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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-05-29

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

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>


Greek Press & Information Office
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  • [01] Greece winning int'l business confidence, Simitis says
  • [02] Papantoniou
  • [03] SEB president
  • [04] '17 November' terrorists resurface
  • [05] National Defense Fund set up
  • [06] Premier says Gov't attempting to reveal Ankara's intentions
  • [07] Gov't on experts' committee
  • [08] Curious Turkish map
  • [09] Kaklamanis on anniversary of Constantinople's fall
  • [10] Border patrols beefed up for summer months
  • [11] Papariga foresees possible confrontation in Aegean
  • [12] Gov't on Mitsotakis statements concerning 'dirty '89'
  • [13] Peponis cautions against weakening election process for president of the republic
  • [14] Karamanlis calls for more effort by party cadres
  • [15] Cabinet to discuss constitutional revision tomorrow
  • [16] Gov't committed to free public education
  • [17] Opposition leader meets with pensioners
  • [18] Greek waterpolo team qualifies for world championships
  • [19] Sweden's IOC delegate in Athens
  • [20] IAAF's Nebiolo in Athens
  • [21] Greece to host 1999 weightlifting championships
  • [22] FM archives provide sources for new books on ethnic Greeks of Albania
  • [23] 'King Lear' makes rare appearance in Thessaloniki
  • [24] Greek presence grows in the Black Sea region
  • [25] Stock market moves in range
  • [26] Large increase in ASE value
  • [27] Greece shows rise in steel output
  • [28] Trade group sends aid to Bulgaria
  • [29] Greek-Israeli trade seminar
  • [30] Greek flour mill company expands in Balkans
  • [31] Greece to auction T-bonds
  • [32] Financial support to Port Police
  • [33] Greeks claim damages from Gulf war
  • [34] Korean shipyard seeks stronger presence in Greece
  • [35] Kastanidis harshly criticizes OA union reps
  • [36] 1997 may witness record number of Swedish tourists
  • [37] Subsidies for investors in Thrace
  • [38] Thessaloniki conference focuses on new textile technology
  • [39] Greenpeace wants recall of Chicco products
  • [40] Airports prepare for summer tourist surge
  • [41] OECD must extend talks, Turkish minister says

  • [01] Greece winning int'l business confidence, Simitis says

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Greece is emerging as an important economic factor in the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean, is recovering its credibility and is winning the confidence of international organizations and business capital, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday while addressing the Federation of Greek Industries' (SEB) annual general assembly.

    The SEB general assembly was inaugurated in the presence of President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and with speeches by the premier and National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.

    On his part, Mr. Simitis called on Greek businessmen and workers to respond energetically to new conditions facing Greece and to take advantage of opportunities offered.

    In his address, the premier said that "we must all realize we are coming into a new order of things and must react dynamically, especially you, the businessmen, who know that the market follows its own rules, does not tolerate those who delay making decisions, who don't invest, who don't seek new opportunities and who don't adapt."

    Noting the "positive results that inspired optimism" in the current economic conditions, he said that businessmen and employees should "respond to challenges of the times boldly and methodically and take advantage of the opportunities offered today".

    Reviewing progress on the effort to prepare Greece for the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), Mr. Simitis said Greece currently had "a rate of development that is among the highest in Europe".

    He cited as examples the downward trend in inflation and the fact that the public deficit was on course in terms of the convergence program.

    "As long as we continue our efforts, we shall guarantee our participation in the EMU by the beginning of the next century as partners on an equal basis," he noted.

    The premier said that efforts had already begun to reorganize the State and the wider public sector, while an extensive program of infrastructural works was under way, along with a program of strong incentives encouraging businesses to make large in vestments and improve competitive ability.

    [02] Papantoniou

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Mr. Papantoniou called on businesses to make investments since loan interest rates will decrease even further in the coming period.

    Addressing the business world, Mr. Papantoniou said its position on the economy's development is of "crucial importance." However, the business world is showing "limited response" despite the improvement in economic conditions, stressing "that long-rang e business initiatives to a necessary extent are lacking."

    He also praised the role of certain dynamic businesses which are expanding rapidly and are modernizing themselves, but which are not enough to push the economy towards strong development rates.

    He predicted that the gap between loan interest rates and deposit interest rates will narrow over the coming period. Namely, loans will become cheaper.

