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Athens News Agency: News in English, 04-01-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Main opposition leader addresses ND Central Committee
  • [02] PM begins tour of Thessaly with visit to Larissa
  • [03] ELA suspects before special magistrate over eight explosions
  • [04] Greece's President Stephanopoulos wraps up visit to Lebanon
  • [05] Greek and French defence ministries reach initial agreement on unmanned
  • [06] Weather Forecast: Cloud, snow or sleet on Saturday
  • [07] Foreign Exchange Rates: Monday

  • [01] Main opposition leader addresses ND Central Committee

    23/01/2004 22:50:50

    The messages coming in from every region in the country were clear and optimistic about New Democracy's upcoming victory, ND leader Costas Karamanlis told a meeting of the main opposition's central committee on Friday.

    He said a broad social alliance was forming within society, which was seeking new paths for the country.

    Karamanlis added that ND had the backing of several former voters of ruling PASOK who were disappointed by the government's inconsistent policies, as well as of young people.

    He warned party officials to be on guard against attempted undemocratic behaviour from ''the PASOK state'' and stressed that he held the party's sole leadership candidate George Papandreou personally responsible for the behaviour of ministries and state services.

    ''We demand absolute neutrality from the state, since we cannot have new positions filled on the basis of party-political criteria just before the elections nor sell-offs of state property nor mobilisation of the state for the propaganda needs of a party,'' he said.

    The main opposition leader also accused PASOK of seeking to hide its past with ''political fireworks'' and populist rhetoric.

    At the same meeting, honorary ND President Constantine Mitsotakis, 86, announced that he would not seek re-election to Parliament in the coming elections on March 7, though stressing that he would not be retiring from politics and would continue to take an active interest in political events in the country.

    [02] PM begins tour of Thessaly with visit to Larissa

    23/01/2004 22:50:43

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday embarked on a tour of Thessaly by visiting the Panthessalian Stadium in Nea Ionia, where part of the Olympics soccer tournament will be held.

    In a brief statement at the stadium, Simitis said it was proof that the Olympic Games had brought improvements and infrastructure to all regions of the country, not just Athens.

    Simitis and the delegation of ministers accompanying him then departed for the city of Larissa, where they dined with PASOK MPs and party officials.

    In the evening, Simitis will address a rally at Larissa's Alcazar stadium and present the convergence charter for 2004-2008 specific to development in Thessaly. The government is presenting the charter as its ''covenant'' with the voters of Thessaly for the March 7 general elections.

    [03] ELA suspects before special magistrate over eight explosions

    23/01/2004 22:49:38

    The five terrorist suspects charged in connection with the terrorist group Revolutionary People's Struggle (ELA) were called before special examining magistrate Leonidas Zervobeakos on Friday to answer questions relating to eight bombings against civil service buildings carried out by ELA in 1986-1987.

    The case file was reassigned to Zervobeakos after the Appeals Justices Council ruled that the statute of limitations for the specific crimes expired in 20 years rather than 15, since they inflicted damage on organisations of public benefit.

    Thus, the specific attacks are being treated separately from the rest of the ELA case, the trial for which has been set for February 9.

    Zervobeakos visited jailed ELA suspects Aggeletos Kanas, Irene Athanasaki and Costas Agapiou at Korydallos prison on Friday morning and interviewed them in connection with the eight bombings.

    Kanas and Athanasaki received an extension until Thursday to prepare their response, while Agapiou has refused to make any plea.

    Also called up before Zervobeakos in connection with the same explosions were ELA suspects Christos Tsigaridas and Mihalis Kassimis, both of whom have been released pending the court case.

    Tsigaridas made his plea in response to the charges, while Kassimis received an extension until Friday to prepare his response.

    According to Tsigaridas' defence counsel Stamatis Kampanis, the Appeals Council's reasoning in this case was flawed, since it extended the statute of limitations based on later laws that call for tougher treatment of the defendant, which is contrary to the Constitution.

    [04] Greece's President Stephanopoulos wraps up visit to Lebanon

    23/01/2004 22:49:30

    BEIRUT (ANA - N. Megadoukas) Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Friday ended a three-day official visit to Lebanon, the first by a Greek head of State in 30 years, by visiting the Balamand University outside Beirut.

    The university has received large amounts of financial assistance from Greek developmental aid funds, including a donation of 250,000 euros handed to the university authorities on Friday to set up an environmental studies seat.

    In his address to students and academic staff, Stephanopoulos referred to the Palestinian problem, noting that the ''strongest demand of our time is the implementation of international law throughout the earth'' and stressed that the major powers should take steps in order to enforce justice.

    The Greek president also visited the university's Institute of Theology and is expected to return to Athens on Friday afternoon.

    [05] Greek and French defence ministries reach initial agreement on unmanned aircraft

    23/01/2004 22:48:06

    The defence ministries of Greece and France reached an initial agreement on January 19 on Greece's participation in a programme being a French initiative and concerning the development of unmanned aircraft for war missions (UCAIV).

    The total cost of the programme amounts to 300 million euros.

    According to reports, the finalised contract is expected to be signed, after negotiations are completed, in September 2004. The reports said Greece's proposal is to participate in the programme with an amount of up to 20 million euros.

    Already participating in the programme are the French Dassault and the Swedish SAAB companies, as well as the Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAB).

    The reports said Spain and Italy have also shown interest in participating in the programme.

    [06] Weather Forecast: Cloud, snow or sleet on Saturday

    23/01/2004 19:20:30

    Cloud and snow or sleet are forecast throughout the country, primarily in eastern and southern insular regions. Winds northerly moderate. Temperatures in Athens -2C to 3C and in Thessaloniki -6C to 1C.

    [07] Foreign Exchange Rates: Monday

    23/01/2004 18:50:49

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank

    U.S. dollar 1.279

    Pound sterling 0.694

    Danish kroner 7.509

    Swedish kroner 9.216

    Japanese yen 135.5

    Swiss franc 1.578

    Norwegian kroner 8.661

    Cyprus pound 0.591

    Canadian dollar 1.680

    Australian dollar 1.648

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