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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-06-26

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] Stefhanopoulos in Cyprus reiterates firm support for island republic
  • [02] Turkish warplanes attempt to identify US plane in Athens FIR
  • [03] SE countries' representatives meet to discuss Balkan peacekeeping force
  • [04] Conference of Israelis, Palestinians on Rhodes
  • [05] Venizelos cites report of British handing over antiquities to Ankara
  • [06] Venizelos in Canada
  • [07] Joint Greek-Bulgarian archaeological excavation
  • [08] Gov't,party leaders hold off-the-agenda debate on education
  • [09] Fayum portraits exhibition in Athens
  • [10] Burns visits Viotrast installations
  • [11] G.Papandreou on occasion of World Day Against Narcotics
  • [12] VP of Jewish attorneys' union speaks in Thessaloniki on Holocaust
  • [13] Greek lending rates to begin falling this year,Papantoniou says
  • [14] Greek stocks end lower on profit-taking
  • [15] Gov't adopts plan to set up financial centre in Thessaloniki
  • [16] Cronus Airlines unveils plans to expand services
  • [17] Hochtief rejects plan to build underground garage at Spata
  • [18] Sources point to Piraeus Bank as close to Cretabank's purchase
  • [19] One-year T-bill auction
  • [20] Hellas Can equity capital increase
  • [21] Commission announces better promotion of milk, dairy products
  • [22] Eurocourt ruling on state aid to Air France
  • [23] Plastika Thrakis issues 12:10 share swap
  • [24] HEPO participation at Chinese trade fair focusing on marbles, granite
  • [25] Mechanics' association calls for car repairs, instead of replacement
  • [26] Prosecutor proposes dismissal of charges related to OTE/Intrakom- Siemens contract
  • [27] Manhunt on for Italian drug smuggler
  • [28] AEK faces UEFA Cup shut-out
  • [29] Indian military cadet delegation in Greece

  • [01] Stefhanopoulos in Cyprus reiterates firm support for island republic

    LARNACA 26/06/1998 (ANA - N. Megadoukas, G. Leonidas/CNA)

    Greece firmly supports the struggle of the Cypriot people for a just and viable solution, its course for European Union accession and will honour its commitments deriving from the joint defence doctrine, Pr esident Kostis Stephanopoulos assured here yesterday.

    President Stephanopoulos arrived here yesterday for a four-day offical visit, at the invitation of Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides. He is the first Greek head of state to visit Cyprus since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960.

    Greece is one of the three guarantors of the Cyprus Republic. The other two are Britain and Turkey.

    Thousands of Greek Cypriots waving Greek and Cypriot flags, many standing under the shade of umbrellas, braved scorching midday heat to cheer the Greek president as his motorcade passed through streets in the coastal city of Larnaca and the capital of Nicosia. Police in helicopters hovered above.

    President Stephanopoulos is accompanied by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, National Eco-nomy Undersecretary Alekos Baltas and more than 40 officials.

    Welcoming the Greek president at Larnaca Airport, Mr. Clerides said his visit comes at the "most critical time" of the Cyprus problem, since the 1974 Turkish invasion and continued occupation of 37 per cent of Cyprus' territory by Ankara's troops.

    Speaking on arrival in Cyprus, Mr. Stephanopoulos said it was a "great honour" for him to be the first Greek president to officially visit the island republic and pledged the full support and cooperation of Greece.

    "I convey the message that Cyprus is a national issue of top priority for Greece, which fully supports the struggle of Cypriots for freedom, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus".

    He conveyed the firm decision of the political leadership and the people of Greece to support Cyprus.

    "I convey neither hostile nor offensive messages, but messages of friendship, peace and brotherhood".

    The Greek president accused Turkey of continuously violating international law in Cyprus since 1974 and for its recent threats, while he sent the message that Greek and Turkish Cypriots should live in a united, bicommunal federal state, that will defini tely become a full member of the European Union.

    "EU membership will benefit both communities and all Cypriots", he said.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos said during his stay that he will review recent developments in the political problem and discuss Cyprus' course to EU accession. He said the present status quo is unacceptable and urged the international community not to tolerate the continued illegal occupation of part of Cyprus.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos added that the talks will also look into ways of a qualitative improvement in the joint defence pact between Cyprus and Greece, since Turkish aggressiveness continues.

