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Athens News Agency: News in English, 03-06-17
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM in Halkidiki for EU summit from Wednesday17/06/2003 23:28:18
Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to depart for Halkidiki on Wednesday, one day before the final European Union Summit under the Greek EU presidency begins later this week, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced.
Prior to his departure, the PM will have a meeting with the leadership of the foreign ministry.
On Thursday Simitis will meet EU Commission President Romano Prodi and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, as is required of the head of the EU presidency, and the summit will begin in the afternoon with illegal immigration the first item on the agenda.
On Friday morning, EU leaders will discuss the proposals for a draft European Constitution presented by the Convention for the Future of Europe, while Solana will present his report on European security at lunch.
There will be a dinner for the EU leaders hosted by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Friday evening and EU heads of state and government will discuss EU-Western Balkans relations on Saturday, with the focus on improving these, combatting organised crime and promoting development in the region.
According to Protopapas, the summit's agenda will be dominated by discussion on the 'future of Europe' and the Greek presidency's goal was to set a date for the start and end of the Intergovernmental Conference sometime before European elections in 2004.
The Greek presidency is also seeking agreement on the sums and means for dealing with illegal immigration.
With regard to European security, Protopapas said that the discussion on this was just starting and stressed that upgrading EU-US relations was also a part of this.
Protopapas said that other issues that are set to occupy the Halkidiki summit are the latest developments in the Mideast crisis and the Cyprus issue.
 Greek EU Presidency - Meeting on ROM inclusion in labour market17/06/2003 23:22:14
The inclusion of Rom people in the labour market has been the central topic in an Athens international meeting organized by the Greek EU Presidency and the Council of Europe on Tuesday.
The session examined measures taken so far and programmes in the planning stage to study, promote and shape an approach to the cultural heritage of Rom people, as well as the possibilities for their participation in the social structure and their cooperation modes with the rest of the population in the context of a pluralist community.
The European Unions future that is now being built, should include everyone says the ROM Network, an organization representing all Rom people in Greece, approximately 150,000 persons.
The EU, since the mid 1970s, has been making efforts to avert marginalisation of the specific group through a number of cultural, training, labour and health programmes.
According to data presented during the meeting, the Rom community in Europe numbers ten million people, of which eight million live in Central and Eastern Europe, 600,000 in Spain and 150,000 in Greece.
 Tehran assures Greek EU presidency its nuclear programme is for power production17/06/2003 23:17:20
The Greek European Union presidency on Tuesday received assurances from Iranian President Mohammed Khatami that his country does not have or intend to build any nuclear weapons, a Greek presidency spokesman said.
Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas said that Khatami told Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis over the phone that Iran was only interested in electrical power production. Simitis heads the EU presidency until the end of June.
According to Protopapas, the Greek prime minister underlined to the Iranian president that Tehran should maintain transparency in its policy, cooperate with the United Nations and sign the additional protocol to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
 Rhodes island to build new tourist harbour17/06/2003 23:11:15
Greece's Development Deputy Minister Dimitris Georgakopoulos and Rhodes' mayor George Giannopoulos on Tuesday signed an agreement offering to the municipality of Rhodes the right to use of the whole tourist harbour zone in Rhodes for a period of 40 years, with an option to extend its duration for another 10 years.
The total cost of the investment, needed for the modernisation of the tourist harbour, is forecast at 15 million euros, at least. The project will be funded with 4.4 million euros from regional programmes and with 10.6 million euros through self-financing programmes.
Rhodes' port can harbour 550 vessels covering an area of 102 stremmata (one stremma=1,000 square metres).
Under the terms of the agreement, the municipality of Rhodes will build new harbour facilities, infrastructure projects and commercial sites in the area.
 First Business Bank plans to double branch network17/06/2003 23:08:30
First Business Bank (FBB) plans to double its branch network and to expands its services through the offering of new products to customers, Constantinos Athanassiadis, its Business Development manager said on Tuesday.
FBB currently operates a network of seven branches in Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraclion, Corfu and Rhodes and plans to open two new units this year and another four new branches in 2004.
The bank's strategic aim is to gain further access into the small- and medium-sized enterprises' market.
Operating profits, before provision and amortization, totalled 8.591 million euros last year, while pre-tax profits totalled 5.271 million euros. Lending totalled 499 million euros, with lending to businesses accounting for 83 percent of total assets. Operating earnings totalled 20.873 million euros.
FBB has acquired Bank of Nova Scotia's branch network in Greece. Private investors hold a majority 51 percent stake in the bank, while Agricultural Bank holds a 44 percent equity stake and Bank of Nova Scotia another 5.0 percent.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Wednesday17/06/2003 18:09:26
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank
U.S. dollar 1.189
Pound sterling 0.707
Danish kroner 7.483
Swedish kroner 9.144
Japanese yen 140.4
Swiss franc 1.553
Norwegian kroner 8.277
Cyprus pound 0.591
Canadian dollar 1.599
Australian dollar 1.778
 Weather Forecast: Unsettled on Wednesday17/06/2003 17:05:39
Unsettled weather is forecast in many parts of the country, with cloud, showers and storms on the mainland, especially in the afternoon. The Ionian may also see showers. The rest of the country can expect scattered cloud. Winds northerly, light to moderate, turning strong in parts of the Aegean. In the north, temperatures will range from 19C to 31C; on the rest of the mainland from 21C to 34C; and in the islands from 23C to 30C. Temperatures in Athens between 24C and 34C; and in Thessaloniki from 23C to 31C.
 Greek stocks jump to new year highs on Tuesday17/06/2003 16:42:26
Greek stocks jumped to new year highs on Tuesday in the Athens Stock Exchange with market sentiment improved following a positive trend in other European bourses.
The general index soared 2.32 percent to end at 1,954.96 points, with turnover a heavy 214.15 million euros.
The Cement index was the only one to end lower (off 0.12 percent), while the Retail, Publication, Bank, IT and Wholesale indexes scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (5.35 percent, 5.28 percent, 4.17 percent, 4.0 percent and 3.77 percent, respectively).
Emporiki Bank (up 7.13 percent), National Bank (+4.79 percent), EFG Eurobank (+4.49 percent), Attica Bank (+3.94 percent), Piraeus Bank (up 3.43 percent) and Alpha Bank (+3.0 percent), were lead gainers.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks jumped 2.65 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 2.68 percent, the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 3.08 percent and the wider FTSE/ASE 140 index ended 2.70 percent up.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 294 to 49 with another 19 issues unchanged.
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