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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-10-31
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Anti-war rally and march to U.S. Embassy marred by incidents31/10/2002 22:52:38
Incidents occurred during a march to the U.S. Embassy following an anti-war rally in central Athens on Thursday evening.
Riot police used tear gas to disperse a group of demonstrators who threw stones and other objects at police stationed in front of the embassy.
The thousands of demonstrators, who condemned what they said was the United States' intention to intervene in Iraq, chanted slogans against imperialism, NATO and all those who support the United States and its intention to ''police''. They called on the Greek government to convey the people's message to the governments of the EU member-states and of the U.S. that the Greek people do not want involvement in any war.
 Greek and Turkish FMs discuss bilateral issues31/10/2002 22:50:16
ISTANBUL (ANA - F. Karaviti) - Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Sukru Sina Gurel held informal talks on all bilateral issues during an informal luncheon here on Thursday afternoon.
Papandreou, who arrived here at Gurel's invitation, said after the luncheon that he stressed the purpose of his visit, that is strengthening the two countries' candidacy to jointly host the Euro 2008 Soccer Championship and promoting the Olympic Truce venture.
''The fact that we are three days ahead of the Turkish elections does not allow us to probe political issues deeper at the moment,'' he said, but pointed out that Gurel will be serving as caretaker foreign minister until the next Turkish government is formed at a crucial period for all issues remaining unsolved.
Papandreou referred to Turkey's recent international successes, both in soccer and athletics, and said the Euro 2008 championship is an ideal occasion for wider cooperation between the two countries.
Gurel spoke of ''an opportunity for the two countries to show Europe and all the world that they have the maturity to cooperate in sport and at other levels'' and, referring to political issues discussed, said ''there was a useful exchange of views.''
The two foreign ministers watched the soccer match between Fenerbahce Istanbul and Panathinaikos Athens, played for the second round of the UEFA Cup, here on Thursday night.
Before the match, the presidents of the Greek and Turkish soccer federations, the presidents of Fenerbahce and Panathinaikos and the two teams' coaches and captains signed the Olympic Truce Proclamation in a cordial atmosphere in one of the stadium's halls.
 Cabinet approves finance ministry's draft budget for 200331/10/2002 22:42:52
The Greek economy would grow by 3.8 per cent in 2003 and inflation would fall to 2.5 per cent by the end of that year, according to revised estimates presented by Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Thursday, after the cabinet approved a new draft budget prepared by his ministry for the coming year.
The new budget will now be tabled in Parliament on November 19.
Growth rate targets have been revised downward from original targets of 4.1 per cent in the new draft budget, in response to a slowdown in the global economy, uncertainty in international markets and the latest forecasts by international organisation on the Greek economy's performance in 2003.
Forecasts for public debt and state finances for 2003 and in previous years have also been revised after the EU statistics service Eurostat called for changes in the way certain economic indices and categories of state spending were calculated.
The new draft budget includes a package of measures to limit and contain public-sector spending. According to Christodoulakis, the reduction in inflation will be achieved by restraining rate hikes by public utilities over the coming year.
 Visiting EU Commissioner praises Athens' Olympics preparation31/10/2002 22:38:52
Visiting European Commissioner Viviane Reding on Thursday expressed satisfaction with the preparations in Athens for the 2004 Olympics, after a meeting with Olympics Organising Committee (ATHOC) chairwoman Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki at ATHOC's headquarters.
In statements after the meeting, Reding and the head of ATHOC particularly stressed the European dimension of the Games, which will be the first to take place in the EU after the introduction of the euro.
Reding, who is responsible for educational and cultural issues, praised ATHOC and the Greek education ministry for the idea of introducing Olympic education in schools, while announcing that close cooperation already existed between EU ministers to introduce European school children to Olympic ideals and volunteerism.
 Lithuanian officials visit Greek Parliament31/10/2002 22:35:00
The chairman of the Lithuanian Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee Gediminas Kirkilas, currently on an official visit to Athens, called on the Greek Parliament on Thursday accompanied by Lithuanian foreign ministry official Algirdas Paleckis.
In talks with Greek Parliamentary officials, Kirkilas discussed the positions of the Greek EU presidency on EU enlargement, Kaliningrad and other international issues.
He then met members of the Greek Parliament's Defence and Foreign Affairs committee, where he asked to be briefed on the latest developments concerning the Cyprus issue.
 Greek president visits Mandela's prison in South Africa31/10/2002 22:32:56
CAPE TOWN (ANA - N. Megadoukas) Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Thursday visited Robin Island, the prison islet on which Nelson Mandela had been incarcerated by South Africa's apartheid regime.
The Greek president was shown around the prison building, including the cells and the yard where the leader of the African National Congress and thousands of other freedom fighters against apartheid spent a large part of their lives in great deprivation.
Earlier on Thursday morning, Stephanopoulos had delivered the opening address at an economic forum aiming to promote trade ties between Greek and South African business people.
In his speech, he had stressed that Greek businesses could help their South African counterparts find an outlet in the surrounding regions through the extensive experience with investments in the Balkan region, the Black Sea and the Caucasus.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Friday31/10/2002 19:11:40
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank
U.S. dollar 0.994
Pound sterling 0.637
Danish kroner 7.491
Swedish kroner 9.162
Japanese yen 122.0
Swiss franc 1.475
Norwegian kroner 7.423
Cyprus pound 0.575
Canadian dollar 1.557
Australian dollar 1.795
 Weather Forecast: Fair with light cloud on Friday31/10/2002 18:43:44
Light cloud in western, central and southern Greece with fair weather in the rest of the country. Winds westerly light and northerly moderate in the Aegean. In the north, temperatures will range from 4C to 21C; in the Ionian from 8C to 24C; and in the Aegean from 12C to 23C. Light cloud in Athens with temperatures between 12C and 23C. Fair in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 6C and 21C.
 ASE remains in positive territory31/10/2002 16:52:46
Greek stocks ended Thursday's session flat, with demand for blue chip stocks offering support to the Athens Stock Exchange.
The general index ended in positive territory for one more session, up 0.16 percent to 1,785.28 points, with turnover an improved 80.3 million euros.
The Publication, Holding, Investment and Insurance sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (2.85 percent, 2.08 percent, 2.03 percent and 1.94 percent, respectively), while the Telecommunications and IT sectors suffered losses (0.50 percent and 0.42 percent, respectively).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.75 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.14 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index eased 0.94 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 212 to 97 with another 45 issues unchanged.
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