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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-08-01

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

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

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1252), August 1, 1997

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address:


  • [01] Athens '97 Athletics Championships open today
  • [02] Anabolics ban halved
  • [03] Athens mayor to honor Nebiolo
  • [04] Talks held on creation of 3 new Greek-Bulgarian border checkpoints
  • [05] Evros River pollution caused by factory, study claims
  • [06] Greece favors UN resolutions in seeking a Cyprus solution
  • [07] Tsohatzopoulos underlines Greece's stabilizing role in the region
  • [08] KKE reaction to KYSEA decisions
  • [09] Albanian police receive final shipment of Greek aid
  • [10] Greek athletes voice optimism and determination
  • [11] Jamaica's Oti hopes to win medal
  • [12] Premier Simitis meets IOC and IAAF officials
  • [13] OTE technical support
  • [14] Alexandria patriarch hails IAAF World Championships
  • [15] Kaklamanakis completes the first-ever windsurf run of the Aegean
  • [16] Search reveals more illegal immigrants on ship
  • [17] SYN leader appeals for 'spirit of humanitarianism'
  • [18] More illegal immigrants enter Evros area
  • [19] Important findings in Konitsa excavations
  • [20] Thessaloniki port renews special treatment for Yugoslav goods
  • [21] Meeting held on improving transport and traffic conditions in Athens
  • [22] Greece to buy two new Airbus A340s
  • [23] Greece to hire evaluator for new power plant to quell doubts
  • [24] Athens share index rises in July vs June, turnover drops
  • [25] Greek state telecom postpones digital switch purchase
  • [26] US dollar gains 4.09 pct vs drachma in July
  • [27] Greek equities end higher, fall short of resistance at 1,600 pts.
  • [28] Record tourist arrivals in Rhodes

  • [01] Athens '97 Athletics Championships open today

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    The 6th World Athletics Championships open in Athens at 20h30 today with a spectacular ceremony at the Panathenian Stadium.

    A record 200 countries are participating in the event which will end on August 10.

    International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) president Primo Nebiolo yesterday expressed confidence that the Athens '97 championships would be a success:

    "To me, Greece is the spiritual home of athletics. I believe the staging of the championships will be a success," he told a press conference.

    He underlined the fact that a record 200 countries will be taking part in the championships which, he noted, would be watched by 3.3 billion television viewers in 212 countries.

    He added that demand for tickets was higher than expected, observing that tickets had already been sold out for August 3, when the finals of the men's and women's 100 meters sprint will be held.

    Mr. Nebiolo said that tonight's opening ceremony "with the participation of the great artists Vangelis and Montserrat Caballe" would be "a truly spectacular show".

    He also noted that Vangelis had composed a new Anthem for the IAAF which will be heard for the first time today at the Panathenian Stadium.

    [02] Anabolics ban halved

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    In another development, the IAAF yesterday halved its penalty for first-time anabolics offenders to two-year maximum suspension from athletics events from the present four-year maximum.

    Delegates at the annual two-day IAAF congress in Athens, which opened on Wednesday, voted 112-56 with three abstentions in favor of a proposal by several European countries, spearheaded by Germany, to reduce the ban.

    The four-year maximum suspension for athletes caught using steroid anabolics for a first time, introduced by the IAAF in 1991, has caused problems with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which was pressing for reduction of the ban, and also with civil courts in many countries, to which athletes took recourse.

    A second offense carries a lifetime ban. The IAAF spent 1.7 million dollars on combating doping last year.

    The IAAF president endorsed a reduction of the ban in statements to the Congress on Wednesday.

    The congress voted against a similar proposal two years ago in Ggteborg, fearing a reduction would be construed as a softening of the Federation's stance against doping.

    In his press conference, Mr. Nebiolo clarified that athletes caught using stimulants, instead of the present three-month suspension from athletics events, would now by given a "public warning".

