NEWS

Last-minute bid to doll up Athens for Games

Athens municipal authorities and the government will spend over 100 million euros over the next 17 months in a last-minute bid to prettify the capital for the benefit of foreign visitors expected during the 2004 Olympics, officials announced yesterday. At a joint press conference with Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos – whose brief includes sports – said the government will provide 59 million euros for the campaign. Municipal authorities are expected to match the contribution. «It is very important for the city of Athens… to present an image that will do our country justice [in 2004],» he said. The money will be spent on keeping the city clean, planting up to 10,000 new trees, resurfacing roads, installing public toilets, getting rid of stray animals, improving access for the disabled and «promoting the city.»