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Athens News Agency: News in English, 01-04-02
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 US-Greece-Kambanellis02/04/2001 23:22:12
NEW YORK (ANA - T. Ellis) - The national month of poetry, celebrated all over the US with a series of literary events, was inaugurated on Sunday with the presentation of the work and life of Greek playwright Iakovos Kambanellis at the Holocaust Museum in Washington.
The event was organised by the Holocaust Museum in cooperation with the press office of the Greek embassy in Washington at the museum's main amphitheatre. The public was moved by the personal ordeal of the well-known Greek playwright and academic and by extracts from his work entitled "Mauthausen."
Kambanellis was introduced to the public by Greece's Ambassador to the US Alexandros Filon, who spoke of his theatrical plays, film scenarios and poems and thanked the Holocaust Museum for cooperation it has developed with the Greek embassy.
 Greece-Balkans-Forum-Greek premier02/04/2001 21:20:38
Security and prosperity in the Balkans will be the result of peace and cooperation, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Monday during his address to a forum on Balkan reconstruction, in Thessaloniki.
?This will be the only way to transform the Balkans from a region of tension, conflict and insecurity to a place that contributes without difficulty and delays in the course of the European Union's progress,? Simitis said.
He alluded to Greeces course after the Second World War, stressing that its course was irreversible and that modern-day Greece bears no relation to Greece of poverty in the 1950s, as the per capita income of the country ranks it among the 25 most prosperous in the world.
A second such change, he said, was that Greece is now at the heart of the international system, a member of almost all important organisations of local and international scope.
Greece has also become an importer of human resources, he noted, in contrast to a country that was traditionally an exporter of human resources changing the social landscape of the country to a more multi-cultural and pluralist one.
He also spoke of the social policies of the Greek government, calling them the corner stone of the aims of the governments economic policy.
?Our vision is a Greece without social exclusion and discrimination, with a network of protection for the aged and the weak,? Simitis said, adding that the government aims to confront unemployment and to continually upgrade the quality of the services rendered in the health and educational sectors.
He stressed that for Greece to secure a better future for its citizens, the government is forging ahead with the deregulation of markets, decreasing bureaucracy and opening "closed" professions, as well as reforming the taxation system.
The Greek premier also spoke of the Greek reconstruction programme for the Balkans, which he said will have a five-year term and will be funded with 530 million euros.
This programme, he noted, includes financial backing for projects in the sectors of social and economic infrastructures, private investments and services.
He concluded, congratulating the approximately 3,000 Greek businesses that are active in the Balkans and the Black Sea regions.
 Port of Piraeus-Strike02/04/2001 19:30:05
Workers at the port of Piraeus are to launch a 48-hour strike on Wednesday in protest at the dismissal of colleagues from Hellenikon airport, which closed last week.
The strike was called by the Federation of Dockers of Greece, which says its some of its members were fired on opening of the new international airport at Spata, when Hellenikon closed, unions said in a statement on Monday.
The workers are also protesting against a European Union directive that deregulates labour at ports, the statement said.
 Papantoniou-Balkans-Reconstruction02/04/2001 19:09:43
Greece will sign aid agreements soon with Balkan countries that will receive financing for projects under Athens' economic reconstruction plan for the region, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Monday.
The agreements under Greece's five-year reconstruction plan worth 180 billion drachmas are likely to be signed around Easter and will mark activation of the programme, Papantoniou told an international Balkan forum held in the northern port city of Thessaloniki.
He said he believed that Greece's plan would also attact much private capital for the recipient countries.
