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Athens News Agency: News in English, 04-04-01
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Weather Forecast: Scattered cloud, rain on Thursday01/04/2004 11:23:04
Scattered cloud is forecast in all parts of the country on Thursday, with rain in the west, south and central Greece. Winds variable, strong to very strong. Temperatures in Athens 9C to 16C and in Thessaloniki from 6C to 14C.
 Foreign Exchange Rates: Thursday01/04/2004 11:21:48
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank
U.S. dollar 1.232
Pound sterling 0.671
Danish kroner 7.504
Swedish kroner 9.332
Japanese yen 127.9
Swiss franc 1.571
Norwegian kroner 8.503
Cyprus pound 0.590
Canadian dollar 1.610
Australian dollar 1.618
 Greek PM Karamanlis says it is up to the Cypriot people 'to finally decide'01/04/2004 08:46:44
BURGENSTOCK (ANA/A.Panagopoulos) -Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said that there was no agreement on a solution for the Cyprus problem.
''Unfortunately, it was not possible to arrive at an agreed solution. It belongs to the people of Cyprus to finally decide,'' Karamanlis told a news conference here early Thursday morning after the submital of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan to the interested parties involved.
Karamanlis, who made statements immediately after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, underlined that the Cypriot people and its political leadership will decide what they will do in the referenda on April 24.
The Greek premier further underlined that his government followed the binding procedure which had been agreed in New York on February 13. Karamanlis and his New Democracy party won general elections on March 7.
Karamanlis stated that the aim was for the reaching of a solution to the Cyprus issue, noting that efforts were made to improve the plan with respect to the fundamental principles of the European Union.
He noted that he responded immediately to Annan's invitation and that he had close cooperation during the talks with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and with the members of the Cypriot delegation.
The Greek premier referred to the meetings he had with Erdogan, underlining that in his talks the will was confirmed for bilateral relations to be improved.
The Greek delegation will study Annan's final plan on the flight back to Athens, given that in essence it received it ten minutes before Karamanlis' statements, as the UN Secretary-General included in it certain of the amendments which he had proposed earlier in the afternoon to the Cypriot president.
 The Olympic Flame arrives in Athens01/04/2004 01:33:55
Greek Sprint Olympic Champion and last torchbearer of the first leg of the Greek Torch Relay Athens 2004 Katerina Thanou, brought the Olympic Flame into the Panathinaiko Stadium on time at 7:50 p.m. on Wednesday. More than 30,000 spectators had filled the Stadium to watch the understated yet splendid ceremony at the place where the Olympic Games were revived 108 years ago.
Thanou placed the flame at the altar which stood in front of Kostis Stephanopoulos, President of the Hellenic Republic.
Hellenic Olympic Committee President Lambis Nikolaou escorted by Greek Olympic champions Leonidas Kokkas, Dimosthenes Tampakos, and Voula Patoulidou entered the arena and received the torch High Priestess Thalia Prokopiou had previously lit.
''I am convinced that despite the difficult times facing humanity today due to 'random' violence and the resurgence of religious and other types of fanaticism, the Olympic Flame, which until today has managed to preserve its symbolic character intact, will succeed in reviving people's faith in ideals and renewing their love for timeless principles and values,'' Nikolaou said.
''It is at this sacred and symbolic moment, with the arrival of the Flame to Athens, that Greece links the past, present, and future of the Olympic Games and provides an indication of the unique Olympic Games that we are organising,'' Athens 2004 Organising Committee for the Olympic Games(ATHOC)President Gianna Angelopoulos Daskalaki said after receiving the flame from Nikolaou.
The ceremony began after the arrival of the Greek President with a short speech by Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni who sent a message of peace to the world and invited all those believing in the ideals of sport to come to Greece and celebrate the Olympic Games.
 Oswald pleased with Iraklio's Olympic preparations01/04/2004 01:32:41
IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Denis Oswald expressed his satisfaction on Wednesday with Iraklio's (Crete) excellent Olympic preparations, while visiting the city's mayor Yiannis Kourakis.
''I am very optimistic and now that the torch relay has started, we see that people have become excited, and as time passes Greeks will do everything for the Games to be a success, it's in their blood,'' Oswald said.
The IOC Coordination Commission Chairman characterised the Olympic Games as a national cause and stressed that the participation of the Olympic cities is vital to ensuring a successful Games. ''The Olympic Games are like a big puzzle made up of many pieces; Iraklio is one of those pieces. If even one piece of the puzzle is missing, it is certain that the whole picture will not be good,'' Oswald noted.
Secretary General of the Olympic Games Spyros Capralos, Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Football Tournaments Athens 2004 (FIFA) Issa Hayiatou and Deputy Chairman Dr. Mong-Joon Chung were also present at the meeting.
 Turkish warplanes infringe Athens FIR, violate national airspace01/04/2004 01:31:28
Seven formations of Turkish warplanes infringed on Athens's Flight Information Region (FIR) an equal number of times on Wednesday which developed in three violations of Greek national airspace in the northern Aegean region (Limnos-Lesvos), press reports said.
In all cases, the 17 Turkish aircraft were recognised and intercepted by Greek jets, while in five cases the interception process developed into a mock engagement.
It was reported that five of the Turkish warplanes recognised and intercepted were armed.
 Greece, Moldova seek ways to boost bilateral business ties01/04/2004 01:29:03
Greek and Moldovan enterprises discussed ways to promote bilateral
business relations in a series of meetings held during a two-day official visit by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos to Moldova.
A delegation of Greek Industries Union (SEB) met with their Moldovan
counterparts and agreed to create a network to exchange practical
information, to link websites, to highlight partnership
opportunities and to organise technical assistance programmes for business groups and Moldovan enterprises within the framework of community programmes.
A business forum held in Moldova stressed that bilateral trade was at very low levels due to limitations of the local economy, currently in its first stages of development as a market economy.
Moldovan enterprises showed interest in setting up joint ventures
with Greek businesses in farm-sector processing and packaging, bottling of mineral water and alcohol, dairy products, light manufacturing products, home applicances and infrastructure construction projects.
 UN Secretary-General Annan urges Cypriots to accept "fair plan"01/04/2004 01:24:04
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called on the people of Cyprus to accept a plan for a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus which he described as ''the best and fairest chance of peace, prosperity and stability that is ever likely to be on offer'' and a plan that is ''fair and designed to work.''
''The plan inevitably is a compromise,'' he said and warned that the
choice before the leaders and the people is between this settlement
and no settlement.
Addressing the representatives of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish
Cypriot sides, Greece and Turkey, Annan said that ''noone says that
reunification would be easy'' and pointed out that at the end of the
day it did not matter what he personally thought but what the people
would decide.''I am certain that my settlement plan offers the best and fairest
chance of peace, prosperity and stability that is ever likely to be
on offer,'' he said.
''There have been too many missed opportunities in the past, for the
sake of all of you I urge you not to make the same mistake again,''Annan said.
Annan presented the plan after a week long of talks between the two
sides in Cyprus in the presence of Greece and Turkey.
The plan would be put to a referendum on 24 April in both communitiesin Cyprus.|
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