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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-11-04
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Simitis congratulates Turkey's Erdogan, invites him to visit Athens04/11/2002 23:27:55
Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday congratulated Turkey's Justice and Development Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his sweeping election victory in Sunday's general elections in the neighbouring country.
During a telephone conversation, Simitis also invited the Turkish leader to Greece, an invitation Erdogan accepted. The two men agreed to initiate diplomatic preparation for the visit.
The results of the Turkish elections, and Erdogan's victory were at the focus of a meeting between Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis and chaired by Simitis.
Following the meeting, Papandreou said that the meeting was only to evaluate the latest developments, first and foremost in Turkey itself.
''The Turkish people chose the party and the leader that it wanted to govern the country,'' he said, adding that as the European Commission said the elections in the neighbouring country were conducted in a democratic fashion.
Greece is ready to cooperate with the new Turkish government, ''to continue the policy of rapprochement, as well as the effort to create an jump, a new step in our relations, especially in the efforts for the resolution of the Cyprus problem,'' Papandreou said.
These were the points stressed by Simitis during his telephone conversation with Erdogan, who responded that he ''would like to see an even more productive cooperation between the two countries''.
 Grossman: Greece in the int'l limelight due to Olympics, EU presidency04/11/2002 23:27:49
US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Marc Grossman on Monday evening echoed his earlier high-profile statements outlining Washingtons support for both Cyprus imminent EU accession as well as Turkeys European prospects, while he also appeared confident of Athens ability to host a safe Olympic Games.
Grossman spoke at a downtown Athens hotel during a banquet hosted by the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce, and following a day filled with numerous contacts with Greek foreign and political leadership -- talks mostly centring on the timely Cyprus issue and the situation in Turkey following Sundays closely watched general elections.
The US assistant secretarys address was preceded by a speech from Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou who underlined Greeces unique status as both a NATO and ?euro-zone? EU member in the wider region -- and US ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller.
Grossman noted that the EU rotating presidency in the first half of 2003 and the 2004 Olympics Games will promote Greece onto the ?international spotlight?, while adding that the east Mediterranean nation should emerge from the summer Games with its law enforcement agencies ready to face any security challenges.
The high-ranking and veteran US diplomat, a former ambassador to Ankara, on several occasions referred to the ongoing Iraqi crisis and the international campaign against terrorism, saying both Greece and America are in a fight for ?their way of life?.
Moreover, he also referred to the ongoing and unprecedented investigation in Greece to eradicate the elusive ?November 17? urban terror cell, paraphrasing Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis comments in early September of ?democracy crushing terrorism?.
On his part, Papandreou reiterated that Athens wants EU expansion to spread to the Balkans, before noting that Euro-Atlantic dialogue deals with new prospects and new problems, in reference to what he called an ?internationalisation of terrorism?.
 Simitis to visit Paris, Berlin this week04/11/2002 23:00:16
Prime Minister Costas Simitis will be departing for Paris on Tuesday afternoon, where he is to meet French President Jacques Chirac on Wednesday afternoon, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced on Monday.
Following his visit to Paris, Simitis would next stop in Berlin on Friday, where he was scheduled to meet German Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder at 12:30 before returning to Athens on Sunday.
 Bourse rebounds on Monday, up by 3.29%04/11/2002 22:45:20
Greek stocks rebounded on Monday, on the heels of upbeat sessions in most European bourses and a positive outcome to the Romtelecom issue, with the general index ending 3.29 percent higher at 1,834.19 points with turnover at 123.4 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks increased by 3.95 percent while the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 3.82 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 3.18 percent higher.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 337 to 14 with another 15 issues unchanged.
 Frieze 40 metres long adorns Parliament's pillars04/11/2002 22:45:12
A frieze 40 metres long and 1.10 metres high has been embedded over Parliament's renovated pillars and depicts man struggling for life, resisting and continuing to live with dignity.
The sculpture was created by Christos Kapralos and is titled ''The memorial of the Battle of Pindus'' and was presented to the country's political leadership on Monday.
'''The memorial of the Battle of Pindus' does not praise war. It praises man at his greatest moment:the moment of resistance to the forces threatening his freedom, who are striving to remove his dignity and existence,'' Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis said during the official presentation.
 2002 forest fire season the most positive in 50 years04/11/2002 22:42:48
The forest-fire season that just ended was the most mild and positive in the past 50 years, according to data made public by Fire Fighting Corps Chief Panagiotis Fourlas on Monday in Athens.
Fourlas announced that from January to October 2002 only 756 hectares of forest and agricultural lands were burned, compared to 3795 hectares in 2001 and compared to the record setting 2000, when 15,462 hectares were burned.
The chief, however, said that the number of fires increased to 6,233 in 2002, compared to 6,121 fires in 2001, which he explained by saying that more should be done in preventing fires, while he stressed that the danger from illegal landfills was almost equal to that of last year's, thus municipalities should do more to avert the dangers of wild fires.
On a more positive note, he noted that wild fires that began from incorrect farming practices were on the decrease, showing an increased awareness on the part of farmers.
 Greek tourism album available in Chinese04/11/2002 19:41:03
The Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) has published a Chinese-language version of an album on Greece, past and present.
The album, entitled ''A journey in time'', was presented to media on Monday by GNTO president Yiannis Patellis. The work was translated into Chinese in conjunction with the country's embassy in Athens.
Ambassador Tang Zhenqi cited visa-issue as a dampener to Chinese travellers visiting Greece, but he said he hoped the matter would be resolved during Greece's rotating presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2003.
The album, which visually contrasts Greece in the 17th and 18th centuries with the present through engravings and photographs, has already circulated in eight languages.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday04/11/2002 17:53:12
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank
U.S. dollar 1.002
Pound sterling 0.644
Danish kroner 7.491
Swedish kroner 9.215
Japanese yen 122.8
Swiss franc 1.475
Norwegian kroner 7.429
Cyprus pound 0.575
Canadian dollar 1.560
Australian dollar 1.786
 Weather Forecast: Showers on Tuesday04/11/2002 17:33:18
Cloudy, showery, stormy weather is forecast in all parts of the country, easing off at intervals in the south and west. Winds southerly, moderate to strong, turning very strong in the Aegean. In the north, temperatures will range from 7C to 17C; in the Ionian and on the rest of the mainland from 10C to 22C; and in the Aegean islands from 15C to 23C. Temperatures in Athens between 14C and 22C; and in Thessaloniki from 10C to 17C.
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