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Athens News Agency: News in English, 03-05-09
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Athens Hilton chosen as IOC's official operations hotel09/05/2003 22:56:00
Athens 2004 organisers (ATHOC) on Friday signed a deal appointing the recently refurbished Athens Hilton as the official International Olympic Committee (IOC) hotel for the duration of next years Summer Olympics.
ATHOC President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki signed the agreement with Hilton International vice-president for the Mediterranean Peter Van der Vliet, while Athens-based Alpha Bank chairman Yiannis Kostopoulos, whose listed group owns the property, also attended a brief ceremony in the Greek capital.
?The results of the (hotels) refurbishment are stunning, not just in terms of aesthetics but as far as its operational level as well ... This new Hilton already comprises a first-hand example of the legacy that the Games will leave to the city,? Angelopoulos-Daskalaki told a press conference held at the landmark Athens hotels roof garden.
Van der Vliet noted that Hilton International was particularly pleased that two very ?demanding? and high-profile entities, IOC and ATHOC, chose the hotel as the formers operational centre during the 2004 Games.
Kostopoulos, who also heads up Alphas hotel and resort subsidiary, Ioniki, said the major remodeling works at the high-rise hotel were completed in 14 months, a point of particular pride for the Alpha group, a grand 2004 Olympic Games sponsor in its own right.
?I dont when well redeem the dividends from this investment, but were making a contribution to the city and the Games. The challenge now is to see that it (hotel complex) operates as efficiently as possible,? Kostopoulos said.
The newly remodeled Athens Hilton opened its door on Feb. 11, 2003 after a major and comprehensive make-over.
 Greek inflation drops to 3.4 pct in April, yr/yr09/05/2003 22:54:53
Greek inflation, as measured by the annual consumer price index, plunged to 3.4 percent in April from 4.1 percent in March, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.
NSS, in its monthly report, said that the significant fall in the inflation rate reflected sharply lower oil prices after the end of the war in Iraq.
Prices in housing services fell by 3.1 percent in April, while prices in transport prices dropped 0.6 percent over the same month.
On the other hand, prices rose by 1.3 percent in food products (mainly meat and potatoes), by 0.5 percent in healthcare services, by 1.7 percent in restaurants and by 0.6 percent in other goods and services in April.
The average inflation rate in the May 2002-April 2003 period rose 3.6 percent compared with the same period the previous year, NSS said.
The harmonised inflation rate dropped to 3.3 percent in April from 3.9 percent in March.
 Greek gov't firm on the need for single state on Cyprus09/05/2003 22:54:42
The Greek government would not back down on its position regarding the need for a single state on Cyprus, Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Friday.
''There is a need for a single state on Cyprus. This is our position, this is accepted by the international community and we will not back down from this view. It is in this light that, in cooperation with the Cyprus Republic, we have been seeking a solution to the Cyprus problem based on the decisions of the United Nations. Turkey must understand this well,'' Protopapas said.
He was responding to comments made by Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the occupied territories in northern Cyprus about ''two states'' on Cyprus.
The spokesman did not make any further statements since the full text of Erdogan's speech had not arrived before the regular press briefing in Athens.
 Numerous events held in Athens in celebration of 'Europe Day'09/05/2003 22:33:23
A number of theatrical, musical and dance performances were held in Athens on Friday in celebration of ''Europe Day'', May 9.
The events were held under the auspices of Attica Supra-Prefect Fofi Gennimata who in statements said ''European culture is our heritage, there is no old or new Europe, there is a Europe, birthplace of sciences and arts.''
Gennimata added that ''today, we are celebrating a Europe which gave birth to culture, a Europe which borrowed the positive elements of the cultures of the East and assimilated them, which respects differentiality, and it is this Europe we know, want and love as it is hencefoth our common home.''
One of the major events was held below the Acropolis where popular singer George Dalaras gave a concert which was attended not only by Athenians but also by visitors from other European cities.
On the occasion of ''Europe Day'', pavilions of the Athens 2004 Olympic Organising Committee (ATHOC), Youth General Secretariat and European Commission distributed to the public material concerning action programmes for sciences, culture, literature, arts and on volunteerism, which Greece will so much need during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
 Hellenic Post Office issues Athens Olympics stamps09/05/2003 20:24:02
Hellenic Post Office has issued commemorative stamps for the Athens 2004 Olympics, depicting sports in the international event performed by Athena and Phoebus, its mascots.
The booklet of 28 stamps costing 14.99 euros will be on sale until December 31, 2004, the post office said in a statement on Friday.
Hellenic Post Office is a sponsor of the Athens games.
 Tourism trade groups question health minister's SARS call09/05/2003 19:27:58
Two tourism trade groups on Friday questioned a recommendation from Health Minister Kostis Stephanis that Greek hotels should decline to accept bookings by visitors from areas with cases of SARS, a deadly pneumonia-type virus.
The Association of Tourism and Travel Bureaus in Greece (HATTA) lodged a strong protest with Stephanis, saying the minister was shifting the problem of protection to travel operators and hoteliers, needlessly creating an adverse climate.
Attica hoteliers said that they were willing to back moves by the state to provide protection against SARS, but only if they were part of a coordinated plan.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday09/05/2003 18:39:38
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank
U.S. dollar 1.155
Pound sterling 0.721
Danish kroner 7.483
Swedish kroner 9.248
Japanese yen 135.8
Swiss franc 1.519
Norwegian kroner 7.928
Cyprus pound 0.591
Canadian dollar 1.617
Australian dollar 1.794
 Weather Forecast: Sunshine on Saturday09/05/2003 18:35:43
Hot, sunny weather is forecast in all parts of the country, with scattered cloud in the north and west. Winds variable, light. In the Ionian, temperatures will range from 13C to 31C; on the mainland from 15C to 34C; and in the Aegean from 16C to 29C. Temperatures in Athens between 17C and 32C; and in Thessaloniki from 15C to 30C.
 Greek stocks end 2.13 percent lower on Friday09/05/2003 16:47:58
Greek stocks ended sharply lower the last trading session of the week in the Athens Stock Exchange, hit by a new wave of profit taking mainly in blue chip stocks and particularly in the bank sector.
Alpha Bank's shares fell 6.60 percent (the share was trading ex-dividend).
The general index plunged 2.13 percent to end at 1,712.71 points, with turnover at 110.3 million euros. The general index ended the week with a net loss of 0.47 percent.
The Bank, Cement and Retail sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (4.18 percent, 2.57 percent and 2.49 percent, respectively), while the IT Solutions and Wholesale sectors scored the biggest gains (1.47 percent and 0.13 percent, respectively).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks dropped 3.86 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.64 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index eased 0.47 percent and the wider FTSE/ASE 140 index ended 2.41 percent down.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 209 to 86 with another 55 issues unchanged.
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