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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-06-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Government urges Ionian Bank workers to come to talks
  • [02] Commercial Bank of Greece owns 58 percent of Ionian Bank
  • [03] New Athens bourse chairman calls for swift restructuring
  • [04] Greek stocks slump in wake of international doldrums
  • [05] National Bank of Greece says new share allocation to hold steady
  • [06] Debate at Posidonia on intelligent transport systems in shipping
  • [07] Bulgaria's Varna Shipyard takes part in Posidonia shipping fair
  • [08] Pangalos calls 'Sunday Times' report on Cyprus 'tendentious'
  • [09] 'Defence News' article on Ankara's EU refusal
  • [10] Europe ready to challenge US hold on entertainment-ministers
  • [11] German parliamentary delegation to visit Athens
  • [12] British deputy calls for Parthenon Marbles' return
  • [13] Thessaloniki Univ. records Afghanistan quake at 6.9 on the Richter scale
  • [14] Euro-Med conference in Palermo
  • [15] Christodoulos receives Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos
  • [16] Pangalos says no meeting with Cem at upcoming meeting scheduled as yet
  • [17] Christodoulos-Pangalos meeting at foreign ministry
  • [18] Christodoulos visits Athens area high school
  • [19] Swedish royal couple to visit Greece
  • [20] Expert signals concern over Kozloduy
  • [21] Truck driver gets 30 months' jail for bigamy
  • [22] Deputy's car crashes into electricity pole, one woman dead
  • [23] Crete increases share of GNP
  • [24] Increased profits for investment firms in '97
  • [25] 'Poseidonia '98' opens in Piraeus
  • [26] Quarterly OTE profits, turnover rise
  • [27] Greek participation at Verona exhibition
  • [28] Doctors on strike at greater Athens area public hospitals

  • [01] Government urges Ionian Bank workers to come to talks

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday urged striking Ionian Bank employees and union federation le-aders to hold talks on safeguarding jobs after the bank's sale.

    Mr. Papantoniou made the statement after an informal meeting of the inner cabinet held with the ruling PASOK party's political secretariat to discuss the government's restructuring programme and the sale of Ionian Bank.

    The talks would involve officials of Ionian's staff association, the Federation of Greek Bank Employees' Unions, and the General Confederation of Greek Labour.

    Mr. Papantoniou said that the meeting restated the government's decision to sell a majority stake in the bank and that terms of the sale would be submitted for approval to the board of Commercial Bank of Greece, Ionian's main shareholder, on June 19.

    Mr. Papantoniou underlined that any talks with unions would only involve debate of measures to ensure jobs after the sale of Ionian Bank. He also said that the proceeds received by Commercial Bank from Ionian's sale would ensure high profitability for the parent company, helping it to meet tough competition.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas also urged workers and bank union representatives to hold talks with the government on safeguarding jobs.

    Mr. Reppas noted that the government would unwaveringly implement and defend the policy it had announced, despite the temporary reactions.

    He added that the inner Cabinet meeting had confirmed the government's unanimous decision to sell Ionian's majority stake, exactly as announced on April 30.

    "The procedure to be followed will be of a competitive nature through the Athens Stock Exchange," he confirmed, adding that the general shareholders' meeting of Ionian's parent company, the Commercial Bank, would take place on June 19 to approve the sale. The goverment is resolved to apply any lawful means to implement this decision, he said, and called on Ionian's employees to assume their responsibilities.

    "The government's aim is for this affair to end without victors and vanquished," he declared.

    He stressed that in the case of Ionian there was abuse of the right to strike, and pointed out that in every demonstration the same nucleus of protesters had been identified .

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Commercial Bank of Greece owns 58 percent of Ionian Bank

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    Commercial Bank of Greece sold around one million shares of its stake in Ionian Bank through the Athens bourse between March 26 and the date the government announced its plan to sell the subsidiary, Commercial's chairman Costas Georgoutsakos said yesterday. The bank made a substantial profit from the sale, which brought its shareholding down to 58 percent, Mr. Georgoutsakos told the Imerisia financial daily.