    Commenting on the government's economic policy, Mr. Papantoniou said structural changes which must be implemented over the coming period are a "major challenge" to enable the country to meet standards required for the third phase of Economic and Monetary Union by the year 2001.

    He said particular emphasis must be placed on the labor market with measures facilitating its greater deregulation which the government has already proposed in the framework of social dialogue and are aimed at restricting salary increases, settling working time over a wider timetable, extending part-time employment to enterprises and organizations in the public sector, etc. He further said priority must be placed on a privatization policy in the sector of public utility and state-run banks.

    [03] SEB president

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    SEB President Iason Stratos noted that the private sector and industry in particular are at present in the front line of the struggle to gain a favorable position in the international competition sector.

    "In the face of new conditions today which dispute steadfast certainties and impose new solutions, dialogue is being widened and enriched. The common target is the triptych 'Development-competitiveness-employment' and the aim is shaping a modern framework which will provide social protection and will allow for an unimpeded improvement in competitiveness on which the income and employment of working people depends," he said.

    The SEB general assembly included two separate sessions. The closed-door morning session concerned an account and ratification of the administration's work.

    Referring to statements made by Mr. Simitis and Mr. Papantoniou, the SEB president said that indeed there were considerable improvements in important macroeconomic indicators which definitely had favorable repercussions for the business climate and prospects.

    "It is true that today we can henceforth expect a new phase of speedier growth for the Greek economy," he said.

    According to figures provided by Mr. Stratos, private investments in industry currently represent more than a quarter of total investments and concern, in their overwhelming majority, the modernization and restructuring of enterprises. At present, 56 per cent of Greek exports are industrial products, while industry only produces 17 per cent of GDP.

    [04] '17 November' terrorists resurface

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Police suspect the killing of shipowner Costas Peratikos last night was carried out by the notorious "November 17" terrorist organization, after a ballistics report found the gun to be the same as that used in 10 previous November 17 killings.

    The organization, which took responsibility for numerous bombings and shootings throughout the 1980s, had appeared to be lying low. It was most recently suspected of launching an anti-tank rocket at the US embassy in Athens in February 1996, although November 17 never admitted responsibility.

    Peratikos was fatally wounded yesterday afternoon when he was apparently ambushed in a downtown Piraeus street.

    The two gunmen escaped the shooting scene by hijacking a taxi, which was later found abandoned, police reports said.

    Peratikos was transported to Tzanneion Hospital with four gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead on arrival. The two gunmen apparently fired six shots, four hitting their target, reports state.

    According to eyewitness reports, two of three men lying in wait for the shipowner in a Mitsubishi truck jumped out as Peratikos approached.

    An eyewitness said the two men, one of them holding a file of papers, walked calmly away after the shooting, threatening passers-by to keep back.

    They escaped in a taxi after forcing its driver and a female passenger out of the car, and returned gunfire from a police officer who attempted to pursue them.

    A police hunt was continuing for the culprits late last night.

    Fourty-five-year-old Peratikos was born into an shipowning family which bought the Elefsina shipyards in 1992, assuming the post of managing director of the concern, but later deciding to close the shipyards down three years later, when accumulated debt s reached 27 billion drachmas.

    Informed of the killing while attending a Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) meeting, Prime Minister Costas Simitis described it as "an exceptionally sad event. I expressed my sorrow and I am expecting a detailed report from the public order ministry. "

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, speaking from the meeting, also expressed his sorrow over the incident.

    New Democracy honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis said he was "revolted by the cowardly murder", while ND also issued a statement late last night. In addition, the president of the Coalition of the Left, Nikos Constantopoulos, and Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) President Dimitris Tsovolas also expressed their regret.

    [05] National Defense Fund set up

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday announced the establishment of a National Defense Fund to support the massive armaments program of the armed forces which will cost an estimated four trillion drachmas.

    According to an amendment to be contained in a bill regulating matters related to draft-dodgers, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, Greek citizens will be able to make contributions to the fund in order to bolster the country's defense.

    The competent parliamentary committee yesterday began discussing the bill on draft-dodgers, which also contains provisions enabling conscientious objectors to perform an alternative form of military service.

