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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-06-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't says new int'l airport to open March 1, 2001
  • [02] Pangalos receives Moslem mufti of Komotini
  • [03] G. Papandreou chairs meeting 'Agenda 2000' programme
  • [04] Kaklamanis at European parliaments presidents' conference
  • [05] Tsohatzopoulos speaks at ESP meeting
  • [06] State Dept. warns of Balkan instability because of Kosovo
  • [07] High-ranking meeting focuses on Cardiff summit
  • [08] FYROM FM in Greece
  • [09] Arsenis says teacher appointment exams supported by social consensus
  • [10] KKE rejects idea of leftist-PASOK cooperation
  • [11] Meeting focuses on draftbill to protect cultural heritage
  • [12] FPA to commemorate Polk
  • [13] Greek exporters urged to merge,cooperate for better presence in nearby markets
  • [14] OA interest in Albanian air transports
  • [15] Simitis adamant on Ionian's privatisation, overall modernisation
  • [16] Proposal for more doctors in border areas
  • [17] Court again rules Ionian Bank strike illegal
  • [18] Thessaloniki Cultural Capital in debts wrangle
  • [19] Greece carries out over 10,000 infrastructure projects 1994-2000
  • [20] Greek stocks slump on profit-taking
  • [21] Only hitch in 2004 Olympics is state red tape - organisers
  • [22] Greek shipyards need to modernise to tackle unemployment
  • [23] Greek state tourism workers launch daily stoppages
  • [24] Merchant marine minister seeks new port authority boss
  • [25] OTE rejects press report that Intrakom executive represents utility in Moldova talks
  • [26] Agrotiki Asfalistiki shipping coverage
  • [27] General Bank profits increase by 18 per cent
  • [28] Petrol prices decrease
  • [29] Athens-based children's rights group set up
  • [30] Typhoid killed Alexander the Great-researchers
  • [31] Conference on headaches in Thessaloniki

  • [01] Gov't says new int'l airport to open March 1, 2001

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    The new Athens international airport at Spata will open on March 1, 2001, Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis told reporters during a tour of the worksite by Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday.

    The Eleftherios Venizelos Airport, east of the capital, will replace the existing facility at Hellenikon on Athens' southern coast. The project's budget is 658 billion drachmas.

    "The timetable (for construction) is being strictly adhered to," Mr. Laliotis said.

    According to information from Athens International Airport(DAA), the project's supervisor, more than 88 per cent of earthworks have been completed, while construction of the main terminal, air traffic control centre and control tower is underway.

    Also being built are a tunnel for a public utilities network, internal roads and the administration buil-ding, DAA President Haris Stamatopoulos said.

    Sixty-six subcontractors are working on the site, and a total of 5,000 workers will be employed when construction reaches its peak. The airport is expected to have a staff of 7,000 when it launches operations, with another 14,000 new jobs likely to be created in its vicinity, Mr. Stamatopoulos said.

    Two runways, each about four kilometres long and 60 metres wide, will handle up to 600 take-offs and landings a day. The airport's capacity is 16 million passengers annually.

    Mr. Laliotis said that an earlier re-negotiation of the airport deal with a consortium led by Hochtief of Germany has saved the state more than 100 billion drachmas.

    Simitis welcomes progress in airport project : The prime minister welcomed prog-ress in the project, which he said was one of the largest in Europe, saying implementation of projects like Spata would give the ruling PASOK party a competitive edge in national elections in 2000, he said during his visit .

    "I want to tell all Greeks that the course we are on is the only realistic solution, that our policy is the only way that can guarantee and extend the interests of Greeks into the 21st century," he said.

    "Any other course, any other policy could be fatal for our position and for Greece's existence in Europe, for its growth, prosperity and the privileges of all Greeks."

    The absorption of 9.5 trillion drachmas of the Second Community Support Framework and national funds had given the country the boost it needed in the period spanning 1994 and 2000, the prime minister said.

    The boost would continue until 2006 with the exploitation of national and Third Community Support Framework monies totalling some 10 trillion drachmas.

    The sacrifices made over the past five difficult years, were bearing fruit, Mr. Simitis said.

    He also rebuffed critics of the government's stringent economic policy.

    People who criticised PASOK governments of being overly concerned with economic indicators had failed to realise behind the numerical data was the struggle to improve conditions for the public, Mr. Simitis said.

    DHKKI : Responding to the prime minister's statements, Democratic Social Movement leader Dimitris Tsovolas said the large projects, particularly the Egnatia Motorway across northern Greece, were progressing at a snail's pace, while the privatisation of profitable and strategic public enterprises led them to foreign hands and a sellout of the national wealth.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Pangalos receives Moslem mufti of Komotini

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday received the leader of the Moslem community of Komotini, Mufti Meso Tsemali, to discuss issues affecting the community in northern Greece.

