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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-01-13

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 1388), January 13, 1998

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


  • [01] Athens initiative for Olympic armistice accepted by IOC head
  • [02] ... 2004 committee
  • [03] ... Venizelos-Samaras meeting on Athens 2004
  • [04] Stephanopoulos arrives for official visit to India
  • [05] Greece, 18 other nations sign CoE protocol banning human cloning
  • [06] Greece rejects US ambassador's statements on airspace
  • [07] Kranidiotis briefs Turkish envoy on Greek, EU positions
  • [08] Kranidiotis receives Albanian Education Minister Ruka
  • [09] Gov't reiterates support for political solution to Kurdish problem
  • [10] Elderly Iraqi Kurd woman dies trying to reach Greece
  • [11] ... One Albanian killed, two wounded in farmhouse shoot-out
  • [12] Chirac on Greek-Turkish tension
  • [13] Simitis-Kaklamanis meeting
  • [14] Combating drug addiction the focus of meeting with Swiss official
  • [15] Best athletes of '97 named
  • [16] Turkish party says re-opening of Halki Theology School a 'danger'
  • [17] ... Fire at Patriarchate chapel
  • [18] ... Vartholomeos receives Anastasios
  • [19] New Schengen visas on the way
  • [20] ... Calls for speedier visa processing
  • [21] FYROM suspends granting of visas to Greek nationals at border posts
  • [22] Romeos meets new ambassadors
  • [23] Antenna daily program disrupted as part of ERS penalty
  • [24] Bulgaria returns missing manuscript to Greek monastery
  • [25] Coast Guard gets state-of-the-art patrol boat
  • [26] Open-air markets closed again today
  • [27] Eurocourt rules in favor of Athens over German pension funds' practice
  • [28] Spraos report on public administration today
  • [29] Greek stocks hit by money market turmoil
  • [30] Government says speculators will lose the battle for the drachma
  • [31] Six public enterprises to be partly privatized in 1998
  • [32] Greece's mutual funds assets rise 92 pct in 1997
  • [33] Commercial banks raise interest rates
  • [34] National Bank governor visits South Africa
  • [35] Nestos hydro-electric power project completed

  • [01] Athens initiative for Olympic armistice accepted by IOC head

    Lausanne, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    The idea of reviving the ancient Greek custom of the Olympic armistice was accepted following a meeting here yesterday between International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch and Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    During the more than one-hour meeting, it was decided that the Greek initiative for a cease-fire of hostilities during Olympic Games be adopted, and for a center be established in ancient Olympia to promote the entire idea.

    Mr. Papandreou expounded on Greece's plans for this initiative, and said it was part of commitments undertaken by Athens for the hosting of the 2004 Games.

    Mr. Samaranch appeared to have responded positively to the Greek initiative and invited Athens to officially present further details at an IOC meeting in Nagano, Japan, just a few days before the opening of the 1998 Winter Olympics.

    According to reports, Mr. Samaranch is planning to visit Athens soon for talks with Greek officials.

    Mr. Papandreou said that a number of meetings will be held from now on with international dignitaries, aimed at further promoting the idea.

    [02] ... 2004 committee

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    On his part, government spokesman Demetris Reppas yesterday announced that the inter-ministerial committee for the 2004 Olympics will meet on Wednesday to discuss preparations for the Games.

    Mr. Reppas said that the names of the heads of the organizations which will work for the 2004 Olympics will not be announced, adding that the prime minister is dealing with the matter while announcements will be made in due course.

    [03] ... Venizelos-Samaras meeting on Athens 2004

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos held talks yesterday with Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras on the 2004 Olympic Games. During the meeting, held at the culture ministry, Mr. Venizelos briefed Mr. Samaras on the government's proposals and, on his part, Mr. Samaras outlined his party's positions on the issue.

    [04] Stephanopoulos arrives for official visit to India

    New Delhi, 13/01/1998 (ANA - N. Megadoukas)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos arrived in the Indian capital last night, the first stop of a six-day official visit to the subcontinent. The president is accompanied by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and National Economy Under-secretary Alekos Baltas. After laying a wreath at the Mahatma Gandhi monument this morning, Mr. Stephanopoulos will meet outgoing Prime Minister Ider Kumar Guzral and other political party officials.

    In addition, a dinner in honor of the Greek president will be hosted by his Indian counterpart K.I. Narayanan in the evening.

