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Athens News Agency: News in English, 01-03-11

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Banks-Strike
  • [02] New Democracy-Criticism-Gov't
  • [03] New Political Group-CentreLeft-Campaign
  • [04] Papandreou-Cyprus (RECASTS, adding statements)
  • [05] Weather Forecast-Monday
  • [06] US Ambassador-Kavala-Visit
  • [07] Arrests-Firebombings-Cancer Child
  • [08] Papandreou-Cyprus-Arrival
  • [09] Greek Groups-Russia
  • [10] Air Race-Crete
  • [11] Weather Forecast-Sunday
  • [12] Foreign Exchange Rates-Monday

  • [01] Banks-Strike

    11/03/2001 19:40:28

    Bank workers are to stage a 48-hour strike around the country on Monday and Tuesday in a call for the creation of a unified social insurance fund for the sector.

    The decision to go ahead with the stoppage was taken after a failure to make progress in establishment of the fund, the OTOE bank workers union said.

    A skeleton staff will be in place during the walkout, in line with the law, the union said.

    [02] New Democracy-Criticism-Gov't

    11/03/2001 19:35:31

    Costas Karamanlis, leader of the main opposition New Democracy party, claimed on Sunday that the government was suffering from "fatigue" and was unable to carry out its duties.

    "The fatigue shown by senior government officials, which the prime minister has criticised, is affecting the premier himself," Karamanlis told a preparatory meeting for the party's main congress.

    He charged that the government with moving "at a snail's pace and seeing as much as an ostrich burying its head in the sand," while unemployment was steadily rising with funds earmarked to combat joblessless only representing a quarter of the European Union average.

    In addition, EU funds were being squandered in non-existent programmes, Karamanlis claimed.

    [03] New Political Group-CentreLeft-Campaign

    11/03/2001 19:07:10

    The newly created Forum for a Modernised and Pro-Environment Left, which aims to create a broad-based, centre-left alliance backing the government's reform drive but seeking greater vision, on Sunday launched a campaign to rally support.

    The Forum may provide a reply to a centre-right party recently established by Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, commentators said.

    Among the Forum's coordinators named on Sunday who will carry out the campaign to garner support is Rihardos Someritis, a journalist.

    Announcing the group's creation on Saturday Nikos Bistis, a founder, told a news conference that the party supports reforms by Prime Minister Costas Simitis' government, but the ruling party now needs an "overall vision of change" to remove voter disillusion and halt stagnation.

    The forum was set up by two small left-wing movements - the Left Movement for Modernisation and Renewal and Citizens' Initiative for Left Renewal and the Environment.

    Founders of the movement said the forum aimed to rally the centre-left, incorporating groups with different identities and backgrounds.

    "Within this framework, it is necessary for the wind of modernisation to blow also within the (ruling) PASOK party," the forum's founding declaration said.

    "PASOK should evolve into a contemporary socialist party that is able to play a leading role in the alignment of broad forces, exercising more fully its central role in the effort to modernise," the declaration added.

    [04] Papandreou-Cyprus (RECASTS, adding statements)

    11/03/2001 18:46:00

    NICOSIA (ANA/I.Afendouli) - Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou arrived in Cyprus on Sunday at the start of a three-day official visit, saying that talks for Cyprus to join the European Union should end in 2002, regardless of a solution to the island's division.

    "Enlargement is becoming a top priority for the EU and negotiations have been intensified," Papandreou told a news conference after a two-hour meeting with his counterpart, Ioannis Cassoulides.

    The Greek minister reported that the EU's executive Commission was concerned about the mechanics of Cyprus' entry into the 15-nation bloc, which required work on a membership formula as the island republic would join regardless of a solution - or not - to the political problem.

    The formula would aim to declare the whole of Cyprus an EU member under its legitimate government, which, however, was unable to exercise sovereignty in the Turkish-occupied sector.

    Papandreou recalled that Cyprus already had forged agreements with the EU, such as customs union, thereby setting a precedent.

    "This pre-history has created an acquired right for Cyprus and its ties with the EU," he said.

    Cassoulides told the same news conference that he hoped Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash would show prudence and return to talks on the Cyprus issue.

    "In any case, Cyprus will join the EU one way or another," he added.

    In addition to the Cyprus problem, Papandreou is visiting Cyprus for talks on the 2004 Olympic Games to be hosted by Athens.

    The minister, who plans to publicise the concept of the Olympic Truce during his visit, is accompanied by three medallists for Greece in the Games.

    Earlier, both ministers told reporters that they hoped the Cypriot team for the 2004 Olympics would represent the entire island.

    "In Athens, we hope to see both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot athletes marching together in the parade," Papandreou said.

    Cassoulides told reporters at Nicosia airport where he received Papandreou that the Greek minister would also tour the island republic in order to meet local organisations and members of the public.

    Papandreou is scheduled to meet trade unions during his stay in Nicosia. Turkish Cypriot representatives have also been invited to the session.

    Also at the airport, Papandreou said that his US counterpart, Colin Powell, had assured him of Washington's continuing interest in a solution to the Cyprus issue.

    "If the Cyprus problem is resolved, a new security system can be established in the eastern Mediterranean," the minister said.

    He added that Cyprus would not be held hostage to the political dispute with Turkey in the island republic's European Union entry bid; it would gain membership, regardless of resolution.

