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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-09-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece keeps EMU target date of 2001 despite Russian market fallout
  • [02] Greek stocks sink 3.8 pct, rebound off early lows
  • [03] Greece to retender Hellenic Duty Free Shops Sept. 30
  • [04] Greece aims to improve airport facilities, services
  • [05] Aktor engineering contractor reports 12.5 pct profit rise
  • [06] Airport infrastructure projects
  • [07] Greek, Cypriot capital market commissions to work together
  • [08] Greece so far nets Dr 444 bln in tax revenue
  • [09] SEBBE board, industrialists meet Simitis, Karamanlis
  • [10] ND criticises gov't
  • [11] Greece sets objections to Turkish proposal for Cyprus confederation
  • [12] Woman accused of espionage released
  • [13] Tsohatzopoulos enters military talks with Tunisian officials
  • [14] Tsohatzopoulos to visit Cyprus for Independence Day
  • [15] Israeli embassy denial
  • [16] Greek parl't to hold tele-conference
  • [17] Third biennial meeting at Phanari
  • [18] SYN: Govt's talk of centre-left hypocritical
  • [19] British genius honours Greece by his presence
  • [20] Mayoral canditate presents campaign platform
  • [21] Ministry gets tough on taxi-drivers
  • [22] New tomb discovered at Vergina
  • [23] Disability card to be introduced

  • [01] Greece keeps EMU target date of 2001 despite Russian market fallout

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's government will adhere to its target of joining European economic and monetary union by 2001 despite the fallout from political and financial turmoil in Russia, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday.

    "There is nothing to indicate that Greece will not be a member of EMU on January 1, 2001. We are progressing steadily along the path we have forged, " Mr. Papantoniou said.

    The global financial crisis was long-term, but there were clear indications that the situtation was under control, he told reporters.

    Mr. Papantoniou was speaking after a 90-minute meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis on the government's 1999 economic policy, which is due to be announced at the opening of the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair on Saturday.

    Also taking part in yesterday's meeting was Mr. Simitis' economic adviser, Tasos Yiannitsis.

    Despite some signs of stabilisation in domestic markets so far this week, volatility would continue due to the upheaval abroad, Mr. Papantoniou said.

    "Greece is keeping a close watch on developments in other European countries and the situtation is under control," he added.

    The government was carrying out its privatisation programme normally, but it could not predict the outcome due to uncertainty abroad.

    If markets normalised shortly, then the privatisation plan would be a success, and a repeat tender for the privatisation of Hellenic Duty Free Shops through the bourse had been called for September 30, Mr. Papantoniou said.

    According to the minister, reactions to the financial crisis by Greek stock, money and foreign currency markets had not exceeded those of other European countries, showing their maturity.

    Badly hit were the debt markets of countries like Greece, Sweden and Denmark that have yet to join EMU, when institutional investors dumped bonds in order to recoup losses in other markets, analysts said.

    But easing the impact of the crisis is the fact that the drachma is a member of the EU's exchange rate mechanism, which has helped to buffet it against the worst of the fallout, the analysts said.

    Mr. Papantoniou also expressed the hope that Russia would resolve its crisis, and that both the EU and US would offer financial aid. At the same time, the crisis was mainly political and needed the right policies.

    EU members including Greece were holding consultations on the Russian deadlock. Central Bank Governor Lucas Papademos was in Frankfurt for talks with his counterparts; and the EU's monetary committee is due to meet today to prepare for a meeting of econ omic and finance ministers (ECOFIN) probably next week, Mr. Papantoniou said.

    Greece willing to join aid effort for Russia : Greece, maintaining traditional ties of friendship with Moscow, is prepared to take part in any effort to help Russia out of its crisis, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with President Kostis Stephanopoulos on foreign policy, Mr. Pangalos said there was concern in all European capitals over Russia's political and financial crisis.

    "If the West does not help Russia, the consequences will be adverse and we will all suffer the repercussions," Mr. Pangalos said.

    He declined to forecast the possible outcome of a meeting scheduled yesterday between US president Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

    Gov't committed to EMU entry, worried about rate rise : The government is keeping its 2001 target date for EMU entry but is concerned about a rise in interest rates that could emerge from the international market crisis, and its adverse impact on inflation, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    "We believe, however, that we will achieve our goals in the time that has been allocated and there is no cause for concern at the present time," Mr. Reppas said.

    He said the government believed the impact of the crisis would be long- lasting.

