with temperatures between 4C and 15C. Mostly sunny in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 4C to 15C.
 ASE ends 16-day drop, ends slightly higher25/02/2002 16:42:15
Greek stocks ended the first trading session of the week slightly higher, halting a 16-day decline, supported by gains in several blue chip stocks.
The general index ended 0.23 percent up at 2,356.97 points, with turnover a low Dr 24.6 billion, or 72.18 million euros.
Trading was nervous was decliners outpacing advancers by 192 to 114 with another 52 issues unchanged.
The Insurance, Investment and Publication sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (0.87 percent, 0.42 percent and 0.41 percent, respectively), while the Holding, Metals and Bank sectors scored the biggest gains (2.25 percent, 0.71 percent and 0.56 percent).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.45 percent higher, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.26 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.15 percent down.
Market participants said the Greek bourse was desperately needed some positive news to reverse a prevailing negative climate in the market. Analysts expect sentiment to remain bearing in the short-term and recommended investors to adopt a medium- and long-term investment strategy.
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