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Athens News Agency: News in English, 04-03-30

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek and Turkish PMs discussing Annan Cyprus plan
  • [02] Greek government memorandum on Cyprus issue
  • [03] Govt, industry federation discuss competitiveness, prices
  • [04] Unions call general strike for Wednesday
  • [05] Museum of Islamic art to open in June
  • [06] Weather Forecast: Mostly sunny on Wednesday
  • [07] Foreign Exchange Rates: Wednesday
  • [08] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks nose down after two straight rises
  • [09] Greek government memorandum on Cyprus issue

  • [01] Greek and Turkish PMs discussing Annan Cyprus plan

    30/03/2004 23:35:53

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan were discussing the UN secretary general's plan on Cyprus at press time on Tuesday.

    The meeting was also being attended by the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey, Petros Molyviatis and Abdullah Gul, while authoritative sources said a meeting between UN Cyprus envoy Alvaro de Soto and Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos was taking place as well.

    According to all indications, the night will be long since talks on the Annan Cyprus plan are continuing intensively.

    The time limit for the finalised plan to be delivered expires on Wednesday night.

    [02] Greek government memorandum on Cyprus issue

    30/03/2004 23:35:46

    Buergenstock (ANA/A. Panagopoulou,)

    A memorandum outlining the observations of the Greek government on the Annan plan was delivered to UN special envoy for Cyprus Alvaro de Sotoon Tuesday in Buergenstock by Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis.

    Greek government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said the Greek government's observations were mostly centred on security issues and derogations.

    ''Our standing goal is to improve [the plan's] functionality and ensure it accomodates European rules and principles,'' he said.

    According to sources, the Greek memorandum is essentially identical to that presented by the Greek-Cypriot side. One high-ranking diplomatic source stressed that ''everthing done here aims to reinforce the clarity of our negotiating positions''.

    Greek diplomats estimate that Annan will re-submit his plan with modifications by tonight or early on Wednesday morning, after he has received the observations of all the parties.

    Meanwhile, other sources said that Verheugen has departed for Brussels in order to confer with the rest of the European Commission regarding derogations from Community laws, with his reply due later on Tuesday night.

    In the meantime, the negotiations in Buergenstock are still in full swing and there is still a chance that substantial modifications will be made that will satisfy Greek and Greek-Cypriot positions, allowing the text to be signed as requested by de Soto on Monday.

    [03] Govt, industry federation discuss competitiveness, prices

    30/03/2004 23:33:24

    The government's main goals are to strengthen competitiveness, to

    create new jobs, combat unemployment and price increases and to improve citizens' living standards,'' Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with the board of the Greek

    Industries Union (SEB), Mr Sioufas said the country needed a strong industrial web and particularly in the provinces. He pledged that the ministry would unveil specific measures after the Easter holidays.

    SEB president Odysseas Kyriakopoulos told reporters that

    industry leaders want measures to strengthen business competitiveness and an accelerated regime for returning VAT taxes to exporters.

    Sources said Mr Sioufas asked for SEB's contribution in efforts

    to reduce inflation and reiterated the government's intention to activate a Competition Commission, but not to intervene in domestic markets or seek ''gentlemen's agreements'' with the aim to control prices.

    SEB said manufacturing product prices were rising at a slower

    rate compared with the country's consumer price inflation and urged for a reduction in energy costs through cuts in electricity bills for large energy consuming industries, natural gas and fuels by cutting a special consumer tax.

    [04] Unions call general strike for Wednesday

    30/03/2004 23:31:08

    GSEE, Greece's largest trade union umbrella, on Wednesday is holding a

    24-hour general strike demand a satisfactory national general

    collective labour agreement for 2004.

    GSEE's main demands are for an 8.0 percent pay rise to lower wages and adopting a 39-hour working week. Trade unions are protesting against what they call as unacceptable pay increase offer by employers, with the latter union proposing a 3.2 percent pay rise while they dismiss any talk over reducing working hours.

