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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-02-22
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM calls for a Europe with a unified social space in Veria speech22/02/2002 22:29:26
Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday kicked off a tour of north-central Greece by inaugurating a new museum in Veria devoted to the Byzantine era and by addressing an audience of local officials.
Earlier on Friday he visited a canning cooperative in an Imathia prefecture village outside Veria, where he stressed that the Greek farm sectors future lies in high-quality production and brand names.
?We want a more democratic Europe, with its agencies controlled by the peoples. We want a Europe with a unified social space. In this Europe were building a Greece of peace and stability, development and employment more rapidly,? Simitis told his audience
In differentiating ruling PASOKs policy from main opposition New Democracy, Simitis said: ?Do we impose on society the automatic pilot of a neo-liberal economic outlook or do we create an economy aiming for progress and social cohesion?? he asked.
?The automatic pilot approach wants the invisible hand of the market free to shape societys future. It wants to supposedly show that the future is predetermined, that prosperity is a given, that social cohesion is ensured independently of political choices. Were against this approach. Society does not progress in its sleep,? he added.
 FM obtains two more Olympic Truce signatures in Poland22/02/2002 22:28:14
WARSAW (ANA - A. Makridis) - Foreign Minister George Papandreou obtained two more signatures in support of the Olympic Truce and carried out a series of contacts in light of Greece's European Union presidency in the first half of 2003 and its participation in the European troika during his visit to Poland on Friday.
Both Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and Prime Minister Leszek Miller added their signatures to those of supporters of the Greek proposal for an Olympic Truce to be observed during the Olympic Games.
Papandreou arrived in Warsaw in the morning and, after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, visited President Kwasniewski and his Polish counterpart Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz.
His official visit ended with a meeting with Prime Minister Miller at noon.
Talks focused on EU enlargement since Poland is included in the first wave of candidate countries.
 Commission approves Greek-Bulgarian programme22/02/2002 22:27:02
BRUSSELS (ΑΝΑ/M.Spinthourakis) - EU Commissioner for regional policy, Michel Barnier, on Friday announced approval for a cross-border cooperation programme between Greece and Bulgaria, envisaging EU funding totalling 170 million euros.
The progamme is funded by INTERREG III, a community initiative, and covers Greece's northern areas (eastern Macedonia, Thrace and western Macedonia) with south-western, south and central Bulgaria.
National and regional budgets will add 56.7 million euros to the EU funding, while another 20.5 million euros will be seeked by the private sector.
The priorities of the programme are:
- cross-border infrastructure, works to improve road and rail networks, customs control,
- economic development and employment, by encouraging business cooperations and strengthening relations between universities and research centres, and
- quality of living, environment and cultural workforce.
"I am satisfied that a second generation of INTERREG programmes in Greece begins with approval of this significant programme as Bulgaria is a candidate for EU accession," Mr. Barnier said.
 Airlift of Greek troops to Afghanistan to continue on Monday22/02/2002 22:25:51
An operation to airlift a Greek peacekeeping contingent to Afghanistan will continue next week, the Greek armed forces general staff decided on Friday.
Sources said that 70 troops, along with equipment and supplies, would depart for the area in a Russian-made "Antonov" cargo plane on Monday, while the rest of the ordnance - originally scheduled to be sent to Karachi on Saturday - would leave at a later date.
The Greek force is expected to remain in the war-ravaged country for three months, participating both in security operations and infrastructure construction.
 SE Europe culture, sports officials meet in Thessaloniki22/02/2002 22:24:45
Top culture and sports ministry officials from 10 southeast European states including six ministers -- will gather in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki over the weekend for talks regarding the hosting of the ?Cultural Olympiad?, preparations for the 2004 Athens Games and common goals in the field of ?cultural heritage?.
Among others, the group will arrive in the city of Veria on Friday for the inauguration of the citys new Byzantine Museum.
 Hydrofoils switch to port of Piraeus22/02/2002 19:10:38
Hellas Flying Dolphins announced on Friday that all its hydrofoils will use the port of Piraeus for arrivals and departures effective on March 1.
Until now, the company has been using both Piraeus and Zea, a nearby marina, for its vessels, depending on destination.
Decided in December, the move follows a collapse in talks with the marina's managers, Hellenic Tourism Real Estate, on lifting a steep price hike in mooring fees imposed in June 2001, Hellas said in a statement.
Hellenic Tourism Real Estate is a subsidiary of the state-owned Greek National Tourism Organisation.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday22/02/2002 18:51:53
Indicative tourist buying rates per euro until Monday
U.S. dollar 0.881
Pound sterling 0.616
Danish kroner 7.492
Swedish kroner 9.228
Japanese yen 118.0
Swiss franc 1.491
Norwegian kroner 7.824
Cyprus pound 0.581
Canadian dollar 1.402
Australian dollar 1.711
 Weather Forecast: Cloud, rain on Saturday22/02/2002 17:58:14
Rain is forecast in all parts of the country. The northwest, Macedonia and Thessaly will be cloudy. Storms are expected in the southern Peloponnese, Crete, the Cyclades, Dodecanese and eastern Aegean islands. Winds variable, moderate to strong. In the north, temperatures will range from 3C to 14C; on the rest of the mainland and in the Ionian from 6C to 15C; and in the Aegean islands from 10C to 16C. Cloud and showers in Athens with temperatures between 9C and 15C. Scattered cloud in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 6C to 14C.
 Greek stocks end 1.78 percent lower on Friday22/02/2002 16:47:20
Equity prices remained under heavy pressure for one more session on the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, as investors continued liquidating positions in the market amid a climate of uncertainty over economic and political developments in the country.
The general index ended 1.78 percent lower at 2,351.66 points, with turnover a low Dr 34.5 billion, or 101.2 million euros.
The Retail, Holding, Publication and Wholesale sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (5.01 percent, 3.24 percent, 2.90 percent and 2.69 percent, respectively).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.73 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index dropped 2.27 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 2.22 percent down.
Kokkalis Group's share prices lost further substantial group. Intracom fell 6.71 percent, Intracat dropped 8.82 percent, Intralot eased 2.59 percent and Panafon fell 3.23 percent.
The general index ended the week 5.5 percent lower, for a net loss of 9.24 percent so far this year.
 Gov't opts for video games ban in wake of gambling furor22/02/2002 15:28:22
The Greek government on Thursday said it will outlaw ?all forms? of electronic (video) games from public places in a bid to eradicate scores of arcades and bars turned gambling parlors throughout Greece, following a vociferous month-long national furor over rampant illegal gambling that continues to cause political reverberations.
?Were abolishing all forms of video games from public areas and establishments. A necessary legal provision (to implement the directive) will be tabled in Parliament in the next 15 days,? Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis said after a highly anticipated Cabinet meeting on Thursday.
The issue of illegal 'video slot machines' was thrust onto the national limelight late last month on the heels of an expose by high-profile TV investigative journalist Makis Triantafyllopoulos, who aired prime-time footage showing one Patra-area deputy Alekos Chrysanthakopoulos, the chairman of Parliaments relevant gaming committee no less playing on such a device.
Chrysanthakopoulos was later expelled from ruling PASOKs Parliament group over the affair.
Subsequent press focus in other regions Kalamata, Yiannitsa, Ioannina, the greater Athens area, etc followed, with a handful of ministers, deputies from both major parties and local government officials linked to individuals controlling numerous such illegal gambling arcades.
The government added that it opted for a universal ban of video games instead of stiffer fines for violations in order to avoid giving proprietors any future ?loopholes".
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