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Athens News Agency: News in English, 03-12-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Weather Forecast: Rain, storms on Tuesday
  • [02] Foreign Exchange Rates: Tuesday
  • [03] Parliament approves 2004 budget
  • [04] Greece-Turkey bilateral trade reportedly tops one-billion-dollar mark
  • [05] Turkish warplanes violate Greek national airspace, infringe Athens FIR
  • [06] Labour ministry to table new social insurance bill after the holidays
  • [07] Development minister to visit Ankara for signing of natural gas
  • [08] British Institute proclaims Athens airport European airport of the year

  • [01] Weather Forecast: Rain, storms on Tuesday

    23/12/2003 10:37:14

    Rain and storms are forecast in all parts of the country, especially in sea areas. Winds southerly, very strong to gale force. Snow will fall on high ground in the north and centre. Temperatures are to fall, with a minimum of 9C and maximum of 16C in Athens; and in Thessaloniki, 5C to 10C.

    [02] Foreign Exchange Rates: Tuesday

    23/12/2003 10:36:48

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank

    U.S. dollar 1.253

    Pound sterling 0.711

    Danish kroner 7.500

    Swedish kroner 9.165

    Japanese yen 134.6

    Swiss franc 1.569

    Norwegian kroner 8.393

    Cyprus pound 0.589

    Canadian dollar 1.671

    Australian dollar 1.705

    [03] Parliament approves 2004 budget

    23/12/2003 00:59:35

    Parliament early on Tuesday approved the 2004 budget, which the government says will mark the beginning of a new economic era for Greece after the Athens 2004 Olympics and the growth they have spurred.

    Supporting the budget in a roll-call vote were 156 parliamentary deputies, with 143 voting against in the 300-member house. One deputy was absent.

    Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis has said that the public will receive three key dividends over the next four years, beginning with the budget for 2004.

    The first benefit will be to reap funds in coming years from a cut in defence spending to 3.0 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) from 4.5 per cent. The government aims to boost spending on education to 5.0 per cent of GDP as a result of the cutback.

    The second benefit will be more social spending due to a decline in the public debt by 4.0 per cent annually, aiming at a target of 85 per cent of GDP in 2008. The drop will release around 2.0 billion euros a year on health and welfare.

    The third benefit will be revitalisation funds from curbing tax evasion and widening the tax base, resulting in a gradual lowering of direct tax brackets for individuals and companies.

    [04] Greece-Turkey bilateral trade reportedly tops one-billion-dollar mark

    23/12/2003 00:07:42

    ANKARA (ANA A. Abatzis) Bilateral trade between Greece and Turkey reportedly exceeded the one-billion-dollar mark between January and October 2003, according to figures announced here on Monday by Turkeys national statistical service.

    The trade balance swayed in favour of Turkey over the same 10-month period, with Turkish exports to Greece increasing in value by 44.9 percent in comparison to the same period last year, namely, US$739.6 million. Greek exports to Turkey increased by 19.6 percent in value, or $342.7 million.

    Indicatively, in October Greece imported $102.6 million worth of products from Turkey while exporting $29.7 million.

    [05] Turkish warplanes violate Greek national airspace, infringe Athens FIR

    23/12/2003 00:07:35

    Five formations of Turkish warplanes made an equal number of infringements of air traffic regulations in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) in the region between the islands of Chios and Lesvos, in the eastern Aegean, on Monday, according to press reports.

    One violation of national airspace was also recorded in the region southeast of the island of Rhodes.

    In all cases, the 12 Turkish aircraft were recognised and intercepted immediately by Greek air force jets.

    [06] Labour ministry to table new social insurance bill after the holidays

    23/12/2003 00:06:39

    Labour Minister Dimitris Reppas on Monday announced that a new bill regulating pensions and social insurance systems will be tabled by his ministry after the holidays.

    He said this would settle a number of issues not covered in the previous social insurance bill and greatly upgrade the insurance rights of specific categories of insured.

    Most importantly, the bill hopes to address problems and delays currently faced by those who have been insured by different state insurance funds during the course of the working life when they seek their pension.

    [07] Development minister to visit Ankara for signing of natural gas agreement

    23/12/2003 00:03:47

    Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos departs on Tuesday morning for Ankara, where, along with Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister M.H. Guller, he will attend the official ceremony of the signing of the agreement between the two countries' natural gas companies, DEPA and BOTAS respectively, for the construction of the Turkey-Greece natural gas pipeline.

    The signing ceremony will take place at Turkey's Energy Ministry at 15:00 and will by followed by a joint press conference by the two ministers.

    [08] British Institute proclaims Athens airport European airport of the year 2004

    22/12/2003 23:55:10

    The British Transport Management Institute has awarded the Athens international airport ''Eleftherios Venizelos'' the title of European Airport of the year 2004 for its ''splendid performance'' to date.

    At the end of 12 months of research, this organisation, whose mission is to determine models in the transport sector, proclaimed Athens airport ''European Airport for 2004'', terming it a ''model for other airports aspiring to follow such a successive course.''

    Examining such criteria as overall contribution to the air transport sector, services provided, ultramodern technology, cooperation with airline companies, environmental activities and infrastructures, the Assessment Committee reached the coclusion that Athens airport possesses knowhow and infrastructure enabling it to rank among the leaders of the next decade.

    An announcement by the Institute said Athens airport constitutes an innovative undertaking paving new ways for cooperation between the public and private sectors.

    The Institute further went on to say that ''Athens international airport is in a state of complete readiness in light of the challenges of the future, having achieved in parallel a place among the best airports in the world.''

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