    In the event of a second and third offense however, they will be liable to a two-year and lifetime ban respectively, he said.

    The IAAF chief stressed that if a national athletics federation wished to impose harsher penalties on athletes caught using prohibited substances, "we at the IAAF will accept them".

    [03] Athens mayor to honor Nebiolo

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    Mayor of Athens, Dimitris Avramopoulos will today present Mr. Nebiolo with the Gold Medal of Value of the city of Athens, at a special ceremony to be held at noon at the Town Hall. Talks held on creation of three new Greek-Bulgarian border checkpoints

    [04] Talks held on creation of 3 new Greek-Bulgarian border checkpoints

    Sofia, 1/8/1997 (ANA - N. Chios)

    The creation of three new border checkpoints on the Greek-Bulgarian border was discussed during a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Yevgeni Bakarziev and the Greek Ambassador to Sofia Panayiotis Karakasis, according to an announcement by the Bulgarian government's press service.

    A meeting between experts from the two countries will follow, according to a report by BTA, to determine the locations where the border crossings will be established.

    According to the existing Greek-Bulgarian agreement, the three border checkpoints will link the cities of Drama-Goce Delchev, Xanthi-Rudozem and Komotini-Kerzali, while their construction must be completed by the end of 1998. The government announcement further said that the two countries will co-operate on all infrastructure works included in the American "Sifter" plan for southeastern Europe.

    [05] Evros River pollution caused by factory, study claims

    Sofia, 1/8/1997 (ANA - N. Chios)

    The pollution of the Evros River's waters with ammoniac nitrogen in the Bulgarian Dimitrovgrad-Simeonovgrad section has created poisoning among big quantities of fish, according to laboratory studies by the regional environment department in the city of Haskovo.

    According to a BTA report, the pollution was caused by the NEOXIM factory. The head of the regional department Dimiter Iliev explained that compared to the previous similar case in 1994, the polluted section is smaller.

    The regional governor of Haskovo has briefed authorities in Alexandroupolis on the case and offered assurances that the content of ammoniac nitrogen in the waters of the Evros River as far as the Greek-Bulgarian border is below relevant levels.

    [06] Greece favors UN resolutions in seeking a Cyprus solution

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    Greece said yesterday that the solution being sought to the Cyprus problem should be one which takes into consideration United Nations resolutions and the texts of agreements reached in the past and which "makes use of experience". Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas made the statement when asked to comment on statements by NATO Secretary General Javier Solana.

    "Mr. Solana is familiar with the development of things," Mr. Reppas added.

    Speaking Tuesday in New York, Mr. Solana did not rule out the possibility of NATO taking a more active role to safeguard Cyprus' security in the future.

    At the same time he expressed the hope that the Cyprus problem would be resolved during 1998.

    Mr. Reppas noted that for the first time the conditions appeared to exist and efforts being made for a solution, while stressing that it was still "early days" and "Greece continues to be reserved".

    The spokesman strongly criticized Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for threatening not to attend the second round of UN-sponsored negotiations in August unless the European Union suspends its decision to start accession talks with Cyprus.

    "Mr. Denktash is compromising himself and Turkey. It appears that he lacks the will to contribute to a settlement," Mr. Reppas said. The spokesman added that Mr. Denktash's statements were tantamount to blackmailing the EU "because when the decisions were taken about the accession procedure for Cyprus, the situation on the island was known".

    "The decisions of the EU are not subject to any revocation or dilution due to the statements of Mr. Denktash, whose only task is to contribute to a solution of the Cyprus problem," Mr. Reppas said.

    [07] Tsohatzopoulos underlines Greece's stabilizing role in the region

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday underlined the stabilizing role played by Greece in the Balkans, the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea region, contrasting it with Turkey which, he said, because of its expansionist policy was a destabilizing factor in the region.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was commenting on the decisions taken at Wednesday's Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) concerning defense policy and the new structure of the armed forces.