    Both Commercial Bank and the government have repeatedly denied allegations that they had dumped blocks of shares through the bourse in order to ease Ionian's sale by driving down its share price.

    The government has said it will not hold an enquiry into an abrupt drop in Ionian's share price, which it attributed to normal trade in the market.

    Commenting on a proposed merger between Ionian Bank and Commercial Bank contained in a recommendation by Monitor international consultants, Mr. Georgoutsakos said the plan was rejected as it would have led to 3,100 lay- offs and a sharp reduction in the group's branch network by 153.

    Such a solution would inevitably have led to uncertainty and a shrinking of the new banking group, Mr. Georgoutsakos said.

    The chairman said that Ionian Bank's sale would pave the way for a large share capital increase in Commercial Bank to finance a restructuring plan and an expansion programme.

    According to Mr. Georgoutsakos, any possible downgrade of the bank's rating by Moody's Investors Service, which the international firm has said it might do because of an indefinite strike at Ionian, would be unjustifiable.

    He underlined that Ionian Bank was a burden to Commercial Bank's balance sheet, inflicting a cumulative loss of 36 billion drachmas in the last five years and seriously damaging its parent's profitability.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] New Athens bourse chairman calls for swift restructuring

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    The new chairman of the Athens Stock Exchange, Spyros Kouniakis, yesterday urged the government to speed up its economic restructuring programme, in which the bourse could play a major role.

    Mr. Kouniakis also said he backed mergers and acquisitions by listed companies.

    He was speaking at a ceremony at which he formally took over chairmanship of the Athens bourse from his predecessor, Manolis Xanthakis.

    The outgoing chairman expressed his satisfaction over the work accomplished in the last four years, which would be soon completed with the use of electronically registered shares.

    He said that the Athens bourse had invested more than 10 billion drachmas, increased turnover by 30 times and boosted its capitalisation sixfold.

    Mr. Xanthakis said that the Greek market was facing three major challenges: introduction of the euro, co-existence with the Internet and adopting a leading role in the Balkans.

    National Economy Undersecretary Alekos Baltas told the ceremony that the government has assigned a major role to the stock market and urged its new chairman to move even faster.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Greek stocks slump in wake of international doldrums

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities lost substantial ground on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday hit by a decline at the opening of most European markets and a negative climate in Asian markets.

    The general index closed 2.12 percent lower at 2,536.09 points reversing an early advance with most sector indices suffering losses. Banks dropped 3.07 percent, Insurance fell 2.33 percent, Investment eased 0.77 percent, Leasing ended 4.41 percent off , Industrials fell 1.35 percent, Miscellaneous eased 0.64 percent, but Construction and Holding rose 0.70 and 0.55 percent respectively.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 0.84 percent. The FTSE/ASE 20 index dropped 2.68 percent to 1,512.94.

    Trading was active with turnover at 76.9 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 134 to 122 with another 16 issues unchanged. Bank of Greece, Intracom, Nikas, Zampa, Korasidis, Kalpinis, Alco Hellas, Viokarpet and Levenderis scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

    Pouliadis, Riopesca, Selonda, Dane, Intertyp, Nematemporiki, NEL, Vis and Lavipharm suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 41,950 drachmas, Ergobank at 27,000, Alpha Credit Bank at 30,800, Delta Dairy at 4,600, Titan Cement at 19,100, Intracom at 23,619 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 8, 650.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] National Bank of Greece says new share allocation to hold steady

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    The ownership of National Bank of Greece has shifted to the private sector following the sale of 2.5 million shares in the country's largest commercial bank, the Sunday Kathimerini newspaper said at the weekend.

    The shares, which were sold recently to domestic and foreign institutional investors, came from the first phase of conversion of a bond forged with the Greek state.

    "Changes in shareholding percentages in the bank's share capital do not upset existing balances and the current situation, and neither are they expected to do so," National Bank of Greece said in a statement yesterday.

