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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-05-24
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Missing Children-Internet-New site24/05/2000 21:54:27
A new High-Tec information age hope is to be born for missing children on Thursday, May 25 the U.S. National Missing Childrens day, through the creation of an interactive Internet site aiming to collect data for the location and recovery of children that were forcibly separated from their parents.
The new site can be found at the electronic address www.childlo.st and was based in Birmingham, Britain. Its aim is to ?attract an estimated three million pairs of eyes worldwide who will be able to have immediate contact with a staff of dedicated individuals running this urgently needed service,? a press release of the Cyberteam Ltd, running the site noted.
This service will include profiles in detail of lost children and DNA checking to ensure there are no false identification. The funding for the site was solely provided by Cyberteam, which is requesting that volunteers offer their help in promoting, building and further developing the site.
 PM-New ID cards-Decision24/05/2000 21:05:50
Authorities will not collect data that surpass the aim of a state identification card, which is none other than the facilitation of the communication of citizens with the state, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Wednesday, in response to a question tabled in Parliament.
The Authority for the Protection of Personal Data issued its decision noting that the state identification cards should not include the religious affiliation, as well as other personal data included in the police identification cards used to date.
?The philosophical stand, the religious beliefs, and the sensitive data reflect parts of the personality of citizens, which regard their internal world and are not necessary in fulfilling the aim of the identification card,? Simitis said.
?We should, at last, accept that it is a conquest of our civilisation the fact that the state is not interested today for such data, as did happen in other times, which we know of,? the premier added.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Thursday24/05/2000 19:00:15
Following are indicative foreign exchange rates for commercial banks released by the central bank for the next working day.
Thursdays rates (buying)
U.S. dollar 367.437
German mark 170.917
 Weather Forecast-Thursday24/05/2000 18:26:04
Scattered cloud is forecast throughout the country on Thursday, possibly turning to intermittent storms on high ground in Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace. Winds northerly, light to strong.
 ASE-close24/05/2000 16:39:13
Equity prices came under heavy pressure to end sharply lower on the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, remaining on a downward course for the third consecutive session.
Dealers attributed the decline to a rush of small investors to close open positions in the market and said that Wednesday's fall was an overreaction to Tuesday's sharp drop in the Nasdaq market.
Analysts said that Thursday's session would be extremely critical for the market as it could offer more proof of a change in market sentiment.
Shares in the investment and the parallel sectors were particularly hit. The general index ended at 4,551.12 points, off 2.59 percent, but off the day's lows of 4,532.58 points. Turnover was a moderate 197 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.79 percent lower at 2,527.29 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 3.81 percent to 659.11 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 907.11 points, off 7.38 percent.
 Federation of Greek Industries-new board24/05/2000 16:26:06
The Federation of Greek Industries (SEB), the country's employers' union, on Wednesday elected its new board signalling a changing of the guard at Greece's largest business union.
Odysseus Kyriakopoulos - chief executive at Silver & Varyte - was elected new chairman of the board, while Lefteris Antonakopoulos - a former Shell executive - was elected chairman of the executive committee.
Nikolaos Analytis, Elias Valavanis, Anastasios Gemelos, Andreas Kouniniotis and Vassilios Takas were elected vice-chairmen and Christos Fyrogenis was elected secretary-general.
Bank of Greece's governor, Lucas Papademos, addressing SEB's meeting said that "a new economic environment of opportunities and challenges for the Greek industry lies ahead following the adoption of the euro currency and a restructuring of financial markets and the business sector in the European Union".
The Greek central banker said that the only way to deal with these challenges was to improve economic and business competitiveness.
The state must and will contribute in efforts to improving the economy's international competitivenss and for a more efficient function of markets. To achieve these aims it would need a series of structural reforms, including measures for speedier liberalisation of markets, completion of a privatisation programme and limiting the state's role in the economy, Papademos said.
The central bank's governor said that the cost of money for businesses has fallen in recent years, with short-term interest rates around 8.5 percent and long-term rates around 12 percent.
Papademos predicted that short-term rates would fall by around 4-4.5 percentage points by the end of the year.
Referring to the euro exchange rate, Papademos said "it is clearly undervalued against the US dollar" based on economic fundamentals between the EU and the US and predicted "a recovery of the euro's external value, although the timing was unknown".
SEB's new board chairman, Odysseus Kyriakopoulos, addressing the meeting said that the country could face unpleasant surprises if its EMU entry did not combined measures to support economic competitiveness, rapid completion of infrastructure projects and liberalisation of the energy market.
 Acropolis - Admission - Price hike24/05/2000 15:32:09
The influential agency that oversees the countrys archaeological sites on Wednesday announced a hefty increase in the price of admittance to the Acropolis, Greeces best-known monument and by far its most frequently visited tourist attraction.
The new price set at 4,000 drachmas, or about US$10.5 includes entrance into most of the Acropolis adjacent archaeological sites, such as the ancient Agora, the Roman Agora, the Kerameikos site, the Hill of Philopappou and Hadrians Library, among others.
Free admittance is foreseen for individuals under 18 as well as reduced rates for senior citizens (over 65).
For other museums and archaeological sites around Greece, the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) unveiled the following prices: 1,000 drachmas for major sites; 1,500 for museums; 2,000 for the top attractions and 3,000 for Athens Archaeological Museum.
 Merchant Marine Ministry-shipping rates24/05/2000 15:07:35
The privatisation of Piraeus Port Organisation and the port authority of Thessaloniki will move ahead, Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis said on Wednesday.
"I have to examine all dossiers and then take the necessary actions in cooperation with National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou," he added.
The two ministers are expected to meet Thursday morning to discuss a demand by the Union of Coastal Shipping Owners for a 10 percent increase in shipping rates to deal with a sharp rise in fuel prices.
Papoutsis also unveiled proposals aimed to better servicing passengers during the summer period. This envisage: increased coastal shipping schedules, better links between islands, tighter security inspections for ship safety and the quality of services, operation of a single search and rescue coordination centre and increased monitoring to protect the marine environment and coasts.
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