    Mr. Pangalos said after the meeting that the foreign ministry aimed at implementing the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne regulating the treatment of Moslems in Komotini and elsewhere in Greece.

    He added that the ministry, in cooperation with Mr. Tsemali, would work to ensure "the free exercise of religious rights and the equal economic and social development" of the community. The mufti, on his part, thanked Mr. Pangalos for receiving him and said he was convinced that problems would be solved.

    "We talked about various problems, agreed and I believe that shortly we will see the results," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] G. Papandreou chairs meeting 'Agenda 2000' programme

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday chaired a ministerial meeting on the EU's "Agenda 2000" programme in view of the upcoming Cardiff Summit.

    According to sources, Mr. Papandreou said Greece considered inadequate a 1.27 per cent fund allocation by the EU for the programme's ambitious goals, while Greece should remain steadfast in its position that two-thirds of the resources of structural fun ds must be directed to regions included in Target I.

    He also stressed that Greece should insist on the boosting of supports to smaller producers and to the producers of disadvantaged regions, which was included in conclusions of the General Affairs Council session in Luxembourg on Monday and Tuesday, and is also included in the draft text to be considered in Cardiff.

    New Democracy main opposition party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos, meanwhile, charged that the government remained a mere spectator on the issue of the Agenda 2000 and the Common Agricultural Policy, without assuming an active role in its planning, and noted that on the issue of Mediterranean products Greece had already lost a great deal.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Kaklamanis at European parliaments presidents' conference

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis will leave for Stockholm today to attend the conference of European parliaments' presidents this week.

    The main issue of the conference are challenges for national Parliaments in an enlarged and democratic Europe. The main speakers will be the president of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, Leni Fischer, and the presidents of the Spanish, Ru ssian and Austrian parliaments.

    On the sidelines of the conference, Mr. Kaklamanis is expected to meet with his counterparts from other national parliaments.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Tsohatzopoulos speaks at ESP meeting

    BRUSSELS 11/06/1998 (ANA - P. Pantelis)

    European Socialist parties are preparing new policies and proposals to close the gap between success in meeting economic convergence and the relative failure in formulating effective policies to deal with social problems in the Union, National Defence Minister and European Socialist Party (ESP) VP Akis Tsohatzopoulos said here yesterday.

    Speaking after a session of the ESP presidium, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said these proposals would be promoted during the next ESP conference next February or March, in preparation of Euro-elections.

    "Already, European socialists, in parallel to the Economic Stability Pact, which has already been approved and is incorporated in the Treaty of Amsterdam, intend to promote at the Cardiff summit a Social Stability Pact, of similar importance, with the aim of intervening more effectively in the area of social problems," he said.

    The minister also said participants in yesterday's session had agreed to formulate a common political proposal for collective security, defence and stability in European countries.

    "This has particular importance for Greece because it is an initiative agreed and begun at the meeting of Socialist defence ministers in Rhodes in May last month," he added.

    He said it had also been agreed to hold a second Balkan Conference in Thessaloniki in November on developments in the Balkans, with the participation of all Socialist and Social-Democratic parties.

    A further initiative was ESP's summer university in Halkidiki, northern Greece, at the end of August, where about 150 young European Socialists would gather for four days to discuss ideological and political issues.

    Cypriot Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou, who also attended the session, met the Western European Union's Secretary-General Jose Cutilheiro, and discussed relations between Cyprus and the organisation as well as how they could be further improved.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] State Dept. warns of Balkan instability because of Kosovo

    WASHINGTON 11/06/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    US State Department spokesman James Rubin yesterday said that the concfict in Kosovo includes the possibility of influencing Greece and Turkey, saying it is an added element of uneasiness for the US.

    Mr. Rubin also voiced Washington's concern over the dangers of European stability in general.

    "There is now an additional factor for the creation of a situation, which if it goes out of control and refugees start pouring in from Kosovo to Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), we have the responsibility...of a major instabi lity in a region of the world where we have two NATO allies, Greece and Turkey..." he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] High-ranking meeting focuses on Cardiff summit

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis presided over a meeting yesterday on the issues which will be dicussed at an EU summit in Cardiff on June 15- 16.

    Issues discussed included Greek-Turkish relations and fiscal matters, among others.

    Present at the meeting were Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, National Economy Undersecretary Christos Pahtas, La bour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou and Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] FYROM FM in Greece

    SKOPJE 11/06/1998 (ANA - M. Vihou)

    The foreign minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Blagoya Hatzinski, will visit Greece in the next 15 days at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos.

