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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-05-15
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Premier calls for EU collective defense system, guaranteeing security15/05/2002 22:54:19
Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday inaugurated a conference on the Future of Europe, organized by the ruling PASOK party's central committee and its foreign affairs and international relations sector.
In his speech, Simitis stressed that the European Union's common foreign and defense policy should be an effective system for the confrontation of crises, as well as a collective security system which would guarantee peace, stability and security.
The development of this common policy should operate for the strengthening of the security of all member-states, the protection of borders and the defense of the vital interests of each member-state and of the whole of the EU, Simitis said.
Thus the common foreign and defense policy should gradually assume the characteristics of a collective security system based on the principles of solidarity and mutual assistance, which should be incorporated in the treaty, the Greek premier said.
 Lithuanian president begins visit15/05/2002 22:53:12
Visiting Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus was received by Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday for talks on European Union and NATO enlargement - Lithuania aspires to join both - and bilateral relations between Lithuania and Greece.
The Greek premier assured Adamkus that Athens wanted the first wave of EU enlargement to include all 10 candidate-countries, while Greece had no problems with Lithuania and only stood to gain by its entry.
Regarding NATO, Simitis said that Greece believed its expansion should also take in northeastern Europe, since this would contribute to the security of the EU.
Earlier on Wednesday, Adamkus met President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and signed a bilateral agreement for the avoidance of double taxation.
 Culture minister presents six-month program of Cultural Olympiad abroad15/05/2002 22:50:31
The Cultural Olympiad will travel outside of Athens until December 2002, Culture Minister Evengelos Venizelos said on Wednesday, as he made public the events program of the Cultural Olympiad for the second half of the year.
Venizelos noted that Greece was requesting of all countries who actively participate in the Olympic Movement to establish national Cultural Olympic committees, aiming to establish the international character of the institution.
During the press conference, the minister and the president of the Cultural Heritage S.A. company presented the program that includes arts festivals, theater plays, exhibitions and conferences in Greece and abroad.
 Greek innovation in fight against oil pollution at sea15/05/2002 22:49:29
A Greek innovation in the fight for cleaner seas was initiated with the incorporation of the relevant technology on a ship that will clean up oil sleeks from the sea surface.
The ship called ''Cleanmag I-Nancy'', after the name of the innovation ''Cleanmag'' was inaugurated on Wednesday in Piraeus by Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis, and belongs to the Piraeus Technical Institute.
The new technology incorporated on the ship was developed by Prof. George Nikolaidis in 1996, while the pilot program for its application was funded by the European Union Life program, with a budget of two million euros. The program was also supported by the Greek government and the Piraeus Technical Institute.
Clean Mag is a porous and magnetic material in the form of beads, which has the ability to absorb oils and petrol only, in a volume six times its weight and still remain afloat, irrespective of weather conditions.
The material is spread on top an oil sleek and once it has absorbed it, the ship nears and with a magnetic conveyor belt it picks it up from the sea.
 Distinguished scientists attend linguistics conference15/05/2002 22:47:55
The Greek language has all the possibilities of being established as an official one in the European Union, as well as at a global level, according to distinguished scientists from all five continents who participated in the world linguistics conference in Kavala, northern Greece.
Substantiating their position, the researchers said the criteria advocating this is the fact that the language managed to survive over a period of 4,000 years and spread over big geographical areas throughout the centuries, while its use in scientific and technological terminology is continuous.
According to addresses made at the conference, centres for the Greek language to be learnt in EU countries and all over the world should be established.
 State health centre doctors launch 48-hour strike Thursday15/05/2002 22:04:46
Doctors in state health centres and practices are to begin a 48-hour strike on Thursday, demanding salaried status for 5,500 contractual staff.
The doctors employed by the Social Security Foundation are also seeking payment of a 60,000-drachma monthly allowance given to staff in state agencies overseen by the health ministry.
 Gov't orders enquiry into faulty tax computer network15/05/2002 21:54:45
Deputy Finance Minister Apostolos Fotiadis on Wednesday ordered an internal enquiry into faults in the tax department's computer network.
The enquiry under oath into the TAXISnet system followed the latest breakdown when tax payers were unable to file their returns electronically on Monday.
Following repairs, the computer system was working erratically on Tuesday and no date has been estimated for the resumption of full operation.
Tax payers who are late filing their returns due to the computer problems will be given an extension, the finance ministry said in a statement. The tax department is part of the ministry.
 July deadline in Athens Olympics accomodation tender15/05/2002 21:37:42
Companies wishing to arrange the rental of private homes to visitors for the duration of the Athens 2004 Olympics have until July 2 to submit expressions of interest in a tender announced on Wednesday.
Eligible to apply are banking, bancassurance, real estate, travel and service sector companies.
Two or more winners are expected to be chosen in the tender called by the national organisers of the games, with guarantee set at about 600,000 euros for each shortlisted consortium, according to sources.
The outcome of the tender will be announced by the end of 2002.
The project was ordered to ease an accomodation problem for the flood of visitors expected at the world event.
Changes have to be made in the law before the rental programme, which is to include tax relief for homeowners, can be implemented.
The Greek National Tourism Organisation is to evaluate the quality of homes offered in the programme.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Thursday15/05/2002 18:11:31
Indicative tourist buying rates per euro
U.S. dollar 0.910
Pound sterling 0.627
Danish kroner 7.494
Swedish kroner 9.286
Japanese yen 116.7
Swiss franc 1.467
Norwegian kroner 7.596
Cyprus pound 0.583
Canadian dollar 1.419
Australian dollar 1.666
 Weather Forecast: Mainly sunny on Thursday15/05/2002 17:58:07
Sunny weather is forecast in most parts of the country, with isolated storms likely in the centre from early evening. The north will see scattered cloud with intermittent rain and storms from late afternoon in the northeast. Winds northerly, light to moderate, turning strong in the Aegean. On the northern mainland, temperatures will range from 11C to 24C; in the Ionian and on the rest of the mainland from 14C to 28C; and in the Aegean islands from 15C to 24C. Sunshine in Athens, with temperatures between 15C and 27C. Thessaloniki may see rain and storms from early evening, with temperatures from 12C to 25C.
 Greek stocks ease on profit taking on Wednesday15/05/2002 16:58:28
Greek stocks ended a five-day rally on the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday as investors preferred to take profits, pushing the general index 0.62 percent lower at 2,346.55 points.
Turnover was an improved 132.1 million euros.
The Retail, Telecommunications and Insurance sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (2.04 percent, 1.06 percent and 0.94 percent, respectively), while the Investment, Publication and Food-Beverage sectors scored gains (1.55 percent, 0.67 percent and 0.34 percent).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.82 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.22 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.63 percent lower.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 197 to 125 with another 44 issues unchanged.
Market sources said the Greek bourse urgently needed some positive news to continue its move upwards and noted that a recent improvement in turnover was a significant boosting factor.
They noted that an expected decision to raise the sum of money invested in equities by pension funds' reserves, an issue currently discussed by the government, would give a further boost the market climate.
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