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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-09-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Athens reiterates position on arms reduction,demilitarisation for Cyprus
  • [02] Rolling Stones rock Athens
  • [03] No 'substantive progress' over democracy, human rights in Turkey: Van den Broek
  • [04] Athens reacts to statements by US ambassador in Nicosia
  • [05] Simitis confers with Nano,Prodi over Albanian situation
  • [06] Pangalos,Holbrooke to attend UHAC conference
  • [07] Schengen Pact committee to examine whether Athens satisfies treaty standards
  • [08] Burns announces imminent abolition of travel visas to US for Greek citizens
  • [09] FBI director arrives in Greece
  • [10] High-ranking meeting on health sector
  • [11] PASOK executive bureau finalises proclamation for upcoming congress
  • [12] Mantelis represents Athens at EU transportation ministers' meeting
  • [13] Papantoniou cites possibility of freezing '99 tax, utility rates
  • [14] ND pleased with election campaign so far
  • [15] Meeting of young people in Platamonas
  • [16] Champion's League results
  • [17] Int'l conference on plastic surgery in Athens
  • [18] Authorities believe drowning due to collision with jet ski
  • [19] Industrialists want spending cuts, not tax hikes in 1999 budget
  • [20] Govt's public investment programme shows progress
  • [21] National Bank of Greece reshapes treasury operations
  • [22] Greek stocks end higher fuelled by selective buying
  • [23] DANE Sea Line in revival plan with Cypriot group
  • [24] Greek tobacco output, sales rising
  • [25] ND criticises gov't over public investments programme
  • [26] Kinnock begins official visit to Greece today
  • [27] Int'l conference for women journalists ends in Athens

  • [01] Athens reiterates position on arms reduction,demilitarisation for Cyprus

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    Greece reiterated yesterday that anyone interested in alleviating tension on Cyprus should support the idea of reducing armaments on the island republic, with a final goal of complete demilitarisation.

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos conveyed the message to visiting British Defence Secretary George Robertson, who arrived in Athens yesterday after talks in Ankara.

    Mr. Robertson called on Nicosia to postpone the deployment of the Russian- made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles on the island.

    "The S-300 missiles do not add anything to the security of Cyprus. On the contrary, they add to the existing tension. And what is now the priority is reducing tension," Mr. Robertson said after talks with Mr. Tsohatzopoulos.

    However, the Greek minister said that "anyone really interested in confronting tension should support the idea of a reduction of armaments, with the final goal of complete demilitarisation of Cyprus.

    "Only through this realistic proposal can tension be controlled," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    Greece believes that the establishment of a no-fly zone over Cyprus could be the "first step" in reducing armaments, and this first step could then be expanded to other areas, he said.

    Turkey has threatened to use force to prevent the deployment of the S-300 missiles. Greece, which has a joint defence pact with Cyprus, has said such strikes would be a cause for war.

    Mr. Robertson said he had relayed a "very strong message" to the Turkish leadership that Britain would do all it could in the framework of NATO to bring in a no fly zone over Cyprus which would "be in the interests of Cyprus and the wider region".

    He said that in his talks in Ankara, with Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz and his defence and foreign ministers, he stressed the fact that Britain was prepared to aid in supervising the moratorium.

    However, he said, the reply he received from the Turkish leadership was that the issue of a no fly zone was related to the issue of the S-300 missiles on the island.

    The Turks insist on linking the two issues, he said, while the United Kingdom, when talking about the ban on military flights over Cyprus is "speaking exclusively about this and not other issues".

    Mr. Robertson said he would make one "differentiation" to the right of each government to determine its defence programme and asked whether it was wise for the Cypriot government to purchase and deploy the missiles.

    Asked to comment on Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's recent proposal for a confederal solution to the division of Cyprus (rejected by both Athens and Nicosia), Mr. Robertson said the idea was "impossible" to consider as it ran counter to 25 years of United Nations resolutions.

    "The procedure, which has been going on for 25 years at the United Nations for a bicommunal bizonal federation, must continue," Mr. Robertson said.

    Turning to other issues, the two ministers said there had been agreement on the need for a political resolution to the problem of Kosovo, which would provide limited autonomy to the Yugoslav province in the framework of a Federal Yugoslavia.

