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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-01-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece's priorities for 2002 outlined by PM before departure for US
  • [02] Greek defence minister Papantoniou to visit Cyprus
  • [03] Women rule for a day in N.E. Greece in annual reversal of roles
  • [04] 543-million-euro rural, agricultural development plan announced by
  • [05] Large drug haul turns up in Piraeus
  • [06] Weather Forecast: Snow and rain on Wednesday
  • [07] Foreign Exchange Rates - Wednesday
  • [08] Trial of OA employees over Falcon jet accident postponed
  • [09] Police hold suspects in connection with Zonas kidnapping
  • [10] Paschalides pledges one billion drachmas for programmes to teach Greek
  • [11] Greek stocks fall sharply on Tuesday
  • [12] CBS report chides Athens over 'Nov. 17'; gov't reaction

  • [01] Greece's priorities for 2002 outlined by PM before departure for US

    08/01/2002 22:34:55

    Cyprus' accession to the EU, reinforcement of initiatives for a Cyprus solution, the improvement in Greece's relations with Turkey and lasting stability in SE Europe are among the priorities of the Greek government for 2002, prime minister Costas Simitis said Tuesday.

    In an airport statement before departing for an official visit to the United States, Simitis told reporters that his government's plan and initiatives for Greece's constructive presence in the EU and the international scene was commencing in 2002 with his visit to the US, adding that Greece had proved it was a country that participated on an equal footing in the European Union and was actively involved in forming the developments.

    "Greece is dynamically standing out as a country of stability. From our privileged position, we are able to contribute to peace and prosperity in our neighborhood and more broadly, indeed in an area that is faced with crises and conflicts," Simitis said.

    "Our effort must be directed particularly towards wiping out friction spots at the regional level and in the comprehensive reinforcement of the country at international level. Greece has a special responsibility towards the peoples and countries of the region to consolidate the principles of peace, international law and cooperation and advance them in every direction," the premier continued.

    He added that the immediate priorities of his government were EU enlargement, the "deepening' of European cooperation, and the decisions concerning Europe's future.

    Simitis said the focus of his talks in the US with President Bush and other American administration officials would be on strengthening bilatreral political and economic relations between the two countries, reviewing international developments, and the need for developing a modern security system following the September 11 events, as well as the ongoing crisis spots in our geopolitical field, such as the Cyprus issue.

    [02] Greek defence minister Papantoniou to visit Cyprus

    08/01/2002 22:34:48

    NICOSIA (ANA/G.Leonidas) - Greek National Defence Minister Yiannos

    Papantoniou will pay a two-day official visit to Cyprus, at the

    invitation of his Cypriot counterpart Sokratis Hasikos, it was announced here on Tuesday.

    Papantoniou, will arrive in Cyprus on January 30 and during his stay he will be received by President Glafcos Clerides and by Archbishop Chrysostomos.

    Apart from his talks with Hasikos, he will meet the leaders of the parliamentary parties.

    Papantoniou will leave on January 31.

    [03] Women rule for a day in N.E. Greece in annual reversal of roles

    08/01/2002 22:32:15

    Women take "power" for a day in several villages in northeastern Greece as the ancient custom of "female rule" was once again adhered to on Tuesday, marking the importance of fertility, as the central person of the celebration is the midwife of the community.

    The custom mandates the reversal of roles between men and women, as the former stay at home taking care of the children and doing housework, while the women take to the streets and indulge in all the pleasant activities of men, barring of course work.

    Women visit coffee shops and play cards and backgammon, they parade the streets and set up impromptu parties, "blessed" by the midwife, who is their "ringleader" in this reversal of roles.

    Of course, as in any "established order", there are violators of women's rule day and, as in the case of other "established orders", they are "punished" by being drenched with cold water, in the middle of the winter no less.

    The ancient custom, lost in the lore and mists of past times, was brought to Greece by ethnic Greek refugees from eastern Romylia, currently eastern Bulgaria, who arrived in Greece during a population exchange in the early 20th century.

    [04] 543-million-euro rural, agricultural development plan announced by ministry

    08/01/2002 22:32:08

    The ministry of agriculture on Tuesday announced that a 543-million-euro program to revitilise the rural areas of the country and support farmers will begin accepting applications for projects on Feb. 1.

    The new program includes a series of actions for the complete development of the country's rural areas.

    [05] Large drug haul turns up in Piraeus

    08/01/2002 22:19:56

    More than 200 kilos of cocaine smuggled into the country from Colombia were located at a Piraeus customs house on Tuesday.

    According to police, the large cache of cocaine was hidden inside a container that arrived at Greeces largest port from Bogota, Colombia.

    No arrests were announced.

    [06] Weather Forecast: Snow and rain on Wednesday

    08/01/2002 18:04:52

    Cloud with light snowfall in most parts of Greece on Wednesday. Winds northerly, northeasterly, of gale force. In the north, temperatures will range from -7C to 5C; on the rest of the mainland from -5C to 12C; and in the islands from -3C to 8C. Cloud with light snowfall in Athens with temperatures between 0C to 7C. Mostly sunny in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from -1C to 5C.