    In a related development, a Skopje newspaper yesterday detailed Mr. Pangalos' remarks on the Kosovo issue and regarding Greek-FYROM relations.

    According to press reports, the Greek FM said that in the event of an influx of refugees from Kosovo to FYROM and Albania, the European Union and the international community must convene to examine the issue, instead of allowing it to become a Balkan or just an Albanian-FYROM problem.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Arsenis says teacher appointment exams supported by social consensus

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis yesterday referred to the vehement objections voiced by many educators and their unions over a new system of public school system appointments through state examinations.

    "We have a law backed by a broad political and social consensus, and the government applies that law," Mr. Arsenis stressed in an interview to the ANA.

    "However, we are in need of the willingness of the 46,500 educators who wish to take part in the exams.

    "Then, we have some groups trying to abolish the state, and bar the government from implementing the law. That means they are refusing their colleagues' right to sit the exam," he underlined.

    Mr. Arsenis further said that those who contributed to the creation of such an atmosphere were in the minority, although their behaviour affected the entire sector.

    He added that this was the reason why he was expecting the educational community to condemn such actions.

    Athens News Agency Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    The 6th Kassandra Festival will begin on June 27 with a concert by well- known composer Mikis Theodorakis' folk orchestra and several popular Greek singers.

    Festival events, which will last through August, include ancient Greek dramas and comedies as well as other theatrical plays and musical performances.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] KKE rejects idea of leftist-PASOK cooperation

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga arrived in Thessaloniki yesterday afternoon to preside over a party meeting and to tour a number of worksites today.

    In statements upon her arrival, the KKE leader referred to a number of issues, including the situation in Kosovo and proposed cooperation between leftist opposition parties with the ruling PASOK.

    Expressing her concern over the prevailing situation in Kosovo, which she said could potentially instigate a further conflict in the region, Ms Papariga underlined that the EU and NATO target was to further dismember Yugoslavia.

    "What is important is that the EU's and NATO's rationale includes military operations, as a final means, to force Yugoslavia's further dismantling, unless of course, they achieve this by the threat of war", she stressed.

    Mr. Papariga added that the major concern was not whether a military operation will be launched in Kosovo, but whether a war will be rekindled and borders will be generally disputed.

    Asked about a previous proposal by Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos for cooperation between PASOK, KKE, Synaspismos and DHKKI aimed at establishing a new progressive majority, Ms Papariga rejected the idea and accused the Synaspismos leader of aiming to destroy the notion of an opposition, leaving in its place a bi-party political model.

    Synaspismos : Commenting on Ms Papariga's statements, Synaspismos said it will not follow the KKE leader in a "dead-end of a blind polemics among leftist forces."

    An announcement stressed that Synaspismos' rival was the current government's policy.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Meeting focuses on draftbill to protect cultural heritage

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    A second one-day meeting organised by the culture ministry on a draftbill regarding the protection of cultural heritage concluded in Athens yesterday.

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos spoke of taking into consideration proposals submitted during the event. He also described a memorandum submitted by the Association of Greek Archaeologists as a "responsible and well-docu-mented work".

    A group of 18 cadets from Hungary's National Defence Academy are to visit Greece between June 16-21, with visits scheduled at the Tanagra 114th Fighter Wing, the Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAB) and several archeaological sites in Attica.

    The Society for the Study and Protection of the Mediterranean Seal will inaugurate its information centre on Mylos on Sunday.

    The society's "LIFE '96" programme, partially funded by the European Union, figures to create several similar centres in the Aegean in order to protect this endangered mammal.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] FPA to commemorate Polk

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Foreign Press Association of Greece (FPA) yesterday announced it would unveil a commemorative plaque marking the 50th anniversary of the murder of veteran CBS correspondent George W. Polk during a special ceremony at the FPA premises tomorrow at 6:45 p.m.

    Guest speakers on the work of Polk will include Euro-MP and journalist Yannis Roubatis, journalist/author Elias Vlanton, and Professor Edmund Keeley, an author and academic and one of America's first Fulbrighters in Greece.

    The commemorative ceremony will be attended by Polk's widow, Mrs. Rhea Polk.

    Polk, an American correspondent during Greece's civil war, was found dead in Thessaloniki bay on May 16, 1948, two days after he went missing while on his way to interview Markos Vafiades, head of the Communists.