    "Greece is in favor of peace and co-operation with the countries of the region and adheres to international treaties and agreements (which ensure) the inviolability of and precisely determine its borders," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    Replying to reporters' questions on the joint communiqui signed recently in Madrid by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel on the sidelines of the NATO summit, the minister said:

    "The communiqui sets the framework for the peaceful promotion of procedures for resolving problems between the two countries, without it being binding. We hope that Turkey changes from being a destabilizing factor to becoming a stabilizing force and its aggressive dogma becomes peaceful and defensive in nature, as is Greece's."

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos charged that Turkey was aspiring to secure the free movement of its warplanes and ships in international space in the Aegean.

    "For this reason, Ankara put forward a proposal according to which it would not be obliged to submit flight plans for its aircraft, as it is legally obliged by international conventions, but for recognition to be accomplished by means of the Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system," he said, stressing that Greece had rejected the proposal.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also denied any knowledge of press reports claiming that NATO was becoming involved in the Aegean, clarifying that the US aircraft carriers at Corfu and Rhodes were on friendly visits "and totally unrelated to these reports".

    Referring to the new structure of the armed forces, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said in the new defense doctrine are also introduced:

    - A structural policy, calling for flexibility in the operation of the armed forces, by introducing new services and know how and participating in humanitarian initiatives by international organizations.

    - The qualitative upgrading of the armed forces with modern armaments in terms of competition with Turkey, on the principle of averting an incident.

    - Undertaking initiatives in the greater area, allowing Greece to take a leading role as a stabilizing factor. In this context, Greece will intervene with the United States and the European Union for setting up regional security institutions to solve political and economic problems in the area.

    The defense minister said that the restructuring of the armed forces is a national necessity and is not related to structural changes in NATO. This restructuring would include the integration of units and the creation of flexible and easily mobilized forces with a high degree of preparedness and range, he added.

    The new structure of the armed forces will remain valid for 15 years, and be reviewed in 2001 to determine whether it needs modifications, he said.

    [08] KKE reaction to KYSEA decisions

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) disagreed with the changes on the new structure of the armed forces and questioned statements by Mr. Tsohatzopoulos yesterday that the changes in the military have nothing to do with NATO's new structure.

    An announcement by KKE said Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' statements reveal that the content of KYSEA's decisions is in full harmony with the imperialist policy of NATO and in which Greece and its armed forces have been included even deeper.

    KKE said intensified armaments have nothing to do with Greek defense interests but with the aggressive policy of NATO and the Americans because, apart from the huge economic burdens working people will have to pay while multinationals will gain, the armaments race constitutes a source of increasing dangers for the country and the people in the region in general.

    According to KKE, the latest developments confirm that the Madrid communiqui gives the green light to the imperialists to proceed with the deeper Americanization of the Aegean and this is also revealed by KYSEA's decisions and Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' statements.

    [09] Albanian police receive final shipment of Greek aid

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    The Albanian police has received the second and final shipment of useful material sent in by the Greek government to assist in its reorganization. Material sent to the neighboring country includes police cars and motorbikes, bullet-proof vests, clothing and office equipment.

    The equipment was transported to the port of Durres aboard the Hellenic Navy tank-landing ship "Samos". It will be used by the Tirana and Vlore police for the reorganization of the Interior Ministry, the restoration of public order and a return to norm al life.

    During the delivery ceremony, Albanian government officials thanked the Greek government for its contribution. They said it was the first step in the difficult task of restoring order in the country.

    [10] Greek athletes voice optimism and determination

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    There is a lot of optimism and determination among Greek athletes taking part in the 6th World Athletics Championships. The athletes met at a special promotion function yesterday, organized by the German sportswear firm "Adidas" at the Politia Tennis Club .

    Most Greek athletes said they were ready to compete for a title with their colleagues from around the world, while they also praised the excellent OAKA facilities and organization.

