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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-01-21

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 1395), January 21, 1998

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


  • [01] Premier: Greece won't be drawn into conflict with Turkey
  • [02] Athens reiterates legal right to extend its territorial waters
  • [03] ... Turkish FM Cem
  • [04] Tsohatzopoulos says Turkish designs in Aegean must cease
  • [05] Kranidiotis: Balkan countries must join Europe
  • [06] Tsohatzopoulos to attend defense ministers' meeting in FYROM
  • [07] Unions oppose passage of public utility draft bill
  • [08] ... Tsovolas
  • [09] Papandreou to open 'Greece in Britain' festival today
  • [10] ... Foreign ministry planning
  • [11] No friction between Stephanopoulos, Simitis - Gov't spokesman says
  • [12] 'Hera's Treasure' displayed in Athens
  • [13] Geitonas announces welfare system reforms
  • [14] Study unveiled on Greek pharmaceutical consumption, prices
  • [15] Danielle Mitterrand in Athens
  • [16] Burns, Laliotis confer on US-Greek trade relations
  • [17] Court orders freezing of assets in Dystos case
  • [18] Angry anarchists to blame for rash of car bomb attacks
  • [19] Bianco extradition considered, political asylum requested
  • [20] Actress handed suspended sentence in murder conspiracy case
  • [21] Symposium emphasizes Greek-Italian business co-operation
  • [22] Seminar on business prospects for Cyprus
  • [23] Farmers give notice of new protests
  • [24] New round of farmers' mobilizations
  • [25] CAP revision to include reform of sectors affecting Greek products
  • [26] State revenues fall slightly short of estimate
  • [27] Gov't orders new OA board to restructure
  • [28] Greek shipping company plans IPO in NYSE
  • [29] Greek equities end higher, pace slows
  • [30] Interbank market returns to normal conditions
  • [31] Greek public sector on information highway
  • [32] Tokyo to get a taste of traditional Greek cuisine

  • [01] Premier: Greece won't be drawn into conflict with Turkey

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece will not be drawn into the trap of armed confrontation with Turkey, which is bent on eliciting benefits by presenting the two countries as locked in a state of continuous dispute, Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed yesterday.

    "Turkey wishes to present an image of the two countries to the eyes of the international community as being in an uninterrupted state of dispute, expecting to draw benefits from the mediation of third parties," he told a group of ruling PASOK deputies representing the Peloponnese and western Greece.

    "Turkey is seeking a confrontation. However, we shall not fall in its trap. It (also) exercises foreign policy for the sake of internal consumption and in order to counterbalance its unstable internal situation. And that is where the danger lies. A politically unstable Turkey is likely to play a further destabilizing role in the region," he added.

    "Precisely because Greece knows better than anyone else, it will never be drawn in by any of Turkey's designs. Whatever is said and written at times, and particularly in the current period, about war is groundless," he emphasized.

    Referring to Greece's presence in the Balkans, he stressed that the policy of peace, friendship and co-operation is already in the stage of implementation with tangible results, and will continue.

    "Greece has already acquired stature as the stabilizing factor par excellence in the area of southeastern Europe and the broader region. Suffice for one to compare the situation that existed two years ago in our relations with all Balkan countries with today's," he said.

    Regarding the economy, the prime minister reiterated that the government would unwaveringly defend the current parity of the drachma, having set as a matter of foremost priority the consolidation of stability that will lead to the country's equal participation in EMU.

    "1998 is a landmark year. During this year, we are being called upon to win the EMU bet, because only in this way shall we be able to achieve our equal participation in the whole spectrum of developments and processes in European integration, participating in the hard core of the decision-making center of the European Union," he said.

    Finally, Mr. Simitis during the meeting - the first in a series with ruling party deputies on the basis of regional groupings - called on them not to uncritically adopt particular demands of various social groups, to maintain a united stand on the political problems arising, which would be the product of previous discussions and deliberations in all government and party collective organs.

    [02] Athens reiterates legal right to extend its territorial waters

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek government stressed yesterday that it retained the inalienable right to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles and would do so whenever it sees fit. Asked to comment on repeated statements by Turkish officials stating that Greece's territorial waters have a six-mile limit, government spokesman Demetris Reppas said it was not possible for Turkey to cite international agree-ments "when at the very same time the neighboring country blatantly violates international law both outside the country and domestically".

    Mr. Reppas said Greece's "choices" were in line with that which was in force internationally, "and in this sense, there is no question of negotiating with anyone our right to extend our territorial waters to 12 miles".