    Gregoris Staktopoulos, a veteran Greek journalist who was accused 50 years ago of complicity in Polk's murder, died earlier this year at the age of 88. In April 1949, a Thessaloniki criminal court had sentenced Staktopoulos to life imprisonment, but his sentence was reduced twice and he was conditionally released in 1960.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Greek exporters urged to merge,cooperate for better presence in nearby markets

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday urged Greek exporters to join forces through mergers and the creation of large enterprises in a direct, planned and flexible way, with a view to boosting their presence in Balkan and Black Sea region markets.

    He issued the call at a conference in Athens on emerging markets of southeastern Europe.

    US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns, who also addressed the conference, stressed that there was tremendous potential, not only for boosting economic cooperation between Greece and the US, but also for joint investment by joint companies in the two re gions.

    US companies already active in Greece could be selected as an initial basis for such activities, given the investment interest emanating from the 2004 Olympic Games and the dynamism of Greece's tourist sector, he added.

    Mr. Papantoniou also said the Greek economy's present annual growth rate of 3.5 per cent, projected to rise to 5 per cent in the next two years, certified its dynamism.

    "However, we need a more correct organisation of our public sector. We cannot enter a united Europe with our economy limping. We are resolved to proceed in quick step to major structural changes so that the public sector may become worthy of the Greek people," he said.

    He said the government would strive to boost the extroversion of the Greek economy, as international developments, particularly in the Balkans, were favourable.

    Earlier, National Economy Undersecretary Alekos Baltas noted that the impressive increase in Greek exports to Balkan and central-eastern European countries in the last five years, was in part due to a diversion of the country's external trade and losses in traditional markets.

    "A further and permanent shrinking of the percentage of exports destined to the European Union would mean a serious loss in the competitiveness of Greek exports," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] OA interest in Albanian air transports

    DURRES 11/06/1998 (ANA - G. Tzortzakis)

    The transport and communications ministry is examining the possibility of creating a small air transport network in Albania.

    According to reports, Olympic Aviation in cooperation with Albania's state- run carrier and the possible participation of others - maybe the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - is considering an air transport carrier linking Thessaloniki with Tirana,

    Tirana with Korce and Gjirokaster and even Tirana with Skopje.

    The dispatch of two Olympic Aviation Dornier aircraft is being examined. The ministry aims at expanding Olympic's role beyond just serving Albania, using the neighbouring country's traffic rights and extending its routes from Thessaloniki to New York via Tirana.

    Meanwhile, in a related development, Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis had an official meeting with Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios yesterday, who requested the immediate implementation of proposals made by Athens reg arding this new route as well as new road networks between the two countries.

    Mr. Mantelis also visited Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani, to whom he conveyed Prime Minister Costas Simitis' greetings.

    Mr. Mantelis concluded his tour with a visit to the port of Durres.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Simitis adamant on Ionian's privatisation, overall modernisation

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday said the government will not accept "lawlessness" or efforts to block a modernisation of society, in referring to Ionian Bank employees' mobilisations and recent reactions by educators' unions to scrap a new exam-ba sed hiring system.

    Speaking in Parliament, Mr. Simitis defended the government's policies while answering tabled questions by Democratic Social Move-ment (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas and ruling PASOK deputy Minas Stavrakakis.

    The premier noted that the privatisation of Ionian was the only appropriate and correct solution to dislodge it (bank) from the public sector, adding: "if there was a merger, 3,000 employees would have lost their jobs."

    He also criticised the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) for what he called an attempt to stop development and destabilise the country.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Proposal for more doctors in border areas

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    The National Society "Young Doctors" (Neoi Yiatroi) has taken an initiative to send young unemployed physicians to border and island regions in the summer to offer better medical services.

    An announcement by the group said medical care in border regions is unacceptable, with residents deprived of public or private care of any kind, owing mainly to geographical isolation.

    As the situation is expected to deteriorate during the summer, the group decided that 10 colleagues pay visits to such areas, lasting 15 to 30 days, in order to offer medical services.

    The group also proposed a series of measures to the state and the Central Union of Greek Municipalities and Communities (KEDKE), including the hiring of doctors by passenger vessels sailing to the islands and carrying out preventative examinations of pupils.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Court again rules Ionian Bank strike illegal

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    An Athens court yesterday ruled illegal a strike by Ionian Bank employees protesting against the government's plan to privatise the bank.

    The ruling, which is the third to declare blocks of the rolling stoppage illegal, applies to a walkout on June 6-10 called by the General Confederation of Greek Labour (GSEE), an umbrella group representing nearly a million workers in the private and public sectors.

    The Athens court of first instance said GSEE was not empowered to call strikes in single enterprises. It had failed to give management 48-hour notice of the stoppage and neglected to provide skeleton staff, as required by law.

    Ionian's management has sought the rulings, which unions have so far shrugged off despite the imposition of fines on their leaders. Ionian workers vowed on Tuesday night to continue the walkout.