    [06] Premier says Gov't attempting to reveal Ankara's intentions

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis held talks yesterday with the deputies of his PASOK party's Parliamentary foreign affairs sector, focusing on the latest handling of Greek-Turkish relations and bearing in mind that about 18 deputies participating in the committee had signed a memorandum on the government's handling of the crucial issues.

    According to reports, Mr. Simitis said the government's main target is to reveal Turkey's intentions, and stressed "we have no illusions and we do not expect to resolve the main nucleus of the problems."

    Mr. Simitis further said he fears immobility in foreign policy, expressing the position that at present Greece is in a much better position in the international relations sector than it was a year ago. He said a fact that can be considered positive is that Turkey was obliged to move from the theory of gray zones to disputing 130 islets because, as he said, in this way its lack of arguments is fully revealed.

    He disclosed that when he explained the issue of the island of Gavdos to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the latter laughed.

    Mr. Simitis said the only thing the Turkish leadership knows is to provoke in general, but added, however, that their targets and intentions are steadfast and are aimed at revising the status quo in the Aegean. Whatever progress in Greek-Turkish relations, he said, is linked to the terms and preconditions set by Greece.

    The Under-secretary to the Prime Minister's Office, George Paschalidis, said it was one of the premier's best meetings with the Parliamentary labor sectors (it is the sixth to take place), adding that the entire foreign policy spectrum was discussed since the common target is strengthening Greek positions and for this reason careful diplomatic mobility is taking place these days.

    Mr. Paschalidis said Turkish officials must realize that provocativeness in foreign policy is no longer without cost, adding that those who provoke lose.

    [07] Gov't on experts' committee

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, replying to reporters' questions yesterday, said Greece's procedure with the committees of experts on Greek-Turkish relations are not affected by Turkish officials' statements.

    He said the Greek side is now waiting for the two Turkish committee members to make their positions known, adding that if conditions are favorable, another step could be made after this.

    Mr. Reppas said Turkish President Suleyman Demirel's proposal for the signing of a bilateral non-aggression pact is not an issue, as Mr. Demirel has not elaborated on his proposal.

    "If he does, we will evaluate it," he said.

    However, he said the proposal was positive, as for it to be implemented, it would mean the lifting of Turkey's declaration of casus belli.

    Questioned on whether the recent statements made by Mr. Demirel and Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Onur Oymen will affect a possible meeting between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Mr. Reppas said it would be good for such a meeting to be held, in order to help resolve the Cyprus problem.

    However, he said he continues to be cautious as the Turkish side's stance until now has not been convincing regarding their will to resolve the problem.

    In another development, an ANA dispatch from Brussels reported that Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou had a series of meetings, including a discussion with US President Bill Clinton, in The Hague yesterday, where he was attending celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Marshall Plan. According to diplomatic sources, Mr. Clinton expressed his satisfaction over his discussions Tuesday with Prime Minister Costas Simitis in Paris.

    Mr. Papandreou also met with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and discussed Greece's will to improve Greek-Turkish relations.

    During his discussion with Mr. Demirel, the Greek minister informed the Turkish president on reactions in Greece to his recent television interview.

    Mr. Papandreou also met with Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van Mierlo, who informed him that during yesterday's EU-US summit meeting, Mr. Clinton asked to be briefed on the Cyprus issue and on Greek-Turkish relations.

    Mr. van Mierlo said the US president expressed his satisfaction over the EU-Turkey association council's recent decision to form the committee of experts to discuss Greek-Turkish relations.

    [08] Curious Turkish map

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Asked to comment on a geological map published by the Turkish Middle Eastern Polytechic, which depicts the islands of Crete and Cyprus as belonging to Turkey, Mr. Reppas said these designs were known to Greece and should not be overestimated. The maps were reprinted in the Athens daily "Athinaki" yesterday.

    The government, he said, follows these issues with great interest and takes them into consideration when defining its foreign policy.

    [09] Kaklamanis on anniversary of Constantinople's fall

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis issued a statement marking today's 544th anniversary since the fall of Constantinople.

    The 1,000-year capital of the Byzantine empire fell into the hands of the Ottoman Turks on May 29, 1453.

    "The fall of Constantinople signifies the end of a remarkable period in the history of Hellenism and mankind," his message read.

    "Byzantium brought together in a harmonious blend the elements of the ancient Greek civilization and Orthodoxy. It gave humanity the bright lights of civilization as the west was sinking into the Dark Ages," Mr. Kaklamanis added.

