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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 02-01-02
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 NEWS IN ENGLISHTHE VOICE OF GREECE
2/1/2002 1:36:00 μμ
- Weather forecast
- Euro, a reality as Greece returns to work
- President Stefanopoulos received the country's political, religious and judicial leadership on New Year's day
- Greek rescuers locate immigrant ship off Crete
- EU Spanish presidency
- Argentina crisis
 Weather forecastRain and snow is forecast for most parts of the country. Winds northerly, strong to gale force at sea. In Athens temperatures will range between -1C to 5C and in Thessaloniki, from -8C to 1C. There is ban on ferry routes from the ports of Peireus and Rafina due to gale force winds while deterioration of the weather is expected from tomorrow.
 Euro, a reality as Greece returns to workEurope's new euro notes and coins face their first major road test today as businesses reopen following the New Year holiday and people start using the brightly coloured money in earnest. The 12 eurozone states have abondoned their national coinage and adopted the common currency with no major glitches in the largest switchover in history. Some problems might arise in the circulation of the euro in Italy and France due to a planned strike by bank and post office staff in France and a one day stoppage by workers at Italy's central bank.
Greece was the first continental European soil, along with Finland to inaugurate the use of the euro, as Prime Minister Costas Simitis officially announced the circulation of the new currency of the 12 Euro-zone European Union member-states, exactly at the turn of the New Year.
"I wish a happy New Year, a New Year with the euro", Prime-minister Simitis said addressing a special event hosted by the Bank of Greece at its central offices in Athens. The Greek premier noted the significance of these historic times for the future of the country and of Europe and spoke of a more integrated European Union which will use the new currency as a vehicle of progress and prosperity.
Simitis withdrew a 10-euro bill from an Automated Teller Machine in the bank representing all Greeks in welcoming the use of the new currency.
In an interview with the Athens newspaper "Ta Nea", Prime-minister Simitis stressed that the introduction of the euro gives Greece a unique opportunity to boost its economy and make an effective use of its participation in the EU.
Politicians in general hope the euro will stimulate trade and investment by eliminating foreign exchange costs as well as fuel competition and tame inflation by making it easier to compare prices across the continent.
As of today bank tellers and 75% of the ATM's will provide only euros and stores are expected to offer change in the new money. Till the end of the week all ATM's will have adopted to the new currency.
 President Stefanopoulos received the countrys political, religious and judicial leadership on New Year's dayPresident Kostis Stephanopoulos on yesterday received Greece's political, religious and judicial leadership and exchanged wishes for the New Year.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis was the first to visit the president to exchange wishes for the New Year. The president wished him "success in the government's planning".
Among dignitaries visiting the president were Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis, Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary Aleka Papariga and Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas. Concern over foreign policy is obligatory, Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos said during his New Year address to the Greek armed forces. He also spoke of the euro and Greece's new prospects as a full partner of the other 12 Eurozone-states which will share the new common currency.
 Greek rescuers locate immigrant ship off CreteThe Greek maritime authoritie yesterday located a ship believed to be carrying about 230 illegal immigrants off the island of Crete after the vessel issued a distress signal. The ship is heading to the south coast of the island of Crete. Thousands of would be immigrants, mostly from Asia and the Middle East try to enter Greece each year. EU Spanish presidency. From January 1st, Spain holds the rotating 6-month presidency of the EU and the center-right government of Jose Maria Aznar has promised to make fighting terrorism his top priority over the next six months. Spain has been a driving force behind major European initiatives that are already underway- the EU wide arrest warrant and a EU list of terrorist groups which could result in the bank accounts of named organisations and individuals being frozen. The continuing US led campaign against those held responsible for the September 11 attacks is likely to dominate foreign and internal security policy during the coming months -so it was a realistic priority choice for Spain.
 Argentina crisisArgentinas Congress named Eduardo Duhaldo, an ex-provincial governor on the populist wing of the Peronist party, as a new President to try to save the country from a 4-year recession.
The first French soldiers contributing to an international security force arrived in Kabul, the Afgan capital, today.