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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-12-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece, Turkey reiterate resolve to quickly solve Cyprus problem
  • [02] Cyprus at the focus of Papantoniou-Grossman talks in Athens
  • [03] Air traffic controllers to stage 24-hour strike on Thursday
  • [04] Greek scientists in Geneva use mice to decode human genome
  • [05] Queen Mary 2 to be used as floating hotel in Athens Olympics
  • [06] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks slip in lacklustre trade
  • [07] Foreign Exchange Rates - Thursday

  • [01] Greece, Turkey reiterate resolve to quickly solve Cyprus problem

    04/12/2002 23:23:38

    ANKARA (A. Kourkoulas/ A. Podimata) -- Greece and Turkey on Wednesday reiterated their newly emboldened resolve towards finding a solution to the long-standing Cyprus, with the foreign ministers of both countries saying as much in a joint press conference in the Turkish capital.

    Both Greek Foreign George Papandreou and his newly appointed Turkish counterpart Yasar Yakis stressed that no effort will be spared to work out an agreement, in principle, prior to the landmark EU Summit in Copenhagen next week where Cyprus expects to be invited to join the 15-member bloc along with a handful of other, mostly east European candidate-states.

    ?A solution to the Cyprus problem is not impossible before the Copenhagen Summit meeting,? Papandreou told reporters, while adding that every opportunity must be exploited.

    Moreover, both men said it would not be ?the end of the world? if a resolution fails to materialise before Copenhagen.

    Although Athens and Ankara play a decisive role in Cyprus developments, it will be up to the internationally recognised Clerides government in Nicosia and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to actually sit down and negotiate terms based on the recently tabled Annan peace plan for Cyprus. Clerides government has already said it accepts the plan as a basis for future negotiations, leaving only a hospitalised and far from Cyprus Denktash to convey his response.

    Back in Ankara meanwhile, both Papandreou and Yakis said they hope a solution is gained as soon as possible, whereas efforts to find solution will continue after Copenhagen if necessary.

    However, Yakis reiterated that Turkey wants a solution to Cyprus prior to the EU Summit, ?if not, we should not close the door?.

    Additionally, he clarified that his discussions with Papandreou touched on the framework with which efforts to solve the Cyprus issue will continue if a resolution is not found by Dec. 12.

    [02] Cyprus at the focus of Papantoniou-Grossman talks in Athens

    04/12/2002 23:17:17

    Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou held talks in Athens on Wednesday with visiting US Undersecretary for Political Affairs Marc Grossman on Cyprus' accession to the EU, the prospects for the resolution of the Cyprus problem through U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan and the possibility of setting a date for the initiation of EU accession negotiations for Turkey.

    In statements to the press, Papantoniou said that it is ''our common position that Cyprus will enter the European Union in any event,'' adding that attempts will be made to promote the resolution of the Cyprus issue by the Copenhagen Summit.

    ''If this is not possible, then the process for resolution should be maintained even after the Copenhagen Summit,'' he said.

    Also, the US request of Greece to encourage the other European states to set a date to activate the accession of Turkey to the EU.

    On his part, Grossman said that Dec. 12 is an opportunity for success in three goals which will function for the benefit of Greece, Turkey, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, the EU and the U.S.

    Grossman refused the use of the term ''package'' for those aims and said the U.S. supports the accession of Cyprus to the EU, the efforts of the UN to resolve the Cyprus problem and the setting of a date for the initiation of EU accession negotiations for Turkey.

    ''All this can happen simultaneously and we are working toward its success,'' he said, adding ''we are working not for what may not happen, but for what we can do.''

    [03] Air traffic controllers to stage 24-hour strike on Thursday

    04/12/2002 22:49:56

    Flights scheduled by all airlines are expected to face serious problems on Thursday after air traffic controllers decided late on Wednesday night to stage a 24-hour strike covered by the 24-hour strike called on the same day by the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY).

    Airline companies are already adjusting their flight programmes accordingly, while it was disclosed that only one flight for each domestic destination and for each foreign country will be carried out.

    ADEDY has called its own strike in support of pay hikes exceeding the country's annual inflation rate, expected to be in the region of 3.5 percent this year.

    [04] Greek scientists in Geneva use mice to decode human genome

    04/12/2002 21:13:05

    GENEVA (ANA - N. Robin) - Greek medical researchers of the Geneva University Hospital made a historic discovery on mutations that cause human genetic disorders including primary ciliary dyskinesia, by inserting human genes in mice to chart the genetic code.

    Prof. of Medical Genetics of the University of Geneva Medical School Stylianos E. Antonarakis, and Dr. Emmanouil T. Dermitzakis, of the Division of Medical Genetics of the same university directed the results of a study that will be published in the internationally renowned journal ''Nature''.

    In efforts to discover the ''malfunction'' of the genome that caused primary ciliary dyskinesia the scientists inserted human genes in mice and achieved the expression atlas of the human chromosome 21.

    "The decoding of the human genome gave us the opportunity to estimate that the total number of human genes is approximately 30,000 to 40,000, a large number of these were not known before," the scientists pointed out adding that, the ongoing effort to decode the genome of the mouse and its comparison with the human genome allows scientists to detect additional unknown genes.

    This collaborative effort included work in three laboratories: the division of medical genetics of the University of Geneva; the TIGEM (Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine) of Naples; and the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Endocrinology of Hanover.

    The effort, which was coordinated by the two Greek professors, focused on chromosome 21 as it is a model on which to base future research and because it often mutates, creating such problems as the down's syndrome.

    Thus the decoding of this particular gene, with the new technology of using mice to transplant human genes, will greatly accelerate and provide accuracy for all future research, Antonarakis and Dermitzakis insisted.

    [05] Queen Mary 2 to be used as floating hotel in Athens Olympics

    04/12/2002 20:29:36

    Organisers of the Athens 2004 Olympics have signed a contract with Cunard Line for use of the Queen Mary 2 as a floating hotel in the global event.

    The luxury vessel under construction will head a fleet of 11 cruiseliners docked at the port of Piraeus to accommodate senior officials of the games, sponsoring firms and other VIP guests.

    Signing for the national organising committee was its president, Gianna Angelopoulos Daskalaki.

    The Athens plan for the use of floating hotels is the largest in the history of the Olympic Games, according to organisers.

    The 345-metre-long Queen Mary 2 has an estimated capacity of about 3,000 guests.

    The ship is due to arrive in the port of Piraeus by August 2004, the start of the games. Piraeus is undergoing a facelift for the world event.

    [06] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks slip in lacklustre trade

    04/12/2002 18:37:36

    The Athens bourse finished lower on Wednesday in lacklustre trade with smaller capitalisation paper the hardest hit.

    The general share index shed 0.45 percent to end at 1,859.24 points. Turnover was 100.4 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.38 percent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalisation paper 0.93 percent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities finished 1.99 percent down.

    Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 277 to 50 with 31 issues remaining unchanged.

    [07] Foreign Exchange Rates - Thursday

    04/12/2002 18:25:52

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank

    U.S. dollar 1.009

    Pound sterling 0.641

    Danish kroner 7.485

    Swedish kroner 9.126

    Japanese yen 125.7

    Swiss franc 1.483

    Norwegian kroner 7.323

    Cyprus pound 0.577

    Canadian dollar 1.573

    Australian dollar 1.799


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