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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 04-07-23
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 THE OLYMPIC FLAME ARRIVED IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 23 July 2004 (17:52 UTC+2)
The Olympic Flame arrived in Kalamaria, Thessaloniki at 5pm this afternoon and was warmly received by the local residents.
The Olympic Torch Relay will take place in the following hours in the streets of all eastern municipalities of the city of Thessaloniki and the Olympic Flame will arrive at the White Tower, the city landmark, later this evening after being held by a total of 197 torchbearers. The players of the Olympic basketball team will light the Olympic altar.
The ceremony will be launched with the Olympic and national anthems in the presence of Athens 2004 President Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalakis and will be completed with dances, fireworks displays and a music concert.
 THE ND PARTY CONGRESS OPENS TODAYAthens, 23 July 2004 (13:49 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis will address New Democracy's 6th Party Congress today. He will present his vision for a strong Greece in the European Union and outline his government's policy.
Mr. Karamanlis will stress that his government will continue its course on the new directions that are being opened for a new and modern Greek society. At the same time, he will refer to the new course followed by New Democracy referring to social issues.
The three-day party congress will open this afternoon at the Anthousa Conference Center. Among the formal guests will be former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing and European People's Party President Mr. Martens. For the first time after 11 years Antonis Samaras will attend the party congress, while honorary party President Konstantinos Mitsotakis will not be present.
The new party Central Committee will be elected within the framework of the party congress proceedings.
 THE ZEPPELIN MADE A TEST FLIGHT OVER ATHENSAthens, 23 July 2004 (14:24 UTC+2)
The high-tech airship made its test flight over Athens this morning with a five-day delay due to the strong winds that were blowing in the region.
The airship is equipped with high-tech sensors and high definition cameras and constitutes a complementary security measure within the framework of the Olympic Games.
The 50meter long airship will fly over Athens for at least 20 hours daily and its cameras will record the city offering detailed pictures due to their great magnification ability.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 23 July 2004 (16:52 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.25% at 2322.39 points, while the volume of transactions was small at 70.8 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 212 had gains and 85 had losses, while the value of 105 stocks remained unchanged.
 GREEK MINISTER OF LABOR DELIVERED OLYMPIC VILLAGE TO ATHENS 2004 PRESIDENTAthens, 23 July 2004 (15:14 UTC+2)
The Olympic Village, the largest venue of the 2004 Olympic Games was delivered yesterday to ATHENS 2004 President, Gianna Angelopoulos Daskalaki, by the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Panos Panagiotopoulos.
The ceremony at Thracomakedones was attended by representatives of the Church, politicians, people of sports, scientists, labour and technical personnel, and ATHENS 2004 administrators.
Mrs. Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki praised the Village as a model housing area, which is really a hospitality centre for the athletes of the world. It is concrete proof that we keep the promise we made in 1997, that athletes will be the focus of our efforts. The president announced that the Olympic Village will open on 30 July to welcome all the athletes who will be arriving in Athens.
Mrs. Angelopoulos also spoke of the importance and the practical value of the venue, which will host 16,000 athletes and delegation members. She told her audience:
The Village will be fully operational for 34 days, round the clock. Over 10,000 people will be employed there at Games time. There will be 366 functional buildings with 2292 apartments - amounting to 8,814 rooms and 17,428 beds - in an area of 1,240,000 square metres. It is the most spacious of any Olympic accommodation venues so far, with 16 sq m to every athlete.
This is also the first time that the training sites [at Dekeleia] have been adjacent to the Olympic Village, so that athletes have direct access. Most importantly, after the end of Olympic and Paralympic games, the Village will be given to the beneficiaries of the Workers Housing Association.
In a few months, some 2,500 families will be given the chance to live in this exemplary estate, the first of its kind in Greece.
 THE OLYMPIC FLAME ARRIVES IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 23 July 2004 (14:58 UTC+2)
The Olympic Flame continues its journey and passing through Moudania, Nea Triglia, Epanomi, Mihaniona, and Thermi, it will finally enter Thessaloniki this afternoon with the White Tower as its destination, where it is expected to have a sensational reception from the citizens, headed by their mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos.