    [07] Foreign Exchange Rates - Wednesday

    08/01/2002 17:56:04

    Euro foreign exchange rates for tourists - Indicative buy rates

    (Amount of currency per 1 euro)

    U.S. dollar 0.898

    Pound sterling 0.623

    Danish kroner 7.498

    Swedish kroner 9.309

    Japanese yen 119.17

    Swiss franc 1.482

    Norwegian kroner 8.022

    Cyprus pound 0.580

    Canadian dollar 1.438

    Australian dollar 1.724

    [08] Trial of OA employees over Falcon jet accident postponed

    08/01/2002 17:32:58

    The trial of 10 Olympic Airways employees charged in connection with an accident on board the prime minister's Falcon jet on September 14, 1999 was postponed on Tuesday until May 13, 2002.

    Then alternate foreign minister Yiannos Kranidiotis lost his life as the plane spun out of control in heavy turbulence, as did seven people accompanying him on an official visit to Romania.

    The case was postponed because the defence counsel was unable to come to the court due to the recent bad weather.

    Olympic Airways, meanwhile, intends to argue that the accident was not due to human error but to construction defects for which the plane's manufacturer is responsible.

    [09] Police hold suspects in connection with Zonas kidnapping

    08/01/2002 17:32:00

    Five people, four men and one woman, were being held for questioning in connection with the kidnapping of Yiannis Zonas in October, Attica police said on Tuesday.

    The 32-year-old businessman was kidnapped on October 2 and released 63 days later in December, after his family paid a ransom of one million dollars.

    [10] Paschalides pledges one billion drachmas for programmes to teach Greek

    08/01/2002 17:31:23

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Paschalidis announced on Tuesday that his ministry would spend one billion drachmas over the period 2002-2006 on programmes for teaching Greek to repatriated Greeks, foreign immigrants and expatriates abroad after a visit to the Greek Language Centre.

    [11] Greek stocks fall sharply on Tuesday

    08/01/2002 16:30:59

    Equity prices ended Tuesdsay's session sharply lower undermined by lack of buying interest and an extremely low turnover on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index ended 1.39 percent down at 2,601.51 points, with turnover a low Dr 28.6 billion, or 84 million euros.

    The Textile, Publication, Wholesale and Construction sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (3.36 percent, 3.33 percent, 2.87 percent and 1.84 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.26 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index fell 1.73 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index dropped 2.27 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 309 to 23 with another 20 issues unchanged.

    [12] CBS report chides Athens over 'Nov. 17'; gov't reaction

    08/01/2002 16:17:19

    NEW YORK (ANA) CBS networks ?60 Minutes? news magazine aired a segment on the notorious ?November 17? terrorist group during its Sunday programme, with references to Greek authorities efforts to eradicate the group portrayed in a particularly negative light.

    Among others, the segments host -- ?60 Minutes? veteran journalist Ed Bradley -- reiterated that no arrests of suspected ?November 17? members have been made in the 26 years since the elusive group first surfaced and after more than 100 attacks.

    ?60 Minutes" also described the US embassy in Athens as a veritable ?fortress?, while adding that the US State Department spends more money on the safety of US diplomats in Greece than it does for any other country in the world.

    Bradley noted that the issue of terrorism in Greece concerns Washington in light of the 2004 Games in Athens, while he said that although no link has been uncovered tying ?November 17? -- a small but lethal Marxist urban terrorist cell -- with the religious fanatics of ?al Qaida?, the inability of Greek authorities to hunt down the groups members may ?attract? other terrorist organisations to Athens in 2004.

    A handful of people spoke to the programmes reporters regarding ?November 17?, including former US diplomats assigned to Greece, family members of victims as well as Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis.

    The latter, in fact, rejected claims linking the notorious terrorist group with the government, saying it was ?an insult for me personally as well as for Greeces Parliament.?

    Conversely, the segment failed to air portions of an interview given by Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou on the issue of terrorism last May in Washington, an interview given to Bradley and CBS a fact pointed out on Monday by the Greek government.

    Govt reaction

    A few hours later, a government spokesman in Athens questioned the timing and ?expediency? of the aired ?60 Minutes? segment in light of Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis official visit to the United States this week and a meeting with President George W. Bush at the White House.

    Spokesman Christos Protopapas also questioned the reports fairness, emphasising that nary a ?soundbite? of Papandreous lengthy interview was shown, whereas the segment ?was expended on a virulent attack against Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis?.


    On his part, Kaklamanis issued a statement later in the day calling the '60 Minutes' segment as nothing more than a "selective and skillful" presentation of his 20-minute interview in order to portray him as sympathetic towards 'November 17'.

    Kaklamanis charges in his announcement that only 'snippets' of his interview were used, whereas the translation of his statements also featured alterations.

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