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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-05-31

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

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


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  • [01] Simitis begins 3-day tour of Epirus, stresses Egnatia's importance
  • [02] ND leader Karamanlis cites need for a strong, prosperous Bulgaria
  • [03] Greek-Romanian defense relations discussed during Tzoganis' visit
  • [04] Pangalos trip to Luxembourg, Tirana
  • [05] FM Secretary A. Filon trip to Morocco
  • [06] Mitsotakis to travel to Turkey for Ipekci award
  • [07] Gov't meeting focuses on EU's 'Santer package'
  • [08] Papoutsis to attend conference in Alexandroupoli
  • [09] Kranidiotis, Kasoulides cite need for coordination on Cyprus problem
  • [10] Mediterranean news agencies' seminar gets under way today
  • [11] Pol. An's first congress begins with Samaras speech
  • [12] Papadopoulos calls for EU expansion to central, eastern Europe
  • [13] Gov't leans toward favoring proposal for simple majority election of president
  • [14] 'November 17' claims responsibility for Peratikos killing
  • [15] Vartholomeos cancels official visit to Austria
  • [16] Greek, Italian architects present plan for better city planning
  • [17] Rostropovich to perform in Thessaloniki
  • [18] Thessaloniki. Several studies presented in light of Worldwide Day Against Smoking
  • [19] Olive oil fraud nets businessman 13-year jail sentence
  • [20] IAAF's Nebiolo expresses satisfaction at preparations for World Athletics Championship
  • [21] Athens bourse ends week with losses
  • [22] Drachma stabilizes
  • [23] Tourist arrivals rise in Rhodes
  • [24] Bulgarian initiative on Balkan friendship
  • [25] Big buyout in pasta business
  • [26] Pouliades' profits jump in 1996
  • [27] EU trade conference in Alexandroupolis

  • [01] Simitis begins 3-day tour of Epirus, stresses Egnatia's importance

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    The under-construction Egnatia Highway across the breadth of northern Greece will be one of the major projects marking Greece's course early next century, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday at the start of a three-day tour of the northwestern Epirus region.

    "Egnatia will provide an 'economic corridor' between east and west. It is a project of vital geo-political priority. It concerns a strategic axis which horizontally unites western with eastern Greece. It consolidates Greece's economic significance in Europe, the Balkans, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea countries. It facilitates transport flows and promotes the development of the region into a transport crossroads," he stressed in a speech in Ioannina.

    Noting that the present situation in the Balkans is perhaps the most characteristic case of the extreme consequences of the new, fluid international reality resulting from the collapse of bipolarity in international relations, he said that the strengthening of Greece's economy and its foreign policy would make the country a strong political and economic pole in the Balkans.

    He added that Epirus - one of the poorest regions in the EU - must play a leading role in this process, while the Egnatia Highway, together with the upgraded port of Igoumenitsa and the Aktion-Preveza underwater tunnel, will put the region into an orbit o f development, opening the roads to the Balkans and making Epirus a gateway to western Europe.

    Greece's policy in the Balkans, and particularly regarding Albania, is another factor that will promote the region's escape from isolation, the premier added.

    He said Greece has already made important efforts in restoring conditions of normality in the neighboring country.

    "Our aims have been and remain the immediate aversion of the danger of the situation deteriorating and the protection of the Greek minority. It was for this reason that we have supported the efforts towards finding a political solution through an understanding between the political forces. It was also for this reason that we have proceeded to the adoption of preventive measures in the border region for the likelihood of a mass flight of refugees, and to the direct mobilization for the provision of humanitarian and health aid," Mr. Simitis said.

    The prime minister also referred extensively to the details of a five-year, 700-billion-drachma government development plan for Epirus.

    [02] ND leader Karamanlis cites need for a strong, prosperous Bulgaria

    Sofia, 31/5/1997 (ANA - N. Hios/A.Panagopoulos)

    A strong and prosperous Bulgaria having close relations with Greece is a prerequisite for development and peace in the Balkans, visiting main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis said here yesterday.

