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Athens News Agency: News in English, 01-04-05
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Paralympics-Government-Funding05/04/2001 21:26:41
The Greek government will provide 18 billion drachmas to help fund the 2004 Paralympic Games, according to an announcement made on Thursday during the signing of the contract by which Athens will be undertaking the event.
The contract was signed by the president of the Athens 2004 Organising Committee, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, and by International Paralympic Committee President Dr. Robert Stedward.
"The Greek government will be participating in the funding of the 2004 Paralympic Games with 18 billion drachmas. 4,000 athletes from 125 countries will participate in the Paralympics," Daskalaki said, stressing the conviction that both the Olympic Games and the Paralympics will be a great success.
 Athens Medical-Healthcare Park05/04/2001 20:30:13
The Athens Medical Group, which is listed on the Athens bourse, said on Thursday that it would set up a healthcare park in Attica in December, 2003.
Located in Peania, the park will have a budget of 40 billion drachmas, offering 480 beds for patients to be treated in the facility, George Apostolopoulos, the group's founder and president, told reporters.
The Athens Medical Group will build and run the park alone as a joint venture with insurer Interamerican is no longer in force, Apostolopoulos said.
 EU-Shipping-Papoutsis05/04/2001 20:20:05
BRUSSELS (ANA/M.Spinthourakis) - Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis on Thursday proposed that the European Navigational Safety Service should be based in the port of Piraeus.
The minister formally made the proposal at a meeting of European Union maritime transporation ministers held in Luxembourg.
He also told the ministers that Greece backed installing data recorders aboard vessels, equivalent to the 'black box' used in aircraft to monitor operations.
 Car Sales-First Quarter05/04/2001 20:09:26
Sales of passenger cars and taxis sales fell by 7.7 percent in the first quarter of 2001 to 77,253 vehicles against 83,754 in the same period of last year.
This year's first quarter figure is 6.6 percent up on the same period of 1999, when the Greek car sales market began to take off.
In March, the leader was Opel with 3,031 cars sold and a market share of 12.1 percent.
Ranking second was Toyota with 2,412 car sales and a 9.6 percent stake in the market; followed by Fiat at 2,191 sales and 8.8 percent of the market.
 Verelis-Suburban Railway05/04/2001 19:54:25
Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis said on Thursday that a suburban railway for Athens was due to be tendered early this year.
The new railway should be built and fully operational at the end of 2003, Verelis told a news conference.
 Piraeus Bank-Cyprus Development Bank-Acquisition05/04/2001 19:47:47
Piraeus Bank, which is listed on the Athens bourse, is to purchase a 37.8 percent stake in the Cyprus Development Bank, it was announced on Thursday.
Until now, the bank's shareholders were the Cypriot state with an 88 percent stake and the European Investments Bank with a 12 percent holding.
The Cyprus Development Bank, which focuses on investment banking, will hold a share capital increase equivalent to 23.1 billion drachmas with Piraeus Bank acquiring 17.8 billion drachmas' worth of stock.
The remaining amount will be covered by other investors and the Cypriot bank's staff.
The new share composition of the Cyprus Development Bank will be as follows after the share capital rise: Piraeus Bank, 37.87 percent; the European Investments Bank, 6.13 percent; the Cypriot state, 45 percent; and other investors and staff, 11.0 percent.
Under the terms of the share sale agreement, the Cypriot bank will seek listing on the Nicosia bourse, or on another recognised stock exchange.
 Simitis-Social Solidarity-Statements05/04/2001 19:46:30
The government will spent 550-600 billion drachmas during the 2000-2004 fiscal years in support of the financially weaker classes, Prime Minister Costas Simitis announced on Thursday.
He added that at the end of this four-year period social policy expenditures would near the European Union's average expenditures.
Simitis, who was speaking after a cabinet meeting, said the government's policy of supporting specific social groups is aimed at aiding them to confront their problems, which are harder than the average to bear.
He said these groups are the aged long-term unemployed, low incomes households in the rural areas, poor urban households, single parent families with young children and a number of economically sensitive groups of the population such as people with special needs, immigrants returning home, former drug addicts, immigrants, women having to balance their family and professional lives and elderly people unable to meet their basic needs.
Simitis said the government's policy guarantees the permanent and widening linkage of economic progress and social cohesion, adding that this guarantees a more effective Greece with greater stability in progress and support for those in need.
He said that the aim of government policy for the socially weaker is to limit inequalities, support the weaker and handle the negative results created for certain sections of the population by the country's accession to a competitive globalised economy.