    The governments of Cyprus and Greece agreed in November 1983 to adopt a joint defence doctrine, providing that Greece would come to the aid of Cyprus in case of a new Turkish offensive.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos described his visit to Cyprus as one of the "most important moments" of his life and assured once again that "Greece will support Cyprus to defend its legitimate rights if the need arises".

    On his part, Mr. Clerides said that the Greek president's presence sends the message that Greece, which is a guarantor power of the Cyprus Republic, is in the same trench with Cyprus.

    He noted that "Cyprus and Greece have "strong national and brotherly bonds", to the benefit of stability, peace and security in the region.

    "It is the first time that Cypriot Hellenism is honoured to welcome the highest official of the Greek nation", President Clerides noted.

    "Your presence in Cyprus, my friend, Mr. President, sends a very significant messageIthat Greece, a guarantor power of the Cyprus Republic, is here with us in the same trench. It is fighting with us to protect the Cyprus Republic, it is fighting with us to restore justice in Cyprus and to create an independent and united state, it is fighting with us to enter the big, European family", Mr. Clerides said.

    The Cypriot president also said this message applies to the Turkish Cypriot community "because the contents of a peaceful solution we are pursuing, such as accession to the EU, will benefit both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots".

    Stephanopoulos honoured : Mr. Clerides later honoured Mr. Stephanopoulos with the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III. In a brief ceremony at the Presidential Mansion, President Clerides said: "This decoration is the least sign of honour to you and the Greek Republic for everything that is valuable which you have offered so far to Cypriot Hellenism and the Republic of Cyprus and for Greece's continuing support for our struggle." The Cypriot president said the Cyprus struggle, a peaceful struggle, aims to "safeguard t he future of Cypriot Hellenism in the land of our ancestors and secure harmonious and creative co-existence and cooperation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots within a federal Cyprus Republic".

    Receiving the Grand Collar, President Stephanopoulos thanked his Cypriot counterpart for the honour bestowed on him and the Greek people.

    "I accept this great honour with gratitude on behalf of the Greek Republic", he said.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos further said Greece feels "a moral and legal commitment to what we are doing for Cyprus, and we are not asking for anything in return."

    Greece and Cyprus, he noted, identify with each other and in this sense Greece's moves for Cyprus are both obligatory and self-evident.

    "I would like to assure you that I consider this honour as the greatest possible honour I have received to date," Mr. Stephanopoulos said.

    Thanking once more the people of Cyprus for the warm welcome they afforded him, the Greek president said: "I wish with all my heart that a solution is found to the Cyprus question to allow Cyprus to live in peace, united, always prospering and being an example to all the people."

    Discussions : Prior to the ceremony, the two presidents had 20 minutes of private talks, followed by talks between the Cypriot and Greek delegations.

    Representing the Cyprus government were Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, Minister of Finance Christodoulos Christodoulou, Attorney-General Alecos Markides, government spokesman Christos Stylianides, Under-Secretary to the President Pantelis Kouros an d other officials.

    Also taking part were Greece's ambassador to Cyprus, Kyriakos Rodousakis, and Cyprus' ambassador to Greece, Christodoulos Pashiardis.

    Nicosia 'wall' will fall, says Stephanopoulos : President Stephanopoulos expressed hope that Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, will soon be reunited, as well as the island as a whole. He described as a "shame" for the world civilisation the wall which divides Nicosia, the world's last divived cap ital.

    The Greek president, was presented with the capital's golden key by Nicosia Mayor Lellos Demetriades during a welcoming ceremony at the entrance of Nicosia.

    Mr. Demetriades described President Stephanopoulos' presence here as a "proof of the firm support of Greece in our struggle for freedom."

    The Greek president said "it is unacceptable to have walls based on violence, still separating people, shielding in this way unfair positions and illegal situations."

    He noted that it is "a shame to civilisation, not only to those who erected the wall, dividing Nicosia into two...but also to those who tolerate this wall."

    Mr. Stephanopoulos expressed the conviction that just like any other wall in the world came down one after the other, the same will happen soon in Nicosia.

