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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-11-17

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] Events commemorating 1973 Polytechnic uprising culminate today
  • [02] Greek stocks surge on hopes of interest rate, inflation decline
  • [03] Greece has 65 pct chance of meeting EMU target - Morgan Stanley
  • [04] Bank of Central Greece to hold Dr 5.5 bln share cap increase
  • [05] Cardico reports 50 pct profit, sales increase in Jan-Sept
  • [06] Bank of Piraeus to hold shareholders' meeting Nov 30
  • [07] EU to tighten controls on state subsidies
  • [08] Higher taxes for self-employed professionals, businesses
  • [09] Thessaloniki metro reportedly awarded to Bouigues
  • [10] Citibank rates
  • [11] EOT: More British tourists visited Greece in '98
  • [12] Bonn again rejects Athens'demand for return of occupation loan
  • [13] Gov't denies invitation offer to PKK's Ocalan
  • [14] WEU defence ministers meet in Rome
  • [15] Gov't on Burns visit to public order authorities
  • [16] Karamanlis: PM Simitis oblivious to citizens' problems
  • [17] ESP delegation meets with Albanian leadership
  • [18] Gov't denies delay in 2004 preparations
  • [19] Gov't cites difficulty in cooperating with Oliver Stone over film on Alexander
  • [20] European week against drugs opens in Athens
  • [21] Roussel perjury, slander trial adjourns
  • [22] Consuls tout western Macedonia's development prospects
  • [23] Fouras in Albania
  • [24] Greek Parliament President confers with Clerides

  • [01] Events commemorating 1973 Polytechnic uprising culminate today

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    Celebrations commemorating the 25th anniversary of a students' uprising at the Athens Polytechnic against the military junta then ruling Greece (1967- 1974) culminate today.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis yesterday laid wreaths at the university's monument, although scuffles and jeers greeted their arrival. Groups of students threw eggs, plastic bottles and other items at the prime minister's entourage and shouted slogans ag- ainst the government's policies and the education ministry's reforms. Other student groups charged with maintaining the peace during the three days of events scuffled with the protesters.

    Speaking afterwards, Mr. Simitis referred to the significance of the anniversary, saying it brought home the message that democracy, freedom and social justice were ideals worth protecting.

    The Athens Polytechnic opened on Sunday morning.

    Additional police units have been deployed in the Polytechnic's vicinity and other university and public buildings in an attempt to avert any disturbances.

    Violent protests and widespread vandalism have plagued November 17 anniversaries in recent years. Today's events are expected to finish with a protest march ending at the US embassy.

    Gov't spokesman : Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas later said that "small groups should not be able to appropriate the celebration of the Polytechnic with anti-democratic actions and acts of violence."

    Mr. Simitis, he said, "did his duty and paid tribute, following in the steps of past premiers who have laid wreaths at the Polytechnic".

    The government has taken all the measures necessary for celebrations to remain peaceful, Mr. Reppas added.

    "Let's hope that police will not need to intervene," he said.

    Earlier, wreaths were also laid by National Defence Deputy Minister Dimitris Apostolakis, as well as by Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos and Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas. All three stressed that the Polytechnic's message was still valid today.

    Main opposition New Democracy deputy Evangelos Meimarakis also laid a wreath on bahalf of ND.

    In statements, Mr. Meimarakis stressed that "national issues had not been appropriately resolved, but luckily, there were healthy forces with ideals, visions and values, giving hope for a better future."

    Other messages : Ruling PASOK's executive bureau noted that the Polytechnic uprising continued to be a symbol of "social struggle, ideas and values for young people."

    The students' uprising in 1973 had bore fruit, the message read, as the country was now embarking on new paths, "successfully fighting for national independence, economic development, extension of democratic institutions and upgrading the quality of life."

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) issued an announcement saying that "the best honour to the popular struggle in November 1973 is to rally and continue the struggle...to pave the way for major and radical changes."

    "Youth in 1973 proved that they are a dynamic part of society, a vehicle of new ideas and a vanguard of democratic institutions," DHKKI stated in its message.

    Political Spring (Pol.An)) leader Antonis Samaras underlined that the message of the Athens Polytechnic was still necessary today for the defence of the country's national issues, social justice and the right of the youth to have a place and a role in the future.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Greek stocks surge on hopes of interest rate, inflation decline

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities ended sharply higher on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday helped by optimism that interest rates and inflation will fall further.

    The general index soared 3.66 percent to sprint through the 2,300 barrier, ending at 2,316.08 points.

