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Athens News Agency: News in English, 03-05-17

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece reports progress in curbing Mediterranean anemia
  • [02] Civil servants to strike Monday, air traffic controllers vote to work
  • [03] EU ministers agree to back quality shipping, public transport
  • [04] Weather Forecast: Mostly sunny on Sunday
  • [05] Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday

  • [01] Greece reports progress in curbing Mediterranean anemia

    17/05/2003 20:42:05

    Greece on Saturday reported progressin containing Mediterranean anemia, a hereditary disorder that reduces the production of red blood cells and increases their destruction in the body.

    ''Births (of babies) with Mediterranean anemia have dropped considerably,'' a lecturer in pediatrics at Thessaloniki University, Miranda Athanasiou-Metaxa, told a conference in the city.

    ''A World Health Organisation prevention programme launched in the mid-1970s was costly and arduous, but it paid off. Previously, 200 sufferers were born each year, and now the number is less than 10,'' Metaxa said.

    Also known as Thalassemia, the disease has no known cure.

    [02] Civil servants to strike Monday, air traffic controllers vote to work

    17/05/2003 18:46:53

    Civil servants are to stage a 24-hour strike on Monday to press for higher pay but air traffic controllers originally scheduled to join the stoppage have voted to work, officials said on Saturday.

    Fresh talks between the ADEDY civil servants union and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis are set for May 22. A failure to find common ground at the last meeting led to the strike call.

    The union wants to see allowances incorporated into base pay.

    [03] EU ministers agree to back quality shipping, public transport

    17/05/2003 18:36:37

    European Union ministers on Saturday agreed to set a priority on boosting quality in merchant shipping and public transport.

    Backing a proposal by the EU's current Greek presidency, the transport and shipping ministers said measures were needed to develop and upgrade shipping services in areas including safety, environmental protection, entrepreneurship and competitiveness.

    During the informal meeting held aboard a ship plying Greek waters, the ministers also agreed that the image of shipping needed improving in the eyes of the public.

    The shipping economy is key to Europe as ninety percent of transportation in the EU is carried by sea. Dependent on the sector's performance are many affiliated industries.

    Briefing media on the outcome of the meeting were EU Commissioner Loyola de Palacio, Greek Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis, and Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis.

    The officials also noted that youth in Europe were not opting to become seamen, resulting in the majority of crews being formed from less developed countries at a time when European unemployment remained high.

    Needed were career orientation for youth, proper training for shipping sector staff, improved working conditions, and incentives to shipping firms to recruit staff from the EU, which has the world's largest fleet.

    The Greek presidency's proposals are to be presented for finalisation and endorsement at a formal shipping ministers' meeting to be held on June 5 in Luxembourg.

    In addition, ministers at the meeting will revise a directive on accelerating the withdrawal of older, single hull tankers. The Greek fleet is ahead in modernisation with 70 percent of tankers equipped with double hulls, Anomeritis said.

    The ministers also welcomed a proposal by the Greek merchant marine ministry that a European strategic studies centre for shipping should be set up in the port city of Piraeus.

    Plan To Spur Use Of Public Transport

    Verelis said the ministers approve a Greek presidency proposal that the bloc should improve public transport and encourage its use in order to help reduce urban traffic congestion.

    The policy would protect the environment, save energy, and reduce problems stemming from traffic jams, he noted.

    According to officials, the number of automobiles circulating in the European Union has tripled to 175 million. The cost of traffic congestion is 80 billion euros annually, representing 1.0 percent of the EU's gross domestic product.

    The plan includes incentives to the public to leave their cars at home and use public transport in urban areas.

    It also contains proposals on raising cash to fund the expansion of public transport and new infrastructure, with funding from both the state and private capital discussed as an option, Verelis said.

    The measures to aid circulation would include extending the use of bus lanes and giving circulation priority to public transport.

    Greece possesses the largest fleet of environment friendly, natural gas powered buses, the minister noted.

    The ministers agreed unanimously that a common EU policy on public transport was needed, he added.

    Represented at the meeting were 22 EU members states, including the latest wave of arrivals, and officials from five other countries.

    [04] Weather Forecast: Mostly sunny on Sunday

    17/05/2003 15:16:39

    Sunshine is forecast in most parts of the country, with showers and storms mainly over the central and northern mainland later in the day. Winds northerly, light to moderate. On the northern mainland, temperatures will range from 13C to 27C; on the rest of the mainland from 18C to 29C; and in the islands from 16C to 28C. Temperatures in Athens between 18C and 29C; and in Thessaloniki from 16C to 26C.

    [05] Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday

    17/05/2003 15:09:05

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank

    U.S. dollar 1.158

    Pound sterling 0.712

    Danish kroner 7.483

    Swedish kroner 9.222

    Japanese yen 134.6

    Swiss franc 1.519

    Norwegian kroner 7.916

    Cyprus pound 0.591

    Canadian dollar 1.589

    Australian dollar 1.787

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