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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-05-22
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Two Palestinian exiles arrive in Athens22/05/2002 23:05:25
The two Palestinian exiles from the Church of the Nativity stand-off that Greece will be hosting arrived in Athens shortly before noon on Wednesday, on a Spanish Airforce plane.
Cars from the Palestinian embassy in Athens and diplomatic vehicles were on the runway at the Eleftherios Venizelos international airport when the plane arrived at 11:50 a.m. from Cyprus.
The destination of the exiles was not revealed for security reasons.
No statements were made at the time by the officials on hand from the public order ministry, the foreign ministry, and the Palestinian embassy.
Later in the day, however, government spokesman Christos Protopapas revealed that the two men were staying at the ''Karea'' hotel and would reside in Greece with full freedom but also strictly guarded.
For obvious reasons, he added, the two Palestinians would have to inform the authorities of their movements, while their stay in Athens was the result of consultations both within the EU and between Greece and Palestinian authorities.
 Greek journalists from around the world to meet in Athens22/05/2002 23:03:49
The press and mass media ministry announced on Wednesday that for the sixth year in a row it was organizing the meeting of journalists of Greek origin that work in foreign mass media.
According to a press release issued by the ministry, the meeting will take place in Zappeion Hall in Athens between May 27 and 28, with the participation of journalists of Greek ancestry.
This year journalists from 10 European countries, three Latin American countries, the U.S., Hong Kong, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will take part in the meeting.
The agenda of the meeting will include issues of Greek foreign policy, the economy, the security and the preparation of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
The journalists will meet with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and then they will depart for Cyprus.
Press and Mass Media Minister Christos Protopapas will inaugurate the meeting on Monday.
 Greece concludes Adriatic & Ionian Seas Initiative presidency22/05/2002 23:02:36
The ministerial conference of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas Initiative met on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis.
This meeting of ministers from the seven countries comprising the Initiative was the last of the Greek presidency of the organization, during which the participants adopted the Declaration of Athens, listing the common priorities and future goals of the Initiative.
The Greek minister summarized the work accomplished during the Greek presidency in the sectors of culture, the economy, tourism, small and medium businesses, education and intra-university cooperation, environmental protection, development, transport, maritime cooperation, as well as combatting organized crime.
 Bill for the protection of cultural heritage introduced in Parliament22/05/2002 23:01:42
Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Wednesday tabled a bill in Parliament concerning the protection of antiquities and the country's cultural heritage.
The basic element of the bill is the incorporation of regulations and principles of international law in the handling of cultural goods.
The bill codifies very harsh penalties for the protection of cultural goods, but it also protects citizens from problems that may arise with the public administration, such as land expropriation, land rights etc.
A new element this bill introduces in Greek legislation is the protection of non-material cultural goods and the obligation of the state to care for such goods, while all cultural goods of the ancient, Byzantine and modern eras will have the same status of protection.
The bill deems all real estate dated before 1830 as monuments, while even newer buildings and architectural creations will be protected by the law if they are deemed of special value. All real estate dated until 1453 will belong to the state and will not be subject to transactions or ownership by the rights of longterm use.
 Cargo ship carrying cigarettes runs aground on Thassos island22/05/2002 23:00:06
A cargo ship carrying three trucks containing cigarettes run aground on Thassos island in the Northeaster Aegean on Wednesday and began to flood.
The port authorities of Thassos and Kavala undertook the operation to rescue the ship, called ''Pena'', and the crew of five Ukrainians and a Russian.
According to sources, when authorities will have completed water pumping the ship will be taken to port where an investigation will take place.
The origin and destination of the cargo ship were not known.
 Exhibition on ancient Greece at European Parliament22/05/2002 20:57:10
BRUSSELS (ANA - V. Demiris) - Belgian pupils and their teachers, Eurodeputies and many admirers of ancient Greek civilisation attended the inauguration of the exhibition ''Let's go to the Acropolis:The ancient world in modern education'', held at the European Parliament's headquarters here on Wednesday.