    Other issues discussed included Greece's armaments programme and the need for a joint European Union foreign policy.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Rolling Stones rock Athens

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    A diverse crowd of about 75,000 people flocked to the Athens Olympic Stadium (OAKA) last night for what promoters billed as the "concert of the decade" in Greece, as the Rolling Stones played in Athens after 31 years.

    The Greek rock band "Xylina Spathia" opened for rock music's "seniors" at 8 p.m., while the Rolling Stones appeared about an hour and a half later on the largest stage ever set up for a concert in Greece.

    The Greek audience loudly cheered on as a tirelessly moving and jumping Mick Jagger opened the Stones' performance with "Satisfaction", before leading into "Let's Spend the Night Together".

    "Good evening Athens, we are in Greece again", the veteran rocker said in Greek before throwing off his pink coat and take a position under a huge screen on stage.

    Earlier in the afternoon, the four remaining members of the Rolling Stones were awarded a gold "Bridges to Babylon" album in a stadium hall by their record company.

    They were last in Greece a generation ago, in 1967, when their performance was cut short when trouble began between the police and audience.

    Work stoppage cancelled : In a related development, the bus and train drivers union showed yesterday that attending a major rock concert momentarily transcended labour disputes, cancelling a walk-out that would have made it difficult for fans to get to the venue.

    Forged tickets : Finally, finance ministry investigators confiscated 1,700 tickets and 8,000 ticket stubs already sold to the public for yesterday's Rolling Stones concert in Athens, a ministry press release stated.

    According to reports, spots checks led to the confiscation of the tickets, which were not declared properly to the tax service. Tax evasion worth 96 million drachmas were cited.

    Authorities said the firm "Ticket Hellas S.A." sold 8,000 tickets and was preparing to sell another 1,700 correctly marked by the tax service but not declared for tax purposes. The firm and the company New Wave Int'l. Ltd., which organised the concert, were expected to face forgery charges.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] No 'substantive progress' over democracy, human rights in Turkey: Van den Broek

    STRASBOURG 17/09/1998 (ANA - C. Haralambopoulos)

    EU Foreign Relations Commissioner Hans van den Broek yesterday conceded that no substantive progress has been achieved on the issue of respect for human rights and the democratisation of political life in Turkey.

    He was speaking during a discussion on the MacMillan-Scott report which presents the Europarliament's views on the European Commission's two annual reports examining the development of customs union between the European Union and Turkey.

    However, he said that there are bright signs which are encouraging and reiterated that the EU must encourage Turkey's European orientation, stressing the invitation the Union has addressed to Turkey on its participation in the European Conference on Oct . 5.

    Mr. van den Broek also mentioned at the Parliament that the Commission will try to bring the annual report on 1998 to the Parliament by the end of October and before the budget is tabled.

    This had been requested by the Parliament to make the lack of progress on the issue of human rights evident and to put an end to talk developed in favour of humanitarian progress in Turkey.

    This development certainly deprives certain circles of the opportunity of claiming that the reasons keeping economic aid to Turkey "frozen" no longer exist.

    Voting on the MacMillan-Scott report will be held at the Parliament at noon today.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Athens reacts to statements by US ambassador in Nicosia

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    Commenting yesterday on recent statements by the US ambassador to Nicosia Kenneth Brill that statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash regarding a confederation in Cyprus move in a positive direction, government spokesman Yiannis Nikolaou said At hens stands by the official position of the US government, namely, respect for UN resolutions.
    Athens News Agency

    [05] Simitis confers with Nano,Prodi over Albanian situation

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis spoke yesterday with his Italian and Albanian counterparts, Romano Prodi and Fatos Nano, respectively, and exchanged views on the political situation in Albania.

    Mr. Simitis stressed the need for the maintenance of order and regard for democratic procedures.

    In his phone conversations, the Greek premier sided against the use of violence, stressing that whatever solution arises must be the result of cooperation and dialogue.

    According to government sources, Mr. Prodi agreed with Simitis, with the latter stressing to Mr. Nano that Athens was willing to aid Albania at this critical moment.