    It hoped that U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to Moscow would help to resolve Russia's economic crisis, but the main responsibility lay with the Russian leadership, which needed to change the country's banking and tax system, Mr. Reppas said.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Greek stocks sink 3.8 pct, rebound off early lows

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    Equities slumped in moderate trade yesterday but finished well off the day's lows in the wake of Wall Street's second biggest plunge in history in the previous session, which helped to drag down the market early in trading.

    The Athens general index ended 3.81 percent lower at 2,092.61 points, sharply off the day's lows when the market shed 7.8 percent, approaching the daily 8.0 percent lower volatility limit. Turnover was 58.1 billion drachmas.

    Sector indices lost substantial ground. Banks fell 3.99 percent, Insurance dropped 4.93 percent, Investment was 4.52 percent off, Leasing plunged 7.48 percent, Industrials were 3.28 percent lower, Construction fell 4.75 percent, Miscellaneous eased 4.29 percent and Holding dropped 5.50 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 4.53 percent lower.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 214 to 26 with another 7 issues unchanged.

    Commercial Bank, Ionian Bank, Sysware, Betros, Allatini, Ideal, Kreka, Piraeus Leasing, Commercial Invest and Hellenic Bottling suffered the heaviest losses hitting the daily 8.0 percent limit down.

    Hellenic Mills, Ergodata, Delta, Levenderis, Macedonian Plastics, Elfico, Vernikos Yachts, Texapret, Constantinidis and Technodomi scored the biggest gains.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 39,400 drachmas, Ergobank at 24,200, Alpha Credit Bank at 21,300, Ionian Bank at 10,677, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,850, Delta Dairy at 3,290, Intracom at 11,250, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,670 and Titan Cement at 19,300.

    In the domestic foreign exchange market the drachma rebounded against a declining US dollar, ending 1.51 percent higher. It finished slightly lower against the DMark and the Ecu.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Greece to retender Hellenic Duty Free Shops Sept. 30

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    The government announced yesterday it would hold a new international tender through the bourse for the sale of a 67 percent stake in Hellenic Duty Free Shops. Another 13 percent will be sold using Balladur-type convertible bonds in order to aid the gove rnment's privatisation drive. Investors will later be able to convert the debt paper into the stock of privatised firms.

    Bids for Hellenic Duty Free Shops will be accepted by September 30, and the government reserves the right to annul the tender if financial conditions remain adverse due to an international market crisis.

    A binding letter of guarantee of up to two billion drachmas is required to bid in the tender for the company, which is already listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The firm has signed a memorandum of understanding with the manager of a new international airport being built for Athens, which is due to open in Spata, west of the capital, in March 2001.

    The deal allows Hellenic Duty Free Shops total space of 1,450 square metres at the airport on lease.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Greece aims to improve airport facilities, services

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    Greece plans to improve the standard of services, security and facilities at its airports, Transport and Communications Minister Tasos Mantelis said yesterday.

    Mr. Mantelis was addressing a conference on airport security organised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which ends today.

    The government has allocated some 1.5 billion dollars to modernising airports over the next three years. A new international airport being built for Athens at Spata, which opens on March 1, 2001, will be supplied with state-of-the-art security syste ms, along with four other airports servicing international flights, Mr. Mantelis said.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Aktor engineering contractor reports 12.5 pct profit rise

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    Aktor,a major engineering contractor listed on the Athens bourse, said yesterday that its net first-half profit before tax had risen to 1.6 billion drachmas from 1.4 billion a year earlier, up 12.5 pct.

    Turnover in the same period jumped 52.3 percent to 9.9 billion drachmas from 6.5 billion.

    The firm's unexecuted orders total 100 billion drachmas.

    Aktor's management sees 1998 profits of around four billion drachmas on sales of 22 billion drachmas.

    Among the firm's projects are construction of a Hyatt hotel in Thessaloniki budgeted at seven billion drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Airport infrastructure projects

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    The infrastructure projects of the five international airports of Greece demanded by the Schengen Treaty were completed recently.

    The 5.5-billion-drachma project added 15,000 sq. metres of room for passenger capacity, which will be needed for the division of incoming and outgoing flights.

    According to the treaty, passengers travelling within the European Union will not be subject to passport control, thus the incoming flights to EU member-states must be physically divided from the internal ones.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Greek, Cypriot capital market commissions to work together

    NICOSIA 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    Greece and Cyprus signed a protocol for the two countries' capital markets commissions to exchange information and launch cooperation, Cypriot Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said in Nicosia yesterday.