    Noting that Turkey already had enough domestic problems, Mr. Reppas said Ankara would be well-advised to concentrate on resolving these.

    Meanwhile, when asked if special US State Department coordinator for the Cyprus problem Thomas Miller had put forward any new proposals on Cyprus or the Aegean during recent contacts in Athens, Mr. Reppas said he had nothing to announce.

    He added, however, that Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos would give a press conference today covering all foreign policy issues.

    [03] ... Turkish FM Cem

    Istanbul, 21/01/1998 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    On his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem reiterated that Turkey wants all issues concerning Greek-Turkish relations discussed and criticized Greece for setting reference of the Imia islets issue to the International Court at The Hague as a precondition for this discussion.

    In an interview on Turkish foreign policy published in the daily "Zaman", Mr. Cem reiterated that on issues which no agreement will be reached between the two countries reference to arbitration will be anticipated, "also including recourse to the International Court at The Hague."

    He also accused Greece of acting on the criterion of "hostility towards Turkey."

    "The policy of hostility against Turkey did not produce any benefit for Greece and neither will it do so in the future," he said.

    Referring to the issue of a meeting between the committee of experts, Mr. Cem placed all the entire fault on Athens.

    "Greece, despite the April 1997 agreement, is not responding," he said.

    Called on to comment on recent statements by the Mr. Pangalos, Mr. Cem said he did not take him seriously and termed some of his statements as "racist."

    The Turkish official repeated the claim that "the then fascist Greek government delivered 58,000 Jews to the Nazis, of which 53,000 were put to death in the gas chambers."

    He was evidently referring to the occupation puppet government installed by the German occupation forces.

    Referring to the present situation prevailing in Cyprus, Mr. Cem reiterates the threat of the annexation of the occupied part of the island if the process for the accession of Cyprus to the European Union goes ahead.

    Mr. Cem repeats the Turkish policy according to which "for as long as its (the pseudo-state 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus') nature as a state is not recognized, the development of new solutions does not appear feasible." On the question of Turkey 's relations with the EU, he said "certain positive decisions for Turkey existed among decisions taken at the EU's Luxembourg summit. I do not deny this. However, they are not enough. Greece's mortgage against Turkey exists."

    [04] Tsohatzopoulos says Turkish designs in Aegean must cease

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said the "Aegean and Greece go together", while touring national guard outposts on the islands of Samos, Ikaria, Fourni and Agathonisi and in response to recent Turkish provocations.

    "Turkey's position is inconceivable. We advise it to stop attempting to change anything in the Aegean. Borders are registered in international agreements and by international law. Consequently, the neighbor is slipping with these acts of threatening and is condemned as an invader," he said.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said Turkey must stop training its soldiers on how to capture Samos, Kos, Rhodes and the Aegean islands in their entirety.

    "Turkey is trying with its strategy to show that it plays a decisive role in the region and the international community must preoccupy itself with the US$150-million armaments program in a country having 100 per cent inflation," he added.

    Referring to Greece's armaments program, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said it is trying to cover gaps and delays concerning the 1990-1995 period. He also said that Turkey's participation in the European Conference must be accompanied by respect for international law, borders, a just solution to the Cyprus issue and all that applies to other countries.

    [05] Kranidiotis: Balkan countries must join Europe

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    The incorporation of the Balkans in Europe and European institutions is an absolute prerequisite if the countries of the region are to acquire political stability and economic development and Greece is ready to help them, Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said yesterday.

    "With this in mind and due to the fact that Greece is a member of both the European Union and NATO, Athens wishes to serve as a bridge between the EU and the Balkans," Mr. Kranidiotis said.

    He was speaking at a meeting on the Balkans organized by the Hellenic Center for European Studies. Mr. Kranidiotis said Greece could play a similar role in the greater region in general, by further developing its relations with the countries of the Black Sea and of the Middle East.

    He also announced the opening in Thessaloniki in 15 days of the Black Sea Bank given that seven of the countries participating in the venture which had delayed their capital contributions had now deposited the relevant funds.

    The meeting, held at the foreign ministry, began with an address by Bulgaria's Finance Under-secretary D. Randev who analyzed the macroeconomic situation in the neighboring country and its aspiration to join the EU.

    The strategy of the Bulgarian government, he said, is for the country to meet EMU criteria in the year 2001.