    On his part, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said the prospect of a political resolution to the latest turmoil in Albania was gaining ground and that the situation in the neighbouring country was returning to normal.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos made his comments during his meeting with main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, who on Tuesday called on the government to propose a meeting of the European Union Council of Ministers to discuss the situation.

    Mr. Karamanlis expressed his concerns about the country's border security in the event of a possible wave of refugees fleeing the unrest and the safety of the ethnic Greeek community in southern Albania. Mr. Tsohatzopoulos told Mr. Karamanlis that the armed forces were ready to deal with any development.

    Asked whether Greece was planning any initiative to restore order to Albania, spokesman Yiannis Nikolaou said that Greece had played a significant role in the restoration of normality and democratic institutions in Albania in the past.

    "If we judge that a (new) initiative is required, we will pursue it," he said.

    An ANA report from Ioannina said that there were no serious problems in traffic at the Kakavia crossing point on the Greek-Albanian border yesterday.

    Officials said armed persons were detected on the Albanian side on occasion but they did not seem to obstruct cars headed for the crossing.

    Checking of vehicles and goods making the crossing had slowed on the Albanian side, officials said, where Albanian police and customs officials were on alert for possible attack from the gunmen.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Pangalos,Holbrooke to attend UHAC conference

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, US ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke and former US presidential candidate Michael Dukakis are among the participants at next week's 14th annual Hellenic Leadership Conference in Washington.

    An announcement by the United Hellenic-American Caucus (UHAC) stated that a renewed US-led peace initiative for Cyprus and the Aegean will be the focus of the three-day meeting between top policy-makers and Greek leaders from the US and around the world .

    On Sept. 23 conference participants will hold a strategy session and a working dinner with Mr. Pangalos. Many of the major Greek-American organisations, as well as Greek and Cypriot organisations will be represented in these meetings by their leaders,the announcement said.

    On Sept. 24, participants will spend most of the day on Capitol Hill meeting with committee and subcommittee chairmen and other key policy- makers in the US Congress.

    In the US Senate, participants will meet, among others, with the chairman and top Democrat on the European Affairs Subcommittee, Sen. Gordon Smith and Sen. Joseph Biden, as well as Greek-American Sen. Paul Sarbanes (of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) and Sen. Ted Kennedy (of the Senate Armed Services Committee).

    In the US House of Representatives, some of those with whom participants will meet include: House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt; the chairman and next ranking Democrat of the House International Relations Committee, Gongressmen Ben Gilman and Sam Gejdenson; the chairman and ranking Democrat of the House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, Congressman Sonny Callahan and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi the former chairman and current ranking Democrat of the powerful Appropriations Committee, Congressman David Obey; as well as Greek-American Congressmen Mike Bilirakis (co-chair of the Hellenic Caucus) and Mike Pappas (of the House National Security Committee). Participants will also be meeting with Ambassador Holbrooke and special State Depart ment Cyprus coordinator Thomas Miller for over an hour in the White House complex.

    The Frizis Award, presented each year to a member of the Jewish community who has greatly contributed to important Hellenic issues, will be presented to Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The Livanos Award will be pre sented to Mr. Dukakis.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Schengen Pact committee to examine whether Athens satisfies treaty standards

    BONN 17/09/1998 (ANA - P. Stangos)

    The creation of a committee to examine whether Greece satisfies Schengen Treaty standards regarding external border security was among decisions taken yesterday by a session of the member-states' executive committee, held at the state hostel of Petersburg outside the German capital.

    Fulfillment of Schengen standards would allow Greece to participate on an equal basis in the abolition of internal checks within the Union.

    At this first session under the German presidency - Bonn assumed the post on July 1 and will retain it until June 30 1999 - the creation of a permanent committee was also decided to undertake the task of preparing candidate countries for accession to the European Union, to help them to harmonise themselves with the "Schengen status." The decision particularly concerns the first six candidate countries, which include Cyprus.

    The main issue examined at the executive committee session was the ratification of a "package" of measures for the more drastic combatting of illegal immigration to be implemented by all member-states of the Schengen Pact. This includes the automatic de portation of illegal immigrants from third countries, the taking of fingerprints from all illegal immigrants arrested and sending them to central "Eurodac" archives.