    The protocol, signed by Greece's capital markets commission chairman Stavros Thomadakis and his Cypriot counterpart, Frixos Sorokos, will cover cooperation in setting the regulatory framework for the stock market and help to strengthen bilateral financial ties.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Greece so far nets Dr 444 bln in tax revenue

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    Tax revenue collected from tax returns filed this year so far totals 444 billion drachmas, the finance ministry said in a statement yesterday.

    The ministry's tax department has processed 3,997,728 tax returns from a total of 4.5 million submitted in 1998.

    It has sent 1,740,114 debit notes to taxpayers totalling an additional 547.1 billion drachmas, and 1,331,305 credit notes totalling 103.1 billion drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] SEBBE board, industrialists meet Simitis, Karamanlis

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    Representatives from Northern Greece's industial world, headed by Federation of Greek Industries of Northern Greece (SEBBE) president Vassilis Takas told the government and opposition yesterday of their concerns over the course of the industry in that region of the country, which as they said was characterised by phenomena of de-industrialisation and industrial decline.

    The board of SEBBE had successive meetings yesterday with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis in view of Thessaloniki's International Trade Fair opening this weekend.

    The industry representatives expressed their complaints at the observed delay in implementation of infrastructure projects in the region.

    At the same time, however, they appeared satisfied at the economy's positive course toward EU Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and an improvement in the utilisation of funds of the II Community Support Framework.

    They also admitted that it was for the first time under the present government that a cohesive industrial policy was being followed.

    Though the SEBBE board described the course of privatisations and structural changes in the public sector and the labour market as positive, it said that more needed to be done. It further asked for the state apparatus' preparation for a deregulation of the state-controlled energy, telecommunications, transport and water supply markets.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] ND criticises gov't

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said yesterday that Prime Minister Costas Simitis and National Economy Yiannos Papantoniou were "living in their world of hallucinations."

    Mr. Spiliotopoulos also said the government economic policies have failed, noting economy indicators, such as unemployment, and inflation.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Greece sets objections to Turkish proposal for Cyprus confederation

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    Greece yesterday set out its objections to a Turkish and Turkish Cypriot proposal for a confederation of two states on Cyprus, saying the idea was an indication that the Turkish side continued to insist on "extreme positions". "I don't believe this sort of action aids Turkey in joining international legality. Turkey is continuing along its lonely road," Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos told reporters after briefing President Kostis Stephanopoulos on foreign policy issues.

    Greece on Monday joined Cyprus in rejecting the idea of a confederation, proposed at a joint press conference by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash immediately after their talks in the Turkish-occupied part of Nicosia.

    According to the proposal, the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the divided island should exist as two states under the "umbrella" of a confederation, with Athens and Ankara acting as respective security guarantors.

    In a statement issued by the foreign ministry yesterday, spokesman Theodoros Theodorou said the proposal was unacceptable because it continued to reject UN Security Council resolutions on the Cyprus issue as a basis of talks for the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    The announcement also said that the proposal was "anticipating" the outcome of any talks, with the Turkish proposals being presented as an "ultimatum".

    Another cause for the rejection was the idea's "imposition" on the Republic of Cyprus of a relationship with Greece similar to that between Turkey and the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.

    "It demands from the European Union that it offer Turkey preferential treatment as against Cyprus," the announcement said.

    The development is a "clear attempt by the Turkish side to succeed in having the pseudo-state recognised and to undermine the Republic of Cyprus's accession to the European Union", the foreign ministry announcement said.

    "The Cypriot government has repeatedly said that it desires the commencement of a sincere dialogue on a resolution of the Cyprus problem, without prerequisites and preliminary conditions and on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions.

    "The Greek government supports and will always support all initiatives by the Cyprus government in this direction."

    Tsohatzopoulos : TUNIS (ANA - M. Savva) - From Tunis, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said that Turkey's stance was contrary to its own interests.

    He was responding to comments made by Turksih Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, who proposed the creation of a confederation in Cyprus.

    The Greek minister, who is on an official visit to Tunisia, told reporters that Turkey must become aware that regardless of its antics, it will definitely not find acceptance by the international community since the conditions created by the Turkish invasion and occupation of the northern part of the island republic in 1974 have not changed.

