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Athens News Agency: News in English, 01-10-01
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Simitis, Karamanlis messages on World Day for the Elderly01/10/2001 22:10:02
Prime Minister Costas Simitis and main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis on Monday sent messages marking World Day for the Elderly.
Simitis in his message promised that he would soon announce a new national policy for the elderly which would secure their rights and prosperity.
The prime minister said that the model of the welfare state devotes a significant part of its care for the elderly and aims mainly at improving their income and securing their good health.
Karamanlis on his part said Greece's elderly people were in despair and that the government's social policy forced the majority of them to the margin of society.
The main opposition leader said that the elderly are given "hunger pensions" which he termed provocative.
Karamanlis called for the adoption of a new policy which would guarantee a dignified standard of living for the elderly.
 CNN rejects as baseless allegation circulated by e-mail01/10/2001 21:17:36
The CNN in a news release rejects as baseless and ridiculous an allegation being circulated by e-mail and the internet claiming that CNN televised 10-year-old videotape to illustrate Palestinians celebrating in the wake of the horrific September 11 tragedies in the United States.
CNN applauds the Universidad Estatal de Campinas-Brasil (UNICAMP) one of whose students was the author of the original e-mail for setting the record straight through its statement of September 17, the news release said.
The videotape in question was shot in East Jerusalem by a Reuters TV camera crew on September 11, it also added.
 British newspaper says 2004 Olympiad security 'impressive'01/10/2001 21:13:48
LONDON (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis) - A report in the British Sunday newspaper "Independent" commenting on counter-terrorism measures to be taken in order to ensure the security of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games said they are "impressive."
The "Independent" and the British newspaper "Guardian", giving coverage to a visit to Athens by the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) coordinating committee, focused on the considerable cost the Greek government will have to face in handling the Olympiad's security and tackling terrorism.
Alan Hubbard of the "Independent", who met with Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis, said the measures have also pleased IOC President Jacques Rogge.
"The Greek government have pledged US$600 million for a three-year security programme including a special full-time force of 50,000 overseen by permanent advisers from Scotland Yard's Special Branch, the CIA and Mossad," the "Independent" wrote.
Hubbard also said the Greek authorities are considering inviting men from the British SAS special forces to train Greek police in handling airline hijacks and terrorist attacks at airports.
An article by Duncan Mackay in the "Guardian" entitled "Olympics pay a high price for security" said senior officials of the IOC said after completing three days of intense meetings in Athens they were satisfied with security arrangements for the 2004 Olympics.
"The Greek government has put a three-year security plan in place which envisages the creation of an Olympics elite force, comprising members of the world's best security organisations. It will include officials from Scotland Yard, the CIA and Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, and an extensive surveillance and intelligence system," he wrote.
The report further said "how draconian security will be during the games was illustrated during the latest visit of the IOC's 43-member co-ordination commission following the terrorist attacks in the United States. A ring of steel was thrown around the five-star hotel where the meetings took place, with armed police officers mingling with guests."
 Telecoms agency says no to mobile operators in 'Big Brother' scrap01/10/2001 20:43:03
The National Telecommunications and Post Office Commission on Monday turned down a request by the country's three mobile phone operators to be awarded short, easy-to-remember phone numbers on which customers could get the latest information on a controversial TV reality show.
The commission said that the abbreviated numbers were in short supply, and would be kept for the provision of information on social services.
The three operators - Cosmote, Panafon and Telestet - had asked for the numbers to give their customers a blow by blow account of the action in Big Brother, a programme that has brought accusations of sensationalism and voyeurism.
In the Greek version of a show broadcast in a number of countries, contestants locked in a house are filmed in their day-to-day interaction for viewers to watch.
 Official Putin visit to Athens in December01/10/2001 20:08:40
MOSCOW (ANA) An official visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Greece is scheduled for December, the foreign ministers of both countries verified here on Monday before commenting on the brewing international campaign and cooperation against terrorism.
Both Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov reiterated that the fight against international terrorism is aimed only at the terrorists, and most definitely not against Islam or Muslim countries, a statement repeated by most of the Wests leaders over the past week.
Along those lines, Greece and Russia agreed to better cooperate in the anti-terrorism field by sharing information, especially as pertaining to activities by suspected terrorist groups in the Balkans.
In a direct reference to the Balkans, Ivanov also cautioned that developments in the NATO-administered Yugoslav province of Kosovo must be closely monitored, ?so that another Afghanistan isnt created in the Balkans".
Moreover, Ivanov emphasised that Moscows policy vis-a-vis Chechnya, the rest of the Caucasus and Central Asia was firmly vindicated by the shocking terrorist attacks in the United States, while he added that Russia was working with Washington in the humanitarian aid and intelligence-gathering sectors.