    [05] Greece, 18 other nations sign CoE protocol banning human cloning

    Paris, 13/01/1998 (ANA - O. Tsipira)

    Nineteen countries, including Greece, last night signed a Council of Europe (Coe) protocol banning the cloning of the human species, the first text of international law on the controversial issue.

    "In an age when many voices are being raised in support of the cloning of the human species, and indeed are asking for its acceleration, it is very important for Europe to officially show its resolve to defend human dignity vis-a-vis the risks arising from certain scientific applications," CoE Secretary-General Daniel Tarschys said in a press conference before the signing.

    The protocol is complementary to the CoE's Human Rights Convention, known as the Oviedo Convention.

    Mr. Tarschys said the protocol was open for signing by all 40 members of the CoE, but also to the countries that participated in its drafting, namely, Australia, Canada, the United States, Japan and the Vatican.

    A condition, however, is the prior signing of the Oviedo Convention.

    In addition, observers were posing serious question of how effective the protocol could be when countries such as Germany, Britain and Russia were not among the signatories.

    In statements to ANA, Greece's representative, Ambassador Ioannis Boukaouris, said the signing of the protocol was a confirmation of the government's political will that the production of human copies was an undesirable prospect.

    "It would be paradoxical for Greece, the cradle of humanism, not to participate in an effort undertaken on a world scale," he said.

    [06] Greece rejects US ambassador's statements on airspace

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's sovereign rights are not up for negotiation, government spokesman Demetris Reppas said yesterday, in reference to recent statements by US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns regarding Greece's airspace limits.

    Mr. Reppas said Mr. Burns' statements were "nothing new" and part of US policy.

    Mr. Burns on Friday reiterated Washington's stance that the limits of each country's airspace should correspond to those of its territorial waters, meaning that the US recognizes a six-mile limit for Greek airspace.

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Saturday that Greece had a 10-mile limit, as clearly set out in a 1931 presidential decree.

    "The Greek government continues to have its own policy," Mr. Reppas said.

    Meanwhile, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) yesterday also focused on the statement by Mr. Burns regarding Greek airspace limits, saying it was the first time in many years that Washington's ambassador "expressed himself so openly and unequivocally."

    "Statements by US ambassador Nicholas Burns on airspace constitute official and direct questioning of our country's sovereign rights," an announcement by KKE read.

    KKE also criticized the PASOK government that "in the framework of adjustment to the plans of the new world order it is proclaiming the US and NATO a security umbrella in the area, putting the wolves to tend to the sheep."

    The announcement also refers to "an effort by the defense minister to downgrade the significance of the Burns statements", attempting a cover-up.

    [07] Kranidiotis briefs Turkish envoy on Greek, EU positions

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis yesterday briefed Turkish Ambassador in Athens Ali Tinaz Tuygan on Greece's position regarding recent developments in relations between the European Union and Turkey, according to informed sources. The meeting took place at the ambassador's request.

    Mr. Kranidiotis is reported to have told the ambassador that Greece was not in principle against a European vocation for Turkey, that it desired and supported such a development in so far as Turkey decided to recognize and respect the same principles and rules as all EU member states as well as other states that wished to join the EU.

    The under-secretary reiterated that this reasoning was reflected in the decisions taken at last month's Luxembourg summit, which he said Turkey should accept. According to the same sources, Mr. Kranidiotis strongly condemned the most recent violations of Greek air space by Turkish air force planes as well as the generally provocative behavior of Turkey over the past few days.

    [08] Kranidiotis receives Albanian Education Minister Ruka

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis met visiting Albanian Education Minister Ethem Ruka and under-secretary A. Marto in Athens yesterday. Discussion focused on furthering the very good co-operation existing between Greece and Albania in the education sector, as well as on prospects for a bilateral educational agreement.

    [09] Gov't reiterates support for political solution to Kurdish problem

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece supports a political solution to the problem of the Kurds, Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said in response to a question in Parliament yesterday.

    He added that Greece had already accepted many Kurdish refugees, but could not give political asylum to all of them, although conditions were improving for them daily as new sites were found for them in various parts of Greece.

    In a related development, 21-year-old Kurdish journalist Hodor Salah resorted to a rather painful way of impressing his need to be granted political asylum.

    While in detention, three days after being arrested near the Evros River, which he crossed from Turkey, he sewed his lips with thread and needle.

    After being taken to hospital in Alexandroupoli, and persuaded that his request would be examined on merit, the man consented to having the stitches removed.

