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Athens News Agency: News in English, 01-06-06
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Parliament-Kaklamanis06/06/2001 21:30:54
Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis met on Wednesday with Slovenian President Milan Kucan and Spanish Parliament Deputy President Maria Abaro Rubiales Torejon.
Kaklamanis stressed Greece's steadfast position on the participation of Cyprus in the next stage of European Union enlargement.
He told Kucan the Greek Parliament "will gladly ratify Slovenia's accession agreement with the EU", immediately after or together with the accession of the Republic of Cyprus, regardless of whether the island republic's political problem will have been resolved by then.
The two men also agreed that respect for human rights and existing borders should prevail in southeastern Europe, while peace and stability should be restored.
The issue of Cyprus joiningEuropean structures was also raised by Kaklamanis during his meeting with Torejon, who agreed that Cyprus fulfills conditions for EU accession.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Thursday06/06/2001 19:11:00
Buying rates for Thursday
U.S. dollar 395.668
German mark 172.829
French franc 051.531
Pound sterling 555.320
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 045.325
Swedish kroner 036.632
Finnish mark 056.852
Spanish peseta 002.032
Portuguese escudo 001.686
Japanese yen (100) 327.770
Swiss franc 222.668
Norwegian kroner 042.425
Cyprus pound 586.801
Canadian dollar 259.086
Australian dollar 203.761
 Weather Forecast-Thursday06/06/2001 19:10:26
Sunshine is forecast in many parts of the country on Thursday, turning to heavy showers and storms in areas of the north and centre. Winds variable, moderate. In the north, temperatures will range from 13C to 29C; in the west from 16C to 32C; and in the rest of the country from 18C to 28C. Sunny in Athens, with temperatures between 17C and 31C. Showers or storms in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 16C to 29 C.
 Secondary Bond Market-Close06/06/2001 19:08:58
Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Wednesday finished higher in moderate trade with players focusing on 5-year paper.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.48 percent same as a day earlier.
The yield spread over German bunds was 44 basis points from 45 in the previews session.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totaled 965 million euros (328.8 billion drachmas) from 1.39 billion euros (473 billion drachmas) a trading day earlier.
Sell orders accounted for the bulk of turnover.
 SE defence ministers - FYROM06/06/2001 18:49:22
SE European defence ministers on Wednesday condemned what they called ?continued terrorist actions by extremist elements? in FYROM, as the situation in the neighbouring country dramatically worsened over the last 24 hours following a double ambush by Albanian insurgents that left five soldiers dead.
As expected, the dire situation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) dominated an informal meeting of the regions defence ministers in Thessaloniki, which brought together delegations from Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, trouble-plagued FYROM, Romania, Turkey and Slovenia as well as defence ministers from Italy, the United States and the Ukraine as observers.
In setting the tone for the meeting, FYROM Defence Minister Vlado Buckovski called for a ?minute of silence? for the ?victims of terrorism?, a request that was honored. Afterwards, he launched into a scathing verbal attack against the Albanian insurgents operating in his country, referring to ?sick minds? at one point before leaving the meeting ahead of schedule to return to Skopje.
 Greek stocks find support at 2,900 level06/06/2001 17:28:31
Equity prices fluctuated wildly on the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday only to end slightly lower with the market finding support at the 2,900 level.
Traders said buyers and sellers fought strongly to win the upper hand during the session pushing the general index 1.58 percent higher initially before pushing it 1.0 percent lower later in the day.
The general index finally ended 0.27 percent off at 2,902.83 points.
Once again, trading in blue chip stocks included in the MSCI global index accounted for 60-70 percent of the day's turnover, with banks and telecoms attracting heavy interest. Hellenic Telecoms gained 2.25 percent and Alpha Bank rose 1.39 percent.
Turnover was a moderate 206.41 million euros, or 70.33 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended at 1,694.22 points, off 0.29 percent, the FTSE/ASE 40 index eased 0.48 percent to 327.25 points, and the FTSE/ASE SMALLCAP fell 0.07 percent to 944.25 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 278.88 points, off 0.65 percent.
 DM-US Defence Secretary06/06/2001 17:24:54
Greece's role in southeastern Europe was stressed Wednesday by visiting US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld after talks in Thessaloniki with national defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.
After the meeting, the two officials said they had reaffirmed the excellent bilateral relations between Greece and the US, and Rumsfeld stressed Greece's particular role in S.E. Europe.