    [10] Border patrols beefed up for summer months

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    The national defense ministry will increase patrols of Thesprotia prefecture and Corfu to protect these areas from Albanian-based criminal gangs, Defense Under-secretary Dimitris Apostolakis said in Parliament yesterday.

    Replying to a question by a main opposition New Democracy deputy, Mr. Apostolakis said that an additional gunboat will be provided by the Navy for patrols, while a company of commandos would be stationed at Filiates by the end of the month.

    Recent raids on yachts rented by tourists have increased concern in the area, which is very popular for the summer months.

    [11] Papariga foresees possible confrontation in Aegean

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga yesterday said a confrontation in the Aegean that would lead Greece and Turkey into a short war is "possible".

    Speaking from the northern Greek prefecture of Veroia, Ms Papariga said the United States aims to impose its own sovereignty of the Aegean

    She added that if this is not successful, "then there may be a provocation to push the two countries into a short war in order for a Dayton-type agreement to follow, aiming to abolish borders in the Aegean to the benefit of the US."

    [12] Gov't on Mitsotakis statements concerning 'dirty '89'

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Referring to recent statements by former premier and main opposition New Democracy party honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis on a law concerning the responsibility of ministers, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday termed the 1989-1990 period deplorable.

    He said the price for the "dirty '89" was political and institutional, adding that it had neither a precedent nor anything similar to it in the period which followed. Mr. Reppas said that at a time when the world was changing there was party hatred in Greece.

    Referring to the coalition government ruling at the time, Mr. Reppas said it was the unavoidable consequence of all that had preceded.

    Asked to comment on the role played by Costas Simitis at the time of Andreas Papandreou's prosecution, Mr. Reppas said the current premier stood at the front line with all of PASOK's cadres to prevent Mr. Papandreou's conviction.

    [13] Peponis cautions against weakening election process for president of the republic

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    PASOK's Parliamentary group is the only competent body to decide on the revision of the Constitution, deputy and former PASOK minister Anastasios Peponis said yesterday, citing the provisions of the Constitution.

    Mr. Peponis opposed a proposal according to which the president of the republic may be elected by a majority of 151 votes as opposed to a two-thirds majority in the first two rounds and 180 in the third round. He said this would weaken the status of the republic's highest state office.

    [14] Karamanlis calls for more effort by party cadres

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday called on the party's regional directors to convey "the message and the deep conviction that the party will manage to turn the page on what has shaken it all these years, far from personal rivalries and managerial mistakes."

    Mr. Karamanlis said the final result is the most important issue, and called on party members to appeal to all Greeks "with a flame in their soul and the appetite for work."

    "In this way, no incongruous elements will gather in the party, nor will opportunists, who will come to ND regardless when they see there is movement," he said.

    The ND leader said the party's main concern is "the quality of the members and not the quantity." He added that ND members were chosen on merit and not because they were friends of the leadership, "as used to occur".

    "If you think you have assumed titles to circulate in social circles, you are wrong. You didn't take these positions in order to be roving show-offs. You are pioneering workers, workers who become leaders," he said.

    [15] Cabinet to discuss constitutional revision tomorrow

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    The cabinet will for the first time discuss the revision of the Constitution on Friday, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday, adding that the issue had not yet been discussed with any politicians or state officials.

    The spokesman clarified however that the revision of the Constitution had been discussed within the ruling PASOK party and the government. "The proposal which we shall formulate will constitute the basis for a discussion," Mr. Reppas said, expressing the hope that all sides would agree on the substantial provisions of the revision.

    Mr. Reppas underlined that the government had not yet decided on issues such as the way in which the president of the republic is elected.

    The cabinet will most probably also discuss the special accounts of ministries "with emphasis on the objective allocation of credits", Mr. Reppas said.

    In a related development, the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party accused the government of attempting to weaken the office of the president of the republic and turning the head of state into "a decorative party figure".

    The head of the ND committee on the revision of the Constitution, Yiannis Varvitsiotis, accused the government of trying to avoid "the obstacle" of the election of the president by reducing the number of deputies' votes required.

    Press reports have claimed that the government wants to reduce the number of deputies' votes required to elect the president from the present 180 votes to 151, which in effect would mean that general elections would not have to be called if parliament w as unable to elect a president.