    In a joint statement following a meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister and leader of the Union of Democratic Powers (UDP) Ivan Kostov, both party leaders said they "share the view that more efforts should be carried out towards a closer co-operation of Balkan states based on European democratic principles and traditions".

    During his visit, Mr. Karamanlis stressed the need to retain agreements related to Greek investments in Bulgaria and discussed the possibility of increasing the number of Greek businesses in the neighboring country.

    He said that a strong economy in Bulgaria would create a climate of trust and attract more investors.

    Mr. Karamanlis also proposed that conservative parties of southeast Europe convene in Sofia to discuss co-operation and their common future.

    "The congress will express our solidarity, enrich our experiences and draw from the strength of those who won the elections," he said.

    Mr. Karamanlis also met with president of the Bulgarian parliament Iordan Sokolov and the president of the UDP party Ekaterina Michailova.

    In addition, he said ND would support Bulgaria's efforts for full membership of the European Union and NATO.

    Mr. Karamanlis was due to attend a luncheon later in the day hosted by Mr. Kostov and then meet with the Bulgarian defense minister and members of the parliamentary committee on external relations.

    [03] Greek-Romanian defense relations discussed during Tzoganis' visit

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    National Defense General Staff chief Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis discussed issues concerning co-operation between the armed forces of Greece and Romania during his recent visit to the Balkan nation.

    Gen. Tzoganis held talks with his Romanian counterpart, Gen. Constantin Degeratu, the presidents of the Romanian parliament's and senate's defense committees, that nation's defense minister and the presidential adviser on defense issues.

    Gen. Tzoganis also discussed existing possibilities for military co-operation, the situation in the Balkans, and Albania in particular, as well as Romania's potential accession to the NATO alliance.

    [04] Pangalos trip to Luxembourg, Tirana

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos will leave for Luxembourg on Monday to participate in the European Union council of general affairs. Next Tuesday he will land in Tirana for a one-day visit.

    [05] FM Secretary A. Filon trip to Morocco

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    Foreign ministry general secretary Alexandros Filon will be in Morocco today until June 6 to meet with the general secretary and foreign under-secretary of Morocco. He will discuss promotion of a bilateral co-operation between the two countries.

    [06] Mitsotakis to travel to Turkey for Ipekci award

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    Former New Democracy prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis will leave for Turkey next week to receive the 'Ipekci' Award for promoting Greek-Turkish friendship and his "25-year-long efforts in favor of rapprochement and co-operation".

    Also to receive this year's award will be Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou for his efforts as education minister in promoting knowledge in schools; Coalition of the Left Euro-MP Michalis Papayiannakis for supporting Turkey's application for EU membership; Olympic weightlifting champions Valerios Leonidis and Naim Suleymanoglu; composer Zulfi Livaneli; Greek cartoonist KYR; journalist Ali Birant, and the Metropolitan of Kalymnos Nectarios.

    Mr. Mitsotakis will have a series of contacts with prominent political and business leaders, including Turkish President Suleyman Demirel on Friday.

    [07] Gov't meeting focuses on EU's 'Santer package'

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    A meeting was held at the foreign ministry yesterday afternoon at the initiative of Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and focusing on the "Santer package", namely, European Union funding for EU member-states after 1999.

    The meeting was attended by the relevant national economy under-secretary Christos Pachtas, the secretary generals of the foreign affairs and national economy ministries, Stelios Perrakis and Ilias Plaskovitis respectively, and the prime minister's economic adviser Tasos Yiannitsis.

    According to press reports, an in-depth examination was made of fiscal prospects in the EU based on both the needs of member-states and financial commitments by the "15" towards candidate countries.

    The reports said that according to a European Commission "scenario", enlargement will require at least ECU 30 billion. Among others, this means the development plans of member-states must start being prepared from now.

    No decisions were taken and the meeting will be repeated.