    Trading was active with turnover at 54.6 billion drachmas. Volume was 12, 525,000 shares.

    Brokers said a positive report by US investment bank Morgan Stanley on the Greek economy also brought euphoria to the market.

    The report forecast that inflation would drop to 2.5 percent at the end of 1999 and that Greece may achieve entry into European economic and monetary union on target by January 1, 2001.

    The Athens bourse was also encouraged by a rally at the opening in European stock markets where investors discounted a new cut in US interest rates.

    Sector indices scored gains.

    Banks jumped 4.36 percent, Leasing hit the daily 8.0 percent limit up, Insurance rose 2.12 percent, Investment ended 2.92 percent higher, Construction soared 5.30 percent, Industrials rose 3.51 percent, Miscellaneous ended 2.48 percent up and Holding in creased 4.49 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.57 percent up.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 205 to 40 with another 16 issues unchanged.

    Sysware, Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, Mytilineos and Attica Enterprises were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Dimitriadis, Intrasoft, Piraeus Leasing, Macedonia-Thrace Bank, Alcatel, Pouliadis, Sarandis, Alpha Leasing and Sysware hit the daily 8.0 percent limit up.

    Xifias, Sato, Development Invest, Lambropoulos, Daring, Ridenco, Viosol, Tzirakian and Eskimo suffered the heaviest percentage losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 44,795 drachmas, Ergobank at 27,150, Alpha Credit Bank at 24,400, Ionian Bank at 12,080, Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,400, Delta Dairy at 3,690, Intracom at 13,540, Titan Cement at 17,890, Hellenic Petro leum at 2,370 and Minoan Lines at 6,400 drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Greece has 65 pct chance of meeting EMU target - Morgan Stanley

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    Morgan Stanley yesterday expressed guarded optimism over Greece's entry into European economic and monetary union by the target date of January 1, 2001, rating its chances at 65 percent.

    In a report on the domestic economy, the international investment house was less bullish than the government on the rise in growth of gross domestic product and budgetary targets.

    But it said the government's intention was feasible of lowering 1999 consumer price inflation in line with the most recent economic convergence plan it has submitted to the European Union.

    Inflation could drop to 2.4 percent in 1999, which would meet alignment targets as the average among the EU's EMU countries was predicted at 2.5 percent, the report said.

    The government's reduction of indirect tax on cars and a drop in Value Added Tax on electricity consumption to 8.0 percent from 18 percent would help to pare one percentage point off the consumer price index, according to Morgan Stanley.

    Likely to further aid inflation to fall were the monetary and incomes policies announced by the government and central bank for 1999.

    Morgan Stanley forecast that GDP growth would be 3.4 percent in 1998 and 3.0 percent in 1999 against the government's target of 3.5 percent this year and 3.7 percent next year.

    Although the difference between the two 1998 forecasts were minor, the slowdown in GDP growth in 1999 would lead to a 0.4 percent rise in the public deficit as a percentage of GDP.

    As a result, the public deficit would stand at 2.3 percent, or even 2.5 percent, of GDP in 1999, the report said.

    Backing the forecast was the fact that tax revenue had posted a tiny 0.1 percent rise in October, and primary spending was higher than expected, it said.

    Morgan Stanley explained that its GDP growth rate forecasts were cautious due to the fallout from an international financial crisis that had hit third quarter figures in Europe, leading to lower rates of growth throughout Europe.

    The drop would also hit Greek growth, despite the low contribution of its industrial sector to gross domestic product.

    In addition, the tourism and shipyard industries were expected to post a decline.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Bank of Central Greece to hold Dr 5.5 bln share cap increase

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    Shareholders of the Bank of Central Greece yesterday unanimously approved a share capital increase of 5.5 billion drachmas.

    The rights issue will offer existing shareholders one new share for four old at a preferential price of 2,000 drachmas each.

    The meeting also approved a placement of 70,000 shares to the bank's staff at the same preferential price.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Cardico reports 50 pct profit, sales increase in Jan-Sept

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    Cardico, a dried fruit and nuts company, yesterday reported a 50 percent increase in its turnover and profits for the the first nine months to 5.3 billion drachmas and 440 million drachmas respectively compared with the same period last year.

    The volume of sales rose 35 percent, and exports increased 47 percent to 2.5 billion drachmas from 1.7 billion drachmas a year earlier.

    Cardico's board expects turnover to rise to around 10 billion drachmas this year, achieving the company's target.

    The firm is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange's parallel market for small cap stocks.

    It recently invested 200 million drachmas in equipment in order to double production and significantly increase turnover.