    [16] Gov't committed to free public education

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday reiterated the government's commitment to free, public education, commenting on a proposal by New Democracy president Costas Karamanlis on the establishment of private universities.

    Referring to ND's proposal to increase the percentage of GDP allocated to education to 5 per cent, Mr. Reppas said the PASOK government's spending on education, social welfare and defense had received an above average increase in the budget and said that ND had failed to implement such a proposal while it was in power.

    [17] Opposition leader meets with pensioners

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis met yesterday with representatives of pensioners protesting against the government's social security policy.

    Mr. Karamanlis was briefed on problems facing the pensioners and asked them to submit their proposals, President of TEBE (Greek Professionals and Craftsmen Fund) Federation Christos Triantis said.

    Mr. Karamanlis pledged to support a number of requests that he would just, Mr. Triantis said.

    The meeting was held in the framework of contacts with political leaders.

    Afterwards Mr. Triantis told the press that the cost of convergence should not take place at the expense of the pensioners.

    Mr. Karamanlis refrained from statements.

    [18] Greek waterpolo team qualifies for world championships

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    The Greek men's waterpolo team yesterday qualified for the semi-finals of the Fina World Cup, beating the Atlanta Olympics gold medalists Spain by a final score of 7-6. The scores for the four seven-minute periods were 1-1, 3-3, 2-1 and 1-1.

    As Greece also beat Italy 6-4 in Tuesday's match and has now collected sufficient points to qualify directly for the World Championships, to be held in Perth in January 1998.

    The world's top eight waterpolo teams are participating in the Fina Cup, with the five top scorers automatically qualifying for Perth.

    Greece faces the United States this evening.

    [19] Sweden's IOC delegate in Athens

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    International Olympic Committee (IOC) permanent member from Sweden, Arne Ljungqvist, yesterday said he was impressed by the facilities in Athens' Olympic Stadium, particularly by the indoor and outdoor swimming centers.

    He also visited the Panathenian Stadium, where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896, and was later briefed by Yianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki, the president of the Athens 2004 Olympics bid committee, on the city's candidacy for the Games.

    Mr. Ljungqvist is due to visit ancient Olympia today.

    [20] IAAF's Nebiolo in Athens

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) President Primo Nebiolo is due to arrive in Athens early this afternoon in order to preside over an IAAF conference in Athens tomorrow and Saturday.

    He is also due to meet with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Saturday.

    [21] Greece to host 1999 weightlifting championships

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Greece will hold the 1999 World Weightlifting Championship following the decision yesterday of the sport's international federation which is convening in Cape Town, South Africa.

    The event was awarded to Greece without a vote, since Germany which had also expressed interest in staging the championship withdrew at the last moment when it became clear that the majority of federation members favored Greece.

    The championship has already been held twice in Greece, once in Thessaloniki in 1979 and more recently in Athens in 1989.

    The 1999 championship is considered to be particularly important due to the fact that the next Olympic Games takes place the following year in Sydney, Australia.

    [22] FM archives provide sources for new books on ethnic Greeks of Albania

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Two new books on the ethnic Greek population of Albania and relations between Greece and Albania, based on unpublished archives from the foreign ministry, were presented by the Onassis Foundation yesterday.

    The two books complete a set of four on the same topic that cover the period from 1897 to World War Two. They contain hitherto unpublished consular memos and correspondence from the foreign ministry historical archives.

    [23] 'King Lear' makes rare appearance in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    The National Royal Theater of Britain presented William Shakespeare's "King Lear" yesterday as part of the events for the Cultural Capital of Europe '97.

    The leading role is played by Ian Holm, who did not show up to a press conference for the theater, preferring to avoid publicity.

    "King Lear", directed by James Kerr, opened in London on March 27 and will be staged at an impromptu theater at Warehouse 1 of the city's wharf, able to handle an audience of 450.

    The play, sponsored by the British Council, will be performed daily up to and including Saturday night.

    [24] Greek presence grows in the Black Sea region

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Greece has expanded its business activities in Black Sea countries in sectors including major construction projects, health services and a range of exports, Panayotis Koutsikos, president of a regional Greek business group, told a seminar.

