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Athens News Agency: News in English, 03-05-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] FM Papandreou outlines Greece's positions on European Constitution
  • [02] Government satisfied with decision to approve ratification of EU-FYROM
  • [03] EU culture ministers examine future of European cinema
  • [04] Health of air hostess suspected of having SARS virus improving steadily
  • [05] Hyatt completes acquisition of Mount Parnes casino
  • [06] European public television association board meets in Thessaloniki
  • [07] Gov't to hold new talks with Schiesser to avert Athens factory closure
  • [08] CORRECTION- Babiniotis reelected rector of Athens University
  • [09] Foreign Exchange Rates - Friday
  • [10] Weather Forecast: Mostly sunny on Friday
  • [11] Babiniotis reelected rector of Athens University
  • [12] Greek stocks end lower on Thursday

  • [01] FM Papandreou outlines Greece's positions on European Constitution

    15/05/2003 23:26:32

    BRUSSELS (ANA - G. Zitouniati) -- Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, current head of the European Unions ouncil of Ministers, on Thursday in Brussels said that the basic items of the European Constitution pertaining to fundamental institutional issues and human rights will have been completed by June, while individual policies in various sectors will be reviewed during the second half of 2003.

    Papandreou, who is in Brussels to participate in the presidium of the Convention on the Future of Europe, responsible for institutional reforms in the EU, told participants of the need to reinforce EU institutions, getting away, he said, from the ''artificial dilemma between the trans-national-federal and intergovernmental character of the Union.''

    The Greek minister referred to the controversial issue of a permanent Council president, stressing that adequate democratic credentials would be required in that case.

    ''If the functionality of the European Council presupposes the election of a more permanent president who would ensure continuity, cohesion and strong representation at a top level, then we should seek a suitable way to elect such president, one that would ensure transparency and legitimacy, and would also contribute to the institutional balance of the Union,? the Greek minister said.

    ''To that end, we propose the president's selection through direct elections by the European citizens, held at the same time with the Euro-elections, with candidates from the European Parliament,? he added.

    Papandreou said that a directly elected president would entertain concerns about risking the development of a 'directorate', while on an international level a president thus elected would be able to represent the EU at Summits empowered with the credibility that democratic credentials lend.

    With regard to the method for the election of the president of the Commission, he said that a process for the president's election by the European Parliament and ratification by the European Council would strengthen both the Commission as well as the parliament.

    With regard to the composition of the Commission, Greece endorses the Nice European Council provision with the retention of the ''one commission per member-state'' principle.

    [02] Government satisfied with decision to approve ratification of EU-FYROM agreement

    15/05/2003 22:41:23

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis onThursday expressed the Greek government's satisfaction over the decision taken by Greece's National Defence and Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Committee on Wednesday night to approve the ratification of the ''stabilisation and association'' agreement between the European Union and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    The spokesman said it was a positive development and constitutes an important tool for strengthening FYROM's European course, adding that it is expected that the agreement will be ratified by the plenum of Parliament by the end of the month.

    Beglitis further announced that it is expected that the EU-Croatia stabiisation and association agreement will be submitted in Parliament in the coming weeks.

    [03] EU culture ministers examine future of European cinema

    15/05/2003 22:40:02

    The European Union's culture ministers convened in Cannes on Thursday, on the occasion of the beginning of the 56th Cannes Festival, to pave the way for the meeting on the future of the European cinema to be held in Thessaloniki on May 25.

    Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the discussion on the cinema was prepared in Cannes, but the European cultural identity, following enlargement, will be discussed in Thessaloniki as a basis for the operation of the single market in the cultural and audiovisual sectors.

    He added that the 25 ministers agreed with the priorities being promoted by the Greek presidency.

    [04] Health of air hostess suspected of having SARS virus improving steadily

    15/05/2003 21:37:07

    The health of a 23-year-old air hostess suspected of having the SARS virus, according to criteria set by the World Health Organisation, was improving steadily on Thursday.

    Laboratory tests and latest x-rays are absolutely satisfactory, while doctors treating the young woman at an Athens hospital said there is no evidence she is suffering from the SARS virus.

    Health Minister Costas Stefanis had let it be understood that the air hostess will leave hospital at the end of the week, but in essence she will be in an ''informal quarantine'' for at least 18 days and only then will it be absolutely certain that she does not have the SARS virus.

    Stefanis had consecutive meetings with hoteliers' representatives and a delegation of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games' Organising Committee (ATHOC) on Thursday morning.

    He told the hoteliers' representatives that he never spoke of a travel advisory or a ban on the arrival of tourists from countries in southeast Asia in the country.

