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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-09-13
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM visits Olympics press centre in Maroussi13/09/2002 23:14:12
Prime Minister Costas Simitis concluded his three-day tour of Olympics projects on Friday by visiting the International Broadcasting Centre and the Press Centre in Maroussi, that will house journalists and media crews covering the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
The prime minister expressed satisfaction with the progress that had been made after his inspection and said that Greece would present the many thousands of visitors to the Games with a modern and organised infrastructure network, in addition to its historical edge.
Regarding the media centres, Simitis noted that journalists would have the latest technology at their disposal in order to send images of Greece to over 200 countries and four billion viewers around the world.
 Security coverage dominates briefing of top media pros by ATHOC13/09/2002 22:17:58
The paramount issue of security during the upcoming Olympics as well as coverage of the worlds biggest sporting event were the focus of high-level contacts here on Friday between Athens 2004 organisers (ATHOC) and more than 90 top international sportswriters, photographers and broadcast experts.
?The Greek people have been planning for this homecoming for more than 100 years? was the opening remark ATHOC President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki made to media professionals at the second world operations briefing for the 2004 Games.
The high-profile ATHOC chief, who headed the Greek capitals campaign to host the Games, again emphasised that security remains the top priority for Greek organisers, in comments just days after the one-year anniversary of the horrific Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States and the 30-year anniversary of the equally shocking killing of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches by terrorists at the Munich Olympic Games.
Angelopoulos-Daskalaki again cited a $600-million budget for security infrastructure alone prior to the August 2004 Games as well as the work of a seven-nation advisory group to assist Greek authorities in intelligence and training. A nation-wide anti-terrorism exercise is also planned in November, she said, while explaining to a room filled with press veterans of past Olympics that the eradication of the elusive ?November 17? urban terror cell in Greece over the past two months has caused ?relief and encouragement? amongst organisers.
 Greek, Turkish FMs hold their first meeting at the United Nations13/09/2002 22:15:29
NEW YORK (ANA - S. Sideris) -The unstable political situation in Turkey and the change in the political leadership in the Turkish foreign ministry did not hinder Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Sukru Sina Gurel in holding cordial talks here on Thursday and agreeing on a series of bilateral issues.
In their first meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the two men agreed on the installation of a direct telephone link between the two countries' defence ministers, an idea which has been disscussed for years between the two neighbouring countries.
Papandreou had previously had a telephone communication with Defence Minister Yiannos Papantoniou who gave his consent for the reaching of such an agreement.
An agreement is also to be signed in the next few days for cooperation between Greece and Turkey for the confrontation of natural disasters.
Following their meeting, the two foreign ministers assured that Greece and Turkey will continue their dialogue on low-key issues, while the dialogue on the continental shelf will also continue as normal, despite the fact that in Greek diplomatic and political circles there are reservations on the possibility of Turkey making a substantial discussion during this period due to domestic developments in the neighbouring country.
 Gov't drafts labour decree on permanent staff to comply with EU13/09/2002 20:09:31
The government on Friday released details of a presidential decree that allows certain categories of contractual workers to gain status as permanent staff in compliance with a European Union labour directive.
Excluded from the Greek ruling, which comes into force in 2004, are the public sector, local government, radio and television, airlines, public works and banking.
The decree applies to staff on contracts that cover a specified period of time or specific project over 24 continuous months, or three successive contracts with no intervening gap greater than 20 days from the date of signature of each.
The head of the Confederation of Workers of Greece, Christos Polyzogopoulos, said later that the measure was helpful but had no retroactive effect, and contained too many exceptions.
A eurodeputy of the Coalition of the Left and Progress, Alekos Alavanos, singled out exemption of the public sector from the ruling as a major flaw, along with other sectors.
He said he would soon bring the matter up at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, seeking redress.
 Forum of the mayors of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas begins on Saturday13/09/2002 19:56:17
The Forum of the mayors of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas cities will take place in Igoumenitsa on Saturday and Sunday with the participation of some 150 attendants.
The forum will deal with the protection and development of the cultural heritage of the cities of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas.