    The development of Greek activity in the Black Sea area was notable in exports including raw materials, apparel, tobacco, medical supplies, chemicals, and dairy products, said Mr. Koutsikos, who is also president of Ergo AEBE medical suppliers.

    The factors acting as a deterrent to further development were high inflation and lending rates up to 30 percent, he said.

    Mr. Koutsikos outlined the role of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation (BSEC) group, which was set up to help achieve peace and prosperity in the region. He chairs BSEC's Greek Business Council.

    BSEC's financial arm is the Thessaloniki-based Black Sea Trade and Development Bank.

    [25] Stock market moves in range

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Share prices ended mixed to slightly higher on the Athens Stock Exchange reversing an early strong downward trend and helped by heavy buying interest in stocks in the Investment and Industrial sectors.

    The general index closed 0.10 percent higher at 1,715.82 points. Banks fell 0.60 percent, Leasing were 1.18 percent off, Insurance dropped 1.01 percent, Investment rose 1.81 percent, Construction eased 0.62 percent, Industrials increased 1.38 percent, Holding were 1.62 percent up and Miscellaneous rose 0.42 percent. The Parallel Market index ended 0.30 percent up.

    Trading was heavy and turnover reached 25.7 billion drachmas.

    Xiosbank's share price almost doubled during its second day of transactions on the market to close at 6,328 drachmas, up 99 percent from Tuesday.

    Broadly, advancing issues led declining ones by 114 to 104 with another 36 issues remaining unchanged. Xiosbank, Titan Cement, St. George Mills scored the biggest gains, while Remek, Elviemek, Radio Athinae and Ideal suffered the heaviest losses of the day. National Bank of Greece ended at 38,700 drachmas, Commercial Bank at 14,000, Ergobank at 21,100, Alpha Credit Bank at 21,900 and OTE at 6,830 drachmas.

    [26] Large increase in ASE value

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    A large increase in price shares at the Athens Stock Exchange has created large and unexpected excess values for the public sector and many pension funds.

    The finance ministry's treasury contains packages of shares belonging to the National Bank and other state-run banks, as well as shares of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) which, if liquefied, will yield several billions of drachmas.

    Greece is expected to have additional revenues exceeding 50 billion drachmas due to the impressive increase in the National Bank's share.

    When the National Bank's bonds loan was issued, the price of its share was about 14,000 drachmas, while at present it is worth about 39,000 drachmas.

    [27] Greece shows rise in steel output

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Steel production in the European Union rose to 13.674 million tons in April, marking a 9 percent increase from the corresponding month last year, according to the International Iron and Steel Institute.

    Austria and Finland showed the largest increases, 23.9 and 21.9 percent respectively, followed by Germany with an increase of 16.1 percent, and Denmark and Sweden with 15.4 and 13.8 percent.

    Greece also marked a substantial increase of 13.3 percent.

    [28] Trade group sends aid to Bulgaria

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Export Promotion Organization (OPE), in co-operation with the Greek embassy in Sofia and the Bulgarian embassy in Athens, has undertaken to send humanitarian aid to the neighboring country.

    The aid will include pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, special medical equipment for handicapped people, foods etc.

    [29] Greek-Israeli trade seminar

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    The Greek Chambers of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) in co-operation with the Embassy of Israel are organizing a joint seminar on June 2 to discuss possibilities of further developing trade and financial relations between the two countries.

    EBEA president Yiannis Papathanasiou and Israeli ambassador Ran Couriel will address the seminar, whose main speaker is the director of the Infrastructure Ministry of Israel, Mandel King.

    Greek-Israeli trade relations have improved rapidly during the last few years. In 1995 the volume of trade rose by 50 percent, rising to 300 million US dollars in 1996.

    [30] Greek flour mill company expands in Balkans

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Loulis Flour Mills SA, a company listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, is steadily expanding in the Balkan region with the creation of a flour production unit in Romania and a storage and packaging facility in Albania.

    The company's turnover rose to 10.020 billion drachmas in July 1996-April 1997 from 7.977 billion in the previous corresponding period.

    Profits rose to 637 million drachmas from 425 million in the same period, a 49.9 percent increase on the year.

    Loulis expects 1996-97 sales to top 12.8 billion drachmas and pre-tax profits to reach 750 million drachmas. The firm's fiscal year is July 1-June 30.

