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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-04-12
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Patten calls for EU role in Mideast after talks with Greek FM12/04/2002 21:39:11
The European Union had to play a more constructive role in the Middle East crisis, European Commissioner for external relations Chris Patten said on Friday after a meeting with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou in Athens.
The British Commissioner also noted that Israel, despite being a country governed by the rule of law, was now violating human rights.
Apart from the Mideast crisis, Patten and Papandreou also discussed preparations for an EU general affairs council on Monday, issues pertaining to the Greek presidency of the EU in the first half of 2003, European enlargement, the Cyprus problem and EU relations with Russia, China, the United States and the Balkans.
In statements afterwards, the EU Commissioner particularly stressed the importance of Greece's extensive knowledge of the Balkan region.
Referring to the Mideast and the talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell in Madrid, meanwhile, the two men said the only way out of the present crisis was to implement the decisions of the UN Security Council.
Papandreou announced that Athens had sent humanitarian aid worth 500,000 euros to the Palestinians and was now working with the Jerusalem Patriarchate to distribute this through the camps.
 Kinnock-Papandreou meeting focuses on Commission reforms12/04/2002 21:34:19
Visiting EU Commission Vice-President Neil Kinnock on Friday called the Greek governments commitment to promote a set of all-important reforms aimed at the Commissions more effective operation as particularly ?significant?.
Kinnock, the former EU Commissioner for transports, made the statement after meeting in Athens with Foreign Minister George Papandreou, and in light of a Greek EU presidency in the first half of 2003.
He also said Greeces role is critical in ironing out the procedure towards enacting institutional reforms for the EU Commission following an upcoming expansion.
Finally, the British Commissioner said Athens experience and contributions in the expansion process have been especially positive.
Besides Commission reform issues, which fall under Kinnocks portfolio, both men also discussed the latest developments in the Middle East.
 Public works minister: cruise ships to be enlisted for Olympics hospitality12/04/2002 21:30:18
LONDON (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis) The Greek government is planning to use cruise ships and special holiday packages to cover accommodation shortages during the Athens Olympics in 2004, Greek Public Works minister Vasso Papandreou told the international news network CNN on Friday.
Speaking from London, she also repeated that all facilities for the Athens Olympics would be ready on time and that the city would organise a great Olympiad.
Papandreou, whose ministry is responsible for the construction of several key infrastructure projects and facilities related to the Olympics, particularly stressed that all programmed test events would be held on time, with the first to take place in August.
Regarding hospitality, the Greek minister said that every possible measure and solution was being employed to ensure that there was no accomodation shortage, either for those involved in the Olympiad or for foreign tourists and visitors to the Games.
Apart from hotels and rented rooms around the Greek capital, she said, alternative accomodation on cruise ships would be offered, as well as special holiday packages in other areas of Greece offering daily trips to Athens to watch Olympics events.
In addition, Papandreou said that new procedures were now being in place to quickly resolve problems and delays created by the objections of archaeological services or local government to planned Olympic projects.
 Sixth Economist 'Government Roundtable' in Athens next week12/04/2002 21:26:29
The Economist groups sixth ?Government Roundtable? in Athens will commence next week at a seaside resort south of the Greek capital, with speakers ranging from NATO General Secretary Lord Robertson to the ex-chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl, the guest of honor and keynote speaker on the last day of the three-day conference.
Several top regional leaders along with a handful of Greek ministers and political leaders -- including Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Defence Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis -- former Israeli PM Ehud Barak and Palestinian minister of planning Nabil Shaath, as well as the EUs High Representative for common foreign and security policy, Javier Solana, will address delegates at the conference entitled ?Leadership Strategy for Global Recovery Through Regional Cooperation?.
 EU to conduct progress check on Athens meat market hygiene12/04/2002 20:32:35
Officials of the European Union's executive Commission are to conduct a progress check on Athens meat market on May 17-26 following recommendations the EU made on improving food safety at the antiquated abattoir.
In February, Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said that tenders would be called for improvement projects at Rentis meat market after the EU's conclusion that the abattoir posed a threat to public health.
A senior European Union official had noted earlier that despite progress Greece had made in improving overall food safety, it lacked qualified inspectors and should concentrate responsibility for the sector into fewer hands.
Robert Coleman, general director of the EU Commission's health and consumer protection division, said that the government had been given a report stating problems identified during inspections at the market.
One problem was that Rentis' abattoir could not be modernised to meet specifications and should cease operations. The government had set in motion a plan for closure, Coleman said.
He emphasised that the government had shown willingness to resolve the problems.
As part of an attempt to improve food safety in Greece, a detailed report was to be given to the government that contained a description of inadequacies, existing policy and proposals for action, and deadlines for solution of the problems.
The government would then comment on the document so that a mutally acceptable agreement could be forged on what action to take to improve food safety. Progress in implementation would then be monitored, Coleman said.
 Confectioners say no Greek jelly sweets contain banned additive12/04/2002 19:53:07
The Union of Confectionary Industries of Greece said on Friday that none of their members' standardised, wrapped jelly sweets contained E425, an additive banned by the government the previous day in reponse to a European Union ruling.
On Thursday, the National Food Control Agency ordered the immediate withdrawal of all products containing confectionary jelly of which E425 was a constituent.
It also ordained suspension of use of the additive, also known as konjac, in the manufacture of jelly, in line with the EU executive Commission's decision.
The EU ban follows reported instances of children suffocating to death in the United States and Canada after eating jellies containing konjac.
The Greek trade group complained to the food control agency that the way in which the ban was announced had damaged their image, as no reference was made to the fact that domestically manufactured jelly did not contain E425.
Greek jellies were based on pectin, derived from apples and citrons, as stated on the packaging of products, the union said in a statement.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday12/04/2002 18:49:11
Indicative tourist buying rates per euro
U.S. dollar 0.887
Pound sterling 0.617
Danish kroner 7.496
Swedish kroner 9.170
Japanese yen 117.21
Swiss franc 1.477
Norwegian kroner 7.684
Cyprus pound 0.580
Canadian dollar 1.410
Australian dollar 1.658
 Weather Forecast: Rain, storms on Saturday12/04/2002 18:13:03
Rain and storms are forecast throughout the country, with an improvement from late afternoon mainly in the south. Winds variable, strong to very strong, turning gale force at sea. In the north, temperatures will range from 9C to 15C; in the Ionian and on the rest of the mainland from 11C to 18C; and in the Aegean islands from 14C to 21C. Rain and probably storms in Athens, improving from late afternoon. Temperatures between 13C and 18C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 11C to 15C.
 Greek stocks end week 1.13 percent lower12/04/2002 16:50:49
Greek stocks ended the last trading session of a volatile week with small losses, as a significant recovery in Hellenic Telecoms' share price offered support to the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday.
The general index fell 0.07 percent to 2,203.39, with turnover a low 62.4 million euros.
Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation saw its shares jump 2.91 percent.
The Insurance, Publication and Food-Beverage sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (2.09 percent, 1.68 percent and 1.16 percent, respectively), while the Telecoms and Retail sectors scored the biggest percentage gains (1.59 percent, 0.05 percent).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.16 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.56 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index fell 0.54 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 232 to 78 with another 48 issues unchanged. The general index ended the week with a net loss of 1.13 percent.
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