    The Schengen Pact has 10 EU member-states with the exception, for different reasons, of Britain, Ireland and the three Scandinavian countries - Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Burns announces imminent abolition of travel visas to US for Greek citizens

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns announced the imminent abolition of visas for Greeks intending to visit the US during an interview on Lesvos yesterday.

    "It is a measure which has been abolished 10 years ago for the citizens of all European Union countries, with the exception of those of Portugal and Greece. I believe that the abolition of the visa is a matter of a few months and this is so because proc esses must be completed inside the government for such a thing to be achieved," he said.

    Mr. Burns hailed views recently stated by the US ambassador to Nicosia Kenneth Brill, according to which "the government of the US is examining what is included in the proposal on a confederation by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash."

    He added, however, that "the policy of the US on the Cyprus problem on a unified and federal Cyprus has not changed."

    On the question of Turkish claims in the Aegean, Mr. Burns said that the US "is a good ally and friend with Greece and Turkey. An intervention on our part to overturn the negative climate can take place at any time, provided that it is requested."

    "However, Greece and Turkey must find a way to promote the peace process in the region. This way could be the international court at The Hague or whatever else is chosen. However, the Aegean must and can be a region without problems," he added.

    During his contacts yesterday with the Secretary General of the Northern Aegean Region, the prefect of Lesvos and the mayor of Mytilene, Mr. Burns stressed the need for the "development of economic relations between agencies in the region and correspond ing agencies in the US."

    He said that despite what is being guessed in the region, there is security, therefore there is the possibility "and the need to develop economic and cultural relations."

    Mr. Burns and his entourage left for Athens yesterday afternoon.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] FBI director arrives in Greece

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    FBI director Louis Freeh yesterday began a two-day visit in Greece. Mr. Freeh, who is currently on an official European tour, will have talks on various issues with several high-ranking government officials.

    The FBI director is scheduled to meet today with Public Order Minister George Romeos and Greek Police (El.AS) chief Lt. Gen. Athanasios Vassilopoulos. According to reports, issues to be discussed include drugs smuggling, terrorism and state security.

    US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns will host a dinner in Mr. Freeh's honour later in the evening.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] High-ranking meeting on health sector

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday headed a meeting on the coordination and improvement of government intervention in the health sector.

    Health Minister Costas Geitonas said that the issues discussed included a joint agency of primary care, which will be realised after social dialogue.

    According to the minister, other issues discussed were the coordination of ministries and health insurance funds.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] PASOK executive bureau finalises proclamation for upcoming congress

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    Ruling PASOK's executive bureau finalised the proclamation of the party's 5th congress during yesterday's session, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis said the proposal will be made at the party's central committee meeting tomorrow, which will examine the issue on the next day as well.

    Registration of new PASOK members will end Saturday afternoon. New members will have the right of participation in pre-congress processes as well as every change in party organisations.

    Mr. Skandalidis said that at yesterday's meeting an identity of views was reached on the conference's political content. National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who had expressed disagreement over the date of holding the conference, was not present, as the minister had a prolonged meeting with his British counterpart George Robertson on the Cyprus issue.

    It was agreed that the congress will follow three axes. Firstly, the ideological nature of the party, secondly political conjuncture and PASOK's reply to modern problems and, thirdly, charter changes which must be brought about.

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou briefed the executive bureau on the situation in Albania. He assessed that the situation is moving towards stabilisation and said that the main element in this course is support for Prime Minister Fatos Nano.

    Mr. Skandalidis also made a briefing on developments in light of next month's municipal and prefectural elections.

    He said that the elections for prefectural self-administration are of crucial importance for PASOK, particularly in Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Mantelis represents Athens at EU transportation ministers' meeting

    VIENNA 17/09/1998 (ANA - D. Dimitrikoudis)

    Transportation and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis yesterday s tressed the need to take into account the level of development of every country within the framework of European integration.

    Mr. Mantelis, who is participating at an informal European Union council of transportation ministers' meeting in Austria, noted that Greece favours integration of EU transportation systems.

    However, he added that it is imperative that criteria such as each country's level of development must be taken into account, especially for those on the Union's periphery - Greece, Spain and Portugal.