    He pointed out that this wall also "separates Turkey from Europe" noting that the Turkish side should realise that it is to its benefit to change its policy. Receiving the golden key of the capital, Mr. Stephanopoulos said he looks forward to the day when "a real key will open the door and let people freely move from one side to the other".

    In the afternoon, the Greek president met with Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos in Nicosia.

    In a speech at the Archbishopry, Mr. Stephanopoulos said that Greece and Cyprus "should prepare themselves not because they have expansionist designs or because they are not peace-loving countries, but because as victims of expansionism they are obliged to defend their rights."

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    Demirel to arrive in occupied areas next month : ANKARA (AFP/ANA) Turkish President Suleyman Demirel will visit the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus in July and not on June 28, as reported by the Turkish press previously, Turkish government sources said here yesterday.

    The same sources added that Mr. Demirel will inaugurate a project to supply drinking water to the occupied areas. The lack of drinking water in the Turkish-occupied parts of the island republic has been acute since Turkey's invasion in 1974.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Turkish warplanes attempt to identify US plane in Athens FIR

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    Two Turkish F-16 warplanes yesterday attempted to identify a US Air Force KC-135 aircraft, despite the fact that the American military plane had followed all necessary procedures by submitting flight plans to both the Greek and Cypriot authorities.

    In addition, the US aircraft had received special permission to fly in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) at an altitude of 35,000 feet.

    The incident took place at 1:35 p.m. local time, southeast of Siteia, Crete and west of Rhodes.

    According to initial reports, the Turkish aircraft proceeded to identify the US aircraft from behind at a great distance. However, the pilot of the KC-135 reportedly did not realise what the Turkish warplanes were doing, although the incident showed up on radar.

    The Turkish F-16s quickly exited the Athens FIR, making it unnecessary for Hellenic Air Force jets to take off, identify and intercept them, reports state.

    The US aircraft was flying from Larnaca to Aviano, Italy.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] SE countries' representatives meet to discuss Balkan peacekeeping force

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    Military experts from seven SE European countries meeting in Athens to discuss procedural matters related a proposed multinational force to prevent conflict in the Balkans are reported to have agreed on a committee to decide the force's peacekeeping missi ons, sources said yesterday.

    The committee is to be made up of diplomats and military experts. The decision to set up the force was taken at a meeting of the defence undersecretaries of eight countries of southeast Europe and the United States in Tirana last month.

    The Athens meeting is being attended by delegations from Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Italy, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Romania. Representatives from the US and Slovenia are attending as observers.

    According to the sources, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey have each offered a mechanised battalion for inclusion in the 4,000-men force, with Albania volunteering an infantry company, FYROM a mechanised company and Italy a battalion, with Rome prom ising more support for difficult missions. Issues related to the location of the headquarters and which country has command will be discussed at a meeting of defence ministers of the participating countries in FYROM in September.

    Greece has offered to house the force near Thessaloniki, and has a comprehensive proposal on the offer. Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey have said they are ready to undertake the expense of setting up the infrastructure and installations necessary for the force.

    The Athens meeting ends today.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Conference of Israelis, Palestinians on Rhodes

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    Participants from Israel and Palestine will meet in Rhodes between July 1-5 in an effort to consolidate a climate of confidence between the two peoples and to advance peace procedures in the Middle East.

    The Greek government undertook the initiative for the meeting.

    According to a foreign ministry announcement, the gathering will enable participants - politicians, government officials, academics and other personalities - to exchange views on all aspects of the peace initiative and, in general, relations between Israelis and Palestinians.

    This is the third meeting of its kind hosted in Greece within a year. The previous two meetings were held last July and last December.

    The meeting will be attended by, among others, Israel's labour and culture ministers, the head of the Palestinian negotiating team Faisal Husseini, European Union envoy to the Middle East Miguel Angel Moratinos, and representatives from the EU, the Unit ed States and the European Commission.

    Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis will open the meeting. In addition to the event, a conference of journalists and media representatives will be held on the island, organised by the Internatio-nal Centre for Peace in the Middle East. It will be attended by about 90 journalists from Israel and Palestine, as well as foreign press correspondents based in Tel Aviv.

