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Athens News Agency: News in English, 01-09-10
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Passenger shippers to challenge deregulation in court10/09/2001 21:11:45
Domestic passenger shippers on Monday announced that they will resort to Greek and European courts to challenge provisions contained in a new law ordaining deregulation in the sector.
The Union of Passenger Ship Owners said in a statement that the provisions ran contrary to European Union directives, failed to serve travellers' needs, and would hurt the sector.
The union is to challenge a ruling that lowers the maximum age of ships to 30 from 35 years in October 2002; the right of the government to intervene in the allocation of shipping routes; the compulsory operation of vessels for 10 months of the year; the shipping register; and a ruling on the number of seamen required to staff vessels.
 Simitis-Jospin talks also focus on FYROM situation10/09/2001 20:48:19
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his French counterpart Lionel Jospin covered bilateral relations and European issues during their one-hour talks in Athens on Monday, as discussions also focused on the situation in strife-torn neighbouring FYROM.
Jospin is on a working visit to the Greek capital at the head of a high-ranking French delegation that also includes Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, both men emphasised that Greek-French relations are excellent. The two prime ministers also responded to questions regarding the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), telling reporters that both sides views on the issue coincided.
The Simitis-Jospin talks followed an informal EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels over the weekend, convened to focus on the situation in FYROM.
Among others, Simitis and Jospin said they favoured the continued presence of a NATO-led international ?weapons-collection? force in the land-locked republic to the north of Greece in order to assist normalisation in that country.
On his part, the Greek premier added that he agreed with Jospin that a new United Nations mandate may be necessary to extend the forces presence in FYROM.
Asked if military production matters were discussed, particularly the sale of French-made main battle tanks to Greece, Jospin replied in the affirmative.
During the press conference, Simitis noted that he and Jospin agreed that the international economy is undergoing a period of recession, while at the same time there are "positive signs", mostly coming from the United States, as well as from other places.
He did, however, noted his the belief that there will be improvement next year and development rates will increase.
Simitis also stressed that he and Jospin agreed that there should be greater coordination on economic policy within the European Union, noting that Greece will undertake the rotating presidency of ECOFIN during the second half of 2002.
On his part, Jospin stressed the very positive role Europe's new currency, the euro, will play as a tool of "stability and development in Europe".
He noted the important role of the European Central Bank and agreed with Simitis on the need for a better and greater coordination of the economic policies among Eurozone member-states.
 ITAR-TASS general director meets with press deputy minister & ATHOC president10/09/2001 20:08:05
Russian news agency ITAR-TASS General Director Vitali Ignatenko, who is visiting Greece at the invitation of the Athens News Agency (ANA), on Monday met with Press and Mass Media Deputy Minister Telemachos Hytiris and Athens 2004 Olympic Games Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.
Ignatenko expressed to Hytiris the interest of ITAR-TASS to further strengthen the channels of information exchange, especially before and during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
He stressed that the Russian agency was preparing the means to cover the Olympic Games, as well as the cultural and other events taking place in Greece, since there is increased interest for such information among Russians.
Ignatenko also spoke of the good relations between ITAR-TASS and the ANA, as well as their cooperation, which is continually developing.
Hytiris, on his part, thanked Ignatenko for his interest and said that Greece would do everything possible to aid the Russian agency in covering the Games, as well as to further increase the volume of news and information flow from Greece to Russia, underling the good relations between the two counties and the importance of the cooperation between ITAR-TASS and ANA.
Following his meeting with Hytiris, Ignatenko met with Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and was briefed on the progress of ATHOC's projects, while he stressed the special interest of Russia and the Russian media for the 2004 Games.
Ignatenko is a member of the executive committee of the Russian Olympic Committee, he was the director of the press office of the Olympic Games of Moscow in 1980 and was an advisor for the Seoul Olympic Games press office.
Ignatenko is also the president of the Asian association of news agencies and in the past he held the post of vice-president of the Russian government.
Ignatenko was accompanied during his meetings by ANA General Director Andreas Christodoulides.
 Athens Olympics products to be sold in US10/09/2001 20:01:35
Licenced merchandise in the 2004 Olympic Games will be sold in the US following an agreement forged in New York on Monday, the Athens organisers of the event said.
Sale of the products is estimated to bring revenue of over five million US dollars, the 2004 organising committee said in a statement.
The pact will be signed in November by Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, president of the Athens organisers of the 2004 Games; and the US national Olympics committee.
 Commissioners satisfied with Greece's commitment on quality of foodstuffs10/09/2001 19:39:24
European Commissioner on health and consumer protection David Byrne and European Commissioner on Agriculture and Fisheries Franz Fischler in a joint press conference in Athens on Monday expressed satisfaction over Greece's commitment to improve the system of the hygiene and quality of foodstuffs.