    Turkey's entry into the European Union (EU) will depend solely on its own mentality and attitude, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos concluded.

    Synaspismos : Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) spokesman for political affairs Nikos Bistis said that the Denktash-Cem proposal for a confederation in Cyprus was a flagrant violation of U.N. resolutions on Cyprus.

    He said both the Greek and Greek Cypriot side must utilise Cyprus' political choice to join the European community to promotote a settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of a bicommunal, bizonal fedaration.

    EU spokesman : BRUSSELS (ANA-M. Spinthourakis) - With Cyprus' EU accession talks to open soon, a spokesman for the European Commission expressed reservations here on the proposal made by Rauf Denktash and Ankara for the establishment of a confederation on Cyprus.

    Asked about the Commission`s response with regard to the Turkish and Turksih-Cypriot statements, a spokesman for Commissioner Hans van den Broek, responsible for foreing affairs, replied that the EU, both in the past and now, was seeking for a solution to the Cyprus problem that would be based on the relevant UN resolutions.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Woman accused of espionage released

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    The government yesterday confirmed a report in Athens daily Avriani that Greek authorities had arrested and investigated a woman for espionage on the island of Lesvos.

    The woman was later released and allowed to continue her holidays as the charges were found to be groundless.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said earlier that the competent authorities were examining the issue and that he had nothing further to announce.

    Avriani said the Greek woman from the mainland Greek town of Agrinio had been arrested on holiday on Lesvos for filming military bases and installations on the island.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Tsohatzopoulos enters military talks with Tunisian officials

    TUNIS 02/09/1998 (ANA - M. Savva)

    Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday discussed with Tunisian officials the terms of a military cooperation agreement, regarding the army, the navy and the air force.

    The talks, which will continue today, also inlcude training programmes, armament procurements and the defence industry.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos, during his meeting with Tunisian Defence Minister Ben Yahia, noted the need for cooperation between the region's countries, who can decisively contribute toward the maintenance of stability and security, as well as the confronting of whichever problem.

    Discussion included the possibility of joint military exercises and the need for regional security.

    According to reports, the Tunisian defence ministry showed interest in purchasing armaments manufactured in Greece.

    The Greek defence minister met with Foreign Undersecretary Sadoc Fayala, since the minister is away from Tunis, while he also met with Tunisian Parliament President Foued M'Bazaa.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Tsohatzopoulos to visit Cyprus for Independence Day

    NICOSIA 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    According to a report aired by the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (RIK), Greek National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos is scheduled to visit Cyprus to attend a military parade on Oct. 1, marking the island's Independence Day.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos, together with Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides, will receive the salute of the parade.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Israeli embassy denial

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    The Israeli Embassy in Athens yesterday issued a denial of press reports that the state of Israel was planning joint military exercises with Turkey. "The Embassy of Israel would like to declare that reports in certain of today's (Tuesday's) newspapers, which are based on reports from Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, related to some imminent joint Israeli-Turkish exercises have no basis in reality," a statement said.
    Athens News Agency

    [16] Greek parl't to hold tele-conference

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    Greek Parliament deputies today will hold an on line meeting with their counterparts in Austria, Germany and Finland, to discuss issues on employment, business development, support for the ability to adapt and policies of equal opportunity.

    This first on-line conference was realised at Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis' instigation, during the last European parliament conference in Rome.

    PASOK deputy Pantelis Economou, main opposition New Democracy (ND) deputy Marrieta Yiannakou-Koutsikou and Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspimos) deputy Yiannis Dragasakis are the Greek parliamentarians set to take part in this tele-conference.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Third biennial meeting at Phanari

    ISTANBUL 02/09/1998 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    The Patriarchal Leitourgical service yesterday at Phanari signaled the end of the biennieal Orthodox Synaxis (convocation), entitled "Orthodox Christians by Choice."

    The 75 church leaders who participated signed the Edict Code, signaling the begining of Orthodox new year, as per tradition.

    This third biennial meeting was established by current Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos.

    Orthodox church leaders from traditionally Orthodox nations, the United States, Canada and other countries around the world attended.

    According to reports, Mr. Vartholomeos met with all the bishops of the Archdiocese of America and requested of them to work on resolving the differences, which divided the church in America.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] SYN: Govt's talk of centre-left hypocritical

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    In a comment sparked by Monday's speeches in Athens by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his French counterpart Lionel Jospin, Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) press spokesman Dimitris Papadimoulis told a radio station yesterday that the government's talk of a centre-left movement "is entirely hypocritical".