    [08] Papoutsis to attend conference in Alexandroupoli

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis is attending a conference on the prospects and future of commerce in the Union, opening in the Thracian border town of Alexandroupoli today.

    In statements after arriving yesterday, Mr. Papoutsis said he would take into serious consideration the proposals to be submitted to the conference, with a view to formulating an action plan for the sector on a European-wide level.

    Regarding Turkey's accession to the EU, the Greel Commissioner said that although that country has upgraded its relations with the Union since 1993, the reasons hampering its European course are related both to the continued occupation of northern Cyprus by Turkish troops, and to its expansionist designs expressed through official statements.

    [09] Kranidiotis, Kasoulides cite need for coordination on Cyprus problem

    Brussels, 31/5/1997 (ANA - M. Savva)

    Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said yesterday that Greece and Cyprus shared the same goals, struggle and effort, adding that coordination between the two countries was necessary in this critical phase of the Cyprus problem.

    Mr. Kranidiotis was speaking after a meeting here with Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides.

    The meeting focused on the results of Mr. Kranidiotis' recent visit to the UN headquarters in New York and Mr. Kasoulides' talks with Community officials.

    After the meeting, both ministers expressed reservations regarding the results of bi-communal talks.

    "The fact that talks are beginning without first establishing common ground due to (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash's inflexibility is not a positive one," Mr. Kasoulides said.

    He added, however, that "the Cypriot government will enter talks with an open spirit and constructive will."

    "The Greek government agrees that all efforts on the part of the international community must be reinforced," Mr. Kranidiotis said, adding that "we will help, we will reinforce to the extent of our abilities the good offices of the UN Secretary General. "

    Meanwhile, disputing press reports alleging that he would be a candidate in Cypriot presidential elections, Mr. Kranidiotis said: "I've never had any intention to be candidate, this story must end."

    In another development yesterday, Mr. Kranidiotis had a telephone conversation with EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek.

    Mr. Kranidiotis asked Mr. van den Broek for a more active participation on the part of the European Union in Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot UN-sponsored bi-communal talks in New York.

    [10] Mediterranean news agencies' seminar gets under way today

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    A seminar for members of the Mediterranean News Agencies' Alliance, held by the Athens News Agency, begins today at the Divani Caravel Hotel. It will be opened by Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas.

    The seminar will explore new services and the changing needs of subscribers, the use of Internet by media organizations, satellite and on-line services, photo exchanges and marketing in the new era.

    Speakers from abroad include AFP Deputy Technical Director Stephane Guerillot, ANSA Technical Director Ettore Franzini and commercial Director Arduino Mancini, LUSA President Manuel Pedro Marques, Prof. Bernd-Peter Lange, General Director, European Institute for the Media, APA Marketing and Sales Director Konrad Tretter, MENA Chief Consultant Mohamed El Biali, Reuters Regional News and TV Manager Nikola Antonov, Dr. Wlodzimierz Gogolek, Professor, Member of the Polish Telecommunications Organization Board and EFE International Relations Director Indalecio Diaz.

    Greek media representatives who will address the seminar include Athens University Professor Stelios Papathanasopoulos, the editor-in-chief of Ta Nea, Pantelis Kapsis, university lecturer Manolis Heretakis, OTEnet board member Antonis Lyrantonakis and ANA Technical Director Takis Mantis.

    The agencies represented at the seminar, apart from Greece's ANA, are: AMI (Mauritius), Anadolu (Turkey), ANSA (Italy), ATA (Albania), CNA (Cyprus), EFE (Spain), JANA (Libya), LUSA (Portugal), MAP (Morocco), MENA (Egypt), NMA (Lebanon), SANA (Syria), TA P (Tunis), WAFA (Palestine). FANA (Beirut), IPS (Italy), AFP (France), and APA (Austria) are attending as observers.

    The seminar, sponsored by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) and its subsidiary OTEnet, ends tomorrow at 11.30.