    He also said that the criterion of equal opportunity and terms of competition must be taken into account.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Papantoniou cites possibility of freezing '99 tax, utility rates

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    Taxes and public utility rates may be frozen next year and will depend on the inflation rate, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday.

    The minister was speaking from Irakleio, where he added that the burden on wage-earners and pensioners have been reduced as all tax changes were aimed toward this direction.

    He also noted that the toughest policy the government was following, was the policy to reduce the inflation rate, with all policies converging to attain the target of a two per cent inflation at the end of 1999.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] ND pleased with election campaign so far

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy party appears satisfied with the party's mobilisation in view of next month's local elections.

    Speaking after a meeting chaired by ND leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday, campaign committee chairman Angelos Bratakos said Mr. Karamanlis was pleased with efforts made so far in preparation of October's local elections.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Meeting of young people in Platamonas

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    A meeting between young people from all countries in southeastern Europe will be held at Platamonas from tomorrow until Sept. 22.

    The meeting will be held at the responsibility of the Young Generation General Secretariat with the purpose of preparing Youth week which will take place in July 1999.

    Fifteen government officials on youth issues from all countries in southeastern Europe will participate in the meeting, as well as 100 representatives of non-governmental organisations from these countries, including Turkey for the first time.

    This initiative by the New Generation General Secretariat is included in the action programme for the period covering 1998-1999, which was adopted by the ministers responsible for youth issues in the countries of southeastern Europe in the framework of a relevant multipartite agreement signed in Athens in March.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Champion's League results

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    Panathinaikos Athens beat Dynamo Kiev 2-1 in Athens yesterday, while Olympiakos Piraeus drew 2-2 with Porto in Portugal in Champion's League play.

    Panathinaikos plays in the E Group, while Olympiakos is in the A Group.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Int'l conference on plastic surgery in Athens

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    More than 10,000 Greeks resort to plastic surgery of one form or another every year, taking advantage of less painful and more effective developments, the association of Greek plastic surgeons said yesterday.

    Women comprise the majority of those opting for plastic surgery, with men accounting for 20 per cent of cases, doctors said at a news conference to announce the holding of an international conference on plastic surgery in Athens, Sept. 23-25.

    The most popular procedures for women are face-lifts, liposuction and rhinoplasty. Advances in facelifts in particular - making the procedure less painful and time-consuming - have led to an increase in its popularity, physicians said.

    The advent of laser technology has revolutionised the practice of plastic surgery, with the process now hoped to be of help in dealing with facial imperfections and hair and tatoo removal.

    Falling costs have also contributed to the burgeoning popularity of plastic surgery, with specialists saying that most procedures are cheaper "than an appendectomy" although health funds by and large will not cover the cost of surgery.

    The conference will be held at the Iaso Maternity Clinic and the Asteras Hotel.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Authorities believe drowning due to collision with jet ski

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    A 45-year-old man drowned on Tuesday when he was knocked unconscious by a jet ski while spear-fishing off Crete.

    An autopsy on Dimitris Makaranos, 45, from Irakleio, found that he had been hit by a jet ski or the plastic propellor of some other kind of pleasure craft while he was diving.

    The Irakleio harbour authority has undertaken an investigation into who was in the region at the time and may have been responsible for the accident.

    The incident further highlights the dangers of unlicensed jet ski use and authorities' attempts to regulate the activity. Earlier this month, the owner of a marine pleasure craft rental firm on the island of Zakynthos was fined 10 million drachmas for illegally renting out two jet skis which later collided, resulting in the serious injury of a British woman.

    In another incident, another British woman, Samantha Riddle, was killed in late June on the island of Rhodes when her rented jet ski collided with another jet ski, also driven by a British woman.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Industrialists want spending cuts, not tax hikes in 1999 budget

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    Industrialists want the government to cut state spending in the 1999 budget being drafted rather than boost revenue by hiking taxes, Iason Stratos, president of the Federation of Greek Industry, said yesterday.

    Next year's budget also would be crucial in determining whether Greece would join European economic and monetary union by its target date of January 1, 2001, Mr. Stratos told a monthly news briefing.

    In addition, the government should reject EMU entry based on political criteria and privileged terms, he said.

