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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-05-03
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Soccer-Greek First Division-Results03/05/2000 21:29:25
With just four matches left before the end of the Greek first division soccer championship season, Olympiakos Piraeus has moved closer to clinching the title, taking a four point lead over arch rivals Panathinaikos who lost away on Wednesday.
Results of Greek first division soccer matches played on Tuesday and Wednesday:
Olympiakos Piraeus-Ionikos 2-0
Apollon Athens-Trikala 5-2
Paniliakos Pyrgos-Aris Salonica 1-2
Panionios Athens-AEK Athens 0-2
Iraklis Salonica-OFI Iraklion 0-3
Ethnikos Astir-Xanthi 1-0
Panahaiki Patras-Panathinaikos 1-0
Playing Thursday: Proodeftiki-PAOK Salonica
Standings, points after 30 rounds:
Olympiakos 80, Panathinaikos 76, OFI 57, AEK 54, Aris 46, Panionios 44, PAOK (29 games), Iraklis 43, Xanthi 38, Ionikos 37, Kalamata, Panahaiki 35, Paniliakos, Ethnikos Astir 34, Kavala 30, Apollon 24, Proodeftiki (29 games) 22, Trikala 18.
 Egypt-Child-Return-Greece03/05/2000 20:34:32
A 20-month-old boy who was being held by his Egyptian grandfather for nine months was finally reunited with his parents in Greece on Wednesday.
The boy was being held by his grandfather in Alexandria, Cairo, to punish his Moslem daughter Cirhan Fathy, 25, for marrying a Christian, Yiannis Diamantis, 33.
After the Greek government intervened in the matter, the child was brought to Athens on a special flight from Alexandria, accompanied by his grandmother and Greece's General Consul, and delivered to his parents.
The Greek foreign ministry in an announcement on Wednesday expressed gratitude to the Egyptian authorities for their major contribution in bringing about the return of the child to his parents.
 Papandreou - Albright - Cem - Meeting03/05/2000 18:50:34
NEW YORK (ANA M. Georgiadou) The long-standing Cyprus problem apparently dominated a half-hour trilateral meeting Greek Foreign Minister held here Tuesday evening with his US and Turkish counterparts, Madeleine Albright and Ismail Cem.
While Cyprus and the recent improvement in Greek-Turkish relations were discussed, Papandreou also told reporters afterwards that he brought up the issue of a recent US State Department report on terrorism and its accompanying negative portrayal of Greek anti-terrorist efforts in earlier talks he held separately with Albright.
?I touched on the issue by saying that I consider the image painted by the (State Department) report, even though it attempts to be descriptive, as unfairly portraying reality; the reality of our country, a country with security, which makes efforts to combat the problem (of terrorism),? he said, adding that both he and Albright agreed, however, over the need for further cooperation on the issue.
Papandreou met with Albright for approximately 25 minutes before the two top officials were joined by Cem.
Returning to the Cyprus issue, Papandreou said afterwards that ?I consider that it (meeting) was a very significant opportunity for our country to showcase the Cyprus problem in light of developments, not just the two rounds of proximity talks that have preceded, but the third round as well, which is expected to start in a few weeks ? It (Cyprus issue) is a significant issue for us, whose positive outcome will definitely contribute to furthering Greek-Turkish rapprochement.?
Asked whether any sign of a change in Ankaras stance vis-a-vis Cyprus was noted, or whether Washington offered to mediate in any of the differences separating Greece and Turkey regarding the island republic, the Greek minister said:
?Indeed, there is interest on the part of the US side for a solution to the Cyprus problem,? he said, adding that Albright conveyed what she called US President Bill Clintons ?personal interest? to follow and ?contribute in any way possible to a resolution of the matter?.
?I cant gauge Turkeys stance, in a few days, though, well have the third round (of proximity talks); well see Mr. (Rauf) Denktashs (the Turkish Cypriot leader) position and well draw our conclusions,? Papandreou added.
Among others, the Greek FM said he also discussed developments in the Balkans, and especially Kosovo, with his Turkish counterpart, stressing that the opinions of countries in the region ?must be reckoned in any decisions taken.?
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Thursday03/05/2000 18:30:04
Following are indicative foreign exchange rates for commercial banks released by the central bank for the next working day.
Thursday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar 370.839
German mark 170.435
 Weather Forecast-Thursday03/05/2000 18:21:07
Sunny weather is forecast in many parts of the country on Thursday, accompanied by high winds.
 Mutual funds-April report03/05/2000 16:40:38
Greece's mutual funds' assets totalled 11.527 trillion drachmas in April, down 3.0 percent from the previous month and 3.12 percent lower compared with a total of 11.933 trillion at the start of the year, Institutional Investors Union figures showed on Wednesday.