    [06] Tsohatzopoulos to attend defense ministers' meeting in FYROM

    Skopje, 21/101/1998 (ANA - M. Vihou)

    The head of the Greek liaison office in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Ambassador Alexandros Mallias, delivered the official acceptance by National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos to participate in a meeting of defense ministers from FYROM, Bulgaria, Albania and Greece.

    The meeting is scheduled to be held in the city of Ohrid in February at the initiative of FYROM.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' letter mentions that although Greece desires to participate, however, it is unable to do soon Feb. 7, the proposed date, and expresses the hope that the meeting will be held in February.

    Albania and Bulgaria have not replied officially to the invitation so far, although the defense ministers of the two countries had expressed themselves positively in principle during the NATO conference in Madrid several months ago.

    [07] Unions oppose passage of public utility draft bill

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday chaired a ministerial meeting on the recently announced mobilizations by public utilities' employees over proposed changes in the drafting of personnel regulations, which, trade unionists consider as an undue intervention.

    The meeting produced no results, although Mr. Papantoniou said the government would provide the best possible solution after debate in Parliament.

    General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) President Christos Polyzogopoulos, who attended the meeting, said mobilizations would continue "until our proposals are accepted".

    "We don't want the state to intervene," he said.

    He added that Mr. Papantoniou's promise that the relevant provision would be "reworded" was not sufficient, and that the planned 24-hour nationwide strike tomorrow would go ahead.

    He said a minimum condition for reaching an agreement on changes in regulations was the possibility of holding negotiations every six months, and that disagreements should be referred to arbitration.

    He also said the proposal was in contradiction of the 198 international labor agreement and the law on free collective bargaining.

    Certain trade unionists link the government's insistence with a desire to make certain utilities more attractive to prospective private investors by trimming the strength of the unions.

    [08] ... Tsovolas

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    Commenting on the bill, Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Demetris Tsovolas accused the government of overturning the current regime of labor relations, and essentially aiming to the abolition of collective bargaining.

    He also charged that it was consciously seeking a clash with society, knocking down national unity, consensus, and cohesion.

    [09] Papandreou to open 'Greece in Britain' festival today

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou will be in London today to officially open the "Greece in Britain" series of events.

    "Greece in Britain" is a six-month series of events during the British presidency of the European Union which is designed to throw the spotlight on modern Greece and includes cultural and other events such as concerts, exhibitions, dance performances, film screenings and conferences.

    The official start to the program will be on January 21 at the House of Commons at which political figures from both countries will be present.

    Mr. Papandreou is scheduled to meet with Britain's International Development Secretary Clare Short during his visit.

    Mr. Papandreou will make a stop in Lisbon on his departure from London, where he is scheduled to meet Deputy Foreign Minister Francisco Seixas da Costa on European Union issues.

    [10] ... Foreign ministry planning

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    Mr. Papandreou and Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos conferred yesterday on foreign ministry issues, including their schedule of visits.

    Among the issues discussed were the ministry's activities on an international and European level and coordination of the Agenda 200, the Olympic Games and the Olympic Truce.

    [11] No friction between Stephanopoulos, Simitis - Gov't spokesman says

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas said yesterday that relations between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos are excellent, despite press reports.

    Press reports claimed that the president was displeased with some of the choices made by the government, including a proposal that he chair a national committee for the organizing of the 2004 Olympic Games.

    Mr. Reppas, when asked whether there are any liabilities stemming from the governmental proposal, said that "there is no problem whatsoever, thus, there can be no liabilities..."

    [12] 'Hera's Treasure' displayed in Athens

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    An exhibition featuring "Hera's Treasure", on loan from a museum of Crotona in southern Italy, was inaugurated yesterday evening by Athens Mayor Demetris Avramopoulos at Athens' Arts Center.

    The exhibition, to last until Feb. 15, is jointly hosted by the Athens municipality's cultural organization and the Italian Educational Institute of Athens.

    The ceremony in Athens was also attended by Crotona Mayor Pascuale Senatore.

    [13] Geitonas announces welfare system reforms

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    Health and Welfare Minister Costas Geitonas yesterday announced measures to improve the welfare system, including the merger of services and the transfer of others to municipalities.

    A bill currently being drafted will reflect the need to offer real services to citizens, he said.

    Mr. Geitonas presented figures showing that although the number of families receiving bonuses for having more than four children had dropped, actual expenditure had increased by three billion drachmas.

    With regard to the situation in the nation's hospitals, the minister said a program had been drawn up to deal with the situation.