    [11] Pol. An's first congress begins with Samaras speech

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    Political Spring (Pol.An) party leader Antonis Samaras said in his address to the first congress of the party yesterday that Pol.An would pursue an "autonomous course."

    "I will never be a career politician," Mr. Samaras said.

    Despite pursuing an autonomous future, Mr. Samaras said that Pol.An pursued and desired dialogue with all political forces in Greece.

    Referring to the party's defeat and exclusion from Parliament in last September's general elections, Mr. Samaras said: "We may have lost a battle but what's important is to win the mother of all battles."

    Mr. Samaras described Pol.An's first congress as a congress of "political substance, prospect and political result," while embarking on harsh criticism targeted at Greece's current political scene.

    Turning to economic and foreign issues, Mr. Samaras stressed the need for a national economic strategy to battle inflation-related problems and growth stagnation.

    Mr. Samaras stressed the party's European orientation adding that the European Union "is the only solution for Greece in view of the new century."

    Commenting on Greek-Turkish relations, the Pol.An leader said that "we can't accept the status of the "gray zones" in the Aegean, which Ankara tries to impose.

    Regarding the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) name, he said he opposed a solution "that would be tantamount to recognition of Skopje's irredentist designs against us."

    The Pol.An congress opened in Athens with the participation of 1,500 party cadres, representatives of Greek and Cypriot political parties, Eurodeputies and local government officials.

    Hailing the sessions, PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis said he viewed the Pol.An congress as a "positive factor in political developments."

    In also addressing the congress, main opposition New Democracy party deputy Vassilis Mihaloliakos, attacked the government's economic policy, accusing it of a "cruel attack against people's incomes."

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy Babis Aggourakis elaborated on his party's position concerning Greek-Turkish relations, stressing that the United States and the European Union were resorting to a policy of "divide and reign."

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) president Nikos Constantopoulos hailed Pol.An's struggle for "an autonomous political survival," lashing out against what he termed "the two-party framework."

    A Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) political bureau member condemned the revised Maastricht Treaty.

    [12] Papadopoulos calls for EU expansion to central, eastern Europe

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said enlargement of the European Union with central and eastern European countries is a political necessity and historic opportunity "which must not slip out of our reach."

    Mr. Papadopoulos, who was addressing a conference entitled "Public Administration and European Integration" held in Rotterdam over the past two days, said there should be a common starting time for all countries which have concluded European agreements.

    He placed emphasis on the need to modernize the administrations of candidate countries to enable them to meet the needs of equal and active participation in the EU.

    [13] Gov't leans toward favoring proposal for simple majority election of president

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    The government appears to be finally endorsing a proposal by which a candidate will be elected president of the republic in the third round of voting with 151 votes during Parliament's session, since government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the election of a president should not constitute a cause for tensions or unforeseen developments.

    He added that the government must not disregard the fact that a wider consensus must be obtained.

    The cabinet concluded the basic choices of the proposal made by the ruling PASOK on revising the Constitution during its meeting yesterday, while Mr. Reppas said PASOK's Parliamentary group and judicial sector will convene to agree to a final formulation of the proposal.

    Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos said the target is modernizing the state's institutions, while Mr. Reppas said that issues which have surfaced in public life since 1986 must be handled.

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the government has reached the conclusion that the president of the republic does not need more duties and that this was proved by experience gained during the tenures of three presidents (Sartzetakis, Karamanlis and Stephanopoulos) since 1986, stressing that information such as the Karamanlis archives historically vindicate the initiative taken in 1986 to limit a president's duties.

    Mr. Venizelos said that given the negative phenomena during the election of a president in 1980, 1985 and 1990, and taking into consideration that in the event of failure to elect a president, which is followed by a proclamation of elections, the election of a president also takes place with a simple majority.

    According to reliable sources, Education Minister Gerassimos Arsenis expressed serious reservations, saying that the increased prestige of the president must be safeguarded.

