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Athens News Agency: News in English, 04-01-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Athens, Nicosia stress willingness to restart Cyprus talks based on
  • [02] Greek president to carry out official visit to Lebanon
  • [03] Culture minister confident of Parthenon Marbles' eventual return
  • [04] Lesvos to host Afghanistan's Olympic Games team in May & June
  • [05] Greek, Israeli authors meet in Kalamata
  • [06] Unions seek 8.0 pct pay rise, 39-hour working week
  • [07] Foreign Exchange Rates: Tuesday
  • [08] Weather Forecast: Showery on Tuesday
  • [09] Profit taking halts ASE rally on Monday

  • [01] Athens, Nicosia stress willingness to restart Cyprus talks based on Annan plan

    19/01/2004 22:50:58

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and visiting Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos on Monday reiterated here that both Nicosia and Athens are ready to revive negotiations with the Turkish side on the basis of the Annan peace plan.

    The two countries foreign ministers, George Papandreou and George Iacovou, respectively, also joined the two leaders in the one-hour meeting, which reportedly continued afterwards during a working lunch.

    In comments afterwards, the Greek PM said discussions revolved around new developments on the Cyprus issue, such as ?elections? in the Turkish-occupied territories of the island republic and the latest round of official statements coming out of Ankara.

    Both sides also focused on Cyprus historic European Union accession on May 1.

    ?We want a solution as soon as possible, one which respects the UN framework, human rights and the Unions acquis communautaire,? said Simitis, who announced last month that he will step down after the March 7 general elections. FM Papandreou will, by all accounts, succeed Simitis at the helm of ruling PASOK.

    [02] Greek president to carry out official visit to Lebanon

    19/01/2004 22:48:35

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will carry out a three-day official visit to Lebanon on January 21-23 at the invitation of Lebanese President Emile Lahud, who had visited Greece in October 2001.

    Stephanopoulos will be accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos and a large delegation of Greek business people who have or wish to develop trade activity in the Middle East.

    An economic forum to further cement economic ties will be held in Beirut on Thursday, the second day of the presidential visit, with both Greek and Lebanese business people participating, while two bilateral agreements and one protocol will be signed on Wednesday night.

    [03] Culture minister confident of Parthenon Marbles' eventual return

    19/01/2004 22:47:11

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Monday said he was confident about the eventual return to Greece of the Parthenon Marbles currently being held at the British Museum in London, despite recent statements to the contrary by the Museum's director.

    Speaking from Thessaloniki, where he presented a series of measures relating to the city's preparations for the 2004 Olympics, Venizelos stressed that an overwhelming majority of public opinion in Britain that almost reached 80 per cent were in favour of returning the sculptures to Athens and their reunification with the Parthenon.

    The minister was also optimistic that a breakthrough might be achieved at the upcoming meeting between Foreign Minister George Papandreou with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, where he said the issue of the Marbles' return will again be put.

    [04] Lesvos to host Afghanistan's Olympic Games team in May & June

    19/01/2004 22:47:02

    The eastern Aegean island of Lesvos will host the Olympic Games team of Afghanistan which will participate for the first time after 25 years in the Games.

    The Ministry of the Aegean in Lesvos will host the team in the months of May and June in order for it to train at the island's sports facilities.

    The initiative to host the national team of Afghanistan was taken by the Greek Emergency Rescue Unit in cooperation with the foreign ministry and the Athens 2004 Organising Committee (ATHOC).

    Aegean Minister Nikos Sifounakis, in statements on Sunday, said ''it concerns a symbolic gesture where a country like Afghanistan, which has suffered from war so many years and continues to suffer, has decided to participate, after two and a half decades, in the Olympic Games.''

    [05] Greek, Israeli authors meet in Kalamata

    19/01/2004 22:45:37

    A group of Greek and Israeli authors and translators met over the weekend in the southern Peloponnese port city of Kalamata, during a symposium organized and hosted by the National Book Centre of Athens.

    Israels ambassador to Athens, Ram Aviram, participated in all four sessions of the symposium, entitled ?Our words are the children of many people?.

    Among the participants were Greek authors Rea Galanaki and Book Centre director Christos Lazos, as well as noted Israeli writers AB Yehoshua, Batya Gur, Amir Or and Dorit Rabinyan.

    Among others, one of the discussion topics held on the first day focused on the issue of ?collective identity; the history and concept of the other,? in both Greek and Israeli literature.

    [06] Unions seek 8.0 pct pay rise, 39-hour working week

    19/01/2004 19:52:51

    Unions sought pay rises of 8.0 per cent accompanied by a 39-hour working week at the start of talks with employers on Monday to forge a national collective labour contract for 2004.

    ''The level of increases cannot fall below 8.0 per cent,'' said Christos Polyzogopoulos, head of the General Confederation of Employees of Greece, who is conducting negotiations on behalf of unions.

    ''In addition, the goal of a 39-hour working week is not open to negotiation. It's high time we adopted this principle as the last cut in working hours was 20 years ago,'' Polyzogopoulos told reporters after exploratory talks with the Association of Greek Industry.

    The working hours to be gained by employees would be counted and awarded as extra days of leave, he added.

    The president of the industry trade group, Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, told reporters that negotiations would be ''difficult.''

    The next round of talks is scheduled for January 29.

    [07] Foreign Exchange Rates: Tuesday

    19/01/2004 18:11:56

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank

    U.S. dollar 1.247

    Pound sterling 0.698

    Danish kroner 7.507

    Swedish kroner 9.249

    Japanese yen 133.4

    Swiss franc 1.582

    Norwegian kroner 8.675

    Cyprus pound 0.591

    Canadian dollar 1.623

    Australian dollar 1.645

    [08] Weather Forecast: Showery on Tuesday

    19/01/2004 18:06:32

    Showery weather is forecast, especially in the west and north. Winds southerly, moderate to strong, turning very strong in parts of the Aegean. Temperatures in Athens 8C to 17C and in Thessaloniki 4C to 10C.

    [09] Profit taking halts ASE rally on Monday

    19/01/2004 16:50:48

    The Athens Stock Exchange showed signs of fatigue on Monday with investors seeking to take profits after two weeks of gains.

    The general index rose to 2,512.96 points early in the session but succumbed to an increasing wave of profit taking throughout the session to end 1.02 percent lower at 2,469.34 points.

    Turnover was a healthy 238.3 million euros. The IT, Construction and Holding sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (2.30 percent, 1.99 percent and 1.78 percent, respectively), while the Bank (2.50 percent), Insurance (2.14 percent) and Telecommunications (1.57 percent) sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks dropped 1.80 percent, while the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 0.66 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.53 percent higher reflecting a a trend of moving capital towards smaller capitalisation stocks.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 180 to 129 with another 51 issues unchanged.

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