    [05] Weather Forecast-Monday

    11/03/2001 18:07:53

    Scattered cloud is forecast throughout Greece on Monday, possibly turning to showers in the east and south. Winds will be west northwesterly, light to moderate. In the north, temperatures will range from 5C to 18C; on the rest of the mainland from 8C to 20C; and in the islands from 10C to 19C. Light cloud over Athens with temperatures between 10C and 19C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 6C to 17C.

    [06] US Ambassador-Kavala-Visit

    11/03/2001 17:59:42

    US Ambassador Nicholas Burns is to visit Kavala on Monday in order to sound out the prospects for investments in the northern town and prefecuture.

    Burns, who is scheduled to have talks with local government and business representatives, will be accompanied by senior embassy and consular staff.

    He may expand his visit to other areas in eastern Macedonia and Thrace.

    [07] Arrests-Firebombings-Cancer Child

    11/03/2001 17:44:50

    Two youths are two be charged on Monday for planting firebombs outside a government office, TV station and bank in Thessaloniki last week in an attack to avenge the death of a leukemia-stricken toddler after his fund-raising account was frozen, police said.

    The youths - identified as Thomas Fourlis, 26, and Theodoros Yinalis, 21 - are accused of placing the makeshift explosive devices made of cooking-gas canisters outside an office of Star TV, a branch of National Bank of Greece, which held the account for the child, and a health department inspectorate.

    No injuries were reported in the two blasts on Thursday; the third device was detonated by police.

    Typed, unsigned proclamations left at the scene cited the death of three-year-old Panayiotis Vassilelis last Sunday as the reason for the firebombings.

    On Thursday, National Bank of Greece responded to an avalanche of criticism over its role in the case, claiming gross inaccuracy.

    The management of National, the country's largest commercial bank and a blue chip on the Athens bourse, said it had done all it could to release funds from the frozen account, which was opened at one of its branches on the Aegean island of Lesvos.

    Under a 70-year-old Greek law, fund-raising accounts have to be opened by non-profit-making organisations, and not individuals.

    National Bank said that it had allocated 12 million drachmas of its own funds to the childs family on November 23 to enable them to take Panayiotis to the UK for treatment.

    [08] Papandreou-Cyprus-Arrival

    11/03/2001 15:57:23

    NICOSIA (ANA/I.Afendouli) - Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou arrived in Cyprus on Sunday at the start of a three-day official visit for talks focusing on the Cyprus problem and the 2004 Olympic Games to be hosted by Athens.

    Papandreou's Cypriot counterpart, Ioannis Cassoulides, told reporters at Nicosia airport that the Greek minister would also tour the island republic in order to meet local organisations and members of the public.

    Papandreou, who plans to publicise the concept of the Olympic Truce during his visit, is accompanied by three medallists for Greece in the Games.

    Both ministers told reporters that they hoped the Cypriot team for the 2004 Olympics would represent the entire island.

    "In Athens, we hope to see both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot athletes marching together in the parade," Papandreou said.

    He added that he was scheduled to meet trade unions during his stay in Nicosia. Turkish Cypriot representatives have also been invited to the session.

    Finally, Papandreou said that his US counterpart, Colin Powell, had assured him of Washington's continuing interest in a solution to the Cyprus issue.

    "If the Cyprus problem is resolved, a new security system can be established in the eastern Mediterranean," Papandreou said.

    He added that Cyprus would not be held hostage to the political dispute with Turkey in the island republic's European Union entry bid; it would gain membership, regardless of resolution.

    [09] Greek Groups-Russia

    11/03/2001 15:27:38

    Greek associations from 30 regions in Russia are holding a two-day congress in Moscow, the Itar-Tass news agency reported.

    "The Association, which is some sort of a bridge between Russia and Greece, plays a considerable role in maintaining these relations," a Greek embassy counsellor in Moscow, Georgios Markadonatos, told the news agency.

    The groups are seeking to revive the Greek language in Russia, preserve cultural traditions and promote inter-ethnic relations, Itar-Tass reported from Moscow.

    The congress, which began on Saturday, coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Greek Society, which is based in the Russian capital.

    There are 100,000 Greeks in Russia, including about 7,500 in the Moscow area, Itar-Tass said.

    [10] Air Race-Crete

    11/03/2001 15:13:07

    Fifty aircraft taking part in an air race from London to Sydney are scheduled for a stopover in Hania, Crete on Tuesday.

    The international race is being held as part of celebrations to mark the Australian state's 100th birthday.

    [11] Weather Forecast-Sunday

    11/03/2001 15:06:51

    Scattered cloud is forecast throughout the country on Sunday, turning to showers in the Ionian, mainland Greece, the Cyclades and Crete. Winds will be southerly, light to moderate. In the north, temperatures will range from 4C to 19C; on the rest of the mainland from 7C to 20C; and in the islands from 9C to 18C. Light cloud in Athens and possibly showers, with temperatures between 9C and 19C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 5C to 18C.

    [12] Foreign Exchange Rates-Monday

    11/03/2001 15:04:27

    Monday's buying rates

    U.S. dollar 361.270

    German mark 172.829

    French franc 051.531

    Pound sterling 530.317

    Irish punt 429.202

    Belgian franc 008.379

    Luxembourg franc 008.379

    Dutch guilder 153.389

    Italian lira (100) 017.457

    Austrian schilling 024.565

    Danish kroner 45.286

    Swedish kroner 37.202

    Finnish mark 056.852

    Spanish peseta 002.032

    Portuguese escudo 001.686

    Japanese yen (100) 302.593

    Swiss franc 219.061

    Norwegian kroner 41.187

    Cyprus pound 583.695

    Canadian dollar 233.710

    Australian dollar 185.039


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