    "The only way (to join EMU) is to attain the Maastricht Treaty's criteria, and that is the target on which we should focus our efforts."

    Inflation had to fall in order to bring down interest rates, the economy and the state needed restructuring, and tight fiscal discipline also would be needed after the country's entry into EMU, Mr. Stratos said.

    "Enterprises are alone in going ahead with substantive structural changes, improving their output, exports and competitiveness. Conversely, the state has failed to implement its revitalisation plan, as it should have done," he said.

    Mr. Stratos was apparently responding to a call by Prime Minister Costas Simitis on businesses this month to contribute to the government's drive to lower inflation by keeping prices down.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Govt's public investment programme shows progress

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    The public investment programme for this year is progressing successfully, maintaining its rise over the last few years, National Economy Undersecretary Christos Pachtas said yesterday.

    In January-August the programme's payments for projects co-funded under the European Union's Delors' II package rose by 36 percent to 756 billion drachmas against 558 billion drachmas in the same period of 1997, Mr. Pachtas said in a statement.

    In January-August 1996, payments were 276 billion, or 174 percent lower than the equivalent figure for 1998.

    Total payments in the programme increased by 34 percent in January-August to 1.147 trillion drachmas from 856 billion in the same period of 1997, Mr. Pachtas said.

    Payments were 452 billion drachmas in January-August 1996, or 154 percent lower than in 1998.

    He said that the rates of increase reflected progress in the country's economy, in turn reinforcing an acceleration of growth.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] National Bank of Greece reshapes treasury operations

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    State-run National Bank of Greece, a blue chip on the Athens bourse, yesterday announced changes in structure and personnel for its treasury operations following a merger with National Mortgage Bank of Greece, a housing loans subsidiary.

    Mihalis Antoniadis, who for many years ran National Bank's treasury division, has been appointed superviser of its international operations division.

    Petros Christodoulou, a veteran in US investment banks abroad, is to become head of Group Treasury, a division created to improve supervision and coordination of dealing rooms in the National Bank of Greece Group.

    Mortgage Bank of Greece treasurer Giorgos Papoutsis is to become National Bank's treasurer for domestic operations, heading the Athens and Thessaloniki dealing rooms.

    Deputy treasurer Athanasia Petrounakou will be responsible for monitoring National Bank of Greece's dealing rooms abroad and coordination of the dealing rooms of banking subsidiaries at home and abroad.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Greek stocks end higher fuelled by selective buying

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities ended moderately higher yesterday, changing direction for the third consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Traders said that the market remained nervous awaiting action in the government's privatisation plan. It also was watching jittery markets abroad.

    The general index ended 1.10 percent higher at 2,222.84 points in light-to- moderate trade with turnover at 38.6 billion drachmas.

    Buying activity focused on construction and industrial shares, and on smaller cap companies.

    Sector indices were mixed. Banks rose 0.25 percent, Insurance fell 1.27 percent, Investment ended 0.44 percent up, Leasing dropped 1.22 percent, Industrials rose 1.22 percent, Construction jumped 3.37 percent, Miscellaneous soared 2.74 percent and Holdi ng ended 3.22 percent up.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 1.25 percent, and the FTSE/ASE 20 blue chip index ended 1.0 percent up at 1,346.41.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 167 to 63 with another 24 issues unchanged.

    Metka, Rocas, Michaniki, Mailis, Goody's, Sysware, Korasidis and Kyriakoulis scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the daily 8.0 percent limit up.

    Hellenic Mills, Yalco, Barba Stathis, Xylemporia, Keranis, Britannia, Etma, Development Invest and Macedonian Plastics suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 40,645 drachmas, Ergobank at 25,150, Alpha Credit Bank at 23,780, Ionian Bank at 10,450, Hellenic Telecoms at 7,000, Delta Dairy at 3,250, Intracom at 12,220, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,650 and Titan Cement at 18,700 drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] DANE Sea Line in revival plan with Cypriot group

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    DANE Sea Line, an endebted shipper listed on the Athens bourse, is carrying out a plan to return to profitability by holding a share capital increase and entering the cruiseship market aided by a Cypriot shipping and tourism group.