    Under-secretary Theodoros Kotsonis said the merging of the national welfare system (PIKPA) with the children's foundation MITERA meant that services would be better organized.

    The new bill provides for a number of welfare foundations to be transferred to the control of municipalities, while new rules of operation would be instituted for day nurseries.

    Municipalities would also take over the operation of day nurseries, although the state would continue to pay operating costs for the next 10 years.

    A pilot program has already begun for day nurseries to remain open in the afternoon and early evening, with the first opening in Ilioupoli, Argyroupoli, Aghi Anarghyri and Korydallos.

    A survey would also be made of the number of disabled people in Greece in order to weed out those who had made false declarations in order to receive benefits.

    [14] Study unveiled on Greek pharmaceutical consumption, prices

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    The National Institute of Labor (EIE) yesterday announced that expenditures for pharmaceuticals rose by 243 per cent between 1990 and 1996.

    The EIE study was commissioned to determine pharmacists' work conditions as well as the pharmaceutical industry's operating conditions.

    According to the study, the increase is due to three reasons:

    - a 29 per cent increase in consumption.

    - a 53.7 per cent increase of prices.

    - a shift in prescriptions from inexpensive to expensive drugs.

    According to the study most pharmacies in Greece are one-person operations, while in western Europe most are cooperatives of two or more individuals.

    Finally, the study noted that most Greek drug companies are technologically dependent to their European counterparts, since only the last stage of production usually takes place in Greece. Only 8.6 per cent of Greek medicines are exported.

    [15] Danielle Mitterrand in Athens

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    Danielle Mitterrand is to be guest speaker at a conference on "Racism against Democracy" to be held in Athens on Monday January 26 by the Institute for Strategic and Developmental Studies (ISTAME) - Andreas Papandreou, the institute's president Yiannis Souladakis announced at a press conference yesterday.

    Mrs. Mitterrand, the widow of the late Francois Mitterrand, former President of the French Republic, is attending the meeting in her capacity as president of the "France Liberte" foundation.

    [16] Burns, Laliotis confer on US-Greek trade relations

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    US-Greek trade and investment were discussed by US Ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns and Environment, Public Works and Town Planning Minister Costas Laliotis in a meeting yesterday.

    Mr. Burns said the two countries could strengthen their relations in the sectors of trade and investment, adding that more US companies should become active in Greece.

    Mr. Laliotis called the meeting "positive", saying the talks were restricted to areas within his ministry's competence.

    [17] Court orders freezing of assets in Dystos case

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    A Piraeus first instance court has for the most part approved a petition freezing assets of the Iraklis shipping company.

    The court's restraining order department issued the decision after the petition by 30 relatives of victims from last year's "Dystos" capsizing. The cement-carrier Dystos sank off Kymi, Evia, on Dec. 29, 1996 in rough seas, with only one survivor out of 21 people on board.

    Following six decisions by a special court, which tentatively attributed the maritime accident to internal structural collapse, it ordered that 493 million drachmas of the company's assets be frozen.

    Victims' relatives had appealed for 6.4 billion in damages and emotional distress.

    The shipowning firm's parent company, AGET-Iraklis, will have to deposit the amount in the form of a letter of guarantee at the Deposits and Loans Fund until courts reach a final verdict on the case, as well as the amount of compensation to be paid.

    [18] Angry anarchists to blame for rash of car bomb attacks

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    A spate of attacks on cars in the greater Athens area are the work of anarchists angry at the arrest of an anarchist last week on suspicion of involvement in an urban guerrilla group, police said yesterday.

    Five cars, including one belonging to a foreigner, were torched in four separate attacks early on Tuesday, bringing to 11 the number attacked with makeshift bombs since last Thursday.

    Police said they expect the attacks to continue, if not increase. At a meeting on Monday, the public order ministry decided to increase the number of police patrols and boost security on possible targets.

    Nikos Maziotis, 27, was charged last week with possession of weapons, explosive material and seditious printed material after a police swoop on a number of Athens homes. Police found a significant quantity of explosive material in the raids, including 9 .5 kilos at Maziotis' Kamatero home. The finds, police say, link Maziotis with the urban guerrilla group Militant Guerrilla Formation, which has claimed responsibility for a number of bomb attacks since its appearance in 1996.

    [19] Bianco extradition considered, political asylum requested

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    An Athens Appeals Council yesterday began deliberations on a request by Italian authorities for the extradition of Enrico Bianco, 45, wanted in the neighboring country on robberies and weapons possession charges.