    [10] Elderly Iraqi Kurd woman dies trying to reach Greece

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    An elderly woman among a group of 30 Iraqi Kurds trying to reach the Dodecanese island of Kastellorizo early yesterday was thrown against rocks by the rough seas and drowned while attempting to reach shore from a wooden boat.

    Apparently the woman had become wedged in the rocks. Coast guard officials who were called to the scene by a passing fishing boat were unable to save the woman.

    The survivors, 12 men, six women and 11 children, will be taken to Rhodes today.

    The Kurds told the authorities they had paid two Turks 1000 dollars each to take them from the Turkish port of Kas. They were put aboard a seven-meter boat and towed halfway towards Kastellorizo. The Turks then left them to make their own way ashore and returned to the Turkish coast.

    Coast guard authorities believe one of the Turks to be Ali Pahlilan, who has allegedly transported dozens of boatloads of Kurds to the Dodecanese.

    [11] ... One Albanian killed, two wounded in farmhouse shoot-out

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    One Albanian illegal immigrant was killed and two others were critically wounded early yesterday when an unidentified person opened fire against them near a farm in Imathia, northwestern Greece, police said.

    Witim Uka, 26, succumbed to his wounds and died in hospital in nearby Naousa, where he and the other two Albanians, Misir Uka, 23, and Ali Boundani, 17, were taken by a police patrol. All three came from Elbashan.

    Police told the ANA that the three were sleeping in a storehouse on a farm when the attacker, who, they said, spoke Greek, came in at dawn and asked for the whereabouts of a fourth Albanian who was not with them at the time. He then opened fire and disappeared. Police have launched a manhunt for the suspected killer.

    [12] Chirac on Greek-Turkish tension

    Paris, 13/01/1998 (ANA - O. Tsipira)

    French President Jacques Chirac yesterday commented on the recent tension in the Aegean, saying "I'm sorry for the tension which exists between Greece and Turkey. A better solution can and must be found."

    "I am sorry for the results of the Luxembourg summit as far as Turkey is concerned. I did as much as possible for Turkey and the role it must play in Europe," he added.

    He also said that Ankara's relations with Paris and Europe are very important and that there is a place for Turkey in Europe.

    [13] Simitis-Kaklamanis meeting

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday met Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis within the framework of the premier's contacts with high-ranking PASOK officials.

    Later in the day, Mr. Simitis was scheduled to meet ministers Stephanos Tzoumakas, Christos Protopapas, Miltiadis Papaioannou and PASOK cadre Stephanos Manikas.

    [14] Combating drug addiction the focus of meeting with Swiss official

    Lausanne, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday discussed issues related to drug addiction with Justice and Public Order Minister of the Swiss canton Des Vaux, Joseph Zisiades.

    He proposed the Swiss official's participation in a series of open debates in European countries, aimed at combating drug addiction through the liberalization of relevant legislation.

    Mr. Zisiades detailed an experimental program currently applied in Switzerland with encouraging results, through monitoring addicts and implementing methods of fighting their dependence.

    [15] Best athletes of '97 named

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    The Panhellenic Sports Press Association (PSAT) yesterday named javelin thrower Costas Gatsioudis and long-jumper Niki Xanthou the best athletes of 1997, while the European basketball champion Olympiakos was named the best team of the year.

    The awards ceremony took place at the Peace and Friendship Indoor Stadium in Faliro. The country's sports leadership, ministers, deputies and journalists were present during the ceremony.

    [16] Turkish party says re-opening of Halki Theology School a 'danger'

    Istanbul, 13/01/1998 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    The re-opening of the Halki School of Theology is "a danger to Turkey", according to a spokeswoman for the Turkish party Nationalistic Action (MHP).

    "The (Ecumenical) Patriarchate, as well as the priests who graduated from the school of theology are still attempting to create trouble for Turkey's independence", MHP spokeswoman Houlia Karadeniz told the Anadolu news agency.

    She even mentioned the names of "Iakovos, Aimilios, Meliton, Athinagoras, Makarios and Sryridon" as examples of Orthodox clergymen who she claimed worked against Turkey.

    The spokeswoman told Anadolu she was totally opposed to all those who claimed that the re-operation of the Halki School of Theology would not be to Turkey's benefit.

    "Since his appointment in 1991, Patriarch Vartholomeos' behavior has created a state within a state".

    [17] ... Fire at Patriarchate chapel

    Istanbul, 13/01/1998 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    A fire at a small chapel in Istanbul was extinguished yesterday, without causing any serious damage, according to eyewitnesses.

