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Athens News Agency: News in English, 04-04-16
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 ATHOC dismisses latest press criticism regarding security16/04/2004 23:11:38
Athens organizers (ATHOC) on Friday flatly dismissed a report in a mass circulation London daily citing alleged security concerns on the part of British athletes during the holding of the 2004 Olympic Games.
?No British athlete, or any other athlete, that has taken part in the 40 or so sports events (test events) until today, has expressed a complaint or concern about the quality of the events and the security measures at these (events). As a result, the comments in the report create a negative atmosphere that bears no relation to reality,? a press release issued by the Athens 2004 Olympic organising committee stated.
The latest foreign press report citing concerns about Olympic security was published on Friday by the ?Times? of London, which claimed that New Scotland Yard is considering sending armed officers to Athens during the 2004 Games to guard the British Olympic team. The paper also said that British experts have not been convinced by Greek authorities' guarantees regarding the supreme issue of security.
Conversely, a Greek Police (EL.AS) spokesman reiterated that armed law enforcement personnel from other countries is strictly prohibited under Greek law.
?There are 202 countries participating in the Games, therefore, you can understand what would happen if we had armed guards from every country,? police spokesman Eleftherios Economou was quoted by the ?Times? as saying.
On its part, ATHOC reminded that both British and US Olympic Committee officials have recently praised security measures and preparations for the 2004 Games.
 Greek Premier calls for off-the-agenda dicsussion on economy in parliament16/04/2004 23:09:03
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday called for an off-the-agenda discussion on the country's economic situation in parliament.
In a letter sent to Parliament Speaker Anna Psarouda-Benaki, Mr Karamanlis noted that a ''systematic and organised'' effort was made in previous year to present an improved picture of the economy, that critical figures were ''persistently concealed'', deficits were presented in reduced figures and that ''instead of fiscal restructuring, the country currently faces a serious fiscal problem''.
The Greek Prime Minister, in his letter, reiterated ND's pre-election commitment for a fiscal write-down in the country to inform Greek society and stressed that the government was proceeding with a new economic policy.
A new development policy ''will create the necessary environment for new investments and boosting employment'' and will be based ''on a bold tax reform, a new framework for investment incentives and an integrated regional development policy''.
Under Greek parliament regulation, an off-the-agenda discussion envisages speaches by the prime minister, the heads of other parliamentary groups, and government ministers.
The discussion is expected to be held in two weeks time.
 Deputy FM attends informal EU Foreign Ministers Council16/04/2004 23:08:56
TULLAMORE, Ireland (ANA/F. Karaviti) - Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis held talks on Friday with British Foreign Minister Jack Straw, European Union Foreign Policy High Commissioner Javier Solana and Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iakovou on the sidelines of the EU's informal Council of Foreign Ministers.
''We discussed Cyprus' European prospect and latest developments and I explained the Greek positions on these issues. I will continue these contacts until the Council is over,'' the deputy foreign minister said.
Valinakis added that developments in the western Balkans, Kosovo and Iraq were discussed during the first meeting between the 25 ministers.
On the question of Kosovo, the EU believes that it must send the appropriate messages to the Kosovar Albanians, meaning that acts of violence distance Kosovo even further from Europe than bringing it closer.
 Greece repeats priority on diplomacy for growth16/04/2004 23:07:43
The new government has set a priority on economic diplomacy for growth, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis told a meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris this week.
Addressing the OECD's development assistance committee, Stylianidis said that Greece was eager to take part in a global endeavour towards growth for emerging economies by aligning its policy with new concepts of economic diplomacy.
 Greek FM Molyviatis communicates with Verheugen on Cyprus issue16/04/2004 22:22:44
Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on Friday night had a telephone conversation with European Commissioner for Enlargement Gunter Verheugen, government sources said.
According to the same sources, Molyviatis asked for guarantees to be given by the European Union that in the event that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's fifth and final plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue is approved by both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities in the separate and simultaneous referenda in Cyprus on April 24, it will be implemented in practice.
Verheugen, the sources said, replied that during the European Parliament's meeting this coming Wednesday, he will commit himself that the European Union,as the guardian of the treaties, will observe their implementation and in the event that they are violated, it will take the appropriate measures.
 Tornatore photo exhibit in Thessaloniki16/04/2004 21:59:37
''The times we live in 'produce' pain rather than thought, ideas, ideologies, or solutions. We really must try and understand what's going on in the world. We really must think before we speak,'' Italian film director Giuseppe Tornatore said on Friday in Thessaloniki where 300 of his photos are on display at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art.
The film director, famous for such movies as ''Cinema Paradiso,'' ''Malena,'' and ''The Legend of 1900,'' among many others, took a series of photos in Siberia five years ago on behalf of the Italian natural gas company Italgas, which was responsible for the distribution of natural gas from Siberia to Southern Europe.
The pictures were taken in the city of Novij Urengoi, which was built just 20 years ago to accommodate the needs of company staff and workers.
The photos have already been displayed at various exhibits throughout Italy and are being shown in Greece for the first time. They will be on display at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art until Sunday, April 18.
 Weather Forecast: Scattered cloud on Saturday16/04/2004 19:34:50
Scattered cloud is forecast in all parts of the country, turning to showers in the west, centre and north. Winds southerly, moderate to very strong. Temperatures in Athens from 11C to 20C and in Thessaloniki between 9C and 18C.
 Foreign Exchange Rates: Monday16/04/2004 19:16:23
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank
U.S. dollar 1.202
Pound sterling 0.673
Danish kroner 7.503
Swedish kroner 9.280
Japanese yen 130.5
Swiss franc 1.566
Norwegian kroner 8.348
Cyprus pound 0.590
Canadian dollar 1.620
Australian dollar 1.632
 Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise in higher turnover16/04/2004 18:50:18
The Athens bourse finished higher in higher turnover and volume, traders said.
The general share index gained 0.90 per cent to end at 2,467.14 points. Turnover was 150.9 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.77 per cent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalisation paper 1.37 per cent higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities gained 1.26 per cent.
Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 210 to 85 with 69 issues remaining unchanged.
On a weekly basis, the general share index rose by 0.63 per cent.
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