The press conference was preceded by a round table discussion on "agriculture and foodstuffs" with the participation of representatives of consumer organisations and representatives from the sector of foodstuffs and commerce.
Fischler said consumers have greater demands as to the quality of foodstuffs, but at the same time they have to accept the prices which correspond to the upgraded produce and hygiene. "Low prices, overproduction and quality are not compatible," he said.
Byrne said consumers demand greater transparency on the quality of foodstuffs and of their origin. As from January, he added, animal fodder will bear a notice indicating the origin of the animal as well as other important information.
Similar discussions have also taken place in six other countries and will continue in all the European Union countries.
 Greece calls on Turkey to use Helsinki EU summit decisions to enter Union10/09/2001 19:07:43
Turkey should utilize the Helsinki agreement to come closer to the European Union government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Monday, while commenting on the talks of European Union foreign ministers with their counterparts from candidate member states in Brussels on Sunday.
Reppas also said that Turkey's Foreign Minister Ismail Cem told his counterparts at Sunday's meeting that his country did not make threatening comments in connection with the accession of Cyprus to the European Union.
Discussing the participation of the Turkish-Cypriots in Cyprus' accession negotiations, Reppas said that it is to their detriment that they are not participating.
Cem claimed that there were no threats by Turkey but that Cyprus' EU accession before a settlement of the Cyprus issue created domestic problems in his country.
Meanwhile, however, in Ankara, in an interview to Hurriyet daily newspaper, Cem said that Turkey and the pseudo-state in northern occupied Cyprus will do all they can to secure their safety and rights in the event that the Republic of Cyprus enters the European Union.
According to an ANA dispatch, Cem added that the reactions would be "without limits".
Cem noted that the economic crisis Turkey faces does not influence its foreign policy, stressing that he personally and his ministry "have not compromised on any issue regarding foreign policy".
Speaking on Turkey's European course, Cem said that his country's candidacy to the EU minimized the gap between Athens and Ankara and moved the borders of Europe from the Aegean and the Balkans to the eastern reaches of Turkey.
He warned that if Ankara does not move on with the pre-accession negotiations until 2002, Turkey's accession would be delayed significantly, stressing, however, that it is not fitting to treat Turkey like a "colony".
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday10/09/2001 18:17:18
Indicative tourist buying rates
U.S. dollar 373.629
German mark 172.829
French franc 051.531
Pound sterling 547.671
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 45.422
Swedish kroner 35.430
Finnish mark 056.852
Spanish peseta 002.032
Portuguese escudo 001.686
Japanese yen (100) 309.970
Swiss franc 223.193
Norwegian kroner 042.239
Cyprus pound 589.716
Canadian dollar 238.470
Australian dollar 191.691
 Weather Forecast: Scattered cloud on Tuesday10/09/2001 17:34:16
Scattered cloud with sunny spells are forecast in many parts of the country on Tuesday, with the west and north likely to see some showers or storms. Winds southwesterly, moderate, turning strong in parts of the south. In the north, temperatures will range from 15C to 27C; in the west from 18C to 29C; and in the rest of the country from 17C to 31C. Scattered cloud in Athens, and possibly a shower or storm, with temperatures between 18C and 29C. Light cloud over Thessaloniki turning to a shower or storm with temperatures from 14C to 27C.
 Greek stocks plunge 4.17 pct on Monday10/09/2001 16:18:31
Equity prices plunged to new lows on the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday hit by a worsening climate in international markets - where most market indices have fallen to their lowest levels in the last three years - and by worries about the outcome of a political battle between the government and the main opposition party over the activity of a Securities Management Public Enterprise during the pre-election period in April 2001.
Traders said lack of buying interest, combined with very low turnover exacerbated price fluctuations in the market and pushed the general index below the 2,620, 2,580 and 2,550 technical support levels.
The index remained under pressure for the ninth consecutive session - a record for the last six years - for a net loss of 9.58 percent over that period. Analysts expect the market to find support at the 2,525 level in the short-term although they believe that the market would soon test new record lows for the year.
ASE chairman, Papagiotis Alexakis, said that a negative climate in international markets was affecting the Greek bourse as well. "It is necessary that all market participants should contribute in stabilising sentiment and not transfer their insecurities to investors," Alexakis said.
He urged investors to remain calm and ignore talk of negative senarios.
The general index ended 4.17 percent lower at 2,536.97 points, off the day's lows of 2,510.24 points, with turnover a low 121.261 million euros, or 41.315 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended at 1,427.18 points, off 4.10 percent, the FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 4.55 percent to 275.78 points, and the Small Cap index ended at 806.41 points, off 5.09 percent.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 245.81 points, off 4.64 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 351 to five with another five issues unchanged.
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