    The SYN spokesman added that "we have a government and a prime minister who talk in centre-left terms but act in centre-right terms".

    Mr. Papadimoulis used the French example, namely the coalition government of socialists, communists and greens, which gradually promoted the implementation of the 35-hour working week without a cut in salary, to compare the situation with the Greek experience, where "Mr. Simitis and his government explicitly reject the 35-hour working week as impossible to be implemented and unrealistic".

    Athens News Agency

    [19] British genius honours Greece by his presence

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    An impressively simple and undoubtedly modest Stephen Hawking, the globe's top brain in physics, speaking on Samos island yesterday, rejected the title "mo-dern Einstein", ascribed to him by many, by saying "people need an Einstein to admire", and admitting that he was "good, but not an exception like Einstein".

    Speaking during a press conference given in the context of the second international conference on cosmology, geometry and physics on the eastern Aegean island, the world famous physicist also rejected the myth of "the loneliness of his scientific genious".

    He was asked whether he had a dream about his science and the universe that he wished to see come true.

    He said his "modest aspiration" was "to understand the laws governing the universe and how this was created. But above all, why the universe is what it is and whether it could have been created differently".

    Stuck on a wheel-chair for 35 years due to a rare muscle disease, and speaking through his computer since 1985, the English physicist observed that science was expecting more from the field of observation. He noted that more results will come from new satelites and their telescopes.

    The scientific paper he delivered during the conference was a highly importnant source of knowledge for his colleagues, with one of the conference organisers, maths professor at the Aegean University on Samos, Spyros Kotsakis, concluding that through physics and mathematics, scientists were now in a position to discover the laws governing the initial conditions that prevailed when the universe was created.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Mayoral canditate presents campaign platform

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    Thessaloniki municipality mayoral candidate Vassilis Papageorgiou presented his campaign platform during a press conference yesterday.

    Mr. Papageorgiou, a main opposition New Democracy (ND) parliament deputy, noted that on Thursday - during the arrival of Prime Minister Costas Simitis in Thessaloniki for the International Trade Fair - he will hold another press conference, where he will read parts of the prime minister's speach last year.

    The ND deputy accused, the PASOK supported candidate Thrasivoulos Lazaridis, for lack of knowledge of the city's problems, as well as lack of solid planning for the city's future.

    Mr. Papageorgiou said the role of the mayor should not be that of supplication, rather it should be central, metropolitan, demading and coordinating.

    Finally, he noted that he is optimistic of winning the election on the first round, but did not discount the possibility of cooperation with other candidates in the event there is a second round.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Ministry gets tough on taxi-drivers

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    The transport and communications ministry moved yesterday to bring Greece's taxi-drivers into line, saying anyone caught overcharging passengers would have their vehicles taken off the roads.

    Minister Tassos Mandelis has sent a letter to prefectural authorities asking them to step up checks on taxis and to implement the measure as soon as possible.

    Six taxi-drivers were found to be overcharging - some through sophisticated rigging of taxi meters - in August alone, in a crackdown by police.

    According to Mr. Mandelis's letter, taxi-drivers may also be grounded and face fines if they act " inappropriately" at airport, port and bus and railway station pick-up points, refuse to take passengers or are selective in who they pick up.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] New tomb discovered at Vergina

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    Archaeologists announced yesterday that they had discovered the 12th tomb at Vergina, northern Greece, where the tomb of Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, is located.

    The latest tomb was discovered during works to construct a protective covering over the excavation sites and is located a short distance from the first Macedonian tomb discovered in 1865.

    Experts date the 12 sq.m. tomb to the end of the 4th century B.C. and said the interior walls were decorated with red, white and black paint.

    The latest find has fostered hopes that it may lead to more finds and excavations are continuing in the area. The work is financed by the University of Thessaloniki.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Disability card to be introduced

    Athens 02/09/1998 (ANA)

    Health and Welfare Minister Costas Geitonas, during a meeting yesterday in parliament on a draft bill on 'Development of the National Social Welfare System', announced that beginning next year a universal card system for disabled persons will be introduced. It is estimated that about 92,000 persons in Greece with more than 67 percent disability will be allocated the card.

    To the opposition's statement according to which the government tries to upgrade its social image with this draft bill, Mr. Geitonas replied that social cohesion and protection are the government's basic targets.

    Athens News Agency

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