    The sale lowered the state's shareholding in National Bank to a minority shareholding of 42 percent, of which one percent is owned directly by the state and the remainder by the broader public sector, Kathimerini said.

    Despite statements by Finance Undersecretary Nikos Christodoulakis assuring that the state would regain its initial holding, the change in share composition would remain, the newspaper said.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Debate at Posidonia on intelligent transport systems in shipping

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    Experts from 11 countries representing projects supported by the European Commission (DGXIII) will meet in Piraeus today to discuss the latest developments in intelligent transport systems, new added value services and information society technologies for maritime transport.

    The one-day conference on maritime and intermodal transport in the age of transport telematics (Marinter '98) organised by the European Commission is being held at the Piraeus Port Authority's waterfront exhibition centre in parallel with Posidonia '98 , an international shipping exhibition running from June 1-5.

    During the Marinter '98 conference, delegates will discuss telematics applications for effective and safe waterborne transport and their key role in integrating and enhancing total transport services.

    "Helping freight carriers to use a combination of maritime as well as rail and road freight transport is the most significant step we can make in taking advantage of Europe's biggest trading asset, Fotis Karamitsos,Head of Telematics Applications for Transport and Environment at the European Commission Directorate-General XIII, said in a statement.

    "Information society technologies pervade all industrial and societal activities. They enable shipping and ports to develop the competitive efficiency necessary to keep existing customers and win new ones," Mr. Karamitsos said.

    "They are also the cornerstones for developing new added value services, meaning new jobs and quality of life."

    To make their full contribution to intermodal freight movement, however, Europe's seaways, ports and inland waterways need reliable navigation equipment and efficient transport links with other transport modes.

    Telematics can provide the necessary information links.

    Information society technologies can increase safety and efficiency, offering the tools needed to improve on the quality of the maritime industry's traditional means of communication, such as paper messages, problems such as bad planning, language and c ultural differences, or any technical incompatibilities.

    The Information Society has become a visible policy element since most European governments realise the potentials offered.

    During the Marinter '98 conference, Commission-funded research projects will be presenting their achievements on: improved surveillance of ship movements and safer sea traffic; efficient, advanced navigation services using electronic charts and manageme nt support information systems; advance warning of bad weather and accident hazards; advance warning of delays and detours; automatic tracking of consignments; travel and transport information for passengers and cargo shippers; management of freight termi nals and cargo movements; and more efficient intermodal connections.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Bulgaria's Varna Shipyard takes part in Posidonia shipping fair

    VARNA, Bulgaria 02/06/1998 (BTA/ANA)

    Varna Shipyard is presenting its products and services for the first time at the week-long Posidonia maritime exhibition that began in the port of Piraeus yesterday.

    The ownership documents of the new 13,900-t ship "Persenk", built by Varna Shipyard for Navigation Maritime Bulgare, have been handed over officially, Svilen Spassov, Chairman of the Shipyard's Managing Board, said yesterday.

    He recalled that the ship was completed within the shortest possible time - 68 days.

    Commenting on the capacities of Japanese shipbuilders who offered to build new tankers for Navigation Maritime Bulgare, Mr. Spassov said that Varna shipbuilders could also make such offers.

    The building of tankers is one of the shipyard's new projects.

    Three vessels designed to carry cargo in bulk were made for Navigation Maritime Bulgare in the last two years: "Kom", "Bogdan" and "Perelik". The Persenk was the fourth in the series.

    The construction of two 20,500-t bulk cargo ships, "Tsarevets" and "Trapezitsa", is underway.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Pangalos calls 'Sunday Times' report on Cyprus 'tendentious'

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday described as "tendentious" a report in London's "Sunday Times" regarding a plan to evacuate 250,000 people from Cyprus if conflict erupts following deployment of Russian-made missiles on the island republic.

    Citing official sources, the report claimed the plan provides for evacuation in the event of a military crisis in case Nicosia proceeds with the installation of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles.