    On the question of educational establishments and whether there will be a possibility of private universities being created, Mr. Reppas said that Mr. Arsenis will prepare a proposal based on public education, free education and consolidating studies both at home and abroad.

    Strongly disagreeing with changes being discussed on the way of electing the president, to be included in constitutional reforms, the Coalition of the Left and Progress stressed in an announcement that the change being attempted in PASOK's position on processes for electing a president of the republic is characteristic and has nothing to do with chance, adding that it expresses the anxiety of a one-party control of political life and degrades the prestige of the position.

    [14] 'November 17' claims responsibility for Peratikos killing

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    The "November 17" terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the murder of shipowner Costas Peratikos on Wednesday in an eight-page letter retrieved by the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia" and published yesterday.

    Peratikos, 42, the elder of two sons of prominent London-based shipowner Mihalis Peratikos, was ambushed and shot four times at close range in a busy downtown Piraeus street outside his office as he went to get his car from a garage. He was dead on arrival at a nearby hospital.

    The elusive urban guerrilla group said it had tried to assassinate Peratikos twice in the past but without success.

    Peratikos was accused by the group in the letter of mismanaging the troubled Elefsina Shipyards, which the Peratikos family took over in 1992 and closed down in 1995 after accumulating a debt of an estimated 17 billion drachmas.

    The terrorist group described the sale as a "major scandal", saying their "action (to kill Peratikos) had been planned since June 1995 when the Elefsina Shipyards were operating under the ownership of the Peratikos shipping group."

    November 17 has killed a total of 21 prominent Greek and foreign individuals since it first struck in 1975.

    Meanwhile, a meeting was held at the public order ministry yesterday between FBI agents and senior Greek police officials investigating the Peratikos murder.

    Police sources said the US federal agency will make state-of-the-art electronic equipment available to Greek police to assist in the investigation.

    Meanwhile, the counter-terrorist unit said yesterday that Peratikos was shot by two of the three men who ambushed him, as ballistics tests show both a .45 caliber handgun and a .38, both of which had also been used in other attacks by the shadowy group.

    [15] Vartholomeos cancels official visit to Austria

    Istanbul, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos canceled his official visit to Austria and his participation in the second European Ecumenical Congress, charging that the meeting was turning into a confrontation between church leaders.

    Vartholomeos was expected to arrive in Austria on June 17 following a state invitation in order to participate in an ecclesiastical congress at Graz from June 23 to 29.

    But in an announcement from Istanbul yesterday, the Patriarch said he "does not wish to participate in a tug of war pitting supremacies against one another".

    According to informed sources, the cancellation follows alleged attempts by the Vatican and the Moscow Patriarchate to exploit the congress.

    "The events in Graz aim at reconciliation between Christians and should not be used to promote personal interests," the announcement said.

    The Patriarch thanked Austrian President Thomas Klestil "for his many efforts and his special understanding". He also expressed the hope Austria would "understand that given the unpleasant situation that has been created, it is not possible to go through it (the visit)".

    Vartholomeos was scheduled to meet with Mr. Klestil and other Austrian leaders.

    [16] Greek, Italian architects present plan for better city planning

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    Greek and Italian architects presented their concept of how urban planning could be different in Greece at an international conference entitled "The Challenge of the Greek City", currently being held at the National Research Institute.

    Architects from both nations are participating in an AGET Heracles cement company's Heracles program. The 10 architects and town planners from the two countries have presented studies for the improvement of five urban areas, Athens' two adjacent railway stations, Patra's coastline and Volos' port, among others.

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos addressed the conference, saying that "the city is a collective work and all have a share of responsibility for what has happened, but particularly for what happens from hereon in".

    [17] Rostropovich to perform in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    Russian-born cellist Mstislav Rostropovich will appear at the Philharmonic Orchestra of Nations in Thessaloniki on June 3 and 4, visiting the city as part of the Cultural Capital of Europe events.

    Mr. Rostropovich will solo with works of Dvorak on June 3. The next evening he will conduct the same orchestra with works by Serge Prokofiev, as the National Ballet of Lithuania performs Romeo and Juliet.