    DANE's management said in a statement yesterday that the company plans to buy a stake in a cruiseship to ply a route linking Rhodes, Turkey and Cyprus.

    The company held talks last week with the Cypriot group, which includes participation by a bank representing the interests of a major international business concern.

    Under the plan, a company will be set up with DANE and the Cypriot group holding 49 percent each. The remaining 2.0 percent is to be held by the bank.

    The firm, due to launch operations in 2000, will own the cruiseship, organise seven-day cruises and take bookings from a leading international tour operator.

    Talks between the two sides are due to continue in October after DANE completes its 4.65 billion drachma share capital increase, which began on September 2 and is due to end on October 2.

    According to DANE, the Cypriot firm is interested in taking part in the share capital increase, which is to be paid up in cash.

    In addition, DANE is holding talks with another Cypriot shipping group over operation of one of its ships, the Ialysos, when it is withdrawn from the market and replaced.

    Options being discussed are purchase of the vessel by the group, if DANE decides to sell; or creation of a company that will handle refurbishing of the vessel and then operate it on a route linking Cyprus, Israel and Egypt.

    Also being debated is an alliance for operation of a passenger route linking Cyprus, Rhodes, Eastern Aegean and northern Greece.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Greek tobacco output, sales rising

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    Greek tobacco output and sales are rising despite fears of a loss of European Union subsidies.

    General Director Dimitris Kounatiadis of the Cooperatives Union of Greek Tobacco Producers SA (SEKE) told a news conference yesterday that continuation of the rise would depend on the types of tobacco to be produced, quality, prices and quantity.

    Market sources have expressed fears that the market will suffer if the EU eliminates subsidies to support the tobacco production industry, a move currently being debated.

    SEKE says it is the country's largest tobacco exporting cooperative, and, on the basis of 1997 data, ranks top among 14 tobacco industries operating in the country with Greek or foreign capital.

    The company's turnover in 1997 was 8.755 billion drachmas with sales at 7.043 billion drachmas, gross profits at 1.711 billion drachmas and net profits at 633.546 million drachmas, Mr. Kounatiadis said.

    Since the beginning of the year, SEKE's exports have totalled 8.5 billion drachmas, of which 900 million represent net profits.

    Turnover for 1998 will top 10 billion drachmas and net profits 1.0 billion drachmas, Mr. Kounatiadis said.

    Athens News Agency

    [25] ND criticises gov't over public investments programme

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy party criticised the government yesterday for jubilating over an increase in the public investments programme without giving any evidence at all, as it claimed.

    "The government, without giving any evidence at all, with the exception of certain percentage increases, jubilated yesterday over an increase in payments (in the public investments programme) over the eight-month period in 1998 on jointly funded projects of the second Delors Package, "ND spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said.

    Mr. Spiliotopoulos called on the government to leave the "misleading, and overtly of a pre-election nature, alchemies and to publicise specific data on the course of these projects being carried out, as well as on the absorption of funds."

    Athens News Agency

    [26] Kinnock begins official visit to Greece today

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    European Union Transport Commissioner Neil Kinnock will begin a two-day visit to Athens today with talks on issues concerning his duties with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, among others.

    He will also meet with Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis as well as Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis. Tomorrow, Mr. Kinnock will also meet with Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    Finally, Mr. Kinnock will visit the site of the under construction Athens airport at Spata tomorrow morning and will have meetings with the leaderships of the Union of Greek Shipowners and the Union of Passenger Ship Owners.

    Athens News Agency

    [27] Int'l conference for women journalists ends in Athens

    Athens 17/09/1998 (ANA)

    Participants at the 14th Conference of the International Association of Women Journalists and Writers, which ended in Athens yesterday, vowed to embark on a campaign against what they called the "adverse effects of the Internet", especially on children.

    Participants went so far as to call the Internet the "virus of the century", while many advocated pressure for more regulations to "filter" information entering the worldwide web.

    The three-day conference, entitled "The Value of Education in Journalism in the 21st Century", was attended by women journalists from around the world and especially from South America, as the group was founded by Chilean national Gloria Sala de Caldero n. Other issues examined included new technologies in journalism, education and training of journalists, which the group stressed should focus on humanistic values rather than commodities.

    Athens News Agency

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