    The fire broke out at 5:30 p.m. afternoon in the Sacred Source of Aghios Therapontas, in the Sirketzi district.

    The cause of the fire was attributed to lit candles.

    [18] ... Vartholomeos receives Anastasios

    Istanbul, 13/01/1998 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Archbishop Anastasios of Albania paid a one-day visit to the Patriarchate, where he held lengthy talks with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and members of a Patriarchate delegation which had visited Albania last October.

    According to reports, Archbishop Anastasios briefed the Ecumenical Patriarch on the latest developments in Albania.

    During a meeting with the delegation last October, the Albanian government had refused to allow the Holy Synod of Albania's Autocephalous Orthodox Church to be comprised exclusively of members holding a Greek nationality.

    However, an announcement after the October meeting stated that "it was possible to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution, and that dialogue will be targeted toward this direction."

    [19] New Schengen visas on the way

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis has sent directives to all Greece's embassies abroad with regard to the new policy on issuing visas in connection with the country's commitments under the Schengen Agreement, it was announced yesterday.

    Schengen regulations will apply for citizens of Balkan, central and eastern European states, as well as those of the Commonwealth of Independent States, who will be entitled to multiple-entry visas of a one to three month duration. Only in exceptional circumstances will visas for Greece alone be issued.

    Albanian citizens will be issued Greek visas of between three and thirteen months duration, which can, in some cases, be extended to five years.

    Schengen regulations will apply to all other countries.

    [20] ... Calls for speedier visa processing

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    Northern Greek commercial unions are calling for a solution to delays in issuing visas at Greek consulates in Balkans states, whose visitors to Greece spend an average 1,000 dollars per day, according to Thessaloniki Commercial Association president Demetris Demetriadis.

    At a press conference in Thessaloniki yesterday, it was stressed that the queues outside consulates in Balkan countries had doubled since Greece signed the Schengen Agreement.

    The unions have called for increased staffing at consulates where necessary and have offered to contribute equipment to help speed up the process.

    Mr. Demetriadis accused the government of not fully realizing the importance to the economy of foreign exchange inflows from the Balkans, saying that each visitor from the Balkans spends an average of 1,000 dollars per day in Greece.

    Also addressing the press conference were the presidents of the commercial and technical chambers of Thessaloniki, as well as the commercial associations of Pieria and Kavala.

    [21] FYROM suspends granting of visas to Greek nationals at border posts

    Skopje, 13/01/1998 (ANA/AFP)

    The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) foreign ministry announced yesterday that it will suspend the issuing of visas to Greek nationals at its border posts.

    This measure comes after a Greek government decision last November affecting visas for entry into Greece by FYROM nationals.

    Visas will be issued at each country's respective liaison office.

    [22] Romeos meets new ambassadors

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    Public Order Minister George Romeos held a series of protocol meetings yesterday with several new ambassadors recently accredited to Athens, including envoys from the United States, Turkey, Albania and the Czech Republic.

    During his meeting with US ambassador Nicholas Burns an extensive discussion was held on the issue of co-operation between the law enforcement agencies of Greece and the US in dealing with organized crime and terrorism, as well as on training matters. Both sides stressed that co-operation so far between the two countries was excellent.

    Mr. Romeos later met the Turkish ambassador, Ali Tinaz Tuygan, to whom he reiterated the Greek government's positions on the issue of Kurdish refugees.

    The Greek public order minister told the Turkish ambassador that unless Ankara took effective measures, the problem will increase alarmingly.

    During a subsequent meeting with the Albanian ambassador to Greece, Mr. Rodo, it was decided to supply bullet-proof vests and uniforms to a special police unit of about 100 men, formed at the initiative of the Western European Union to deal with crime in southern Albania.

    Finally, Mr. Romeos had a meeting with Vladimir Zavazal, the new ambassador of the Czech Republic to Greece.

    [23] Antenna daily program disrupted as part of ERS penalty

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    The private television channel Antenna will have to disrupt its program daily as part of a penalty imposed by the National Radio-Television Council (ERS).

    According to government spokesman Demetris Reppas, the order for disruption to the station's daily program was signed yesterday, in accordance with a previous ERS decision.

    Regarding the economic part of a hefty penalty (100 million drachmas), Press Minister Demetris Reppas said a summons had been forwarded to Antenna by relevant authorities.

