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Athens News Agency: News in English, 01-09-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Events marking European Day of Languages
  • [02] Gov't sale of privatisation bonds oversold by 1.8 times
  • [03] More banks join latest wave of interest rate cuts
  • [04] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks nose down in last-minute selling
  • [05] Foreign Exchange Rates -Thursday
  • [06] Deal signed for construction of Olympics wrestling centre
  • [07] Eight Albanians arrested on forgery charges
  • [08] Rogge: No one can ensure 100% security for Games, Salt Lake City on
  • [09] Weather Forecast: Mostly sunny on Thursday

  • [01] Events marking European Day of Languages

    26/09/2001 21:03:21

    Hundreds of events took place in major European Union cities on Wednesday marking European Day of Languages.

    Thousands of balloons were set loose in a big city of every EU country (in Greece, at Fokas Park in Thessaloniki).

    The European Day of Languages constitutes a major moment of the European Year of Languages 2001, which was declared by the European Union and the Council of Europe and covers regional, minority, migratory and sign languages and a large number of official European and national languages.

    Speaking on the importance of the day regarding the promotion of the learning of languages, relevant Commissioner Viviane Reding said "the learning of languages offers new opportunities and is open to all. I wish for the European Day of Languages to be a day of entertainment, during the course of which we will convey this message. I call on the public and all of Europe's mass media to contribute in the celebration of such a superb European heritage: our languages."

    During the year, the European Commission organised a major briefing campaign and a "Euro-barometer" regarding the views of European citizens about languages.

    According to the survey, which was published in February, 52.9 per cent of Greeks questioned said that they knew at least one language other than their own mother-tongue. The corresponding EU average is 52.7 per cent.

    [02] Gov't sale of privatisation bonds oversold by 1.8 times

    26/09/2001 19:43:23

    A government sale of bonds convertible into the stock of companies slated for privatisation in coming months was oversubscribed by about 1.8 times, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

    Available were 510 billion drachmas (1.7 billion euros) worth of three-year paper with a return of 4.128 percent, the ministry said in a statement.

    The majority of convertible bonds were sold to institutional investors and banks, with a small quantity of paper destined for insurance firms abroad, the statement said.

    More than 70 percent of the securities were privately placed with investors abroad, it added.

    The government's underwriters were BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, EFG Eurobank-Ergasias and NBG International.

    [03] More banks join latest wave of interest rate cuts

    26/09/2001 19:29:24

    Bank of Cyprus, Aspis Bank, Hellenic Bank and General Bank on Wednesday announced that they would lower their interest rates, joining the latest wave of declines triggered by a 50 basis point cut in the European Central Bank's intervention rate.

    Other banks to have lowered their rates are Citibank in Greece, Laiki Bank, National Bank of Greece, EFG Eurobank Ergasias, Piraeus Bank, Alpha Bank, Commercial Bank of Greece, Attica Bank and HSBC.

    Most of the rate declines come into effect on Monday.

    Analysts said that interest on savings deposit accounts would come to about minus 2.0-3.0 percent on smaller amounts, taking into account a 15 percent tax on interest and an inflation rate of roughly 3.4 percent to 3.5 percent.

    Returns are roughly the same in most credit institutions.

    [04] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks nose down in last-minute selling

    26/09/2001 19:02:25

    The Athens bourse finished slightly lower on Wednesday, dragged down by a wave of selling in the last half hour of trade.

    The general share index shed 0.25 percent to end at 2,158.04 points. Turnover was 127.4 million euros.

    Buying interest until the end of the session focused on medium-capitalisation stocks, especially metals.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.44 percent lower; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalisation paper 0.75 percent up; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities fell 0.48 percent.

    Declines led advances at 199 to 121 with 42 issues remaining unchanged.

    [05] Foreign Exchange Rates -Thursday

    26/09/2001 18:53:30

    Indicative tourist buying rates

    U.S. dollar 366.673

    German mark 172.829

    French franc 051.531

    Pound sterling 540.409

    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 45.456

    Swedish kroner 34.075

    Finnish mark 056.852

    Spanish peseta 002.032

    Portuguese escudo 001.686

    Japanese yen (100) 311.187

    Swiss franc 228.476

    Norwegian kroner 041.985

    Cyprus pound 588.941

    Canadian dollar 233.518

    Australian dollar 181.976

    [06] Deal signed for construction of Olympics wrestling centre

    26/09/2001 18:41:08

    The general secretariat of sports on Wednesday signed a contract with Avax SA, an engineering contractor listed on the Athens bourse, for construction of a wrestling and judo centre to be used in the Athens 2004 Olympics.

    The centre, located in the Athens suburb of Ano Liosia, is budgeted at 28.6 billion drachmas and ranks among the largest projects for the Games.

    With a capacity of 8,000 spectators, the centre will meet all specifications set by international wrestling and judo federations.

    The completion deadline for the project is 600 days from signature of the contract.

    [07] Eight Albanians arrested on forgery charges

    26/09/2001 18:36:49

    Eight Albanian nationals were arrested on charges of forging certificates, drivers licenses, Albanian passports and Albanian police id cards, police said Wednesday.

    Ili Herbo, 41, Andriatic Fasli, 32, Zenel Lako, 45, Spetin Hasa, 28, Ridban Hasa, 22, Blertian Zera, 18, Dritan Hasa, 21 and Estref Dermisi, 18 were arrested on charges of forging documents and having in their possession a large number of forged documents, rubber stamps, and forgery equipment, all of which was confiscated.

    All detainees will be taken before a public prosecutor.

    [08] Rogge: No one can ensure 100% security for Games, Salt Lake City on schedule

    26/09/2001 18:33:16

    International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Jacques Rogge emphasised here on Wednesday that no country can ensure ?100 percent? safety for the Games, hours after he was received by Greek leadership and briefed on the pace of preparations by Athens Olympic organising committee (ATHOC).

    Rogge arrived in Greece -- his first visit since taking over from Juan Antonio Samaranch last July -- at the head of a high-ranking IOC delegation that also included the Lausanne-based organisations coordinating committee chairman for the Athens Games, Denis Oswald.

    Speaking at a press conference after a round of meetings, Rogge again stressed that the Salt Lake City Winter Games will take place on schedule next February, while he added that the early September terrorist attacks will not dampen Olympic aficionados interest in coming to Athens in 2004.

    As expected, security for the Games and meeting deadlines for certain 2004-related projects dominated talks between Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the IOC delegation, whose members also toured various sites and had briefings with Greek organisers, including ATHOC president Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.

    Regarding the all-important issue of security, especially in light of the shocking Sept. 11 terrorist strikes in the United States, Rogge reiterated that security is and has been the No. 1 priority for organising the Olympics since Munich in 1972.

    He noted, however, that the IOCs security strategy remains the same, although modifications will be made in terms of its practical implementation, ?with more people and stricter control.?

    While stressing to reporters at a press conference that no country can absolutely guarantee security, he added that ?everything humanly possible will be done?, and that Olympic Villages are, ?in my opinion, the safest places on earth.?

    [09] Weather Forecast: Mostly sunny on Thursday

    26/09/2001 17:52:52

    The weather will be mostly sunny on Thursday. The northern and eastern Aegean islands, Macedonia, Thrace and Thessaly will be rainy and stormy. The weather will soon improve from Macedonia, moving east. Winds north-northwesterly, moderate to strong, turning very strong at sea. In the north, temperatures will range from 17C to 24C; in the west from 18C to 25C; and in the rest of the country from 19C to 28C. Mostly sunny in Athens, with temperatures between 22C and 28C. Rain or a storm in the morning then sunny in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 17C to 24C.

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