    The conference will start on July 2 with an address by Mr. Kranidiotis. Issues to be examined include the role played by the mass media in resolving local disputes, the image of the Israelis and Palestinians before and after the Oslo agreement as well as the role played by European media in the Middle East.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Venizelos cites report of British handing over antiquities to Ankara

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday said that the British government on May 26 handed over to Turkey five antiquities, citing a report by the "Turkish Daily News".

    He said the antiquities were found by an amateur diver on a 1894 Dutch shipwreck under the Irish Sea, and were claimed by both Turkey and the Netherlands.

    According to the Ankara-based newspaper, the artifacts hailed from Asia Minor and were allegedly exported from Turkey illegally by the Dutch ambassador to Istanbul at the end of the previous century.

    Finally, Mr. Venizelos noted that he would be interested to know the reactions of the British government and the British public over this development.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Venizelos in Canada

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos will be in Canada on Monday to begin a three-city tour that will include meetings with the Canadian-Greek community and members of the Canadian government.

    Mr. Venizelos will be representing Greece at the two-day international conference on international cultural cooperation in Ottowa, beginning Monday.

    He will also address the city's Press Club on Greece's role in Europe, the Balkans and the Mediterranean and the Cultural Olympiad, before meeting with Canadian National Heritage Minister Sheila Copps.

    Mr. Venizelos will also meet with Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy on the sidelines of the conference, on Tuesday.

    He is scheduled to announce Greek state funding for a Modern Greek studies programme at McGill University in Montreal before travelling to Toronto to meet with Canadian MPs of Greek descent.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Joint Greek-Bulgarian archaeological excavation

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greek and Bulgarian archaeologists are working together at a Promahonas, Serres archaeological site, officials in eastern Macedonia announced yesterday. The site is split in half by the Greek-Bulgarian border.

    The settlement, dated as far back as 5,000 BC, consists of wooden residences and public structures as well as pottery fragments is expected to reveal a wealth of information on the relations of Aegean civilisation and the inhabitants of the inner Balkans, an announcement added.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Gov't,party leaders hold off-the-agenda debate on education

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday that education is not merchandise and the government will continue to support the principle of public education.

    Speaking in Parliament during an off-the-agenda debate on education at the party leader level, Mr. Simitis said that the establishment of private universities sought by main opposition New Democracy would only provide more profits for business people.

    Mr. Simitis said the government had a "sacred obligation" and will defend the principle of equal opportunities in education. He referred at length to educational reform currently taking place, such as the unified senior high school, technical vocational education as well as open and flexible access to universities and technical institutes.

    He referred in particular to the issue of the waiting list for appointment to public schools, which he said constitutes a "world example of anachronism." He added that its abolition is "applauded by the overwhelming majority of the Greek people."

    Mr. Simitis conceded that necessary changes are faced with difficulties in implementation, adding that all the necessary measures have been taken to secure the best possible conditions in the recent test for the hiring of teachers in which 27,000 candid ates participated.

    Mr. Simitis also said that the funding of reform by the European Community budget and increased state expenditures for education provide considerable support for the progress of new educational programmes, stressing that Greece is one of few countries increasing the education budget and, parallel to an increase in appointments, the country has one of the most satisfactory ratios between teachers and pupils from among OECD countries.

    ND leader Costas Karamanlis criticised the government for making changes without dialogue and consent, as he said, adding that "we are witnesses of clashes which lead nowhere."

    He noted that the government created "widespread concern, social unrest and showed authoritarianism without a strategy and an integrated policy."

    The ND leader further spoke of "amateurish improvisations" with children and parents being the recipients and the victims.

    Mr. Karamanlis also accused the government of "poor improvisation," referring to expenditures on education. He said it is populism for the money of the Greek people to be "thrown away" and no one to apologise and accused the government of inadequate abs orption of EU funds.

    After analysing his party's five main proposals, Mr. Karamanlis said that the government's rejection of the establishment of private universities was a lost opportunity.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga said that the government's intention is to fully harmonise the country's educational system with the market economy, the new type of man who is continuously looking for work, "a robot prog rammed to produce and provide many profits for the employer."

    Referring to disturbances during the recent test for the preparation of a list of teachers to be appointed, Ms Papariga accused the government of "unhesitatingly using force, terrorism, provocation and anti-communism against teachers."

    However, she admitted that the problem of evaluation did exist.

    Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos accused the government of showing weakness and incompetence in promoting the vision of a real reform and "meet" the anxieties and sensitivities of the educational community, the university community and the students.

    "Your educational reform constitutes a world originality in the sense that it is taking place in absentia of all those involved," he said.

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas said that the government must preoccupy itself with shaping rules for education and primarily educational systems and processes. He also criticised the government for spasmodic and violent moves in the education sector.

    On his part, Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis said that "I did not hear anything from the leaders of opposition parties about how close educational reform is to children, the family, to production and to development."

    Mr. Arsenis said that "party patriotism has its limits", adding that the measure of the "all-day school" supports both children and their working parents."

    He went on to say that "supportive teaching" supports weak pupils and rids families of preparatory schools, the "second opportunity schools" allow young people of a higher age to rejoin education, and the opening of third stage education with the "open university" provides university education for working people and students of a high age.

    Mr. Arsenis said that the reason that educational reform is taking place is to prevent the existence of technologically uneducated citizens and to enable present-day graduates to update their knowledge in the future which will become antiquated speedily in the new environment.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Fayum portraits exhibition in Athens

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    An exhibition of Fayum portraits opened in Athens at the Benaki Museum last Wednesday and will remain on show for a month.

    The exhibition concluded a successful showing in Irakleio, Crete.

    The early Christian portraits, which are on loan for the British Musuem, Ukraine's Museum of Eastern and Western Art as well as a private collection, are painted on coffins and depict the dead of the later Ptolemaic period to the 7th century A.D.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Burns visits Viotrast installations

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns visited installations of the Viotrast SA company at the Thessaloniki industrial park yesterday, where he was briefed on the firm's activities. The company is active in the sector of bio-medical technology and promotes inter-European cooperation between universities, enterprises and other agencies involved in high technology.

    Mr. Burns was briefed in particular on Viotrast's activity production and trading of advanced technology, development of technological applications, assumption of initiatives aimed at the transfer of technological innovations in the sectors of bio-medi cal science and technology, as well as the communications, informatics and information applications.

    Mr. Burns showed particular interest in medical aid for ocean-going vessels, which the company is promoting internationally.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] G.Papandreou on occasion of World Day Against Narcotics

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    The fight against drugs obviously needs a change of course and dialogue at the international level for new solutions to be studied, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday on the occasion of today's World Day Against Narcotics.

    "We must recognise, first of all, that the fight against drugs has led us to a catastrophic defeat, the victims of which are 190 million addicts worldwide, according to recent UN data," he said.

    "There is an increasing realisation that legal sanctions alone have failed and that we need a different approach to limit the dangers from the rising use of narcotics," he added.

    He stressed that emphasis was needed on prevention - in the form of appropriate information which should be devoid of 'myths and demonology'. He also said that addicts should be properly viewed as victims of the powerful illegal drugs industry, which a masses annual revenues of $400 billion worldwide.

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis said in a statement regarding the day that the problem was fuelled by increasing unemployment and corruption, the lack of meaning and aims in formal education, overconsumption, the crisis in the in stitution of the family, and the challenge to the traditional structures of society.

    He also noted that the modern, successfully tried three-fold method of prevention, therapy and reintegration was being applied without central planning and adequate funding.

    The ND leader noted that if his party was return to power, it would strive to create positive behaviour models for the young, deal with the great problem of unemployment, promote a meritocratic educational system, strengthen detoxification and therapy measures, and introduce stricter penalties for "traffi-ckers and their collaborators of all kinds".

    Athens News Agency

    [12] VP of Jewish attorneys' union speaks in Thessaloniki on Holocaust

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    The vice-president of the International Union of Jewish Lawyers yesterday addressed at a conference entitled "Anti-Semitism and those who refute history," held in Thessaloniki.

    "There are more than 200 books around the world which refute the Holocaust of the Jews and support that the Jews 'discovered' the gas chambers as a way to establish a state," Hantasa Ben-Itto added.

    About 200 participants arrived in Greece from 16 countries to honour the work of their Greek Jewish colleagues who died during the occupation.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Greek lending rates to begin falling this year,Papantoniou says

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greek base lending interest rates will start falling rapidly as of autumn, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday, speaking at a seminar organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry on a new development law.