    Mr. Pangalos said the aim of the report was quite clearly to exert pressure on the Cypriot government not to install the defensive missiles.

    Turkey, which maintains about 35,000 troops in 37 per cent of the island that it occupies since 1974, has repeatedly threatened to destroy the missiles.

    Referring to recent talks with his Cypriot counterpart, Ioannis Kasoulides, Mr. Pangalos reiterated that any such pressure would bring no result, as Nicosia was determined to take all steps necessary to bolster its defences and defend the island. In this respect, Mr. Pangalos added, the Cypriot Republic had Athens' full backing.

    Mr. Pangalos charged also that "certain economic interests" were behind the newspaper article, which (interests) wanted to harm tourism to the island "using despicable methods".

    He said the Greek ambassador in London had been instructed to visit the Foreign Office and verify the authenticity of the information contained in the article, since it had cited official sources.

    "If confirmation is not forthcoming, the Foreign Office will have to deny the article," he added.

    Tsohatzopoulos : National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said later that the furore over the installation of the missiles had been generated by Turkey's effort to create the impression that the Cyprus Republic was becoming excessively strong.

    He said it was "naive" of anyone to maintain that the installation of a defensive anti-aircraft system in Cyprus posed a threat to Turkey. "It is not even worth denying," he added.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said it was regrettable that certain countries which supposedly wanted to contribute towards a settlement of the Cyprus problem should lend weight to this false impression and exert pressure on Nicosia not to install the system.

    "They are wrong and their efforts will have no effect. Cyprus' right to strengthen its defences with fundamental weapons systems emanates from the UN charter," he said.

    If these countries really want positive developments in the Cyprus problem, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, they should focus their efforts in the direction of Turkey which is responsible for the existence of a threat and destabilisation.

    Foreign Office questions article's credibility : LONDON (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis) - Greece's ambassador in London, Vassilis Zafeiropoulos, lodged a protest with the Foreign Office over the "Sunday Times" article. Mr. Zafeiropoulos stressed to Foreign Office officials that such articles created ser ious negative repercussions for the tourism of both Greece and Cyprus and should not be used as a means of exerting pressure to secure the cancellation of the missiles' installation.

    The Foreign Office categorically assured the envoy that there had been no British government influence or involvement in the newspaper article and informed him that there was no special plan for the confronting of a crisis in Cyprus. Speaking to the ANA, British defence ministry and foreign office representatives questioned the credibility of the reporter who wrote the article.

    A Foreign Office representative was quoted as saying that the article had also damaged British foreign policy.

    ND reaction : On his part, main opposition New Democracy spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos called on the government to bring the matter to relevant European Union bodies.

    "The preparation of plans of Britain's defence ministry, a country exercising the EU presidency at this period, on evacuating all foreign tourists from Cyprus in the event of war over the S-300s, as well as the publication of these plans is an unaccepta ble act from all points of view, " he added.

    "We call on the government to make a strict denunciation and demarche and bring immediately this unprecedented in the annals of the European Union act of the British presidency before the relevant EU bodies," the ND spokesman added.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] 'Defence News' article on Ankara's EU refusal

    WASHINGTON 02/06/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    An article in the magazine "Defence News" criticised Turkey for what it called that country's unwillingness to accept conditions for "release of a European Union financial protocol in return for renewed talks with Greece."

    The article called Turkey's refusal a missed opportunity, noting that Ankara did not take advantage of a British presidency proposal aimed at bypassing Athens' veto.

    According to the magazine, Turkey's refusal is expected to distance it from its western European neighbours, adding that Ankara missed an opportunity since after Britain, Austria will take over the EU presidency - a country that many in Turkey consider hostile to them, or so the magazine says.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Europe ready to challenge US hold on entertainment-ministers

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greece and Italy's culture ministers yesterday called for Europe to keep up the impetus in the European movie industry, saying greater cooperation could challenge the US hold on the world entertainment industry.