The Balkan conference is organised by the Association of Northern Greek Industrialists and the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday02/04/2001 18:40:45
Tuesday's buying rates
U.S. dollar 385.333
German mark 172.829
French franc 051.531
Pound sterling 546.967
Irish punt 429.202
Belgian franc 008.379
Luxembourg franc 008.379
Dutch guilder 153.389
Italian lira (100) 017.457
Austrian schilling 024.565
Danish kroner 45.301
Swedish kroner 36.954
Finnish mark 056.852
Spanish peseta 002.032
Portuguese escudo 001.686
Japanese yen (100) 305.003
Swiss franc 221.453
Norwegian kroner 41.948
Cyprus pound 584.066
Canadian dollar 244.809
Australian dollar 186.090
 New airport - Hangar - Problems02/04/2001 18:17:23
The government on Monday blamed various highly publicised operational problems over the past week at the new Athens airport on poor coordination, saying whoever is at fault should apologise to inconvenienced travellers.
In an effort to minimise problems, state-run Olympic Airways (OA)announced a cancellation of seven out of its 75 scheduled flights between Monday, April 2 and Wednesday, April 11 -- half way into Easter Week. Flights to Thessaloniki, Hania, Irakleio, Ioannina, Kos, Santorini, Mykonos, Samos and Rome were cancelled.
Meanwhile, in a related development, Olympic Aviations (OA) recently constructed maintenance hangar was inaugurated on Monday at the new ?Eleftherios Venizelos? airport at the Spata site, east of Athens.
Olympic Aviation is a wholly owned subsidiary of OA -- the countrys national carrier -- and mostly handles domestic air routes in Greece as well as some overseas charter flights.
Asked about the barrage of criticism surrounding the first week of operation at the new airport, Transport Minister Christos Verelis who attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facility -- acknowledged that ?a bad first weekend, where passengers were inconvenienced? was recorded. He added, though, that the serious problems of the first few days were beginning to subside.
Lengthy flight delays along with cancellations, lost baggage, outbound and inbound traffic as well as equipment and communications foul-ups have plagued the new state-of-the-art airports first week of operation.
 Greece - Milosevic arrest02/04/2001 17:03:01
Greece stressed on Monday that the weekend arrest of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic was an ?internal issue? that should be dealt with by the war-ravaged country itself.
A foreign ministry spokesman added that such ?internal procedures ... must be respected by all,? while reiterating that the one-time Yugoslav strongmans incarceration shouldnt cause more unrest as the Balkan nation, especially as it slowly begins to normalise its international standing.
Asked if the Greek foreign ministry believes Milosevic should be handed over to the UN War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague, spokesman Panos Beglitis said Athens ?cannot dictate to the lawful Yugoslav government what to do?. He did add, however, that Belgrade fully understands its responsibilities as derived from international agreements, the Yugoslav constitution and that countrys laws.
Finally, the spokesman noted that Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou would be briefed over the issue later in the day by visiting Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic and Yugoslav FM Goran Svilanovic.
Both Yugoslav officials are in the Greek capital to attend a three-day roundtable conference bringing together many of the regions political, business and finance leaders, along with several well-known international statesmen.
In a related development, former US defense secretary William Cohen on Monday called Milosevics arrest a ?pleasant development?, as he left a morning meeting with Papandreou.
Cohen is also in Athens to attend the roundtable conference, sponsored by the ?Economist? group.
On his part, Papandreou told reporters that he was satisfied by Yugoslavias cooperation with the international community. In terms of the Milosevic arrest, he said the issue falls within the domain of Yugoslav authorities, justice and political forces, ?any other statement is redundant?.
 ASE-close02/04/2001 16:21:51
Equity prices slid lower on Monday in record-low turnover on the Athens Stock Exchange, with market sentiment undermined by volatility in international markets and worries over developments in an inquest over "bubble-stocks" in the Athens bourse.
Traders said institutional investors, which were significantly active on Friday, remained on the sidelines on Monday pushing turnover to a new record low of around 30 billion drachmas.
The general index ended 0.41 percent lower at 3,032.08 points, off the day's lows of 3,017.07 points. Turnover was 100.47 million euros, or 34.24 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.22 percent off at 1,741.52 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 0.70 percent to 368.65 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 329.41 points, off 0.87 percent.
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