    The mass transportation system is expected to paralyse on Wednesday

    with buses, electric-buses, the Athens metro, sailors and ship workers planning to strike from midnight. Trains will operate on safety personnel only, which means only one scheduled trip per destination.

    Workers in public enterprises and utilities, and banks are also

    expected to participate in the general strike, with bank employees protesting against a 2.2 percent pay rise proposal by employers.

    GSEE president Christos Polyzogopoulos on Tuesday, again, attacked

    Bank of Greece's report on the country's monetary policy. In radio interviews, Mr Polyzogopoulos said that the central bank was adopting IMF's policies and hinted of further strike mobilisations in the future if employers failed to present a significantly improved offer.

    [05] Museum of Islamic art to open in June

    30/03/2004 23:28:29

    A new Museum of Islamic Art currently under construction (an annex of the Benaki Museum) is scheduled to open in June, Benaki Museum Curator Angelos Delivorias said on Tuesday during a press conference.

    The museum's collections are considered among the most significant worldwide and span centuries of art, from the 7th to the 19th centuries, from countries such as Iran, Turkey, and Egypt. The museum will house a total of 10,000 exhibits, but only 1,500 will be displayed initially.

    Aside from valuable works of art donated by various individuals, the museum has also added to its collection by purchasing various items from museums abroad.

    The new museum will be housed in a neoclassical building donated to the Benaki Museum by Lambros Eutaxias, in Kerameikos - part of Athens' historical centre.

    [06] Weather Forecast: Mostly sunny on Wednesday

    30/03/2004 19:00:24

    Mostly sunny weather is forecast in all parts of the country, with scattered cloud from early evening and rain in the southwest. Winds variable, moderate to very strong. Temperatures in Athens 11C to 18C and in Thessaloniki from 8C to 14C.

    [07] Foreign Exchange Rates: Wednesday

    30/03/2004 18:51:50

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank

    U.S. dollar 1.228

    Pound sterling 0.673

    Danish kroner 7.504

    Swedish kroner 9.333

    Japanese yen 130.0

    Swiss franc 1.571

    Norwegian kroner 8.475

    Cyprus pound 0.590

    Canadian dollar 1.604

    Australian dollar 1.630

    [08] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks nose down after two straight rises

    30/03/2004 18:46:25

    The Athens bourse finished lower on Tuesday in the wake of two straight rising sessions in which the general share index had gained 3.56 per cent, traders said.

    The general share index shed 0.06 per cent to end at 2,375.57 points. Turnover was 125.7 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.09 per cent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalisation paper 0.39 per cent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities lost 0.40 per cent.

    Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 174 to 123 with 60 issues remaining unchanged.

    [09] Greek government memorandum on Cyprus issue

    30/03/2004 16:05:12

    Buergenstock (ANA/A. Panagopoulou,)

    A memorandum outlining the observations of the Greek government on the Annan plan was delivered to UN special envoy for Cyprus Alvaro de Sotoon Tuesday in Buergenstock by Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis.

    Greek government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said the Greek government's observations were mostly centred on security issues and derogations.

    ''Our standing goal is to improve [the plan's] functionality and ensure it accomodates European rules and principles,'' he said.

    According to sources, the Greek memorandum is essentially identical to that presented by the Greek-Cypriot side. One high-ranking diplomatic source stressed that ''everthing done here aims to reinforce the clarity of our negotiating positions''.

    Greek diplomats estimate that Annan will re-submit his plan with modifications by tonight or early on Wednesday morning, after he has received the observations of all the parties.

    Meanwhile, other sources said that Verheugen has departed for Brussels in order to confer with the rest of the European Commission regarding derogations from Community laws, with his reply due later on Tuesday night.

    In the meantime, the negotiations in Buergenstock are still in full swing and there is still a chance that substantial modifications will be made that will satisfy Greek and Greek-Cypriot positions, allowing the text to be signed as requested by de Soto on Monday.


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