    Athletes from Cuba and Ethiopia also attended the "Adidas" event, including Ivan Pentrozo, Yelvis Kesada and Xavier Sotomagior (Cuba) and Haile Gebresilasie (Ethiopia).

    [11] Jamaica's Oti hopes to win medal

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    An impressive Olympic silver medalist in 100 m., Jamaican Marlen Oti yesterday attended a special event organized by sportswear company "Puma", at a central Athens hotel.

    Oti said "I hope I will win a medal. At first, I was planning to run only in the 100 m., but since my health problem is over, I will also be in the 200 m. run". She added she was optimistic she would manage to win a title and said "I'm not sure whether this will be the last world championships I'm taking part in".

    Also present at the same event was Greek sprint champion Katerina Coffa, who said "although I'm not in my best form at present, you should know that in such big games, athletes do perform better". Coffa, due to a minor problem with her left leg, will only run in the 200 m.

    [12] Premier Simitis meets IOC and IAAF officials

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday had an acquaintance meeting with the members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Executive Committee of the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) who are currently in Greece in view of to day's official opening of the 6th IAAF World Athletics Championships.

    Present at the meeting were IOC chairman Juan Antonio Samaranch, IAAF chairman Primo Nebiolo, government ministers, the mayor of Athens Dimitris Avramopoulos and the chairman of Athens's bidding committee for the 2004 Olympics Gianna Aggelopoulou-Daskalaki.

    Earlier, Mr. Simitis had a similar meeting with the chairman of the Publishers Association of Mexico and former UPI news agency Mario Vaskes Rania. Mr. Rania is also a IOC member.

    [13] OTE technical support

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    The administration and staff of the Greek Telecommunications Organization (OTE) believe the 6th IAAF World Athletics Championships will be successful, or at least as far as technical support is concerned.

    OTE has actively contributed to national efforts towards this direction by having worked hard during the past few months to install all necessary additional lines required for communication at the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA). The extra services installed by OTE personnel include a modern digital network of 2,500 lines at OAKA, 500 local and international voice and data circuits, 60 TV optic fiber circuits, 120 ISDN lines and a number of cordless communication centers. Of course, some OTE staff will work around the clock during the top athletics meeting.

    [14] Alexandria patriarch hails IAAF World Championships

    Alexandria, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    On the occasion of the 6th IAAF World Championships in Athens, the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Petros addressed a message hailing the start "of this event of historical significance with feelings of happiness and national pride."

    "Sport and the stadium in general is the most ideal way of rapprochement among peoples and for the downfall of the walls of racism and chauvinism," the message said.

    "Our Church has been experiencing the significance of athletics since the day it was established. The teaching of the Gospel is a continuous exhortation for noble contest and obtaining spiritual targets," it added.

    The message concluded that through athletics and sports of all kinds the character of man is revealed and relations between peoples, races and countries are forged.

    [15] Kaklamanakis completes the first-ever windsurf run of the Aegean

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    Olympic gold medallist Nikos Kaklamanis arrived at Iraklion early yesterday evening on his windsurf board, having completed the last leg of a trip that began at Sounion on Wednesday.

    He was welcomed by nearly 3,000 people, some of whom waded enthusiastically into the sea to greet him, local officials, and Development Minister Vasso Papandreou, who had also seen him off on Wednesday.

    Mr. Kaklamanakis set off from Sounion mid-day Wednesday on a run to Crete to publicize Athens' bid for the 2004 Olympic Games.

    On the first day, he covered 120 nautical miles to the island of Santorini, where he stayed overnight, in little under nine hours.

    Yesterday he set off from Ammoudi beach and reached Karteros beach, near Iraklion, at 19:20, ha-ving covered 80 nautical miles in 6 hours and 40 minutes.

    In statements following the completion of the trip, the first time such an attempt has been made on a windsurf board, Mr. Kaklamanakis said, "I'm very touched. I did it for the sake of Greece, not for myself. I'm especially touched by the enthusiasm people showed here at Iraklio on welcoming me."