    Speaking at a news conference in Athens, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said he and his Italian counterpart Walter Veltroni, who is also a deputy prime minister of the Italian government, agreed on a series of cultural events to further bolster bi lateral cultural ties.

    Greece and Italy must aim at "salvaging the enormous cultural heritage of the two countries," Mr. Veltroni said.

    "Everybody must realise that Europe is not only a currency, but a continent with a strong cultural presence able to create an industry to rival that of America's."

    Mr. Veltroni added that a European version of the Academy Awards (Oscars) agreed to recently by the 15 EU culture ministers would be broadcast across Europe.

    The two ministers also agreed that Greece and Italy would celebrate their respective wins at the recent Cannes Film Festival with a week of cinema in each of their countries. Film director Theo Angelopoulos's "Eternity and a Day" won the "Golden Palm " award at the 51st Cannes Film Festival last week. "Life is Beautiful", by Italy's Roberto Benigni, was awarded the runner-up "Grand Jury Prize".

    Meeting with Simitis : In a later meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Mr. Veltroni discussed Cyprus' EU accession course, Greek-Turkish relations, and issues related to the establishment of an "international centre-left forum".

    Mr. Venizelos was also present at the talks.

    Finally, both the Greek and Italian culture ministers also participated at the "Civilisation and Social Cohesion - A Challenge for the European Left" event.

    Mr. Veltroni noted that "society demands a European structure with values and ideals. A Europe of employment parallel to the one of currencies."

    The Italian minister also said that new policies must be implemented in line with an austere fiscal policy, while measures for the protection of the environment and equal opportunity of employment, education and training must follow a parallel course.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] German parliamentary delegation to visit Athens

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    A delegation from the Bundestag's legal committee will begin an official visit to Greece on June 5, led by the committee's president Horst Eylmann.

    The delegation is scheduled to meet with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Justice Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Public Order Minister George Romeos and members of the Greek Parliament.

    The focus of talks will be legal and European policy issues.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] British deputy calls for Parthenon Marbles' return

    LONDON 02/06/1998 (ANA/AFP)

    Labour deputy Gordon Prentice yesteday called for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, reminding of the 15-year-old promises of his party to return the friezes.

    Conversely, British Culture Minister Chris Smith said the sculptures are visited by six million people every year in the British Museum and it is "the most appropriate place to conserve them."

    He also claimed that "we had the time for 13 years now to think about it. It is certain that the sculptures were acquired legally and were maintained under very good conditions."

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Thessaloniki Univ. records Afghanistan quake at 6.9 on the Richter scale

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    A deadly earthquake in Afghanistan was clearly recorded by the Thessaloniki University's geophysics lab as registering 6.9 on the Richter scale, a university seismologist said yesterday.

    Vassilis Karakostas said that Afghanistan "belongs to the Eurasian seismic zone, which starts from Gibraltar, runs through Greece, India and Afghanistan, and ends in Indochina".

    He said this zone had its strongest seismic activity in Greece, namely, the island of Cephalonia. He added that Afghanistan, whose northeastern region was hardest hit by Sunday's quake, had also suffered the strongest earthquake recorded in the zone this century, an 8.2 on the Richter scale quake in the 1920s.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Euro-Med conference in Palermo

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    A two-day Mediterranean foreign ministers' conference will begin tomorrow in Palermo with Greece represented by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    Relations between the European Union with non-member Mediterranean countries, sans Libya, date to the 1970s and have included cooperation programmes as well as five-year financial protocols.

    This is the second conference of its kind, the first was held in Barcelona in 1995, while Palermo's conference is expected to focus on cooperation as well as to set in motion earlier decisions.

    Russia will send observers, according to reports.

    MONTREAL (ANA) - Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos yesterday visited Montreal, where the mayor of the city declared June 1 as "Patriarch Vartholomeos Day".

    Later in the day, the city's mayor hosted a dinner in the Patriarch's honour.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Christodoulos receives Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    Visiting Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos yesterday met with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos for talks on ecclesiastical and national issues.