    The performances will take place in the renovated theater-in-the-Forest which holds 3,500 people.

    [18] Thessaloniki. Several studies presented in light of Worldwide Day Against Smoking

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    The Greek Cardiological Institute, in observance of today's Worldwide Day Against Smoking, released several recent studies on smoking conducted in the United States, which show that individuals who quit smoking between the ages of 35-39 lived five years m ore.

    Researchers claimed that after 15 years of refraining from smoking, the human body becomes completely free of the effects of smoking.

    According to recent research, Greeks remain first in cigarette consumption in Europe. Men, however, seem to be quitting more and more while the number of female smokers is increasing dramatically.

    According to the latest reports 20,000 smoking-related deaths are caused in Greece annually.

    Recent studies conducted in Greece show that 6,000 deaths are caused annually by second-hand smoking.

    Despite the fact that a large number of Greek high school students still smoke, studies conducted on university students show that the number of non-smokers is significantly increasing.

    On his part, Health and Welfare Minister Costas Geitonas noted: "It's time to consider smoking as one of the greatest dangers to public health."

    [19] Olive oil fraud nets businessman 13-year jail sentence

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    An Athens court yesterday sentenced Spyros Rodopoulos, a businessman and owner of the OMELBA olive oil processing company, to 13 years imprisonment for moral complicity to commit fraud and forgery.

    The decision concerns the case of OMELBA, which by using various ruses managed to obtain high unrequited loans resulting in losses for the National Bank exceeding five billion drachmas.

    The court also handed down 11-year prison sentences each to Theodoros Pelekanakis and Emmanuel Constantinidis, a former director and deputy director, respectively, of the National Bank's branch office in Irakleio, Crete, for criminal fraud combined with incriminating clauses falling under law 1608/50 concerning embezzlement of the state.

    Two more defendants in the case were acquitted, but the case of Georgios Botis, a former OMELBA managing director, who has fled abroad was separated.

    The offenses against the National Bank were perpetrated during the 1990-1992 period when Rodopoulos, lacking necessary preconditions, was loaned hundreds of millions of drachmas by the bank while providing forged bills of exchange as a guarantee from unsuspecting olive oil producers in Crete.

    [20] IAAF's Nebiolo expresses satisfaction at preparations for World Athletics Championship

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) President Primo Nebiolo yesterday expressed complete satisfaction at the progress of preparations for this year's World Athletics Championship to be held in Athens between Aug. 1-10. "I am completely satisfied with the progress of preparations. There is excellent co-operation between the IAAF and the organizing committee. The details remaining will be cleared up in the period left before the games start," Mr. Nebiolo said.

    After a visit of IAAF members to the city's Olympic Center, which will host this summer's event, he noted that "in contrast to the Olympic Games in Atlanta, the main stadium is in proximity with auxiliary installations".

    Mr. Nebiolo arrived in Athens on Thursday to chair a three-day IAAF council meeting which ends today. He is scheduled to meet President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos at noon, and give a press conference at 1 p.m.

    In a related development, 20 reporters, guests of the IAAF, who arrived in Athens yesterday, were shown around the city's Panathenian Stadium where the opening ceremony will take place on Aug. 1.

    [21] Athens bourse ends week with losses

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    Stock prices remained under heavy selling pressure for the second consecutive session to end sharply lower during the last trading session of the week.

    Traders said the market seemed worried over developments in the domestic money market as interest rates rose after a recent slide in the drachma.

    The general index closed 2.83 percent down at 1,635.31 points, showing a loss of 5.35 percent during the week.

    All sector indices ended lower. Banks slid 3.54 percent, Leasing fell 2.92 percent, Insurance dropped 1.58 percent, Investment ended 2.29 percent off, Industrials fell 2.48 percent, Construction plunged 3.74 percent, Holding eased 0.34 percent and Misce llaneous fell 2.72 percent. The Parallel Market index fell 0.24 percent.