    Mr. Papantoniou predicted that base lending rates would drop from their current 15 percent to between 6-7 percent in the next two years, in line with the European Union average.

    A projected drop in Greece's inflation rate from 5.3 percent to 2.0 percent by the end of 1999 "will lead the country to a period of a rapid decline in interest rates", Mr. Papantoniou said.

    He stressed that Greek interest rates would complete their convergence with EU interest rates in the next two or three years.

    Referring to the new development law, he said that it would help to modernise an existing incentives system to companies investing in Greece and at the same time introduce new procedures.

    Under the new law, state subsidies would be based purely on market criteria while the government would offer more tax relief.

    Mr. Papantoniou said that the new law would boost investments supported by European Union funds and particularly public investments.

    He predicted that with the help of a recovering private sector Greece's economic growth would accelerate by 2001 to 5-6 percent from 3.5 percent currently.

    Mr. Papantoniou said that a 14 percent devaluation of the drachma earlier this year would in the long run benefit Greek enterprises and strengthen the competitiveness of Greek products.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Greek stocks end lower on profit-taking

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities succumbed to a wave of profit-taking which hit the Athens Stock Exchange in the last few minutes of a lively session yesterday.

    The general index ended 0.59 percent lower at 2,420.25 points, reversing an earlier 1.60 percent advance.

    Sector indices were mixed. Banks fell 2.12 percent, Insurance eased 0.69 percent, Investment rose 1.20 percent, Leasing dropped 2.97 percent, Industrials ended 0.56 percent higher, Construction fell 1.58 percent, Miscellaneous dropped 1.83 percent and Holding fell 0.72 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 2.42 percent off, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 1.51 percent down at 1.434.18.

    Trading was extremely heavy with turnover at 91.4 billion drachmas reflecting trading of a large block of shares in Hellenic Telecoms and blue- chip banks.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 136 to 107 with another 14 issues unchanged.

    General Bank, Bank of Athens, Bank of Central Greece, General Warehouses, Boutaris, Papoutsanis and Elfico scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

    Mediterranean Invest, Attica Bank, Endysi, Lanakam, Ippotour, Viokarpet, Balkan Export and Ergas suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 37,720 drachmas, Ergobank at 25,675, Alpha Credit Bank at 26,505, Ionian Bank at 13,500, Delta Dairy at 3,720, Titan Cement at 19,480, Intracom at 10,900 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 7,550.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Gov't adopts plan to set up financial centre in Thessaloniki

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    The government has completed plans to set up an international financial services centre in Thessaloniki and to promote the country's second largest city as a financial centre in the Balkans, the Black Sea and southeast Europe.

    A government committee chaired by Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos yesterday discussed a special committee's feasibility study on the project which initially supports the plan.

    National Economy Ministry secretary general, George Papaioannou, and representatives from Thessaloniki's business community also attended the meeting.

    The government has already asked the committee to prepare an application dossier to be submitted to the European Union along with the regulatory framework for the financial centre's operation.

    The centre will offer all financial, banking, insurance and brokerage services to neighbouring Balkan states, Black Sea countries and other east European states. According to the feasibility study, the Thessaloniki financial centre could possib ly cooperate with a Black Sea Commerce and Development Bank and the Thessaloniki Stock Exchange Centre.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Cronus Airlines unveils plans to expand services

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    Cronus Airlines, a Greek-owned private airline, aims to expand its domestic and international flight network as of next autumn, Ioannis Metaxas, its chairman, said during a press conference yesterday.

    Cronus Airlines was founded in 1994. Since 1995 the airline has carried out regular flights from Thessaloniki to Germany's largest cities.

    In 1997 it started regular flights to Athens and London and flights from Athens to Germany.

    Last April it launched flights to Paris. Cronus is increasing its daily Athens-Thessaloniki flights to three from October.

    The company was also seeking an increase in destinations and number of flights to cities abroad.

    Cronus Airlines, a member of IATA, operates two Boeing 737-300 aircraft and one Boeing 737-400.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Hochtief rejects plan to build underground garage at Spata

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    German engineering group Hochtief has rejected a plan to build an underground garage at the new Athens airport in Spata sparking a dispute with the Greek government.