    [31] Greece to auction T-bonds

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    The Greek finance ministry will auction new three-, five-, and seven-year treasury bonds aimed to collect around 250 billion drachmas.

    The new bonds will be auctioned on June 17, carrying interest of 9.8, 9.2 and 8.9 percent respectively. The Treasury is expected to announced details of a new 10-year bond in the next few days.

    The finance ministry will auction 50 million drachmas worth of three-year bonds, and the same amount for five and seven-year paper, while its 10-year bonds will total 100 million drachmas.

    [32] Financial support to Port Police

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis ordered urgent financial aid worth 1.2 billion drachmas to be granted to the Merchant Marine Ministry for the purchase of boats and other vehicles needed by the Port Police in order to improve operations.

    Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis, speaking during a news conference, said that the ministry will also receive financial support worth 18 billion drachmas through the Schengen Accord for a period of three years.

    [33] Greeks claim damages from Gulf war

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    A special committee to decide on compensation payments to Greek citizens and companies damaged by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 was set up by the national economy ministry.

    The Compensation Committee, set up by order of National Economy Under-secretary Alekos Baltas, will examine claims submitted under the terms of a UN resolution.

    The United Nations has undertaken the proper distribution of compensation.

    [34] Korean shipyard seeks stronger presence in Greece

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    South Korea's Halla Samho Shipyard, one Korea's largest, is making a breakthrough in the Greek shipbuilding market as part of the Halla Business Group's expansion in southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean.

    According to Ted Shinn, the group's representative in Piraeus, the Halla Piraeus Liaison Office was established in July 1995 in an attempt to lure Greek shipowners to do business with the parent company in Korea.

    "Up to now the Piraeus office has achieved its goal," Mr. Shinn told the Athens News Agency as he spoke on the occasion of a recent visit to Piraeus of the group's Honorary Chairman Dr. In Yung Chung, who was introduced to a large group of Greek shipowners.

    "So far Halla Samho Shipyard has achieved the signing of several important contracts with some very reliable Greek shipping companies," he said, adding that Greece, "although a new market for the company, it is a promising market."

    Halla Business Group was founded in 1962 and the company first embarked on shipbuilding in 1977.

    Over the past 20 years, Halla has accumulated rich experience in building various kinds of vessels such as containers, product tankers, chemical tankers, bulk carriers, cement carriers, LPG carriers, passenger and other specialized vessels.

    The group's work-force totals 20,000 in various key industries, such as heavy construction equipment, automotive parts, aerospace and defense, cement plants, power plants, pulp and paper, steel fabrication and investment banking.

    [35] Kastanidis harshly criticizes OA union reps

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Transport and Communications Minister Haris Kastanidis yesterday lashed out against Olympic Airways unionists, warning them that the government will not fall victim to what he called "black-mailing union circles."

    "Olympic Airways is the national air carrier and should ensure normal service for passengers," Mr. Kastanidis said when asked why OA rented three aircraft over the weekend in order to serve its scheduled flights.

    "At the last minute, some unionists raised economic demands against the company," the minister said, adding that the government was determined not to yield to blackmail but to take the matter to court.

    Turning to other issues, Mr. Kastanidis expressed complete satisfaction at the approval of the OA's action plan by opposition political leaders regarding future aircraft purchases.

    Mr. Kastanidis on Tuesday briefed political leaders on the program for renewing the state-run Olympic Airways' fleet.

    The minister asked party leaders to appoint representatives to observe implementation of a first initiative dated from 1990-93, worth 100 billion drachmas.

    OA aims to purchase two long-range Airbus 300-400 aircraft in the final phase, with the option of purchasing another two airplanes, as well as buying five to seven Boeing 737-880s, with a similar option.

    The party leaders will have the right to intervene at any stage of the agreement or purchase procedure.

    An interparty committee is to operate for the purchase of a further 21 aircraft, with the aim of replenishing the fleet by the year 2001. Payment for the roughly 35 aircraft will have been settled by 2008, while there will be a three-year extension period. Greece has guaranteed to provide US$378 million for OA's purchase of the new aircraft.

    [36] 1997 may witness record number of Swedish tourists

    Stockholm, 29/05/1997 (ANA - N. Servetas)

    The record of 449,000 Swedish tourists visiting Greece in a season, which was recorded in 1995, is expected to be broken this summer, while the tourist wave to Greece from the remaining northern European countries is expected to also reach high levels this year.