    Employees have staged the rolling strike since May 11 to protest the sale of a majority stake in the bank, whose parent is state-owned Commercial Bank of Greece, through bidding on the Athens Stock Exchange. Both banks are listed.

    Unions want Ionian to be merged with Commercial Bank, a move the government claims would have led to 3,100 redundancies.

    The government has refused to back down on privatisation of the bank but offered to incorporate Ionian's labour regulations into any sale contract, effectively barring layoffs. Unions want the offer made law.

    The court further ruled yesterday that the latest strike had contravened the two previous court rulings.

    It slapped fines of 500,000 drachmas for each day the stoppage continues on GSEE, the national bank unions federation (OTOE), Ionian's union, and Ionian's union president and general secretary.

    In the first legal battle between management and unions, the court ordered Ionian's workers to halt the first stage of the rolling strike. OTOE stepped in and called the second round.

    Ionian union officials were fined 400,000 drachmas a day for each day the strike continued.

    A second court ruling the OTOE-ordained strike illegal, which took place on June 1-6, fining Ionian union officials one million drachmas a day for continuation of the stoppage. The third round was called by GSEE.

    On June 19, shareholders of Commercial Bank will be asked to endorse Ionian's privatisation.

    Unions see court ruling as provocation : GSEE said that yesterday's court ruling declaring the three-day strike at Ionian Bank illegal was a provocation for the entire labour movement.

    It said employees would stage a rally in front of Ionian Bank's head office in central Athens at 7 pm today to protest against the decision.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in a statement that the government represented a hazard to democratic rights, and called on working people to stage mass protests.

    Commenting on the court ruling, the Coalition of the Left and Progress charged the government with undermining dialogue.

    Key to the resolving dispute are how the government will tackle the social insurance status of Ionian Bank employees.

    Workers want guarantees they will safeguard their rights by remaining in the same fund, and not be forced to join the ailing Social Insurance Foundation, the state's main health and pension fund.

    Gov't says Ionian Bank returning to normal : National Economy and Finance Minister Yannos Papantoniou said yesterday that operations at Ionian Bank were gradually being restored and called on remaining employees to return to work.

    Mr. Papantoniou was speaking after a meeting including the ministers of labour and justice, the governors of Ionian Bank and Commercial Bank of Greece, and the Cabinet's secretary general.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said later that the government's intention to privatise Ionian remained unchanged.

    The spokesman accused some workers of using diversionary tactics to hinder the normal operation of the bank and complicate the sale process.

    "These attitudes, which work to the detriment of the bank's workers, clients and shareholders, will not prevail," Mr. Reppas said.

    He predicted that the bank would resume full operations within days and the sale process would be completed on target.

    New Democracy raps gov't for panicking over Ionian Bank sale : The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party yesterday accused the government of mismanaging the privatisation of Ionian Bank due to a lack of preparation and resulting panic.

    "The government wants to show it is doing well in terms of the commitments it made to the European Union but it was ill prepared, and has been forced to improvise in panic," ND spokesman Akis Spiliotopoulos said. He also criticised unions for exacerbati ng the problem.

    The government pledged to shrink the state sector and cut public spending when the drachma joined the EU's exchange rate mechanism on March 14 as a stepping stone to economic and monetary union, which it hopes to accomplish by January 1, 2001.

    The International Monetary Fund has urged the government to privatise banks more aggressively.

    ND deputy calls for state banks' privatisation, criticises gov't policy : The need for all state-controlled banks to be privatised was stressed yesterday during a press conference by main opposition New Democracy deputy Dimitris Kostopoulos, who also accused the government of lacking strategic and entrepreneurial planning in what he called an intransparent privatisation policy.

    Mr. Kostopoulos said the government had never announced its intentions to sell Ionian Bank or merge the National Mortgage Bank with National Bank. He added that the firm "Monitor" which studied the Ionian's prospects had not probed the bank's sale prosp ects but its cooperation or merger with its parent company, Commercial Bank.

    The ND deputy said the government "does not know what it is doing and is in a state of panic," underlining that 5 per cent of Ionian shares owned by Commercial Bank had been sold between March and May in spite of the fact it was known that Ionian was up for sale.

    Mr. Kostopoulos asked the government to clarify what the future of the National and Commercial banks would be, as well as to study the impact from Ionian's sale.

    He further demanded that the resulting proceeds from the sale be calculated, while an open dialogue be held with employees.