    [24] Bulgaria returns missing manuscript to Greek monastery

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    A priceless manuscript written at a Mt. Athos monastery 235 years ago is on its way back from Bulgaria where it was found last year after being stolen from the Zografos monastery in 1985.

    The manuscript, written by the monk Paisios, details Slavo-Bulgarian history and is considered by Bulgarians to have laid the foundations for the country's cultural rebirth.

    Despite opposition, Bulgarian President Peter Stoyanov decided to return the document to Mt. Athos' Zografos monastery. Seventy-five percent of citizens polled by the Bulgarian state radio "Horizon" were against the move.

    The document was discovered in September last year at Sofia's National History Museum, where it had been handed in by an "anonymous donor".

    The document is being brought to Greece by road, accompanied by the Bulgarian culture under-secretary and the president's chief of staff who are to be met at the border by a heavy police contingent. The document will be kept at Thessaloniki's Bulgarian Consulate overnight and handed over in a special ceremony at Karyes, on Mt. Athos, today.

    [25] Coast Guard gets state-of-the-art patrol boat

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    The Igoumenitsa coast guard has just acquired a new 40ft patrol boat equipped with the latest technology in order to boost its ability to stop the entry of Albanian criminals to Greece via the Ionian Sea. A similar boat has been acquired by the Corfu coast guard.

    The Italian-made boats, capable of reaching speeds of 60 knots, have been donated to the coast guard by the Laskaridis family.

    Meanwhile, 26 kilos of cannabis were found by the Ioannina drug squad in the petrol tank of a truck bearing Albanian number plates.

    The truck had been left parked at the Kakavia border post by Gramos Dida, 46, who escaped arrest. Three other Albanians, however, were arrested after they removed travel documents from the truck and attempted to cross back over the border.

    Over the last three days, 696 Albanians have been arrested in Epirus while trying to enter Greece illegally. All have been deported.

    [26] Open-air markets closed again today

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    The country's open air fruit and vegetable markets will remain closed today for a second day in protest over an increase in the merchants' annual lump sum taxation payment from 120,000 drachmas to 180,000 drachmas.

    In a meeting yesterday between the Panhellenic Federation of Producers' and Merchants' Associations, Finance Minister George Drys and Commerce counterpart Mihalis Chrysihoidis, Mr. Drys made counterproposals to some of the merchants' economic claims.

    The striking merchants are also calling for a halt on issuing licenses to hawkers, and that a proposal for a ceiling on the prices of fruit and vegetables be withdrawn.

    Mr. Chrysohoidis promised action on the issue of hawkers' licenses.

    According to the federation's president Panayotis Moshos, there are around 10,000 producer-merchants in Athens and 28,000 in the country as a whole.

    [27] Eurocourt rules in favor of Athens over German pension funds' practice

    Brussels, 13/01/1998 (ANA - P. Pantelis)

    The European Court has called into question legal procedures of German courts and the practices of Bonn's social insurance services, which systematically rejected Greek corrective birth certificates for Greek nationals working in that country for the purpose of pensioning.

    The European Court maintained that German courts must judge each case separately on the basis of specific evidence.

    The Eurocourt's ruling ended a long-standing dispute between Bonn and Athens, and which had upset the European Commission's relevant services, most of whom supported the German positions. It appears that the issue had also divided the European Court, which had delayed a year before reaching its verdict.

    The issue had been raised by Greek national Efthalia Dafeki, who had worked in Germany, with the Community Court in Hamburg because her pensioning fund in Germany had refused to accept a correction in her date of birth by Greek law courts.

    The case, which is not unique in its kind, was then referred to the European Court by the court in Hamburg.

    The European Court concluded that community services and the courts of a member-state must respect relevant certificates from another member-state, at least when their accuracy is not disputed with specific indications.

    [28] Spraos report on public administration today

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    Prof. Ioannis Spraos, the prime minister's adviser, will release a report today on public administration during a press conference.

    The report is already in the hands of the Premier Costas Simitis.

    According to a report in Jan. 2 issue of the Sunday paper "To Vima", Mr. Spraos is proposing the establishment of a department of high-ranking executives, which will be independent from the rest of the civil service hierarchy, and will occupy the top positions in all ministries and public organizations.

    He is also proposing, according to the same publication, the establishment of a special body of economists, who will measure the cost of services, a committee of experts that will check on regulations and draft a quality charter as well as create mechanisms measuring the efficiency of public services.

    [29] Greek stocks hit by money market turmoil

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities plunged yesterday to their lowest levels since November 25, 1997, reeling from the turmoil in international and domestic money markets.