    Mr. Bianco was arrested last month by police in Preveza after a tip by Interpol.

    The Italian national has maintained his innocence throughout, saying his is being persecuted for political crimes in the 1980s and not for committing other felonies. He has also requested political asylum in Greece.

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) Eurodeputy Michalis Papayiannakis, a defense witness, told the appeals court that it was true Bianco had committed only political crimes.

    The hearing continues today.

    [20] Actress handed suspended sentence in murder conspiracy case

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    A three-member Athens misdemeanor court yesterday handed down a two-year suspended sentence on actress Vasia Panagopoulou for conspiring to murder her former husband, stage director Apostolos Doxiadis.

    Another two out of the total of four defendants in the case received the same sentence, while the fourth was acquitted.

    Two judges voted in favor of her conviction, while a third opted for acquittal.

    [21] Symposium emphasizes Greek-Italian business co-operation

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece in 1999 will satisfy all convergence criteria for inclusion in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), offering major opportunities as well as challenges, Bank of Greece Deputy Governor Nikolaos Garganas told participants during the second day of a Hellenic-Italian business symposium in Athens.

    The event is organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Athens.

    The president of the Italian Association of Industries, Giorgio Fossa, said it will be to the benefit of both Greek and Italian industry to support initiatives and contacts among European and Mediterranean basin entrepreneurs.

    "Greek and Italian industrialists have a significant mission to carry out, together with their colleagues from Europe's Mediterranean countries, namely, to contribute to the economic acceleration of the south Mediterranean states..." he said.

    Theodosia Antoniadou-Tziveli, a Greek businesswoman based in Italy with one of that country's top fashion firms, told participants it was imperative for both countries' businesspeople to co-operate and take initiatives on the international scene.

    [22] Seminar on business prospects for Cyprus

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    The International Institute of Economic Relations in co-operation with the Cypriot Commerce Bureau of Athens organized a one-day conference entitled "Prospects for Business Activities in the Republic of Cyprus."

    Conference speakers concentrated on the geo-political advantages of Greece and Cyprus in the region.

    Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis and Cypriot ambassador to Athens Haralambos Christoforou addressed the conference.

    They noted the fact that the island republic's economic growth will aid efforts for a viable solution of the Cyprus problem and support its accession to the European Union.

    [23] Farmers give notice of new protests

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    Farmers in the prefecture of Thessaloniki said yesterday they would blockade the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace building in the city for two days starting February 2 to protest funding arrangements, price levels for farm products and the trials of farmers arrested in previous demonstrations.

    The decision to blockade the ministry was confirmed at a meeting yesterday of the Federation of Farmers' Associations of Thessaloniki.

    Federation president Demetris Parlapanis said the demonstrations would be a warning. Any further action, he said, would depend on the government's response.

    Also on February 2, members of the Malgara-Kimina Farmers' Association are planning to park their tractors along the Athens-Thessaloniki highway, although they will not block the highway itself, according to the association's president Costas Anestidis.

    [24] New round of farmers' mobilizations

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    Farmers in Thessaly yesterday began a new round of mobilizations, set to culminate on Feb. 2, on the occasion of the trial of 127 fellow farmers, who are accused of obstructing traffic during last year's protests.

    Although the trial was postponed until November 1998, the farmers found the opportunity to demonstrate once again for their demands.

    About 250 tractors appeared again in the squares of villages in Karditsa region.

    [25] CAP revision to include reform of sectors affecting Greek products

    Brussels, 21/01/1998 (ANA - P. Pantelis)

    Revision of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), envisaged in the European Commission's "Agenda 2000" for enlargement, includes reforms in sectors that concern basic Greek agricultural products, such as tobacco, olive oil, milk and dairy products, vines and beef.

    Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas, who met with EU Commissioner Franz Fischler yesterday, referred to the drop in prices due to increased production in EU member-states and in third countries.

    He stressed that measures must be adopted to relieve the market and hold prices on reasonable levels for producers and consumers. Similar proposals were put forward by the ministers of the other olive oil producing countries (Spain, Italy, Portugal).

    Mr. Tzoumakas also raised issues concerning other farm products, such as the absorption of oranges and lemons and problems arising in the regime for cotton.

    [26] State revenues fall slightly short of estimate

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    The 1997 state budget recorded an increase in revenues of 13.4 per cent, slightly lower than the projected 15.6 per cent, according to official figures released by the finance ministry.