Papandreou also expressed Athens conditional support over a Russian proposal to convene an international conference focusing specifically on the often strife-torn region. He said Greece would back such a conference if two conditions were met, namely, that no new claims were unveiled and considered. The second condition would be adherence to standing international principles, such as the all-important concept of regional borders inviolability.
 Athens Bourse Close: Stocks drop, dampened by markets abroad01/10/2001 19:12:31
The Athens bourse finished lower on Monday in moderate trade, dragged down by adverse sentiment in markets abroad.
The general share index lost 1.18 percent to end at 2,199.70 points. Turnover was 114.75 million euros.
In the previous session, bulls had driven the market with a last-minute round of buying taking the general index higher.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 1.18 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalisation paper 1.45 percent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities 0.57 percent down.
Declines led advances at 231 to 93 with 36 issues remaining unchanged.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday01/10/2001 19:03:02
Indicative tourist buying rates
U.S. dollar 370.420
German mark 172.829
French franc 051.531
Pound sterling 547.495
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 45.456
Swedish kroner 34.729
Finnish mark 056.852
Spanish peseta 002.032
Portuguese escudo 001.686
Japanese yen (100) 309.547
Swiss franc 228.415
Norwegian kroner 041.806
Cyprus pound 588.433
Canadian dollar 234.627
Australian dollar 182.365
 Illegals intercepted off Hios01/10/2001 18:56:49
Five Afghani illegal immigrants were arrested just off an eastern Aegean islands coastline early Monday morning as they were allegedly attempting to land on Greek territory.
As in the case of numerous such instances over the past two months, the migrants had rowed across a narrow strait separating the Turkish coast with the island of Hios aboard a flimsy inflatable dinghy.
According to authorities, the five men had attempted to land on a beach near the Karfa site.
In a separate incident further south and near the Dodecanese island of Kos, a 19-year-old Turk was apprehended aboard a fishing vessel in Greek waters as he attempted to flee towards the Turkish coast in the early morning hours.
According to the coast guard, the youthful skipper of the vessel later confessed to disembarking an undetermined number of migrants on the isle, an increasingly popular destination for Third World migrants attempting to enter EU member Greece from Turkey.
Coast guard vessels initially locked on to the craft after it was spotted heading for the neighbouring country with its navigational lights turned off.
The suspect was identified as Ibrahim Inam, although no identification documents were found on him, reports state.
 Weather Forecast: Mostly sunny on Tuesday01/10/2001 16:58:40
The weather will be sunny in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with the southwest likely to see showers. Winds variable, light to moderate, turning strong in parts of the Aegean. On the northern mainland, temperatures will range from 12C to 27C; on the rest of the mainland and the Ionian from 15C to 30C; and in the Aegean islands from 18C to 27C. Mostly sunny in Athens, with temperatures between 18C and 30C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 15C to 27C.
 Papantoniou tables 2002 draft budget plan in parliament01/10/2001 16:30:29
Consumer spending cuts worth 50 billion drachmas and a provision of a general government surplus totalling 1.3 percent of the country's GDP, up from 0.5 percent this year, were the main targets of a 2002 draft budget submitted to parliament by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Monday.
The draft budget envisages an alternative scenario for next year's fiscal policy highlighting the government's efforts to deal with a likely impact of the tragic events of September 11 on the world economy.
The draft budget was tabled with the Economic Affairs Committee of the parliament.
The scenario envisages a rising general government surplus in 2002 to 1.3 percent the country's gross domestic product, up from 0.5 percent in 2001, in line with provisions of a Stability and Development Pact for Greece.
Papantoniou, however, said the alternative scenario was based on optimistic views and he did not exclude future alterations in case of further destabilising developments in the world economy.
The final plan of next year's budget is expected to be submitted in parliament in November.
The draft budget submitted in parliament on Monday envisages that regular budget's revenues will increase by 7.4 percent while spending will rise by 2.3 percent next year. Both estimates are based on a precondition that Greece's GDP will grow by 4.0 percent in 2002, down from a 4.6 percent initial estimate made by the economy ministry before the terrorist attack on the US.
Papantoniou said that the government's incomes policy envisages total pay rises of 6.8 percent next year, exceeding an estimated 3.0 percent annual inflation rate.
 Lebanese president received by Stephanopoulos in Athens01/10/2001 15:09:03
Lebanese President Emile Lahud was received at the presidential mansion by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Monday, the first day of an official visit to Greece by the Lebanese head of state.
During their one-hour meeting, delegations from the two countries signed a bilateral agreement on educational issues and a cooperation protocol for the Greek and Lebanese foreign ministries.
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