"With this programme we are implementing a commitment we have undertaken towards the Greek people. The commitment that there will be a network for handling phenomena of exclusion and poverty," he said, adding that "our policy will acquire a more dynamic social base over the 2002-2004 period."
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Friday05/04/2001 19:35:12
Friday's buying rates
U.S. dollar 374.738
German mark 172.829
French franc 051.531
Pound sterling 538.080
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 45.286
Swedish kroner 36.777
Finnish mark 056.852
Spanish peseta 002.032
Portuguese escudo 001.686
Japanese yen (100) 301.708
Swiss franc 221.065
Norwegian kroner 41.388
Cyprus pound 584.106
Canadian dollar 237.970
Australian dollar 184.109
 Stet Hellas-New Executive05/04/2001 19:15:06
Stet Hellas, one of the country's three mobile phone operators, announced on Thursday that it had appointed Socat Tobani as its new chief financial officer.
Tobani, who will report directly to the managing director, has served as an executive of Telecom Italia since 1997, Stet said in a statement.
From September 1998, he worked as director of business planning and control at Telecom Argentina, a subsidiary of Telecom Italia and France Telecom, the statement said.
 Morgan Stanley-Index05/04/2001 18:38:24
Morgan Stanley Capital International is to announce on Tuesday the new composition of its MSCI-Greece index, which is used as as gauge for placements in Greek stocks by institutional investors abroad.
Set for announcement are the names of the companies, and their weighting in the index, MSCI said in a statement on Wednesday.
The change follows the introduction of new methodology by MSCI for the evaluation of firms.
MSCI has said that on May 31 it will change its classification of the Athens Stock Exchange to that of a mature market from an emerging market.
In its statement, the international investment house said it was releasing its Greece index early to give investors time to study the changes ahead of the shift in the market's status.
 Athens 2004 - NBC - Olympics Coverage05/04/2001 18:38:02
US television giant NBC wont ask for ?events at three in the morning? during the 2004 Olympics in Athens, the networks sports chief said in the Greek capital on Thursday.
Outspoken NBC sports chairman Dick Ebersol maintained that the US broadcaster will stick by its policy of airing taped events during ?prime time? in the United States, as ?these are your Olympics, and you should enjoy them?. Athens and the US East Coast are separated by a seven-hour difference.
?All we asked for, as in Barcelona, is to take advantage of the late events, such as the basketball finals ... were not going to ask for events in the middle of the night,? the veteran television executive and the networks Olympics executive producer said.
 Hellenic Petroleum-Alliance-Talks05/04/2001 18:25:15
Senior executives of Hellenic Petroleum, a heavily traded stock on the Athens bourse, held talks in London on Wednesday with representatives of three energy groups active in central and southeastern Europe.
The three companies were named as MOL of Hungary, PKN Orlen of Poland, and OMV of Austria.
Coordinating the talks, which focused on a possible alliance in the wider European area, was Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, the German banking group.
The three groups had been named in the past as possible players in a share swap deal with state-owned Hellenic Petroleum, which is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Hellenic Petroleum and the three groups all have roughly the same capitalisation.
 Weather Forecast-Friday05/04/2001 17:55:17
Scattered cloud is forecast throughout the country on Friday, turning to rain and storms in the west and spreading to the centre and south. Winds variable, moderate to strong. In the north, temperatures will range from 3C to 18C; on the rest of the mainland and in the Ionian from 7C to 19C; and in the Aegean islands from 10C to 20C. Cloudy and showery in Athens, with temperatures between 9C and 19C. Intermittent cloud in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 6C to 17C.
 ASE-close05/04/2001 16:08:45
Equity prices rebounded strongly on Thursday, pushing the Greek market above the 3,000 level, helped by technical trading and by an improved climate in international markets.
Traders, however, noted that turnover remained low, a sign that investors stayed sidelined awaiting more fundamental incentives before they decided to return in the market.
Shares in the wholesale, publishing, IT and construction sectors attracted heavy demand to score to biggest gains of the day. Telecoms and technology shares were also strong, with Cosmote rising 8.04 percent, Panafon 7.46 percent and Intracom 8.20 percent.
The general index ended 3.11 percent higher at 3,058.73 points, with turnover a low 159.50 million euros, or 54.35 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 2.40 percent higher at 1,761.98 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index jumped 3.66 percent to 371.98 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 332.21 points, up 3.77 percent.
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