    The balance between the two figures translates into 340 billion drachmas.

    In the 12-month period between January-December 1997 collected revenues increased by 15.65 per cent, while revenues from customs duties rose by 8.77 per cent. Revenue from other sources posted an increase of 13.69 per cent.

    [27] Gov't orders new OA board to restructure

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    The government yesterday told the new board of Olympic Airways to draft a fast restructuring program within two months and then implement it.

    Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis, speaking during the inauguration of the national carrier's new board, headed by managing director Theodoros Tsakiridis, urged OA to seek a strategic partner abroad and to promote measures for the company's timely transfer of operations to a new Athens Airport at Spata.

    Mr. Mantelis also asked a private consultants firm to draft a new company staff regulation and an operational restructuring program.

    He urged the new board to strengthen the role of OA's subsidiaries and exploring new sectors of possible profitability.

    Mr. Mantelis asked the new board of directors to set long-term commercial targets in managing the company.

    [28] Greek shipping company plans IPO in NYSE

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    Royal Olympic Cruise Lines Inc. has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission concerning an initial public offering of 5.95 million shares of its common stock in the New York Stock Exchange, a company spokesman told the AN A yesterday.

    The lead underwriters of the US tranche of the offering will be Lazard Freres & Co. LLC and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corporation. Lead managers of the international tranche will be Lazard Capital Markets and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette International.

    The registration statement concerning the securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission but has not yet become effective.

    These securities may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the registration statement comes effective, the spokesman said.

    The Piraeus-based Royal Olympic Cruises offers destination-oriented cruises in the Mediterranean, Baltic and Black Seas and in Central and South America, served by a fleet of six cruise ships with an aggregate capacity of 3,154 births.

    It was set up in 1995 by Epirotiki Cruise Line and Sun Line Cruises.

    [29] Greek equities end higher, pace slows

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities remained on an upward course yesterday for the third consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange although the pace of advance was substantially slower than in the previous two sessions.

    The general index closed 0.31 percent higher at 1,440.31 points, off the day's highs.

    Traders said the market was gradually regaining its confidence but noted that worries persisted over the situation in the domestic money market.

    Sector indices were mixed. Banks rose 0.66 percent, Insurance fell 0.80 percent, Leasing was 1.49 percent up, Investment dropped 0.62 percent, Constructions plunged 3.33 percent on heavy profit-taking, Industrials increased 0.89 percent, Miscellaneous eased 0.75 percent and Holding fell 1.04 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.94 percent off, while the FTSE/ASE index closed 0.34 percent up at 791.55 points.

    Trading was moderate with turnover at 16.4 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 140 to 71 with another 24 issues unchanged.

    Lambropoulos, General Warehouse, Macedonian Plastics, Thessaliki and Singular scored the biggest percentage gains, while Levenderis, Desmos, Radio Athina and Ippotour suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 20,750 drachmas, Ergobank at 13,650, Alpha Credit Bank at 14,150, Delta Dairy at 2,805, Titan Cement at 13,700, Intracom at 15,140 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 5,565.

    [30] Interbank market returns to normal conditions

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    Interest rates in Greece's interbank market dropped substantially yesterday in what bankers described a normalization of the market after recent strong turbulence.

    The overnight rate fell below 11 percent for the first time in several weeks, while short-term interest rates were around 15-15 percent.

    In the domestic foreign exchange market, the drachma was mixed.

    The Greek currency rebounded against the US dollar but was slightly lower against the DMark and the ECU.

    Bankers noted that there were no significant movement of capital in the market.

    [31] Greek public sector on information highway

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    The government decided yesterday to upgrade the operation of an information development agency at the interior ministry and set up special information units in ministries.

    A meeting chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday discussed the implementation of information systems in the public sector.

    Mr. Simitis was also briefed over measures and actions taken by the interior ministry in dealing with the "millennium bomb" facing the computer industry.

    [32] Tokyo to get a taste of traditional Greek cuisine

    Athens, 21/01/1998 (ANA)

    Cretan delicacies are on the menu in Japan next month as part of a campaign to promote the Greek island as a tourist destination and within the framework of a Tokyo exhibition entitled "Greek Food & Wine Fair".

    The event includes two weeks of traditional Cretan cuisine to be hosted by the Japanese capital's Dalichi Hotels. The events are organized by the Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) in co-operation with Swissair and the Elounda Beach Hotel in Crete.

    End of English language section.

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