The exhibition, taking place at the initiative of PASOK Eurodeputies Myrsini Zorba and Alexandros Baltas, with the support of the Greek culture ministry and the Greek department of the International Council of Museums (ICOMOS), focuses on the presentation of educational material created by the Service for the Preservation of Acropolis Monuments.
The official inauguration was carried out by the European Parliament's Culture, Youth, Mass Media and Sports Committee President Michel Rocard.
He underlined the significance of promoting European cultural heritage, as well as the young people of Europe's familiarisation with the most important achievements of European culture.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Thursday22/05/2002 18:20:16
Indicative tourist buying rates per euro
U.S. dollar 0.933
Pound sterling 0.639
Danish kroner 7.498
Swedish kroner 9.242
Japanese yen 116.0
Swiss franc 1.464
Norwegian kroner 7.565
Cyprus pound 0.583
Canadian dollar 1.436
Australian dollar 1.673
 Weather Forecast: Sunny on Thursday22/05/2002 17:58:41
Sunny weather is forecast in all parts of the country with scattered cloud in the central and northern mainland from late afternoon. Winds variable, light to moderate, turning very strong in parts of the Aegean. In the north, temperatures will range from 12C to 27C; on the rest of the mainland and in the Ionian from 14C to 29C; and in the Aegean islands from 16C to 25C. Sunshine in Athens, with temperatures between 15C and 28C. Scattered cloud in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 14C to 27C.
 Profit taking ends six-day rally in ASE22/05/2002 16:39:01
Greek investors took profits on Wednesday, following the example of their European counterparts, pushing the Athens Stock Exchange lower for the first time in the last seven sessions.
The general index fell 1.60 percent to end at 2,367.07 points, with turnover a steady 123.3 million euros.
The Metals, Publication, Holdings, Construction and Wholesale sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (4.13 percent, 3.35 percent, 3.13 percent, 2.90 percent and 2.55 percent, respectively).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks dropped 1.61 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index fell 1.89 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 1.94 percent lower.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 320 to 31 with another 10 issues unchanged.
 Greek PM reiterates Athens' opposition to 'Ankara text'22/05/2002 15:59:05
Greece on Wednesday repeated its adamant opposition to the so-called ?Ankara text?, the US-UK deal with Turkey to overcome the latters objections to expanded NATO cooperation with the projected European Union defence arm, or ?Euro Army?.
Speaking to members of ruling PASOK partys Parliament group, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said Athens backs the EUs autonomy in decision making, as well as equality between the EU and NATO, ?and not preferential treatments?.
The Greek prime minister also warned that nary a solution appears on the horizon to overcome the impasse, while adding that Athens will stand by its positions.
Regarding Cyprus European Union accession course, Simitis appeared optimistic, although he didnt rule out the possibility of ?other forces? attempting to link the island republics membership with a prior solution to the long-standing Cyprus problem.
Moreover, the Greek premier criticised the Turkish Cypriot side -- currently involved in ongoing UN-sponsored talks with the internationally recognised government in Nicosia for employing various diplomatic maneuvers to either press its ?unacceptable positions? or to impede the island republics EU accession prospects. Simitis said he considers the second prospect as more likely.
Cyprus is among the front-runners for European Union accession at present, sporting the best economic indexes among candidate-states and having harmonised a considerable portion of its public administration and legislation with the Unions acquis communautaire. Conversely, a T/C pseudo-state illegally established in 1983 on the portions of the island republic occupied by the Turkish military lacks any international recognition or trade relations, excluding Ankara, the occupying power.
Regarding domestic reactions in Turkey itself to warming relations between Athens and Ankara, as well as towards the Cyprus issue, Simitis referred to ?forces in Turkey that do not want commitments entailed in Turkeys European vocation to be met.?
Finally, the Greek premier noted that as far as major foreign policy issues and the countrys EU course are concerned, the upcoming months would be decisive.
?Caution, determination and nerve are necessary, as efforts by some quarters to create even greater difficulties shouldnt be ruled out,? he said.
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