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Athens News Agency: News in English, 03-06-23
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Seized ship laden with 680 tonnes of explosives had sailed from Albania23/06/2003 23:28:53
Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis said on Monday that a motorship seized by Greek harbour authorities on Sunday carrying 680 tonnes of explosives had sailed from Albania on April 27, 2003.
Greek harbour police on Sunday located a Comores-flag small motorship carrying 680 tonnes of various types of explosives.
''The Baltic Sky'' was located west of the shores of Etoloakarnania, western Greece.
Aboard the motorship belonging to a foreign shipping company were seven foreign crew-members, while during the check made by the police, none of the crew could give a clear explanation about the cargo.
The ''Baltic Sky'' was led to ''Platogialo'' port in Etoloakarnania for the ship's documents to be checked. The check is expected to be concluded on Monday.
Anomeritis said on Monday that the vessel sailed into the port of Gabes, Tunisia, on May 12, where it loaded the explosives and detonators, found itself in the Dardanelles on May 21 and on the next day in Istanbul where, according to the Ukrainian captain, it changed crew and received supplies of food and fuel.
Anomeritis termed the cargo an atomic bomb and the success of harbour officials excellent.
 Holbrooke applauds Greek EU Presidency in interview with ANA23/06/2003 23:27:41
WASHINGTON (ANA/A.Ellis) After the end of the war in Iraq, the two sides of the Atlantic should look to the future and work together to deal with common threats, former US Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke said in an interview with the Athens News Agency (ANA) last week, just before the opening of the EU Thessaloniki Council.
In the same interview, the eminent Democrat spoke of the intelligent stance of the Greek EU Presidency and the skilful handlings by Greek Prime Minister and current EU Council president Costas Simitis.
Holbrooke said that the US and the European Union should have to return to their previous harmonious ties. ?They have no choice? harmonious and mature relations should have the ability to overcome such problems??
He added he expected that the forthcoming US-EU summit in Washington, with the participation of US President George W. Bush and Greek premier Simitis, would be a step towards this direction.
In reply to a question as to his judgment of the Greek EU Presidency during the difficult months in Euro-Atlantic relations, Holbrooke said that given the ?unbelievable? tension between the US and Europe, the Greek government took an especially intelligent path avoiding to get involved into the ?personal drama? of US-France and US-Germany relations.
?I would say that the handling by premier Simitis and Foreign Minister (George Papandreou) was very skilful,? Holbrooke noted.
 Greek-Russian defence cooperation the focus of high-level talks23/06/2003 23:26:30
MOSCOW (ANA) -- Russia' relations with the European Union and NATO, the fight against international terrorism as well as Turkeys continued provocations in the Aegean and the latters intransigence dominated talks here on Monday between Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov with visiting Greek Defence Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.
The issue of a settlement for the divided island of Cyprus was also discussed.
The Greek minister noted that Athens briefing of the international community vis-a-vis Turkish provocations in the Aegean is also being extended to the Russian government.
He noted that a statement by Turkey's general staff, which differentiates Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue from other pending issues in the neighbouring country, intensifies Athens concerns in reference to Greek-Turkish relations.
Papantoniou further noted that the neighbouring countrys stance constitutes part of its standing policy, and is not just a unilateral position emanating from its military establishment.
The Greek minister, however, expressed a hope that Turkey did aim to create an ?incident?, attributing that country's provocative actions either to reasons of political expediency for local consumption or its pending discussion on its European course.
Papantoniou also expressed a need for Russia to participate more actively in defence issues of NATO and the EU.
On Tuesday, Papantoniou will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Ivanov for talks on strengthening bilateral defence cooperation, among others.
 South African foreign minister signs Olympic Truce declaration23/06/2003 23:25:17
South African Foreign Minister Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma, who is currently visiting Athens, on Monday signed the Olympic Truce declaration after a meeting with her Greek counterpart George Papandreou in Athens.
Papandreou praised Dr. Zuma on South Africa's work during its term in the African Union presidency and its cooperation with the Greek presidency of the European Union.
The Greek minister also referred to ties between Greece and South Africa, which has a sizeable Greek community, and the common efforts of the two countries for democracy and human rights.
With regard to the Olympic Truce, Papandreou stressed that if the world managed to ''impose a truce for 14 days then perhaps it can hold forever''.
 Greek PM hosts luncheon for former US president George Bush Sr.23/06/2003 21:48:30
The government on Monday said a same-day luncheon in honour of visiting former US president George Bush by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis to was simply 'a courtesy'.
Also attending the luncheon with the elder Bush was Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou as well as several well-known local political and business leaders, including Athens 2004 Games Organising Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.
The former US president, his wife Barbara and several friends arrived in Athens on Sunday for a private visit, with a cruise in the northern Aegean on his itinerary as well.
Talks at the mid-afternoon reception are expected to touch on current international situation as well as results of the Thessaloniki EU summit over the weekend in view of the EU-US Summit in Washington on Wednesday.
 Taxis to stage 48-hour nationwide strike starting Tuesday23/06/2003 20:10:10
Taxi drivers are to stage a 48-hour nationwide strike beginning on Tuesday to protest against a government order for the installation of electronic cash registers in their vehicles.
The finance ministry wants to see the receipt-issuing cash registers in place from January 1, 2004 in order to curb tax evasion.
The system already exists in most European countries, the ministry has said in previous statements.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday23/06/2003 18:05:46
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank
U.S. dollar 1.163
Pound sterling 0.700
Danish kroner 7.484
Swedish kroner 9.169
Japanese yen 137.2
Swiss franc 1.546
Norwegian kroner 8.242
Cyprus pound 0.589
Canadian dollar 1.588
Australian dollar 1.750
 Weather Forecast: Changeable on Tuesday23/06/2003 17:27:29
Sunshine is forecast in all parts of the country, with isolated storms likely on high ground on the northern mainland. Winds northerly, light to moderate. In the north, temperatures will range from 18C to 35C; and in the islands from 21C to 32C. Temperatures in Athens between 21C and 35C; and in Thessaloniki from 19C to 32C.
 ASE ends below 1,900 level on Monday23/06/2003 16:41:34
Greek stocks lost substantial ground on Monday in the Athens Stock Exchange pushing the general index below the psychologically-critical 1,900 level. Traders said the Greek bourse was negatively affected by falls in other European markets.
The general index fell 0.96 percent to end at 1,887.62 points, with turnover a moderate 124.3 million euros.
The Construction, Banks and Holding sectors scored the heaviest percentage losses of the day (4.35 percent, 2.84 percent and 2.40 percent), while the Wholesale, IT Solution and Publication sectors scored the biggest percentage gains (2.24 percent, 1.64 percent and 1.0 percent).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 1.46 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 0.01 percent, the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index eased 0.93 percent and the wider FTSE/ASE 140 index dropped 1.15 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 210 to 107 with another 40 issues unchanged.
 PM to have former US president George Bush Snr to dinner23/06/2003 15:35:55
A dinner invitation from Prime Minister Costas Simitis to visiting former United States president George Bush was simply 'a courtesy', government spokesman Christos Protopapas told reporters on Monday.
Bush, who will be dining with the prime minister on Monday night, is on a private visit to Greece.
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