The forum was established at the initiative of the Italian central association of municipalities in 1999 and includes some 43 cities from Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday13/09/2002 18:29:10
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank
U.S. dollar 0.988
Pound sterling 0.633
Danish kroner 7.485
Swedish kroner 9.321
Japanese yen 118.8
Swiss franc 1.479
Norwegian kroner 7.417
Cyprus pound 0.577
Canadian dollar 1.564
Australian dollar 1.793
 ND leader begins N. Greece tour by visiting Lake Doirani (ADDS)13/09/2002 18:18:17
Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Friday began a tour of northern Greece by visiting Lake Doirani on the borders of Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Karamanlis was briefed by local municipal authorities about problems concerning the decreasing water levels of the lake, which have been falling steadily for the past 15 years, causing economic hardship for local inhabitants and environmental degradation.
Doirani Mayor Theofilos Pertsinidis noted that three quarters of the lake actually fell within FYROM borders and that the neighbouring country had recently decided on measures to increase water levels that had not been matched by Greece.
Addressing the town, Karamanlis was scathing in his criticism of the government's stance, saying that a crime against the environment was being committed that was the sole responsibility of the Simitis government.
He also noted that a large part of the Greek side of the lake had been deserted and, despite the pleas of local bodies and organisations, the government was responding with vague commitments and little action.
Later on in Kilkis, Karamanlis attacked the government's economic policy, saying the country needed a new, aggressive economic policy that could meet the demands and problems of the new era.
He accused the government of ''abandoning the provinces,'' and especially farmers and said that the collapse of the farming sector would bring major problems to the country.
Karamanlis stressed that the government's policies were increasing regional and social inequalities, with some areas plagued by unemployment rates greater than 25 per cent, decreased investment and declining farmer incomes.
He said his party's priority as a government would be to rebuild the state: ''If we do not create a state that is at the service of citizens and is the first to respect the law then we won't have achieved anything,'' he said.
Responding to Karamanlis' statements, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Friday that the main opposition leader was hunting for problems that existed for various reasons that he could highlight in order to promote his ''grey Greece'' tactics.
He said the ND president wanted to ''perform for the media'' rather than suggest solutions.
''The serious and longterm work required at Doirani cannot be substituted by visits of a sight-seeing nature,'' the spokesman added. ''Karamanlis will have forgotten about Doirani tomorrow, the government through its work and the environment ministry will solve the problems that objectively exist. That is the difference between us.''
 Weather Forecast: Rain, storms on Saturday13/09/2002 17:59:36
Rain and storms are forecast in most parts of the country, gradually easing off from early evening. Winds north-northeasterly, moderate to strong. In the north, temperatures will range from 14C to 23C; on the rest of the mainland from 16C to 27C; and in the Aegean islands from 20C to 28C. Temperatures in Athens between 18C and 27C; and in Thessaloniki from 18C to 22C.
 Greek pro soccer league warns of lock-out13/09/2002 17:04:30
The Greek pro football league (EPAE) on Friday threatened to proceed with lock-out, beginning from the fifth game of the current season later this month, if a formula to partially finance many cash-strapped teams isnt worked out with the government.
Owners want the state-run football pools (OPAP) to funnel cash their way in return for placing Greek teams on its soccer betting pools. The crisis in Greek football comes after one of two local digital TV subscriber networks announced its closure recently, leaving eight first division teams without television revenue.
EPAEs board of directors, made up of team owners, opted for the lock-out at an emergency session, a decision that will be voted on by an EPAE general assembly.
 Greek stocks plunge to four-year lows13/09/2002 16:51:35
Greek stocks plunged to their lowest levels since October 1998 in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, succumbing to international stock market pressures and to domestic worries over the course of the economy.
The general index dropped 1.87 percent to end at 1,966.74 points, finally breaking the 2,000 psychological support level.
Turnover rose to 93.4 million euros, reflecting heavy trades in OTE stocks, which dropped 3.49 percent to end at 12.18 euros per share.
The Textile, Wholesale, Publication and Telecommunications sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (5.94 percent, 3.39 percent, 2.99 percent and 2.86 percent, respectively).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks dropped 2.09 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index fell 1.75 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 1.87 percent lower.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 314 to 24 with another 20 issues unchanged.
The general index ended the week with a net loss of 4.84 percent.
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