    The Athens Stock Exchange general price index plunged 5.08 percent to end at 1,405.37 points. Traders said the market was particularly concerned over prospects of higher interest rates in the Greek market, likely to hit the banking sector's profitability.

    The Greek drachma, however, remained stable in the domestic foreign exchange market. Its parity was steady against the ECU, DMark and US dollar, while a Bank of Greece source reported inflows of more than 100 million US dollars.

    Analysts and bankers agreed that the government's hard drachma policy, using high interest rates to defend the drachma from external pressures, would lead to a volatile interbank market, higher inflation and interest rates.

    Such a likelihood would have a severe impact on most listed companies, due to higher debt servicing.

    Interbank rates though remained at high levels to an average of 20 percent and more.

    On the bourse, sector indices lost substantial ground. Banks ended 6.02 percent down, Insurance eased 3.61 percent, Leasing dropped 3.98 percent, Investment fell 3.62 percent, Constructions ended 5.31 percent off, Industrials lost 4.25 percent, Miscellaneous eased 2.98 percent and Holding was 4.09 percent down.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies dropped 3.78 percent, while the FTSE/ASE index ended 5.79 percent off at 786.30 points.

    Trading was heavy with turnover at 17.7 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 201 to 19 with another 9 issues unchanged.

    Desmos, Constantinidis, Remek and Levenderis scored the biggest percentage gains, while Eteva, Atemke, Atticat, Singular and Delta Informatics suffered the heaviest losses at the day's down limit of 8.0 percent.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 21,995 drachmas, Ergobank at 13,430, Alpha Credit Bank at 14,705, Delta Dairy at 2,900, Titan Cement at 13,050, Intracom at 13,600 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 5,405.

    [30] Government says speculators will lose the battle for the drachma

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas was adamant yesterday that speculators would lose their battle against the drachma.

    He reiterated that the government was ready to face all possible scenarios but acknowledged that the government was expecting pressures against the Greek currency to continue for several months.

    Mr. Reppas stressed that there would be no changes in the government's privatization program.

    [31] Six public enterprises to be partly privatized in 1998

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    Six public utility and state-controlled enterprises will be partly privatized in 1998 in Greece, a national economy ministry statement issued yesterday said.

    A meeting on procedures and timetables for the privatization of Athens Water Company, Olympic Travel, Olympic Catering, the State Real Estate Agency, Thessaloniki International Fair and Corinth Canal, chaired by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, decided to speed up valuation of public enterprises to facilitate their flotation through the stock market, or sale of minority stakes to private investors in the current year.

    [32] Greece's mutual funds assets rise 92 pct in 1997

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's mutual funds assets rose a spectacular 92.16 percent in 1997 to a total of 7.319 trillion drachmas at the end of the previous year.

    According to figures released yesterday by the Federation of Greek Institutional Investors, the country's 161 mutual assets composition based on asset volume was: Money market 61 percent, Bonds 27.45 percent, Combined 8.25 percent and Equity 3.30 percent.

    Out of a total of 29 mutual funds companies operating in Greece, 10 were handling 80 percent of the market's share.

    [33] Commercial banks raise interest rates

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    Two of the largest private commercial banks operating in Greece yesterday decided to raise their deposit and lending rates.

    Citibank, a subsidiary of US bank Citicorp, raised its consumer lending rate by one percentage point to 21.50 percent, while Xiosbank, a Greek listed bank, announced a 25 basis points rise in its Xiosalma deposit rate to 11 percent.

    [34] National Bank governor visits South Africa

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    The governor of National Bank of Greece, the country's largest bank, Theodoros Karatzas is visiting Johannesburg, South Africa, to chair the bank's subsidiary South African Bank of Athens Ltd. shareholders' annual meeting.

    During his visit, Mr. Karatzas will meet with the country's Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and South Africa's central bank governor Dr Chris Stals.

    Mr. Karatzas will also meet South African businessmen and representatives of the Greek community in South Africa.

    [35] Nestos hydro-electric power project completed

    Athens, 13/01/1998 (ANA)

    A third power unit in the hydro-electric project on the Nestos river was linked with Greece's national power grid network yesterday, completing the project's operation.

    The Nestos river power project is one of the most important power projects in Greece and along with a combined power natural gas station to be built in Komotini, forms the new energy center in northeastern Greece, part of the Egnatia power project.

    End of English language section.

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