    In terms of statistics, the ND deputy referred to the four-year period 1993- 97, saying that state banks' profits had dropped 11.7 per cent, while private banks had increased profits by 137 per cent.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Thessaloniki Cultural Capital in debts wrangle

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    Representatives of Thessaloniki Cultural Capital Organisation (OPPE) have filed an injunction to stop 11 neoclassical houses in the city's old neighbourhood being auctioned to pay part of a debt to an advertising company.

    A Thessaloniki court seized the 11 protected buildings yesterday in response to a petition for payment filed by Olympic DDB Needham, the advertising company involved in the dispute. The court set July 22 as the date of the auction.

    OPPE owes Olympic DDB Needham some 200 million drachmas out of a total of 380 million drachmas for an advertising campaign in domestic and foreign media. The amount was due on January 31, 1998.

    OPPE hopes to halt the sale and pay off its debt to Olympic DDB Needham through funds being gradually disbursed through the culture ministry to the organisation's liquidators.

    The market value of the 11 renovated and restored buildings is estimated at around 1.8 billion drachmas.

    Venizelos on liquidation process : Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos later said that a clause was included in law 2557/1997, placing the organisation in liquidation and that a counsellor from the auditing council was appointed president of the liquidation committee.

    "My colleagues, supervising ministers, and I have given clear and strict instructions on the way of satisfying creditors. However, the flow of necessary funds depends on the national economy ministry, which judges on the basis of the possibilities of the public investments programme's funds, " he added.

    The organisation's liquidation is being carried out according to law and those presenting themselves as creditors will be satisfied in the framework and with the criteria set out by the process.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Greece carries out over 10,000 infrastructure projects 1994-2000

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greek Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis yesterday welcomed progress in the implementation of major construction projects around the country.

    Mr. Laliotis said that the ministry would manage more than 10,000 infrastructure projects in Greece in a period spanning 1994 to 2000. The schemes are worth 4.3 trillion drachmas.

    He said that a tender for construction of a tunnel on the Athens to Corinth motorway would be held in July. A tender for the construction of a tunnel for Maliakos Bay in eastern mainland Greece had already been held, he said.

    The Egnatia Way, along with five ports and nine vertical access roads towards neighbouring Balkan countries, had secured 550 billion drachmas in funding and construction was proceeding at a fast pace. The project employs 3,500 workers.

    Mr. Laliotis said that more sections of Egnatia Way would be opened to traffic in 1998.

    A motorway linking Patras to Athens, Thessaloniki and a border post at Evzones was at an advanced stage of construction. Three thousand workers are employed, he said.

    A project for the construction of a bridge over Patraikos Bay linking the Peloponese to central Greece was in its early stages, and a tunnel linking Aktio to Preveza in western Greece was 75 percent completed.

    Mr. Laliotis said that the Athens metro project was 72 percent completed, and 4,000 workers were employed.

    Also, an agreement for the construction of a metro in Thessaloniki was expected to be signed and submitted to parliament for approval in June.

    Construction had begun on a motorway project linking western Athens to a new airport in Spata. The project was expected to employ 5,000 workers.

    Mr. Laliotis said that works on a dam for Acheloos river were proceeding rapidly along with procedures to draft a national land registry covering eight million stremmata and budgeted at 42 billion drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Greek stocks slump on profit-taking

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities ended sharply lower yesterday as investors scooped up their profits in the wake of fresh turmoil in Asian markets.

    Traders said the market lacked incentives but the underlying mood remained positive over progress expected in the government's privatisation plan.

    The general index ended 1.51 percent off at 2,541.49 points with all sector indices losing ground.

    Banks fell 1.34 percent, Insurance dropped 1.65 percent, Leasing ended 0.51 percent off, Investment eased 1.02 percent, Construction plunged 4.04 percent, Industrials fell 1.16 percent, Miscellaneous ended 2.04 percent down and Holding dropped 2.72 per cent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.14 percent lower.

    Trade was light to moderate with turnover edging down to 48.7 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 199 to 52 with another 10 issues unchanged. Halyps, Xylemporia, Tzirakian, Keranis, Hadzioannou, Corinth Mills, Ippotour, Athens Bank and Commercial Invest scored the biggest percentage gains.

    Radio Athina, Barba Stathis, Fintexport, Seafarm Ionian, Macedonian Mills, Etma, Balkan Export and Levenderis suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 41,000 drachmas, Ergobank at 27,030, Alpha Credit Bank at 31,930, Delta Dairy at 4,280, Titan Cement at 21,400, Intracom at 25,000 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 8, 405.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Only hitch in 2004 Olympics is state red tape - organisers

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    The organisers of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games said yesterday that the only hitch in arranging the event was dealing with the state's legendary red tape.