    Mrs. Papandreou expressed Greece's pride in his accomplishment, and said that "his achievement is very important because it highlights the Aegean and the ancient Greek spirit, important elements in terms of our bid for the 2004 Olympics".

    She added, "We are grateful to Nikos Kaklamanakis for his great achievement, his daring, his courage and his love for Greece".

    [16] Search reveals more illegal immigrants on ship

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    Port authorities which towed a Ukrainian-flagged ship found adrift off Euboea, yesterday discovered in their final count a total of 314 illegal immigrants of various nationalities, including 40 children.

    The immigrants include a substantial number of Iraqis and Pakistanis.

    The ship "Sochol" was towed to Palea Fokea, Attica, late yesterday.

    The authorities had originally counted close to 180 people, but further search into the ship's hold revealed more people.

    Children and their mothers were sent to hospitals and the rest lodged at immigrant police stations, until they are all repatriated. The children, ranging in ages from four months to 12 years, were found to be in a state of dehydration.

    Fishermen at Palea Fokea, the merchant marine ministry and the city of Athens have sent supplies, mainly food and milk, to the immigrants.

    Two Turkish nationals found on the ship among the immigrants are being questioned by the port authorities on suspicion of being crew members who did not manage to escape with the captain of the ship.

    The ship had left Izmir and was heading for Italy.

    [17] SYN leader appeals for 'spirit of humanitarianism'

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, the leader of the Coalition of the Left and Progress (SYN), Nikos Constantopoulos, said yesterday that Greece should show a spirit of humanitarianism regarding the illegal immigrants currently aboard the cargo vessel. "The terrible ordeal of the victims of refugee smugglers dictates that our country displays a spirit of humanitarianism, social sensitivity and international solidarity," Mr. Constantopoulos said.

    "It is absolutely urgent that these exhausted people are allowed to disembark, be examined by doctors, be provided with all necessary medical care, food and anything else they may need, and for special arrangements to be made for looking after the children," the Coalition leader said.

    Mr. Constantopoulos also urged the government to examine "with an open mind" the possibility of the immigrants being allowed to stay in Greece.

    [18] More illegal immigrants enter Evros area

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    Police at Ferres, Evros, northern Greece, arrested 24 illegal immigrants of various nationalities early yesterday morning.

    The illegal immigrants are between 18 and 25 years old, from Pakistan, Iraq, India, Rwanda, Bagladesh and Romania and are being held in Alexandroupoli police headquarters before being extradited.

    The police has set up police blockades which change positions along the border passages with Turkey to prevent illegal entry into Greece, especially after information that a large number of illegal immigrants are expected to attempt entry from Turkey.

    [19] Important findings in Konitsa excavations

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    A group of Greek archaeologists conducting excavations in the Voidomatis river bed in Konitsa has made important findings proving that the clifftops near the Vikos gorge had been populated about 15,000 years ago.

    The inhabitants were mainly occupied with hunting small wild goats and red deer, primarily in the hot months of the year.

    Sea shells were also discovered which shows that they descended to the beaches in winter and that they used the shells for jewelry.

    Past excavations made in the area by British archaeologists had also led to important findings concerning the Paleolithic era. The excavations will continue throughout August.

    [20] Thessaloniki port renews special treatment for Yugoslav goods

    Belgrade, 1/8/1997 (Tanjug)

    Yugoslav Chamber of Commerce secretary general Bosko Markovic said on Tuesday that a memorandum granting favorable treatment to Yugoslav goods in transit was soon to be signed with the port of Thessaloniki.

    Mr. Markovic said that Yugoslav goods in transit in the Thessaloniki free-trade zone will be granted the best services and favorable prices in keeping with port regulations as defined by the European Union finance ministry and customs codex.

    The memorandum will be signed early in August, he said.