    Trade was heavy, totaling 30.6 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 189 to 36 with 20 issues remaining unchanged.

    Piraeus Leasing, Klaoudatos, Tzirakian Profil and Selonda scored the biggest gains, while Mediterranean Investment, Papoutsanis, Ermis and Boutaris suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 37,100 drachmas, Commercial Bank at 13,500, Alpha Credit Bank at 20,150, Ergobank at 19,250 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) at 6,800 drachmas.

    [22] Drachma stabilizes

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    The Greek money market returned to normal trade on Friday after three days of turmoil that led to total outflows of around 1.5 billion drachmas and forced the Bank of Greece to step up interventions in order to curb the drachma's slide.

    The Greek currency rose against the ECU and most other foreign currencies to end at 311 drachmas from Thursday's 312 drachmas versus the ECU at the central bank's daily fix. Outflows were minimal, totaling 30 million US dollars.

    Interbank rates fell to around 10.50-10.70 percent, reversing an early advance to 13 percent.

    [23] Tourist arrivals rise in Rhodes

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    Tourist arrivals in the Dodecanese island of Rhodes rose by 12.4 percent in January to April compared with the corresponding period last year to reach 111,697, according to figures released by the Greek National Tourism Organization.

    The data showed that foreign arrivals fell by 1.5 percent to 54,520 from 55,391 last year although domestic arrivals rose by 30.1 percent to 57,177 from 43.946 a year earlier.

    Overnight stays totaled 593,534 during the first four months of the year, up 10 percent from 1996, but significantly down from 710,830 in 1995.

    [24] Bulgarian initiative on Balkan friendship

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    A group of 26 eminent Bulgarians including university professors, journalists, businessmen and students have founded a "Union of Balkan Friendship".

    Jordan Poromanski, a university professor and a Greek scholar, stressed that the Union will operate as a non-governmental organization for the development of co-operation between Balkan states in the economy, education, culture, media and sports.

    The Union's statutes envisage co-operation between scientists, students, businessmen and artists, as well as the organization of joint seminars and educational and cultural projects among Balkan countries.

    [25] Big buyout in pasta business

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    St. George Mills SA acquired Stella SA, a pasta manufacturer, the third biggest firm of its kind established in Greece and the largest purely Greek concern.

    Stella's 1996 sales reached 5.1 billion drachmas from 4.8 billion the year before and net profits rose to 36 million drachmas from 27 million in 1995. St. George Mills reported sales of 16.3 billion drachmas in 1994, down from 14.7 billion the previous year, while pre-tax profits rose to one billion drachmas from 803 million respectively.

    The company is at an advanced stage of negotiations for the buyout of similar businesses in Bulgaria and Romania.

    [26] Pouliades' profits jump in 1996

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    Pouliades Associates SA, a Greek software company, reported a 31 percent increase in 1996 pre-tax profits totaling 1.2 billion drachmas from 913 million the previous year, while profits after tax reached 773 million drachmas.

    The company announced a dividend payout of 632.5 million drachmas, or 110 drachmas per share. Its 1996 turnover rose to 22.2 billion drachmas from 17 billion the year before, while liabilities rose to 12 billion drachmas from 7.9 billion.

    Pouliades Associates' gross profit margin increased by 0.5 percent to 16 percent last year.

    [27] EU trade conference in Alexandroupolis

    Athens, 31/5/1997 (ANA)

    European Union Energy Commissioner Christos Papoutsis will open an EU trade conference in the northern Greek city of Alexandroupolis attended by representatives of trade groups from the 15-member bloc. Delegates attending the weekend conference will seek solutions to trade problems on a European and international level.

    Greek Development Minister Vasso Papandreou is to represent the socialist government at the meeting.

    Before heading for Alexandroupolis, Mr. Papoutsis toured the towns of Xanthi and Komotini to monitor progress in EU-funded projects, including damage repair works following severe floods in November.

    End of English language section.

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