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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-05-12
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PASOK-Central Committee-Simitis12/05/2000 21:39:59
Prime Minister Costas Simitis signalled the start to the ruling socialist PASOK party's re-establishment on Friday, saying at the opening of the party's three-day Central Committee meeting that "with the old one we cannot express the progressive side in its entirety."
Simitis said this course had already been decided by the 5th congress and will be completed at PASOK's next congress in the spring of 2002. He determined the party's enlargement and renewal as being the most important terms in this context.
Simitis did not elaborate further, but noted that a socialist movement cannot be "static neither in ideas nor in persons since inertia is attrition and a recipe for defeat".
 Greece-Britain-Parthenon-Marbles12/05/2000 20:49:42
LONDON (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis) - Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos on Friday met British political figures, journalists and members of the British committee seeking the return of the Parthenon marbles to Greece and discussed the issue in regards to the Greek request for their return.
Pangalos noted that there was a positive climate regarding the issue, adding that ?the climate in England, regarding the marbles, has changed to a more positive one and toward the right path.
?On our part, we must be sober so as to command prestige and not to use the issue for demagogy. This is a warning to the politicians and to the representatives of the press,? he added.
 Greece-Turkey-Demarches-Geographical12/05/2000 18:48:58
ANKARA (ANA A. Abatzis) Turkey this week presented Athens with two demarches, with one mentioning ?disputed sovereignty? of certain ?Aegean geographical formations? and the other taking umbrage with the Greek defence undersecretarys recent comment over an ?anti-missile umbrella? along the countrys eastern frontier.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Monday12/05/2000 18:42:53
Following are indicative foreign exchange rates for commercial banks released by the central bank for the next working day.
Mondays rates (buying)
U.S. dollar 368.945
 Weather Forecast-Saturday12/05/2000 18:27:53
Light cloud is forecast throughout the country on Saturday, turning to showers or storms in the north and maybe central Greece from late afternoon.
 Government-economic policy12/05/2000 16:57:42
The Greek government on Friday set out three priorities in its economic policy for the period 2000-2001, which include speedier structural reforms, implementation of all pre-election pledges for social benefits and completion of negotiations for the country's EMU membership.
A cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, unanimously approved plans presented by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.
Presenting his plans, Papantoniou said that the ministry would move rapidly to abolish all market structures hindering competition and all bureaucratic procedures, including opening up certain state-licensed professions, currently under discussion by the ministry.
Papantoniou also said that the government would promote all structural reforms needed to open up monopoly markets in energy and telecommunications and implement its privatisation programme.
He said that the ministry planned to strengthen the supervising role and the function of regulatory authorities in competition, capital markets, telecommunication and electricity.
He reiterated that the government would implement all pre-election pledges for higher pensions and tax cuts without deviating from provisions made by this year's budget.
Papantoniou said that the government is expected to formally complete negotiations on the country's EMU membership at an EU summit in Lisbon, June 19.
"Greece comfortably fulfils all EMU membership criteria," he said.
 Posidonia 2000-maritime fair12/05/2000 16:41:30
Greek shipowners urged for the creation of preconditions to bring ships back under the Greek flag and to promote the port of Piraeus into a modern shipping centre of a European and international range, Greek Shipowners Union chairman Yiannis Lyras said on Friday.
In his message ahead of the "Posidonia 2000" maritime fair to be held in Piraeus during the first week of June, Lyras said "the Greek shipowner believes that there is still time to correct past mistakes and that all parties will acknowledge that it is the national interest which imposes the productivity relation between the shipping sector and the country as it struggles to achieve economic growth and combat unemployment".
"The return of vessels under the Greek flag and promoting the port of Piraeus into a modern international shipping centre will contribute to economic progress," Lyras said.
He noted that the Greek shipping industry has entered its third millennium with the aim to maintain its leadership in world shipping.
 Corfu - Shoot-out - Smugglers12/05/2000 16:37:36
The Greek coast guard reported a shoot-out early Friday morning off the northeast coast of Corfu, the largest Ionian island that lies just across from the southwest corner of Albania.
According to reports, a three-man unit patrolling off the isles shoreline exchanged machine gunfire with at least two suspects in a speedboat, and after the coast guard officers attempted to stop and board the vessel. One of the two suspects was also spotted as running from the shoreline at the Agia Aikaterini site on the island.
No injuries were reported, while the suspects speedboat managed to flee towards Albanias territorial waters. Afterwards, some 8.5 kilos of hashish were discovered hidden near the beach where the suspect was spotted.
Both gunmen are believed to be Albanian drug smugglers.
ROME (ANA L. Hatzikyriakos) Meanwhile, on the western side of the Ionian, Italian officials are apparently lending particular importance to a conference in Ancona this month focusing on the issue of the Ionian and Adriatic seas development and security.
In presenting the conferences agenda, Italian interior undersecretary Umberto Ranieri said contacts at the event are expected to give politicians and experts of Balkan affairs a chance to discuss issues of stability and security for the tension-riddled region.
According to reports, new Italian Premier Juliano Amato, foreign ministers from Greece, Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia, Albania, EU Commission President Romano Prodi along with the Unions representative for foreign affairs Javier Solana, special SE Europe Stability Pact coordinator Bodo Hombach and several representatives from NGOs active in the area will participate.
?This initiatives goal is the combating of drug and weapons smuggling, the illegal transport of migrants and crime, all of which multiplied over the past years due to the crisis in the Balkans. This conference will close with a text ratifying the principle of cooperation in the region,? Ranieri said in Rome.
 ADEX-close12/05/2000 16:08:23
Derivatives prices ended the week with sharp gains on the Athens Derivatives Exchange following a spectacular rebound in the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40.
Turnover was a moderate 8.6 billion drachmas and volume 2,673 contracts.
A total of 800 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, worth 3.9 billion drachmas. The May expiring contract ended at 2,520 points, the June at 2,529.75 and the July contract at 2,518 points.
A total of 1,873 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, with a turnover of 4.7 billion drachmas. The May expiring contract ended at 658.75 points, the June at 657 and the July contract at 651.25 points.
 ASE-close12/05/2000 16:03:30
Equity prices ended the last trading session of the week on Friday with new substantial gains, as strong buying interest for smaller and medium capitalisation stocks extended a rally in prices for the third consecutive session.
Dealers noted, however, that blue chip stocks lagged behind the wider market's advance scoring small gains only.
Turnover exceeded 200 billion drachmas for the first time in the last 21 sessions, a sign of the market's dynamic recovery.
The general index ended at 4,581.65 points, up 1.19 percent, but off the day's highs of 4,613.05 points. Turnover was 221 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.31 percent higher at 2,511.18 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index jumped 4.27 percent to 669.50 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 901.82 points, up 4.40 percent.
 Harmonised inflation-April figures12/05/2000 15:34:05
Greece's harmonised inflation remained close at the 2.0 percent rate for the third consecutive month in April, to 2.1 percent from 2.6 percent in March year-on-year, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.
The harmonised inflation rate fell to 2.0 percent for the first time in February and economy ministry officials expect to continue falling in the next two months.
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