    Hochtief's general manager, George Page, blamed the state for the dispute, saying that an initial contract for the construction of the Spata airport called for building a ground-level garage with parking for 8,000 vehicles.

    However, a revised contract signed in 1995 called for the building of an underground garage for environmental reasons.

    Mr. Page said that a solution should be given by the Greek state because his company was not informed of any changes in the contract.

    Sources said that the construction of an underground garage could add another 30 billion drachmas to the cost.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Sources point to Piraeus Bank as close to Cretabank's purchase

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    Reliable sources yesterday expressed certainty that Piraeus Bank will submit a bid for Cretabank, the scandal-plagued concern of the late 1980s that currently has 71 branches.

    The deadline for submission of bids, for which no floor has been set, is Monday, June 29.

    Meanwhile, Piraeus Bank is reported to be speedily proceeding to a streamlining of Macedonia-Thrace Bank's (MT) portfoli, of which it recently acquired a 37 per cent stake through the Athens Stock Market and control of its management. The plan targets a ssets of 1 trillion drachmas and profits of 15-17 billion drachmas for Macedonia-Thrace Bank by 2000.

    Piraeus hopes through its subsidiary's base in Thessaloniki to play a leading role in northern Greece as well as in the rest of the Balkan region. For this reason, sources said, MT is planning the establishment of a finance subsidiary.

    Piraeus Bank has forecast profits of eight billion drachmas in the first half.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] One-year T-bill auction

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    One-year treasury bills in electronic form,valued at 160 billion drachmas, will be auctioned on Monday while settlement has been set for Wednesday.

    The auctioning will be conducted with the participation of primary dealers on a competitive basis, while 20 per cent of the total amount may be sold through non-competitive bidding.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Hellas Can equity capital increase

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Hellas Can general shareholders' assembly yesterday approved a 385- million-drachma equity capital increase, representing a capitalisation of reserves.

    The company's turnover reached 110.8 billion drachmas in the January-May period, compared to 9.1 billion in the same period last year, and profits of 2.76 billion drachmas, compared to 2.16 billion last year.

    The company expects sales of 33 billion and profits of 7.2 billion drachmas for the entire year.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Commission announces better promotion of milk, dairy products

    BRUSSELS 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    The European Commission yesterday approved a proposal of Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler for the promotion of milk consumption and dairy products through 20 action programmes, a relevant anouncement said.

    The programmes, whose total cost is 10 million Ecu, targets the under-25 age group.

    The announcement said the basic slogans of the promotions revolve around the concept of "nutrition" - as milk has important substances for the human body - and "modernisation", as the products in question are fully in line with modern habits of consumpt ion.

    The strategy of the programmes is based on four axes, sponsorship of sports events, nutritional information campaigns, advertising and public relations.

    Promotion of the programmes in Greece has been mainly undertaken by the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB).

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Eurocourt ruling on state aid to Air France

    BRUSSELS 26/06/1998 (ANA - M.Spinthourakis)

    A European Commission representative called yesterday's Eurocourt ruling on the Commission's approval for the rendering of economic aid to Air France by the French state "illegal", and that it cannot be related to other cases of member-states supporting their national carriers.

    About one trillion drachmas was given as aid to Air France.

    This was also mentioned in a relevant statement by the European Commission regarding the European Court's decision where, among others, it is stressed that the ruling will have no consequences for other cases of support for airline companies or for the EU's overall policy in the state subsidies sector.

    It is reminded that the European Commission is examining Greece's request to approve aid for Olympic Airways totalling 35 billion drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Plastika Thrakis issues 12:10 share swap

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    A regular general assembly of shareholders of the Plastika Thrakis firm convened yesterday and decided to distribute free shares from the capitalisation of reserves at a ratio of 12 new shares for every 10 old ones.

    An increase in share capital was also decided with the payment of cash. Two million new shares will be issued which will be provided for old shareholders at a ratio of four new shares for every 10 old ones at a price of 1,400 drachmas each.

    Capital to be obtained, amounting to 2.8 billion drachmas, will be used in its entirety to fund the company's investment programme amounting to eight billion drachmas.