    The two church leaders met at the Athens Archdiocese offices.

    In answer to several press questions, Archbishop Christodoulos reiterated that "those who react to his views from time to time will get used to him voicing his opinion."

    Later in the day, President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos received Chrysostomos for discussions on the latest developments regarding the Cyprus problem.

    The Archbishop of Cyprus later met with National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos at the national defence ministry.

    Afterwards, Chrysostomos stated that "we are carrying out a struggle of national survival in Cyprus.

    On his part, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that the Church of Cyprus and the armed forces in both countries have a common love for the homeland and a need to defend the sovereign rights of Hellenism.

    He said that after 24 years (following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus) the people of Cyprus are struggling for justice and the safeguarding of human rights throughout Cyprus.

    Finally, Chrysostomos also met with Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Pangalos says no meeting with Cem at upcoming meeting scheduled as yet

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday that his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem has not proposed a meeting with him as yet, in reference to an upcoming visit to Istanbul for an inter-Balkan ministerial session.

    He added that "if he (Cem) invites me I will see him, of course, with great pleasure."

    Mr. Pangalos, in remarks to Mega Channel, reiterated that Athens is not opposed to contacts and discussions with Ankara, saying that what Greece does not do is negotiate sovereign rights.

    He also noted that Turkish President Suleyman Demirel has not made a request to meet Prime Minister Costas Simitis on the sidelines of a Black Sea Cooperation Pact summit, adding that Mr. Simitis is not expected to submit such a request.

    Replying to another relevant question, Mr. Pangalos said a non-aggression agreement between Greece and Turkey is "absolutely superfluous", stressing that the two countries are partners in several international organisations such as the UN, NATO, the Cou ncil of Europe, etc., where the resolution of differences between states with peaceful means is anticipated.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Christodoulos-Pangalos meeting at foreign ministry

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos held talks yesterday with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos at the foreign ministry.

    Mr. Pangalos said that the Archbishop was returning a visit he had paid to the Archdiocese several days ago.

    Archbishop Christodoulos said that he discussed with the Greek minister issues concerning the Balkans and the European Union, reiterating that the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Greece can play an important role for the Orthodox peoples of Europe.

    He expressed satisfaction because once again Mr. Pangalos guaranteed the need for close cooperation between the Church and the state on these issues.

    Replying to a question, Mr. Pangalos confirmed that during his visit to Istanbul on June 8-9, he will be received by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on the morning of the first day of his visit.

    He added that Christodoulos will also be visiting the Phanar several days later.

    Asked whether he agrees with the establishment of an Ecumenical Patriarchate office in Greece, Mr. Pangalos avoided comment, saying that "it is an issue for the Church" and that provided that the Church discussed and approved it, the foreign ministry ha s no reason to comment.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Christodoulos visits Athens area high school

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos yesterday morning visited a high school in the Athens district of Ambelokipoi, wishing pupils success in their end-of-term exams.

    In a brief address, he issued a wake-up call to youth and stressed that he would not shirk from speaking his mind, even if this proved unpleasant in many quarters.

    "We need to awaken. Leave acquiesence aside and all that keeps you in a passive attitude. Let's come together and make the revolution we must in order to have better days in this country. All those who are against such progress want us asleep...I am not g oing to shut my mouth, because I believe that our people want and need what I say," he said.

    The Archbishop also distributed copies of the New Testament to students before leaving.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Swedish royal couple to visit Greece

    STOCKHOLM 02/06/1998 (ANA - N. Serveta)

    Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia will pay an official visit to Greece in April next year, the first-ever visit by a head of state between the two countries, Greece's outgoing ambassador in Stockholm disclosed y esterday.

    Ambassador Emmanuel Kalpadakis told the ANA that preparations were already under way for the visit.

