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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-05-08
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Athens looks to UN chief to bring results in Cyprus issue talks08/05/2002 22:56:28
Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday stressed the significance of a planned trip to Cyprus by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, speaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis to discuss the Cyprus problem and the latest round of talks on the issue.
The negotiations between the Turkish-Cypriot and Greek-Cypriot sides have not achieved the results anticipated so far but Athens hoped that Annan's presence on Cyprus would contribute to achieving them, the foreign minister added.
Pointing out that visits to the region by officials of such high rank were relatively rare, Papandreou said Annan's trip indicated the great importance attributed by the UN to achieving a solution on Cyprus.
The Greek minister also noted that all the sides involved had to take advantage of the historic opportunity for resolving this major issue that now presented itself, especially the Turkish-Cypriots.
Papandreou also said that he and the premier agreed that special emphasis should be given to the Cyprus problem at this point, because ''we are reaching a very critical moment for the Cyprus problem''.
''We want to help as much as we can to arrive at a final solution, but up to this point we have not had the results we expected and this is not a Greek conclusion alone, but one of the United Nations as well,'' he said.
Papandreou called on the Turkish side to make a greater effort and expressed his belief that Annan will contribute to promoting the resolution of the problem.
The Cyprus problem was an international issue but one that caused a rift between Greece and Turkey, whose bilateral relations could improve more rapidly once a solution had been achieved, he said.
 Greek premier to visit Belgrade, meet with Yugoslav head of state08/05/2002 22:55:11
Prime Minister Costas Simitis will depart for Belgrade on Thursday for a three-day official visit, during which he will meet with Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica and the political leadership of Serbia.
This is the first visit by a Greek premier to the neighboring country in the past 16 years, and its agenda will focus on conditions in the Balkans and in Southeastern Europe in general, as well as bilateral relations.
 Olympiakos Piraeus wins Greek soccer championship08/05/2002 22:54:20
Olympiakos Piraeus on Wednesday won the Greek soccer championship after beating Aris Thessaloniki 5-1 away and will represent Greece, along with second-placed AEK Athens, in next season's European Champions League.
Olympiakos has won the Greek championship six seasons in a row, equalising the record it set during the 1954-59 period.
Olympiakos finished the championsip with 58 points, same as AEK, but won on the matches played between them.
AEK on Wednesday beat PAOK Thessaloniki 6-2 and third-placed Panathinaikos Athens beat Ethnikos Asteras Athens 2-1 away. Ethnikos Asteras was relegated to the second division.
Panathinaikos, PAOK, Xanthi and Iraklis Thessaloniki will represent Greece in the UEFA Cup.
 Greek Economy Minister begins two-day visit in Turkey08/05/2002 22:52:36
Greece's Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis begins a two-day visit to Turkey on Thursday with the aim to expand economic relations between the two countries.
Mr Christodoulakis will discuss ways to promote joint Greek-Turkish businesses and bilateral cooperation in the framework of European Union rules, with Turkish bankers in Ankara and Istanbul.
The Greek minister, who will lead a delegation of Greek bankers and businessmen, will speak at the Bilkent University of Ankara on ''Greece's European convergence'' and will meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem.
 Yiannis Kouros comes first in super marathon08/05/2002 22:51:23
Super marathon runner Yiannis Kouros achieved yet another international feat on Wednesday, winning first place in the 48-hour race in the French city of Sizerre, near La Rochelle, and breaking seven world records.
The end of the 48-hour run found the Greek runner having covered 436.702 kilometres and exceeding by far his 48-hour world record of 373 kilometres achieved in 1996, again in the city in west-central France.
Kouros also succeeded in breaking the 300 km world record with 28 hours and 16 minutes, the 350 km one with 34 hours and 39 minutes, the 400 km with 41 hours and 53 minutes, the 200 miles with 30 hours and 42 minutes and 20 seconds, the 24 hours with 261.500 km and the 36 hours with 360.400 kilometres.
During the race, Kouros had been hampered by flu and gastric trouble, as well as unfavourable weather conditions (wind, rain and dampness) and was forced to stop many times to change clothes.
His next race will be the super marathon in Hungary and Romania where he will be covering about 800 kilometres.
 Unions claim 70 pct strike turnout, disruption in 48-hour walkout08/05/2002 19:11:22
The national bank workers' federation said on Wednesday that strike turnout on the first day of a 48-hour stoppage was about 70 percent, with operations severely disrupted.
More staff in private banks reported for work than in state sector enterprises, the OTOE federation said in a statement.
In addition, the major payments division of the Bank of Greece, or central bank, was obliged to halt operations following intervention by OTOE officials.
The result was that interbank transfers at home and with central banks in Europe could not be made, as well as transactions through Europe's Target clearing system, the statement said.
Furthermore, many cashpoint machines for the public ran out cash, it added.
Bank workers staged the strike following a breakdown in pay talks with employers.
The Union of Greek Banks has proposed a two-year collective labour agreement with pay rises of 3.5 percent in 2002 and 3.0 percent in 2003. OTOE is seeking a 6.0 percent increase for this year.
Another point of contention is a shorter working week.
Bank workers are seeking a 35-hour week. Employers are willing to consider a reduction in the working week but want opening hours to the public increased, which OTOE has rejected on the grounds that the pace of work may increase sharply.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Thursday08/05/2002 18:18:46
Indicative tourist buying rates per euro
U.S. dollar 0.916
Pound sterling 0.627
Danish kroner 7.493
Swedish kroner 9.386
Japanese yen 117.7
Swiss franc 1.468
Norwegian kroner 7.642
Cyprus pound 0.583
Canadian dollar 1.435
Australian dollar 1.691
 Weather Forecast: Light cloud on Thursday08/05/2002 17:45:40
Light cloud is forecast in all parts of the country. It may rain in Crete and the Cyclades and Dodecanese islands in the morning. Winds northeasterly, moderate to strong. In the north, temperatures will range from 11C to 23C; on the rest of the mainland from 13C to 25C; and in the islands from 15C to 24C. Scattered cloud in Athens, with temperatures between 14C and 25C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 12C to 23C.
 Greek stocks jump 2.54 percent on Wednesday08/05/2002 16:36:44
Greek stocks ended Wednesday's session with big gains as investors returned in the market after a five-day extended Easter holiday on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Traders said that a positive climate in other European bourses encouraged sentiment in ASE.
Institutional investors were active buyers of blue chip stocks, particularly banks.
The general index jumped 2.54 percent to 2,274.55 points, with turnover an improved 103.6 million euros.
The Retail, Banks, Publication and IT Solutions sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (3.98 percent, 3.75 percent, 3.68 percent and 3.60 percent, respectively).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks jumped 3.07 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 2.28 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 2.20 percent highegr.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 322 to 23 with another 17 issues unchanged.
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