    The special favors pertain to goods from third countries bound for Yugoslavia, and Yugoslav-made goods bound for third markets. Mr. Markovic said the validity of the contract would be five years.

    The signing of the memorandum will bring to a conclusion nearly two years of negotiations between Greece and Yugoslavia on the use of the port.

    A bilateral arrangement between the former Yugoslavia and Greece on Yugoslav goods in transit in the Thessaloniki zone was concluded in 1975, but canceled by Greece in 1993 due to the sanctions against Yugoslavia.

    Yugoslav goods have enjoyed special treatment in the Thessaloniki port free-trade zone since 1923.

    [21] Meeting held on improving transport and traffic conditions in Athens

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    A meeting on improving transport and traffic conditions in Athens was held at the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry yesterday in the presence of Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis, Transport and Communications Minister Haris Kastanidis, Public Order Minister George Romeos and Undersecretaries M. Loukakis and Ch. Verelis.

    Proposals by the "Attiki-SOS" program were examined which, among others, proposes police control at 300 crossroads creating traffic problems, an intensification of exhaust fume controls, etc.

    [22] Greece to buy two new Airbus A340s

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    Greek Transport and Communications Minister Haris Kastanidis yesterday announced the purchase of two new Airbus A340s for Olympic Airways, the national carrier.

    Mr. Kastanidis said the contract, which is due to be signed in coming days, also contained an option for the purchase of two more of the long-haul passenger aircraft.

    OA's board of directors had been authorized to approve the purchase following a recommendation by the State Audit Council, which checked the contract's technical and financial terms.

    "All procedures were conducted in a manner that underlines the importance attached by the government to transparency," Mr. Kastanidis said.

    [23] Greece to hire evaluator for new power plant to quell doubts

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    The government will appoint an evaluator to determine a market price for construction of a state-owned electricity plant in the northern town of Florina in order to protect public money, spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters yesterday.

    Construction of the lignite-fired plant, whose cost has been cited at roughly 175 billion drachmas, has already been awarded to a consortium led by Russia's Prometheus under a 1994 bilateral pact between the two countries.

    The terms of the deal have come under fire from several deputies within the ruling socialist PASOK party, and from parliamentary opposition parties. Hiring an independent evaluator would ensure transparency in the pact and allow a final decision to be taken on a market price for construction of the plant, quelling remaining doubts, Mr. Reppas said.

    He charged the main opposition New Democracy party, which has opposed the terms of the deal, with scandal-mongering for political gain.

    A cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis agreed on Wednesday to hire the evaluator in order to assess the price agreed by state-run Public Power Corporation (DEH) with the consortium.

    The suggestion to use an outside evaluator was one among several put forward at the meeting by Development Minister Vasso Papandreou, whose ministry is responsible for DEH.

    Meanwhile, New Democracy press spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos accused the government of backtracking, delays and a lack of transparency in the project. "The cabinet's decision (to appoint an evaluator) shows existing mechanisms are inadequate and that the government agencies involved cannot function correctly," Mr. Spiliotopoulos said.

    ND leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday attended a meeting held by a local committee monitoring the project's progress.

    He was quoted as telling the meeting he backed construction of a new plant, and would press the government to set a deadline for evaluation of the contract.

    At the same meeting, PASOK deputy George Lianis reportedly threatened to resign from his position if the project was delayed by more than six months.

    [24] Athens share index rises in July vs June, turnover drops

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    Greece's bourse rose in July against June with the Athens general share index gaining 5.26 percent to close at 1,598.34 points from 1,518.51 points a month earlier. The index hit a month's high of 1,623.44 points on July 28 and a low of 1,493.53 on July 3 .

    In a year-on-year comparison it gained 81.88 percent on July 1996.

    Turnover in July 1997 was 298.6 billion drachmas, sharply down on June's total of 1.09465 trillion drachmas, which was aided by another part flotation of state-run Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE).