    Mr. Kalpadakis, who is retiring after 35 years of service, will be replaced by Nikolaos Ladopoulos, who will also be accredited for Lithuania and Latvia. Mr. Ladopoulos, who has since 1993 been secretary of the foreign ministry office for bilateral re lations with the U.S., Canada and Central and Latin America, has served in the past as Greece's ambassador to Mexico and several Central American countries.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Expert signals concern over Kozloduy

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    Professor Costas Papastephanou, who lectures in nuclear physics at Thessaloniki University, said yesterday that four of the six reactors at the Kozloduy nuclear power plant in neighbouring Bulgaria should already have been closed down because of their obsolete technology.

    Commenting however on reports of a recent minor nuclear accident at Kozloduy, Mr. Papastephanou said "it can't have been very serious", adding that "if something did happen, it must have been dealt with promptly".

    Describing all six reactors at Kozloduy as obsolete, Mr. Papastephanou said Bulgaria would not close the four most dangerous ones until the construction of two bigger reactors has been completed in 2004 and 2007.

    "Under no circumstances will Bulgaria stop using nuclear energy, because it wants to use it as a negotiating card in its bid to join the European Union, " he told a press conference on the environment organised by local officials of the main opposition N ew Democracy party in Thessaloniki.

    Greece, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the environmental organisation Greenpeace have repeatedly underlined the danger posed by the operation of the Kozloduy plant, situated just 225 kilometres from the Greek-Bulgarian border.

    Greenpeace has warned that an accident at Kozloduy could overshadow the terrible consequences of the Chernobyl disaster which caused 30,000 deaths and contaminated 160,000 square kilometres of land, forcing 400,000 people to abandon their homes.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Truck driver gets 30 months' jail for bigamy

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    It might have been all right in ancient Greece to have more than one wife, particularly if you were rich and powerful - Phillip II of Macedonia had seven - but the practice is now punishable by law, as I.K. found out to his cost yesterday.

    The 45-year-old truck driver was sentenced by a Thessaloniki court to 30 months' imprisonment for being in wedlock with two different women for the past five years.

    The man first married in a religious ceremony in Thessaloniki in 1979 and life was rosy until he met and fell in love with another woman in a village of Pieria.

    Not wishing to rock the boat, I.K. said nothing to his first wife, nor to his mistress, whom he married in 1991 with the help of falsified documents. The doting husband had one child with each wife.

    Both women lived happily, as did I.K., until in 1996, the first and slightly "more legal" of the two wives suspected that something was not quite right and it was not long before she discovered the truth.

    Of course she hit the roof and I.K. disappeared with his second wife. The first wife filed a lawsuit against her husband who was yesterday convicted in absentia.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Deputy's car crashes into electricity pole, one woman dead

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    A young woman died early yesterday when a vehicle in which she was riding in, driven by main opposition New Democracy deputy Costas Karaminas, slammed into three parked cars and finally crashed into an electricity pole.

    Mr. Karaminas and a friend who was also in the car, Artemis Panousos, 32, a merchant, ND cadre and chairman of the municipal council of Karlovasi on the island of Samos, were not seriously injured. Police later said that both men were wearing seat belts , while their air-bags were also activated on impact. Citing his Parliamentary immunity, authorities said Mr. Karaminas refused to take a breathalyser test, while initial police reports state that the accident was due to excessive speed. Later in the day the Samos deputy said he didn't remember whether he refused to take a breathalyser, adding however, that he will not "dispute reports by police from the accident division dispatched to the incident."

    The woman was identified as 26-year-old Elli Pilidou. She was riding in the back seat of the car and was thrown through the windscreen when it hit the pole.

    According to reports, the two men met the victim and another woman at a bar in the Athens suburb of Zografou. Pilidou followed the deputy and the Samos businessman in the former's late-model Mercedes with the intent of continuing their evening at a coas tal nightclub, while the other woman reportedly took a taxi home.

    The accident occurred on Imittou Avenue, a short distance from the bar, which the deputy said is owned by the brother of a police officer assigned to his security detail.

    Two gangs of armed robbers struck in Athens yesterday, making off with 30 million drachmas from an armoured security van and over five million drachmas from a bank.