    "Our cooperation with government and opposition parties is at a very good level and we have had no problems, despite reports to the contrary. We do have a problem, however, with the faceless state," said Stratis Stratigis, president of Athens 2004 Orga nising Committee S.A.

    "They asked us for tax returns and social security coupons for a company that has just been established," he added.

    The committee was established earlier this year by the government with Mr. Stratigis, a former New Democracy and Democratic Renewal MP, as its head.

    Mr. Stratigis said the committee had called a tender for consultants to handle organisational and financial issues. It had also hired a further 32 employees.

    Another two senior appointments - an official to head the projects section and another to head planning - would be made soon.

    "By July at the latest we will be completely ready for the first phase of organisation," Mr. Stratigis said.

    Juan Antonio Samaranch, the head of the International Olympic Committee, will visit Athens on September 2, the day before the Athens 2004 Organising Committee's first meeting with the IOC Coordinating Committee to review developments.

    Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki, the lawyer who led the successful bid to host the 2004 Olympics, will be goodwill ambassador with her own office for international relations at the foreign ministry, Mr. Stratigis said.

    "She will be responsible for international public relations," he said.

    Mr. Stratigis is due to meet with Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Undersecretary Christos Verelis today to discuss projects needed to host the Olympic Games in more detail.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Greek shipyards need to modernise to tackle unemployment

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greek shipyards need fresh incentives to modernise and return to profitable levels of 20 years ago in order to tackle growing unemployment, the National Labour Institute said in a survey on the development of Piraeus.

    Piraeus is a major shipyard and industrial zone with 1,400 firms in ship repairs, light industry and fertilisers employing 7,500 workers, said the survey, which was released yesterday.

    It noted that problems already facing Piraeus' industrial zone were being exacerbated by rising unemployment as a result of changes in industry and technology. The jobless rate in the suburb of Perama, traditionally a ship repair centre, is around 80 percent.

    The survey is part of a European Union programme called ADAPT that tries to forestall unemployment by adjusting production systems, and helping workers adapt to industrial and technological change.

    The National Labour Centre is seeking ways of solving the problems burdening employment in Piraeus, partly by providing an accurate picture of the existing situation.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Greek state tourism workers launch daily stoppages

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    Workers at the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) have embarked on daily three-hour work stoppages to protest against the privatisation of GNTO's assets and the non-payment of outstanding wages to staff abroad.

    The stoppages began yesterday and will last until Monday. On Tuesday, GNTO's staff groups will meet to decide on escalating the protests, staff representatives told a news conference yesterday.

    GNTO falls under the jurisdiction of the development ministry.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Merchant marine minister seeks new port authority boss

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis said yesterday he was seeking the right person to head Piraeus Port Authority after the last president's recent resignation.

    Mr. Soumakis was replying to a reporter's question.

    The port authority is due for conversion into an SA company ahead of privatisation.

    Athens News Agency

    [25] OTE rejects press report that Intrakom executive represents utility in Moldova talks

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation's (OTE) board of directors issued an announcement yesterday stating that in negotiations for the purchase of 40 per cent of the Moldavian Telecoms Organisation (Moldtelecom), OTE is exclusively represented by the Credit Suisse-First Boston Bank (CSFB).

    The announcement came following an article by the Athens daily "Kathimerini" yesterday morning, which claimed that OTE's negotiator with the Moldavian government was Costas Tsoukalidis, identified by the paper as a high- ranking executive at the Intrakom group and second only to founder and president Socratis Kokkalis.

    OTE's board said that such rumours were spread by those annoyed by the state-run utility's presence in Balkan markets.

    Athens News Agency

    [26] Agrotiki Asfalistiki shipping coverage

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    The state-run Agrotiki Asfalistiki insurance company will expand activities to cover shipping needs, while new offices dealing with this product will be based in Piraeus, the company announced.

    The announcement noted that the expansion is part of a five-year business plan.

    Athens News Agency

    [27] General Bank profits increase by 18 per cent

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    General Bank's pre-tax depreciation and predictions profits amounted to 4.27 billion drachmas in 1997, increasing by 18.4 per cent compared to 1996.

    The dividend to be distributed to bank shareholders for the same year will amount to 115 drachmas per share.

    The above results of the General Bank were announced by General Bank president and former PASOK minister Giorgos Daskalakis at a general assembly of shareholders.

    He also referred at length to the bank's recent increase of share capital and the transfer of 33 per cent of the Army's Share Fund (which held 68.5 per cent of the bank's shares) to Greek and foreign institutional investors. Ten per cent was transferred to the Interamerican group and the remaining 23 per cent was provided with the book building method.

    General Bank now has 91 branches throughout Greece.