    The market's best performing sector in percentage terms was investment, which jumped 13.51 percent. The weakest performance was by construction, slumping 8.16 percent.

    [25] Greek state telecom postpones digital switch purchase

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    State-run Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) postponed until September a decision to purchase 1.3 million digital switches, OTE sources said. The decision was taken by OTE's board. No further details were available.

    The procurement, budgeted at around 70 billion drachmas, is part of a fast-track investment program for 1997-1998.

    [26] US dollar gains 4.09 pct vs drachma in July

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    The US dollar gained 4.09 percent on the drachma in July, closing at 286.460 drachmas at the central bank's daily fix.

    The greenback has jumped 11.26 drachmas against June's close of 275.200 drachmas.

    Since the beginning of 1997, the dollar has gained 15.72 percent against the Greek currency.

    In July the dollar scored seven record highs, culminating in the central bank's fix on July 28 of 288.40 drachmas. The German mark fell 0.94 percent against the drachma, closing at 156.210 drachmas against 157.685 on June 30.

    The pound sterling jumped 2.47 percent against the Greek currency, finishing at 468.680 drachmas.

    In July the drachma gained 0.43 percent on the ECU, which finished at 308.00 drachmas against 309.330 in June.

    [27] Greek equities end higher, fall short of resistance at 1,600 pts.

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    Greek stocks finished 0.89 percent higher in light-to-moderate trade yesterday, in a bid to recoup losses this week, but falling just short of key resistance at 1,600 points.

    The Athens general share index ended at 1,598.34 points, outperformed by the parallel market for smaller cap stocks which jumped 1.32 percent.

    Turnover edged up to 14.3 billion drachmas from 10.4 billion in the previous session.

    State-owned Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) rose 60 drachmas to end at 6,300 drachmas on 521,460 shares sold.

    Sector indices finished mixed. Banks rose 0.43 percent, Leasing slumped 0.93 percent, Insurance jumped 4.61 percent, Investment gained 0.60 percent, Industrials increased 1.74 percent, Construction fell 0.88 percent, Holding increased 1.03 percent and Miscellaneous gained 0.54 percent.

    Advances outstripped declines at 109 to 95 with 26 shares remaining unchanged of 230 traded.

    The day's highest percentage gainers were Delta Informatics, Sportsman (common), Sportsman (preferred) and Intertyp, which all finished at or near the daily upper volatility limit of eight percent.

    The biggest losers were Nimatemboriki, Mohlos, Emborikos Desmos (common) and Macedonian Textiles (preferred), all of which ended at or near the lower eight percent volatility limit.

    Among blue chips National Bank of Greece finished at 36,960 drachmas, Ergobank at 17,115, Alpha Credit Bank at 19,845, Delta Dairies (common) at 3,370, Hellenic Bottling at 10,360, Titan (common) at 14,750 Intracom (common) at 13,490 and Aluminium de Grece (common) at 18,800 drachmas.

    [28] Record tourist arrivals in Rhodes

    Athens, 1/8/1997 (ANA)

    A record in tourist arrivals is taking place in Rhodes this year according to data provided by the Dodecanese bureau of the Greek Tourist Organization (EOT) and by which this year's arrivals even exceed those recorded in 1995 which was the fashionable island's best year regarding tourist arrivals.

    In the hotels of Rhodes alone, visitors amount to 65,981 of whom 61,356 are foreigners and 4,625 Greeks.

    Visitors during the same period last year amounted to 59,583 (54,605 foreigners and 4,426 Greeks), meaning that an increase of 11 per cent has occurred this year.

    This year's arrivals are even higher than those recorded in 1995 when visitors totaled 61,813 (57,509 foreigners and 4,303 Greeks).

    According to assessments by tourist officials, tourist arrivals are expected to increase even further in the coming days, primarily with the arrival of Greek visitors and many Italians and French.

    End of English language section.

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