    A million tourists alone are expected to visit Greece with charter flights, while a considerable number of tourists will travel to Greece by car and rail. An increasing number of tourists have been arriving in Greece by air in past years and then traveling to islands with sailing vessels rented beforehand.

    According to a survey conducted by Stockholm's mass circulation newspaper "Expressen", 15 per cent of respondents prefer Greece for a holiday, while Sweden itself is in second place, followed by Spain with 11 per cent. The survey showed that Greece is p referred by young people, employees and women, whereas Sweden is preferred by workers and small businessmen.

    The director of the Greek Tourist Organization's (EOT) office for northern Europe Haralambos Lianeris told ANA that "the Scandinavian market has had continuous increases in past years. We want to stay at the high level where we are at present and expand to new markets".

    [37] Subsidies for investors in Thrace

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    The national economy ministry has provided 3.2 billion drachmas for eastern Macedonia and Thrace to cover subsidies of private investors active in Thrace.

    According to other decisions taken by the ministry, one billion drachmas were made available to subsidize private investments through the Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATE) and two billion drachmas from the Hellenic Organization of Small- and Medium-Size d Enterprises and Craftsmen (EOMMEX).

    [38] Thessaloniki conference focuses on new textile technology

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    The new technology applied in the textiles sector is considered the key to its development and growth, according to the conclusion reconfirmed by participants in the 78th Textile Institute international conference and the 5th textiles conference.

    The conference was jointly organized in Thessaloniki by the Federation of Exporters of Northern Greece, the Federation of Weaving Enterprises of Northern Greece and the British agency, with support from the Bank of Macedonia and Thrace and the Cultural Capital Organization.

    On the question of the Greek textiles and clothing sector, it was noted that its response to a technologically changing international environment is considered unsuccessful for the time being. It was pointed out that "for the sector to be able to acquire a competitive advantage what is necessary is specialized human potential, organizations providing specialized services, support for research at universities and technical institutes and encouragement for investment initiatives by enterprises in the sect or."

    It was further stressed that the transfer of production to low-cost countries should not be considered a "panacea", since such a move could turn into a boomerang for businessmen due to low quality and an increase in the time of the products' delivery.

    "The solution lies in adopting new marketing rules, the differentiation of production and better organization aimed at high production levels," it was added.

    [39] Greenpeace wants recall of Chicco products

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Greenpeace yesterday called for the immediate recall of all Chicco baby teething rings manufactured with PVC plastic following serious allegations of risks involved in the use of the substance.

    According to the environmental group, similar items have already been withdrawn from markets in Denmark, Spain and Italy.

    Recent studies claimed that hazardous substances used in PVC are 40 times above the safe limit imposed by the European Union for foodstuffs. Their use in dummies and teething rings are considered to pass directly into infants' digestive systems, with harmful results, with some studies claiming they cause sterility in boys.

    [40] Airports prepare for summer tourist surge

    Athens, 29/05/1997 (ANA)

    Renovations at nine main airports in Greece, including Athens and Thessaloniki, will be completed in time for this year's tourist season, Transport Minister Haris Kastanidis stated yesterday.

    At a regular press briefing, Mr. Kastanidis said 52 billion drachmas had been allocated for improvements at the airports of Corfu, Ikaria, Irakleio, Kos, Mykonos, Paros and Rhodes.

    Certain projects had already been completed and opened to the public, such as an extension of the waiting area for Rhodes and Corfu and a new runway for Mykonos.

    Athens and Thessaloniki airports were allocated 3.49 billion drachmas and 3.2 billion drachmas, respectively.

    [41] OECD must extend talks, Turkish minister says

    Paris, 29/05/1997 (A.A.)

    The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) should continue dialogue with developing countries which are not members, Turkish State Minister Ufuk Soylemez said on Tuesday.

    Addressing an OECD meeting in Paris on its future and the effect of globalization, Mr. Soylemez noted that "Turkey gives priority to programs carried out with transition economies in Europe and Asia within this framework."

    The Turkish minister said the OECD should remain a global organization and its high standards maintained when accepting new members.

    The meeting was expected to close with a symposium on International Economic Co-operation in the 21st century, held on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Marshall Plan.

    End of English language section.

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