    Athens News Agency

    [28] Petrol prices decrease

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    The retail prices of gasoline will decrease for a week.

    According to announcements by the Public Petroleum Corp. (DEP) and the development ministry, gasoline will decrease by 0.60 drachmas per litre, diesel by 0.70 drachmas per litre and heating oil by 0.60 drachmas per litre.

    In the Attica area and the Thessaloniki prefecture super gasoline will cost 214.40 drachmas per litre and unleaded 198.50 drachmas per litre.

    Athens News Agency

    [29] Athens-based children's rights group set up

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    The establishment of Children's Forum 21, an Athens-based international non- governmental organisation "to promote effective change in the situation of children all over the world", was announced yesterday.

    Inspired by the United Nations' Convention of the Rights of the Child, CF21 was founded "to support the fundamental rights of the children of the world, with the active participation of young people and adults", Executive Council chairperson Isidora Pa pafragou told a press conference at the FPA. CF21's members are renowned professionals from all over the world with Greek and international experience "who have been recruited for the protection of the world's children", she said. Many of the members have been working in several countries, especially the Third World, on behalf of UNICEF and the UN Centre for Human Rights.

    The organisation plans to set up in Greece a multipurpose information centre and a center for furthering education, while it also aims to establish a world network among national and regional CF21 centres.

    Athens News Agency Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greece and Japan yesterday signed a protocol of cooperation in the cultural sector, providing for artistic and cultural events between the Delphi European Cultural Centre and the Sizouoka Culture Centre.

    The agreement was signed by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and the Governor of the Sizouoka Region Yoshinubu Isikawa.

    "This is a step forward in the framework of the Cultural Olympiad and with the active participation of Japan we will proceed with further cooperation, " Mr. Venizelos said.

    Athens News Agency

    [30] Typhoid killed Alexander the Great-researchers

    BOSTON 11/06/1998 (Reuters)

    It was not poison or malaria that killed Alexander the Great. The man whose ancient empire ranged from Egypt to India probably died of typhoid fever, according to Thursday's "New England Journal of Medicine."

    The death of Alexander the Great at the age of 33 has long been shrouded in mystery. Various historical versions agree that the Macedonian king who conquered much of the ancient known world returned to Babylon where he attended several banquets and drank a great deal of wine.

    After finishing the last glass Alexander cried out in pain and said it felt like he had been "hit in the liver with an arrow," according to one version of the events.

    Other historians, such as Aristobulus, said Alexander was seized with a raging fever. Some claim he had chills and sweats before falling into a coma and dying 11 days later on June 10, 323 BC. A number of historians speculated his lieutenants, dissatisf ied with Alexander's rule, poisoned the wine.

    There were also reports that several days elapsed before he could be buried, and signs of decomposition were notably absent. Now, researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine working with historians report that Alexander probably died of typhoid fever.

    The medical team, led by Dr. David W. Oldach, said there have been many possible causes of death, such as alcohol poisoning (which may explain why the body remained preserved), arsenic poisoning, an inflammation of the pancreas, or malaria (which was co mmon in the area).

    But the team said descriptions of what happened do not precisely fit those causes, although the group acknowledged that the surviving accounts of his death are not completely reliable, since they were written two or three centuries after the events.

    The disease that seems to fit best is typhoid fever, which comes from contaminated food or drinking water, or is spread by poor hygiene. Before antibiotics, it was often fatal.

    He said the sharp abdominal pain is a vital clue because it probably means the disease perforated his intestine, hastening death.

    Dr. Oldach and his team said typhoid fever can cause a paralysis that spreads from the feet toward the head. The shallow breathing it causes can make a person appear dead. That may be why Alexander's body did not appear to decompose, he added.

    Historian Eugene N. Borza of Penn State University noted some circumstances surrounding Alexander's death may have been exaggerated. Those who sought to glorify Alexander may have wanted to evoke a minor miracle by claiming that his body didn't deterior ate after death, he said.

    The mystery is not likely to be solved soon, said Mr. Borza.

    Alexander's embalmed corpse was hijacked while en route to Macedonia, and displayed in a glass sarcophagus in Alexandria, Egypt for 550 years, before its whereabouts became uncertain.

    Athens News Agency

    [31] Conference on headaches in Thessaloniki

    Athens 11/06/1998 (ANA)

    Headaches cost the EU about 10 billion Ecu per year in medical expenses and work-hour losses, medical experts noted in papers ahead of the 4th European Conference on Headaches, set to take place in Thessaloniki from June 12 to 16.

    They added that most people who suffer from headaches do not visit a physician, while overmedication often leads to new headaches.

    Athens News Agency

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