The Olympic altar will be kindled in front of the White Tower by the players of the national basketball team, who will receive the Flame, at the start of Vasilissis Olgas Avenue, from the hands of veteran soccer star Giorgos Koudas.
Celebrations will go on late into the night with a gala concert by Eleni Tsaligopoulou and Nikos Portokaloglou.
Yesterday, the Olympic Flame got as far as the garden that went down into the sea, the poet's description of Halkidiki - another step on its long journey round the world and back to its final destination, the Athens Olympic Stadium and the XXVIIIth Olympic Games.
The Flame left Kilkis yesterday at noon, to reach Langadas. In this area there are two large lakes, Koronia and Volvi, forming a wider ecosystem listed for protection under the RAMSAR- NATURA 2000 Convention.
Torchbearer and popular singer Antonis Remos lit the Olympic altar in Macedonia Square, cheered on by a crowd of his fellow-northerners who had gathered to watch the event.
Thirty-year-old Paralympic victor Kostas Gasparidis (fifth in the 1500m and sixth in the 800m at Sydney) was one of the Torchbearers at Langada.
Twenty five-year-old former Basketball player Olga Papacharitou also carried the Flame.
Forty-year-old former athlete and present Basketball coach Ioannis Grigoroudis spoke of the joy of participating in the process of a fantastic event.
Langadas mayor Ioannis Karagiannis greeted the Flame in what he called a celebration of optimism, joy, brotherhood, and unblemished interest in participation. The events held at Langadas continued with traditional dances and songs by members of cultural associations in folk dress.
The Flame reached Polygiros, Chalkidiki's capital, after traveling through the area of ancient Olynthos.
Champion hammer thrower Alexandros Papadimitriou kindled the Olympic altar at the Six Springs Square. He had taken time off from the Olympic training he is doing in his native land, and was cheered on by a crowd of his fellow townspeople.
Vasileia Boulaki-Papamaximou, member of the national track & field team in 1973 with national honours in the 200m, is now a teacher of Physical Education in the schools of Polygyros.
Nikitas Katsiakoris, teacher of Olympic Education, referred to the worldwide journey of the Flame.
Thirty six-year-old gymnast and former volleyball athlete in the National 'A' Team Anastasia Siouta-Tsironga was very stressed by the feelings created by her participation in the Torchbearing.
The mayor of Polygyros, Nikolaos Vassilakis, in a brief speech, said: Halkidiki and Polygyros are glad because once more, a link is created in the Olympic chain that unites Hellenism from antiquity to today. Under a heavy spiritual shadow of Aristotle, this child of Halkidiki, we realized the great burden of responsibility that drives us to show the world once more the ancient Greek Spirit. He added: "The joy of Halkidiki is justified. It has had the chance to participate once again, as it did in the classic antiquity, in the national organizing effort of the Olympic Games. The only promise we can make is to continue this tradition and empower the institution of the Olympic spirit, by rededicating it to its values and the ethic of rationality which Aristotle gave to the world.
Events in Polygyros reached their peak with performances of choruses by Aristophanes and ended with a concert by Babis Tsertos.
 THE BRITISH PRIME MINISTER WISHES TO WATCH THE OLYMPIC GAMES IN ATHENSLondon, 23 July 2004 (16:41 UTC+2)
British Prime Minister Tony Blair wishes to be present in the Olympic Games in Athens according to British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who made the statement in the meeting he had in London yesterday with his Greek counterpart Petros Moliviatis.
In the talks they had the main topics under discussion were the Cyprus issue, developments in Iraq and the Middle East and the issue of the Olympic Games' security.
The British Foreign Minister expressed formally his government's absolute satisfaction for the security measures taken by Greece on the occasion of the Olympic Games in Athens. He also stressed that the British government is certain that the Olympic Games in Athens will be absolutely successful and secure.