A Union report attributed this negative development to a turmoil on the Athens Stock Exchange in the period before and after the general elections.
April's lower figures reflected a 832 billion drachmas decline in domestic equity mutual funds' assets, or a 17.41 percent fall in the month.
The sector's assets, however, remained 5.73 percent higher from January 1, 2000.
International equity mutual funds' assets also fell while bonds mutual funds' assets rose substantially over the same period.
Equity mutual funds' share of the market shrunk to 31.77 percent, while money market mutual funds raised their share to 45.11 percent.
Three new mutual funds were launched in April to a total of 224 in the country.
The report said that with the exception of all equity and combined asset mutual funds, which showed a negative performance so far this year, all other mutual funds' categories were showing net average gains.
 ADEX-close03/05/2000 16:20:34
Derivatives prices ended lower in subdued trade on Wednesday reflecting a mixed appearance in the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40.
A total of 1,648 futures contracts were traded, worth 6.0 billion drachmas, of which 938 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, with a turnover of 4.4 billion drachmas. The May expiring contract ended at 2,427.50 points, the June at 2,435.50, the July at 2,457 and the September contract at 2,500 points.
A total of 710 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, worth 1.6 billion drachmas. The May expiring contract ended at 557.75 points, the June at 556 and the July contract at 570 points.
 Charles - Mt. Athos - Stranded03/05/2000 15:43:51
Britain's Prince Charles is expected to extend his stay on the autonomous Orthodox monastic community of Mount Athos as inclement weather in the area on Wednesday prevented his departure by speedboat.
Charles had arrived on the northern Greece peninsula Tuesday for a brief visit, deciding however, to remain overnight at the renowned Monastery of Vatopedi.
According to reports, winds in the northern Aegean reached the 8 Beaufort mark on Wednesday, leading the local port authority station to ban the sailing of vessels in the vicinity.
Rough seas also forced a luxury yacht owned by Greek shipping tycoon Yannis Latsis to seek shelter elsewhere on the peninsula. The vessel, reportedly carrying Charles' long-time companion Camilla Parker Bowles, had been anchored about 500 metres off Mount Athos' coast, as females are traditionally forbidden from visiting the peninsula -- dedicated for centuries by the Orthodox faith to the Virgin Mary. Charles is on a tour of the Aegean aboard the elderly shipping magnate's yacht.
Although reports on Charles' itinerary remain sketchy, the fact that the Prince of Wales began a tour of other monasteries on Mount Athos in the morning could spell a more extended stay on the peninsula.
 ASE-close03/05/2000 15:36:23
Equity prices ended Wednesday's highly volatile session slightly higher on the Athens Stock Exchange with the general index unable to break the 4,400 level for the second time this week.
Traders said the market ignored a positive recommendation by the European Commission on Greece's bid to join the euro zone.
The general index ended at 4,381.14 points, up 0.30 percent, off the day's highs of 4,431.90 and the day's lows of 4,330.75 points. Turnover was an improved 110 billion drachmas. The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended at 2,465.21 points, up 0.17 percent and the FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 0.14 percent to 581.40 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 740.27 points, off 1.26 percent.
 Papantoniou-Greece-EMU03/05/2000 14:38:44
The European Commission's recommendation to the European Council and the EU Finance Ministers' Council is positive and includes no calls for structural changes or anything else, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Wednesday in Athens.
Papantoniou said the Greek government "has announced its economic programme, period".
"Our programme will benefit all consumers, as the liberalisation of the power, energy and telecommunication markets will lead to lower prices," he said.
Commenting on the pressures faced by the single European currency in international foreign exchange markets, Papantoniou said that its current weakness could facilitate the Union's policies, namely, those aimed at speedier economic growth and social cohesion.
Papantoniou said he was "very satisfied" with the European Commission's recommendation and insisted that it included no calls for further measures.
Commenting on the European Central Bank's assessment report on the Greek economy, he said it resembled other international institutions' reports and that it included notifications.
"We, however, have given our responses, even on the issue of privatisations, through our policy statement," Papantoniou said.
He stressed that Greece was entering EMU on its own merits, fulfilling all convergence criteria, with the inflation rate in March at 2.0 percent, down from a criterion of 2.4 percent; the fiscal deficit at 1.6 percent of GDP, compared with a criterion of 3.0 percent; and long-term interest rates at 6.4 percent, against a criterion of 7.2.
Papantoniou stressed that the European Commission's report underlined that Greece has achieved a high rate of sustainability in macro-economic figures.
"Our country has covered four times more distance than the 11 founding members of the euro in the last six years, and Greece will participate simultaneously in the official circulation of the euro currency on January 1, 2002," he said.
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