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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-08-19

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM sees growth topping 3.8 pct in 2002
  • [02] Consumer group complains over shoddy tourism-related services
  • [03] Ambitious Greek youngster, armed with wit and birth certificate,
  • [04] Gov't seen finalising tax reform package this week
  • [05] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday
  • [06] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise in moderate trade
  • [07] Weather Forecast: Unsettled on Tuesday

  • [01] PM sees growth topping 3.8 pct in 2002

    19/08/2002 21:44:06

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Monday that he saw growth overtaking a target of 3.8 percent for 2002, accelerating to more than 4.0 percent in coming years.

    ''Despite a difficult set of circumstances globally, it seems that not only will Greece attain an anticipated growth rate of 3.8 percent, but will also exceed the target this year,'' Simitis said in a message to mark the annual Thessaloniki International Trade Fair.

    ''And in the years to come, growth will move above 4.0 percent,'' he added.

    Factors that would maintain and accelerate existing high growth were national development and investment plans coupled with European Union funds and projects for the Olympic Games to be hosted by Athens in 2004.

    In addition, private capital from home and abroad would spur investments under the government's privatisation plan and its deregulation of markets, which include energy and telecoms, Simitis said.

    Furthermore, domestic industries were undergoing a restructuring, which also would help to boost growth.

    ''Guaranteed growth rates of the Greek economy have rendered the climate more favourable for new investments and further business activity, while continuing structural changes in the private and public sectors are contributing to an improvement in competitivenesss, also boosting employment,'' Simitis said.

    [02] Consumer group complains over shoddy tourism-related services

    19/08/2002 21:37:27

    The Centre for Consumers Protection (KEPKA) has addressed a letter to the development minister listing a series of complaints and charges by holiday-makers over shoddy tourism-related services in the country, especially in the northern Greece prefecture of Halkidiki.

    In the letter, KEPKA cites complaints over a lack of cleanliness at some rented rooms, questionable quality of food services as well as some many proprietors failure to issue legal receipts for services rendered or sold merchandise. Numerous complaints also cite price gouging.

    KEPKA noted that only two police officers and three trainees have been assigned to the entire prefecture of Halkidiki, a major tourist attraction east of Thessaloniki, for the three summer months.

    The development ministry is responsible for tourism policy and the supervision of tourism-related enterprises.

    [03] Ambitious Greek youngster, armed with wit and birth certificate, reaches London

    19/08/2002 21:33:52

    With a birth certificate in hand and ''weapon'' his wit, a 15-year-old pupil from the island of Thasos in northern Greece, managed to travel to London.

    Nikos Hatzipetrou, an excellent pupil with a particular flare in music and the theatre, learnt that there was a radio station in London, which was seeking talented youth. So he decided to go to the UK capital for an audition and make his dream come true.

    He revealed his plans to his parents and asked them to send him to London. His parents naturally refused, telling him that he was still too young but that they would help him continue his studies in fine arts when he finished high school.

    The youngster though was impatient to enter the world of show business. He therefore left his home on August 9, telling his parents that he was going to the nearby city of Kavala to buy a DVD of Harry Potter. Until the afternoon he spoke on numerous occasions on his mobile phone with his mother and father, but from then on he stopped replying to calls. His parents did not worry initially because his grandmother lives in Kavala so they assumed he went to visit her. Late at night, however, a friend of his showed up at his parents home and handed them a message which he himself had written saying that he was leaving so as to make his dreams come true. His parents immediately filled in a missing persons report at the police station and started the task of locating their child.

    Even though his disappearance was declared to the police authorities just a few hours after his departure from Thasos, the youngster did the "impossible". He travelled to the island of Corfu and there, unknown how, bought a ticket for Italy, boarded a ferryboat and arrived in the neighbouring country. From Italy he went by road to London where he was spotted by a British policeman who took him to the Greek Embassy.

    His parents were notified and his mother departed for the UK capital where she met her son. Nikos Hatzipetrou is in good health and it is expected that he will return to his home in the coming days.

    The question is how the 15-year-old managed to pass through Corfu customs and finally reach London. The only document he had in his possession was a birth certificate which was issued a few weeks before in order for him to take examinations for the English language Proficiency certificate. When the youngster communicated again with his parents on August 9 and told them he was in London, they did not believe him. They could not believe it possible that he went abroad because he had neither a passport or a police identity card.

    [04] Gov't seen finalising tax reform package this week

    19/08/2002 18:21:03

    The government is expected to finalise the third and final phase of its taxation overhaul this week.

    The last phase of the wide-ranging plan is to focus on income tax, including relief for low wage earners and other changes.

    Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis will begin a series of meetings, probably on Tuesday, to hammer out the final details of the reform, which will then be given to the prime minister for approval.

    Among changes expected to be adopted are an increase in the tax-exempt ceiling to 10,000 euros for earnings in 2003 from 8,400 euros in 2002.

    In addition, a higher tax-exempt ceiling, possibly of 30,000 euros, is likely to be introduced for families with four or more children; and a 15-20 percent rise in the deduction for families with three or fewer children.

    Finally, many salary earners and pensioners will not have to make a mandatory tax return each year.

    [05] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday

    19/08/2002 18:05:10

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank

    U.S. dollar 0.987

    Pound sterling 0.643

    Danish kroner 7.486

    Swedish kroner 9.295

    Japanese yen 117.0

    Swiss franc 1.479

    Norwegian kroner 7.441

    Cyprus pound 0.577

    Canadian dollar 1.537

    Australian dollar 1.816

    [06] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise in moderate trade

    19/08/2002 17:52:18

    The Athens bourse finished higher on Monday, with small- and medium capitalisation stocks picking up steam.

    The general share index gained 0.49 percent to end at 2,170.90 points. Turnover was 72.9 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.26 percent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalisation paper 0.96 percent higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities 1.03 percent up.

    Of 358 stocks traded, advances led declines at 229 to 80 with 49 issues remaining unchanged.

    [07] Weather Forecast: Unsettled on Tuesday

    19/08/2002 17:10:54

    Changeable weather is forecast in all parts of the country, with sunny spells and scattered cloud alternating with showers and brief storms, especially on the mainland. Winds north-northeasterly, light to strong, turning very strong in parts of the Aegean. In the north, temperatures will range from 17C to 28C; in the west from 19C to 32C; and in the rest of the country from 20C to 31C. Temperatures in Athens between 22C and 30C; and in Thessaloniki between 20C and 28C.

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