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Athens News Agency: News in English, 04-03-25

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Olympic flame begins global journey with imposing ceremony at ancient
  • [02] Greece wants Cyprus solution to comply with EU law
  • [03] Weather Forecast: Sunny spells, showers on Friday
  • [04] Military parade to mark Greece's 1821 revolt against Turkey
  • [05] PM Karamanlis to meet U.S. President Bush on May 20 in Washington
  • [06] PM issues global invitation to 'the best and safest Olympics'
  • [07] Olympic flame begins global journey with imposing ceremony at ancient
  • [08] Foreign Exchange Rates: Thursday
  • [09] Weather Forecast: Sunny on Thursday

  • [01] Olympic flame begins global journey with imposing ceremony at ancient Olympia

    25/03/2004 23:26:25

    The sun beamed generously on ancient Olympia on Thursday, sending down ample rays to light the Olympic flame in the traditional ceremony that marks the start of the Olympic Torch relay and begins the countdown to the Olympic Games in August.

    The flame was lit at noon on the March 25 Greek national holiday, in an imposing display attended by Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge, Greek Olympic Committee president Lambis Nikolaou, the chairwoman of the Athens Olympics organisers ATHOC Gianna Angelopoulos and hosts of other dignitaries, as well as 30,000 spectators from among the ordinary public.

    As the white-clad 'priestesses' performed the ritual choreographed by Maria Hors with perfect timing, the torch tendered by high priestess Thalia Prokopiou to the curved mirror used to trap the sun's rays blazed forth bravely, in an omen of hope for the delay-dogged Athens Games.

    The flame was then carried to the first torch-bearer, Greek champion javelin-thrower Kostas Gatsioudis, who carried it and passed it on to the next runner in line, Russian Olympic medallist Alexander Popov.

    The ceremony marked the start of the first phase of the Olympic Torch Relay, a seven-day run organised by the Greek Olympic Committee that ends on March 31. In this time, the Olympic Torch will travel through the Peloponnese and other areas in Greece before arriving at the Panathenian Stadium in Athens, where it will remain until June 3 and the start of its global journey throughout the world.

    The international Olympic Torch Relay is the first one that is truly global, visiting 34 cities on all five continents - including Africa and South America for the first time in history. The Olympic Flame will return to Greece on July 9 to continue its journey through the country and arrive back at the Panathenian Stadium on August 13 for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

    The ritual on Thursday began with the raising of the Olympic and Greek flags and the recital of the poem 'The Light of Olympia'' by Takis Doxas.

    [02] Greece wants Cyprus solution to comply with EU law

    25/03/2004 23:24:54

    BRUSSELS (ANA/M.Spinthourakis) -A solution to the Cyprus problem should not stray from European Union law, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said on Thursday.

    The prime minister told a news conference at the start of a summit meeting of the bloc that neither ''major'' nor ''lasting'' deviations should be allowed.

    At the same time, Karamanlis said that inflexible positions in the current phase of work towards a solution for the Cyprus problem would hinder the endeavour.

    The prime minister also expressed the hope that a possible meeting in Switzerland with his Turkish counterpart would have a favourable outcome.

    He said that Greece and Cyprus should form a united front, and Athens would aid Nicosia in all areas.

    In addition, the prime minister announced that at Greece's request, the Cyprus problem had been included on the agenda for Friday's EU summit meeting.

    Turning to other areas for discussion at the session, Karamanlis underlined the importance of combatting terrorism coupled with a respect for human rights.

    He also said there was a need for swift adoption of an EU constitution, preferably before Europarliament elections in June, with Greece backing the concept of one commissioner per country with voting rights.

    Finally, the prime minister stressed the importance of implementing strucutural measures so that the EU could attain high growth rates, respect for the environment, a rise in employment, macro-economic stability and better working conditions for the European public.

    [03] Weather Forecast: Sunny spells, showers on Friday

    25/03/2004 21:16:57

    Sunny spells and scattered cloud are forecast in all parts of the country, with showers in the north and west. Winds south-southwesterly, moderate to very strong. Temperatures in Athens 9C to 20C and in Thessaloniki from 8C to 16C.

    [04] Military parade to mark Greece's 1821 revolt against Turkey

    25/03/2004 20:03:44

    A military parade and aerial display were held in Athens on Thursday to mark the beginning of Greece's uprising against Turkish rule on March 25, 1821.

    Attending the parade was President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, who told the parade that everyone was hoping for a solution to the Cyprus problem within the framework of UN resolutions that would bring peace and cooperation.

    Also attending the parade were representatives of the country's political leadership, heads of the armed forces, and war veterans.

    The aerial display included F16s, Mirage 2000s, F4 Phantoms and A7 Corsairs.

    [05] PM Karamanlis to meet U.S. President Bush on May 20 in Washington

    25/03/2004 19:39:22

    U.S. President George Bush has invited Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis for a meeting in the White House on May 20, a press release from the premier's office said on Thursday.

    The details and the programme of Karamanlis' visit to Washington will be announced in the coming days, the press release added.

    [06] PM issues global invitation to 'the best and safest Olympics'

    25/03/2004 17:49:33

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday issued an invitation to people all over the world to attend the "the best and safest Olympic Games" that will take place in Athens in August.

    Karamanlis issued his planet-wide invitation immediately after a ceremony for the lighting of the Olympic Torch in ancient Olympia, where the original Games of antiquity were held.

    "Today, here in Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, begins the first part of the flame's journey throughout the world. The Greek light, the values and ideals of Olympism create from today and on five continents on the planet, a chain of people who adhere to the values of peaceful coexistence, noble competition and good sportsmanship."

    "In 141 days, the flame will light the skies of Attica, at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. Greeks join together to send out this message to all the world: We invite you and expect you at this great celebration of sports and culture. We invite you to the best and safest Olympic Games there have ever been," Karamanlis said.

    [07] Olympic flame begins global journey with imposing ceremony at ancient Olympia

    25/03/2004 16:37:39

    The sun beamed generously on ancient Olympia on Thursday, sending down ample rays to light the Olympic flame in the traditional ceremony that marks the start of the Olympic Torch relay and begins the countdown to the Olympic Games in August.

    The flame was lit at noon on the March 25 national holiday, in an imposing display attended by Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge, Greek Olympic Committee president Lambis Nikolaou, the chairwoman of the Athens Olympics organisers ATHOC Gianna Angelopoulos and hosts of other dignitaries, as well as members of the ordinary public.

    [08] Foreign Exchange Rates: Thursday

    25/03/2004 15:06:26

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank

    U.S. dollar 1.229

    Pound sterling 0.670

    Danish kroner 7.507

    Swedish kroner 9.315

    Japanese yen 130.8

    Swiss franc 1.565

    Norwegian kroner 8.496

    Cyprus pound 0.590

    Canadian dollar 1.643

    Australian dollar 1.646

    [09] Weather Forecast: Sunny on Thursday

    25/03/2004 15:06:19

    Sunny weather is forecast in all parts of the country, although the northwest may see some rain. Winds south-southwesterly, moderate to strong, turning very strong in the south. Temperatures in Athens 10C to 20C and in Thessaloniki from 8C to 19C.


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