    The company expects sales totalling 12 billion drachmas and profits totalling 2.2 billion drachmas over the entire fiscal year.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] HEPO participation at Chinese trade fair focusing on marbles, granite

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) will participate in an international trade fair entitled "China Stone '98", scheduled for Canton, China, between Nov. 26-29.

    Products to be displayed at the exhibition include marbles and granites, products made of marble, machinery and technological equipment for the marble industry, cutting discs and chemical products for the marble sector.

    According to a relevant announcement by HEPO, the People's Republic of China constitutes an attractive market for the Greek marble industry.

    According to the Union of European Public Works Contractors, new buildings covering a total surface of 15 billion square metres are expected to be built in China by the year 2010.

    Athens News Agency

    [25] Mechanics' association calls for car repairs, instead of replacement

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    About 400,000 old cars - half in the Athens area - are considered particularly dangerous for the environment, according to a study by the Association of Car and Machinery Mechanics.

    These cars are described as 'over-polluters", due either to their old technology or worn-out catalytic converters.

    Association representatives said in a press conference yesterday that 50 per cent of such cars could become environment-friendly at a relatively low- cost (100,000 - 400,000 drachmas), instead of being scrapped.

    Athens News Agency

    [26] Prosecutor proposes dismissal of charges related to OTE/Intrakom- Siemens contract

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    Appeals court prosecutor Andreas Fakos yesterday announced that he proposed the dismissal of all charges related to the Intrakom-Siemens contract with the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) regarding the supply of digital telephone switches.
    Athens News Agency

    [27] Manhunt on for Italian drug smuggler

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greek customs officers have seized nine kilos of heroin which an Italian tried to smuggle into the country from Albania, the police announced yesterday.

    After arriving from Albania at the Krystallopigi border post yesterday afternoon, customs officers indicated that he stop his car for an inspection.

    Instead of stopping, Mikele Archangelo put his foot on the accelerator and tried to escape. After a brief chase, his car ended up in a ditch and the driver fled on foot. A search of the car turned up 18 packages, each containing half a kilo of heroin, some concealed behind the dashboard and others in the petrol tank.

    The police have launched a manhunt to arrest Archangelo.

    Athens News Agency

    [28] AEK faces UEFA Cup shut-out

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    AEK of Athens will not be allowed to participate in this coming season's UEFA Cup competition unless there is a change in the ownership status of the club by July 1, UEFA deputy secretary-general Marcus Studer told the Greek Soccer Federation (EPO) yester day.

    In a letter to EPO, Mr. Studer said that if there was no change in the ownership status, the federation would have the right to nominate another team in AEK's place, namely Ionikos, which finished in fifth place in the Greek first division championship last season.

    British Eurodeputy Glynn Ford on Wednesday revealed in statements to the ANA that ENIC, the British company which owns AEK, had information that UEFA had decided that Slavia Prague, which also belongs to ENIC, will play in the competition.

    The problem arose after UEFA ruled that if a company owns more than one soccer club, only one team will be eligible for each of the three main European cup competitions.

    Both AEK and Slavia Prague had qualified for this year's UEFA Cup competition.

    Mr. Ford told the ANA after talks with ENIC officials in London Wednesday morning that UEFA had evaluated the two teams on the basis of their performance over the last five years and had decided to opt for Slavia.

    He added that he would be seeking the intervention of the European Commission on the matter and would be meeting with Commissioner for competition Karel Van Miert later this week.

    Mr. Ford said his first objective was to secure a postponement of the implementation of UEFA's ruling for at least one year and subsequently for other ways to be found to resolve the problem.

    One alternative, according to Mr. Ford, could be that UEFA make the decision which team participates on the basis of "objective and commonly acceptable criteria".

    Athens News Agency

    [29] Indian military cadet delegation in Greece

    Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    A group of 34 Indian National Defence Academy cadets will arrive tomorrow in Athens on an official nine-day visit.

    Their itinerary includes meetings with the leadership of the Greek armed forces and visits to achaeological sites as well as military installations.

    Athens News Agency Athens 26/06/1998 (ANA)

    The municipality of Irakleio will participate as an observer at the Mediterranean Cities Network, funded by the EU's "ECOS-OVERTURE" programme.Toward this purpose, Irakleio officials will visit the Spanish cities of Malaga and Barcelona.

    Athens News Agency

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