Tsohatzopoulos said he had briefed his American counterpart on the need for immediate advancement of a solution to the politicial problem in Cyprus within the framework of the United Nations, and brought up the issue of European security and defence policy, which he said must proceed without delay.
The two officials further agreed on the legal regime governing the activities of US military forces in Greece.
Rumsfeld expressed satisfaction over the constant improvement in Greek-Turkish relations, and intimated that the presence of US troops in the Balkans would continue, since he had ascertained the usefulness of the KFOR during his recent visit to Kosovo.
 Greece has biggest para-economy in EU, IOBE study says06/06/2001 17:24:48
The "para-economy", or black economy, in Greece is the most extensive in the European Union, estimated at 36.7 percent of GDP, according to a study released Wednesday by the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE).
The study on tax evasion and the black economy, conducted by a team of university professors headed by public economy professor at the Pantios University, Nikos Tatsos, estimated the para-economy in Greece at 36.7 percent of GDP, according to 1997 figures, and was comparatively the most extensive in the European Union.
It calculated revenues moved via the black economy at 14-15 trillion drachma.
The study attributed the rise in the para-economy in Greece chiefly to the country's taxation system which it said was "highly centralised and complex", the distribution of the tax burden, which was "inversely progressive", the inefficiency of the tax administration, and the extent of corruption in public services.
 No Cabinet reshuffle in near future, PM says on TV interview06/06/2001 17:24:41
A Cabinet reshuffle was not planned for the near, "predictable" future, prime minister Costas Simitis said late Tuesday, adding that government policy in all sectors would continue along the same principles as today.
Simitis also said during an interview on state-run NET television that he would lead the ruling PASOK ruling party in the next general elections, intimating however that this would the last time he would seek the premiership.
Simitis denied criticism that the government had reached an impasse, conceding, though, that there was a problem regarding the speed with which decisions were taken and pledging to tackle this problem personally.
 Italy honors Greece's ex-press attache in Rome06/06/2001 17:24:33
ROME (ANA - L. Hatzikyriakos) -- Greeces longtime press attache at its embassy in Rome, Yiannis Zisimos, has been honored by the Italian state for his efforts to broaden Greek-Italian relations.
Zisimos was presented with the Commendatore Della Repubblica Italiana Medal and an honorary diploma by Italian envoy Augustino Matis, at a ceremony held at the Italian embassy in Athens.
Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi had bestowed the medal.
Zisimos served as the Greek embassys press attache from 1982 to 1995, before returning to Greece to join the private sector.
 Parliament approves first reading of organised crime bill06/06/2001 17:24:27
Parliament late Tuesday approved the first reading of a bill on "protection of the citizen from organised crime", with the backing of the ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy parties.
The 300-member House approved the bill "in-principle" shortly after midnight, after the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and Coalition of Left and Progress (SYN) walked out of the debate in opposition to the bill, which they claimed would curtail citizens' civil rights.
Under Greek parliamentary proceedings, there are three stages to enacting new legislation. A bill is first approved "in principle" (first reading), followed by an article-by-article debate and approval, before a vote is taken on the finalised bill.
Debate on the bill continued on Wednesday, with several ruling PASOK MPs taking a strongly critical view of their government's proposals.
A strong argument in favour of the bill, meanwhile, was made by main opposition New Democracy deputy Dora Bakoyianni, especially in her reference to her late husband Pavlos Bakoyiannis who was himself a victim of a terrorist attack by the elusive "November 17" group in the 80s.
 Funeral for actor Dinos Iliopoulos in Athens06/06/2001 17:24:18
Veteran comic actor Dinos Ilioupoulos was buried in Athens on Wednesday at the Athens first cemetery, in the presence of his wife and two daughters, all three dressed in white, as well as countless of his fellow actors, both young and old.
The funeral was held at public expense and the state was represented by Culture Ministry General Secretary Lina Mendoni.
Iliopoulos had asked that people send donations to be sent to the Actor's House instead of wreaths and flowers at his funeral, but wreaths were sent nevertheless by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, main opposition New Democracy president Costas Karamanlis, the head of the Coalition of the Left and Progress party Nikos Constantopoulos and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.
Iliopoulos, a firm favourite of the Greek public in countless stage and screen appearances, died on Monday at the age of 86.
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