    The minister and the ATHOC delegation discussed possible measures that could be taken in light of the Athens Olympic Games, since many delegations of countries might send athletes to Greece to prepare themselves much earlier than the Games.

    [05] Hyatt completes acquisition of Mount Parnes casino

    15/05/2003 21:22:42

    Hyatt Regency Hotels and Tourism SA, which is quoted on the Athens bourse, has completed its acquisition of the Mount Parnes casino near Athens.

    The casino, now privatised, was sold by Greek Tourism Real Estate SA, the real estate arm of the Greek National Tourism Organisation.

    The acquisition was sealed on Wednesday by a subsidiary of Hyatt Regency, Athens Resort Casino Holding SA, the new owner.

    The buyout entails a purchase and investment cost of 145 million euros, Hyatt said in a statement on Thursday.

    [06] European public television association board meets in Thessaloniki

    15/05/2003 20:45:20

    The 114th conference of the Association of Public European Radio and Television Organizations board of directors began on Thursday in Thessaloniki, focusing on the Greek state television coverage of the Olympic Games of 2004 in Athens.

    They also discussed the accumulation of mass media in the hands of private interests, the battle for quality and securing pluralism, as well as the promotion and maintenance of local cultures.

    The directors focused also on the securing of funding for public radio and television stations.

    [07] Gov't to hold new talks with Schiesser to avert Athens factory closure

    15/05/2003 20:20:01

    The government is to hold further talks with Schiesser of Switzerland in a bid to persuade management to save the multinational's Athens underwear manufacturing plant, slated for closure at the end of the month due to losses.

    Taking part in the meeting in coming days will be Labour Minister Dimitris Reppas and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, trade union sources said on Thursday.

    Scheisser has so far appeared resolved to go ahead with the closure on May 30, leading to 500 job losses.

    On Thursday, trade unionists from the threatened plant and leaders of the General Confederation of Labour of Greece, a trade union umbrella group that represents nearly a million workers nationwide, met Christodoulakis in a plea for his intervention to save the factory.

    Union officials quoted Christodoulakis as saying the government would do everything in its power to persuade Schiesser to rescind the decision.

    Schiesser has said that another plant it owns, which is located in northern Greece, is profitable and will expand.

    [08] CORRECTION- Babiniotis reelected rector of Athens University

    15/05/2003 18:25:57

    In the first paragraph, please read ?George? instead of ?Yiannis?, as incorrectly stated.

    A corrected repetition follows

    University of Athens Rector George Babiniotis was reelected for a second term by the faculty of the university garnering some 58 per cent of the vote.

    Professors D. Asimakopoulos, M. Dermitzakis and Ch. Kittas were elected assistant rectors.

    [09] Foreign Exchange Rates - Friday

    15/05/2003 18:23:14

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank

    U.S. dollar 1.155

    Pound sterling 0.712

    Danish kroner 7.483

    Swedish kroner 9.231

    Japanese yen 133.9

    Swiss franc 1.522

    Norwegian kroner 7.911

    Cyprus pound 0.591

    Canadian dollar 1.588

    Australian dollar 1.789

    [10] Weather Forecast: Mostly sunny on Friday

    15/05/2003 18:13:17

    The day will be sunny in all parts of the country, with scattered cloud from late afternoon on the mainland, probably followed by storms mainly in the north and centre. Winds northerly, light. On the northern mainland, temperatures will range from 12C to 27C; on the rest of the mainland from 14C to 31C; and in the islands from 16C to 29C. Temperatures in Athens between 17C and 30C; and in Thessaloniki from 15C to 27C.

    [11] Babiniotis reelected rector of Athens University

    15/05/2003 17:43:59

    University of Athens Rector Yiannis Babiniotis was reelected for a second term by the faculty of the university garnering some 58 per cent of the vote.

    Professors D. Asimakopoulos, M. Dermitzakis and Ch. Kittas were elected assistant rectors.

    [12] Greek stocks end lower on Thursday

    15/05/2003 16:47:23

    Greek stocks ended lower on Thursday succumbing to a wave of profit selling in blue chip stocks, particularly banks and telecommunications, in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index ended at 1,733.28 points, off 0.50 percent, with turnover a stable 103.5 million euros.

    The IT Solutions, IT and Textile sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (1.61 percent, 1.35 percent and 1.28 percent, respectively), while the Telecommunications, Publications and Bank sectors suffered the heaviest losses (1.51 percent, 1.47 percent and 0.54 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.47 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 0.03 percent, the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 0.36 percent and the wider FTSE/ASE 140 index fell 0.29 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 158 to 137 with another 62 issues unchanged.


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