    The first robbery took place at 11.10 a.m. when four armed and masked men hit a "Group 4" security van carrying salaries for employees of the municipality of Argyroupolis. The robbers struck when the van was outside the public revenue department of Argy roupolis. Shortly afterwards, two young men brandishing a pistol threatened staff and customers at a branch of the Agricultural Bank in Kalamaki before escaping with approximately 5.5 million drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Crete increases share of GNP

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    Crete accounted for 5.3 per cent of Greece's GNP in the 1990-95 period - compared to 4.5 per cent in the previous decade - while its 10-year annual average unemployment rate stands at 4 per cent, half the national average, participants at a one-day confer ence in Hania were told yesterday.

    Crete's development rates are considerably influenced by tourism and the cultivation of olives, it was also reported.

    Finance Undersecretary Nikos Christodoulakis, who spoke at the conference, said Crete's regional development plan would greatly contribute to the formulation of a national development plan.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Increased profits for investment firms in '97

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    Profits of investment firms amounted to 40.9 billion drachmas in 1997, increasing by 133 per cent compared to 1996.

    Over the same period of time, revenues for the entire sector increased by 115 per cent.

    Results of investment firms in 1998, according to a publication by the Union of Institutional Investors (ETHE), are expected to follow the same positive course, since over the first quarter of the current year profits of certain companies in the sector have exceeded 50 per cent of total profits for 1996.

    Athens News Agency

    [25] 'Poseidonia '98' opens in Piraeus

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis yesterday opened the "Poseidonia '98" international maritime exhibition in Piraeus, the world's largest.

    In his address, the minister said the Greek merchant fleet had gained first place in the world as a result of the entrepreneurial ability and instinct of Greek shipowners, as well as the seafaring skills of crews. He also stressed the sector's paramount contribution to the national and the world economy.

    The exhibition's organiser, Th. Vokos, expressed his satisfaction, noting that participations this year reached a record number of 1,500 from 72 countries.

    Piraeus Mayor Stelios Logothetis referred to the significance of seafaring to the port and to Piraeus, as well as to the efforts of the municipal authority to improve infrastructure in order to serve the industry.

    Greek Shipowners' Union president Yiannis Lyras said the large number of participants was proof the success of the event, which spanned nearly 30 years.

    Athens News Agency

    [26] Quarterly OTE profits, turnover rise

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) increased profits and sales over the first quarter of the current year.

    Pre-tax unified profits amounted to 70.489 billion drachmas, while the turnover totalled 207.574 billion drachmas.

    Although corresponding figures do not exist for last year, it is assessed that there is an increase in the region of 12-15 per cent. Net profits with tax amounted to 45.185 billion drachmas. The utility's predictions for profits of 368 billion drachmas and a turnover of 979 billion drachmas are unattainable, since results in the first quarter showed a lag in profits.

    Athens News Agency

    [27] Greek participation at Verona exhibition

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greece will participate in an international marble exhibition in Verona, Italy between Sept. 24-28.

    According to an announcement by the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO), products to be displayed include marble and other stones, machinery for excavating, processing, transferring and packaging stones, as well as materials for the preservation and pro cessing of stones, etc.

    The Verona exhibition, considered a leading event in the marble sector, will feature about 1,500 exhibitors from 40 countries, while visitors are expected from 115 countries.

    For more information contact HEPO's exhibition department at tel. (01) 99.82.204 or the organisation's offices in Thessaloniki, (031) 26.21.20.

    Athens News Agency

    [28] Doctors on strike at greater Athens area public hospitals

    Athens 02/06/1998 (ANA)

    Physicians at Athens-area and Piraeus public hospitals and clinics are scheduled to hold a 48-hour strike tomorrow and Thursday in demand of salary raises, including a 10 per cent pay hike and benefits granted other civil servants.

    They are also protesting against what representatives consider cutbacks in annual leave pay.

    Athens News Agency

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