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Athens News Agency: News in English, 04-01-27
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Simitis, ATHOC chief focus on delayed projects27/01/2004 23:21:08
Preparations for the upcoming 2004 Olympic Games were again on the agenda of talks on Tuesday between Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and 2004 Organising Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, with construction work at the main Olympic stadium (OAKA) reportedly dominating discussions.
Construction works at OAKA, especially on a delayed project to build a ?signature? glass and metal dome over the stadium, reportedly remains a top concern of ATHOC and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Inclement weather of late in the greater Athens area has merely increased delays, reports state.
Another thorn in terms of OAKA is the fact that the final and most crucial phase of the projects installation is set for June 31, during a period when another three worksites will be operating at the OAKA site (the venue for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies as well as the hugely popular athletics events).
 MP expelled from PASOK over controversial amendment; president signs bill27/01/2004 23:20:20
Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Tuesday expelled one-time deputy economy minister and current deputy Ioannis Anthopoulos from ruling PASOK's parliamentary group because of ''actions and his deportment vis-a-vis his MP colleagues on the issue of the controversial (Porto Carras) amendment.''
The amendment allows the owners of the well-known northern Greece resort (Porto Carras) to build several hundred new housing units on property that at one time was described as forest land.
A major political furor erupted in recent days over the amendment, which was passed in Parliament last Wednesday, leading to the resignation two days later by deputy economy minister Christos Pachtas, who had tabled the bill.
The government spokesman subsequently quoted Economy and Finance minister Nikos Christodoulakis as saying the government intended to revoke the amendment with newly tabled legislation.
Moreover, the ruling party's Central Committee on Saturday decided to exclude Pachtas, who is also an MP for Halkidiki prefecture, Anthopoulos (a MP for Serres as well as a former deputy education minister) and the eight other PASOK deputies who co-signed the bill from the PASOK's candidate slates for the March 7 elections.
 Turkish warplanes infringe Athens FIR27/01/2004 23:19:02
Three formations of Turkish warplanes made an equal number of infringements of air traffic regulations in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) on Tuesday, press reports said.
The eight Turkish aircraft were recognised and intercepted by Greek warplanes, while in two cases the interception process developed into an engagement.
The reports said three of the Turkish aircraft were armed.
 Event held in Athens on establishment of January 27 as Greek Jews memory day27/01/2004 23:02:09
An event on establishing January 27 as memory day for Greek Jews and Holocaust victims was held at the Athens Concert Hall's convention centre on Tuesday under the auspices of the foreign ministry.
Greece's Parliament had unanimously adopted recently a relevant proposal.
Tuesday's event was attended by Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Defence Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Deputy Interior Minister Nikos Bistis, the New Democracy party's Parliamentary representative Prokopis Pavlopoulos, the Communist Party of Greece's Parliamentary representative Achilleas Kantartzis, Coalition of the Left party Deputy Fotis Kouvelis, a representative of Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos and many ambassadors.
Papandreou said in a speech that the unanimous ratification by Parliament of the bill setting a Holocaust anniversary date is ''confirmation of the collective sensitivity of the Greeks and of the fact that Greece is an open society.''
He added that ''the identity of Hellenism is very firm. However, democracy must defend the citizen. Exclusion of any kind constitutes our moral failure. The decision we took honours us all. It helps us to keep historical memory alive and it will serve as valuable help for the generations to come.''
Emerging from the Concert Hall, the foreign minister said ''we must remember the past and be taught by it'' and reiterated the need for ''respect for the right to be different.''
In another development, Israeli Ambassador to Greece Ram Aviram and Central Israelite Council of Greece President Moisis Konstanti on Tuesday gave the Israeli awards of the ''Just of Nations'' to nine Greek Christians who saved Jewish fellow countrymen of theirs who were persecuted during the period of the Nazi occupation.
 Juncker proclaimed Orestiada honourary citizen, honourary university professor27/01/2004 21:08:15
Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday was proclaimed honourary citizen of the Municipality of Nea Orestiada, northern Greece.
Orestiada Mayor Grigoris Tzotzolas welcomed Juncker with the phrase ''welcome to your home'', proclaiming him honourary citizen at a special ceremony held at the Alexandros cinema-theatre.
Juncker said in his speech:''I am aware of the region's problems. Europe will contribute in its development. Tomorrow the borders will disappear. Bulgaria will become a member, Turkey follows its course towards Europe. Borders do not protect, they obstruct those who wish to meet one other. I want this region to become a visible visiting place of Europe. For us to work all together, Greece, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, all together. We will do this for our children who see the future with wide-open eyes.''
On his part, Mayor Tzotzolas, who referred to the role of Orestiada in the broader region, wished Juncker every success in the Presidency of the Europen Union in 2005.
The decision to proclaim Juncker honourary citizen of Orestiada was taken due to his important European presence, for the efforts he took for Cyprus to join the European European and because of the similarities which Luxembourg has with the region of Orestiada.
Present at the ceremony were, among others, Didymotiho Metropolitan Nikiforos, prefects, mayors, military officials and representatives of political parties.
Earlier in the day in Komotini, Juncker was proclaimed honourary professor of the Law School of Thrace's Dimokritio University.
Present at the event were Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis, President of the European Court Vassilis Skouris and academics.
In statements to the Athens News Agency (ANA), Juncker said ''Greece deserves national pride as its incorporation to the euro was a development which no one expected when we were signing the Maastricht Agreement.'' The prime minister of Luxembourg further underlined that in recent years ''Greece developed in an excellent way,'' noting:''Who would have believed a decade ago that Greece would be a member of the Eurozone. Therefore, your country but also Europe deserve congratulations for Greece's performances.''
 Foreign Exchange Rates: Wednesday27/01/2004 18:48:39
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank
U.S. dollar 1.261
Pound sterling 0.696
Danish kroner 7.508
Swedish kroner 9.232
Japanese yen 133.5
Swiss franc 1.580
Norwegian kroner 8.669
Cyprus pound 0.590
Canadian dollar 1.654
Australian dollar 1.632
 Weather Forecast: Showers on Wednesday27/01/2004 18:01:04
Showers are forecast in the west, centre and north, with storms mainly in the west. Winds south-southwesterly, strong to very strong, turning gale force at sea. The weather will be warmer. Temperatures in Athens 8C to 17C and in Thessaloniki 5C to 10C.
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