    Cardico recently launched new production lines in a nut processing factory it owns in Moldova.

    The unit, one of the most advanced in Europe, has raised its production capacity to 30 tonnes daily.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Bank of Piraeus to hold shareholders' meeting Nov 30

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    Bank of Piraeus will hold a repeat shareholders meeting on November 30 to endorse a share capital rise of 100 billion drachmas after yesterday's meeting failed to muster a quorum.

    The operational absorption of Bank of Macedonia-Thrace is expected to proceed rapidly after a decision to start the process was taken in Thessaloniki on Saturday by executives of both banks.

    After the absorption of Thessaloniki-based Bank of Macedonia-Thrace, the Bank of Piraeus Group's assets will total 2.0 trillion drachmas in 1999 and 2.7 trillion drachmas in 2000.

    Deposits in 1999 are seen totalling 1.3 trillion drachmas in 1999, jumping to 8.0 trillion in 2000.

    Loans in 1999 are forecast at 0.9 trillion drachmas in 1999, rising to 1.3 trillion in 2000.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] EU to tighten controls on state subsidies

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    European Union industry ministers agreed at a meeting in Brussels yesterday to tighten controls on state subsidies.

    New rules to be drawn up will give the EU's executive Commission greater powers in checking subsidies given by national governments, and setting penalties for illegal grants. Permission will have to be sought beforehand from the Commission for any plann ed subsidies.

    Representing Greece at the meeting was Industry Ministry Secretary General Alexandros Kritikos.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Higher taxes for self-employed professionals, businesses

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    Self-employed professionals and businesses taxed with the objective criteria system for determining their income will have to pay a higher tax in 1999 for income obtained this year.

    According to Deputy Finance Minister George Drys, the commercial and business fee used correspondingly to determine the minimum amount of income declared to tax authorities by businesses and self-employed professionals will increase.

    The commercial fee for determining the minimum net income of commercial businesses will increase from 2.4 million drachmas in 1997 to 2.5 million drachmas in 1998.

    The commercial fee for businesses providing services will increase from 3, 120,000 drachmas in 1997 to 3,250,000 drachmas in 1998.

    An increase of 2.5 per cent will also take place in connection with the determination of the minimum net income for self-employed professionals.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Thessaloniki metro reportedly awarded to Bouigues

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    The final awarding of the Thessaloniki metro project to the French consortium Bouigues has been reportedly given by a committee responsible for the project.

    The committee's relevant opinion will be forwarded to Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis tomorrow, who will request approval by the inner Cabinet next week in order for the contract to be signed.

    The ministry's leadership believes that the contract for the construction of the Thessaloniki metro will be tabled in Parliament for ratification in December.

    According to reports from the national economy ministry, if the contract is not signed by Dec. 31 there is a possibility of problems being created regarding funding.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Citibank rates

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    Citibank yesterday announced new annual interest rates for foreign currency loan accounts, while the basic interest rates for deposits do not change.

    Specifically, loan account interest rates in US dollars stand at 8.7 per cent; Japanese yen 3.7; DM 6.94; ECU 7.2; Dutch guilder 6.76; French franc 6.89; British pound 10.24; Swiss franc 4.9; Belgian franc 6.91 and Italian lira at 7.37 per cent.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] EOT: More British tourists visited Greece in '98

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    More than two million tourists from Britain will visit Greece by the end of 1998, an increase of about 16 per cent, while an additional increase of 5- 12 per cent is expected for 1999.

    National Tourism Organisation (EOT) officials inaugurating Greece's pavilion yesterday at the London international tourism exhibition "World Travel Market" noted that the figure met expectations.

    Greece's pavilion this year features 25 participants, including the under- construction international Athens airport at Spata, state-run Olympic Airways, the regional administrations of Crete, Thessaly, the Peloponnese, the Ionian Islands, as well as private firms.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Bonn again rejects Athens'demand for return of occupation loan

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    Bonn once again rejected Athens' claim for the return of a forced "loan" that the ce ntral bank of Greece handed over to German occupation forces during World War II.

    However, although the issue appears closed for Bonn, Athens reportedly doesn't share the view.

    The issue was again taken up by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos last week, when he said the issue of the forced occupation loan remains open for Greece.

    A German foreign ministry spokesman replied to Mr. Pangalos on Saturday in a statement made to Bavarian Radio's Greek programme, namely, that war reparations to Greece had come to an end with a 1960 agreement. He added that Germany had also aided Greece economically through European Union funds.

    The Greek foreign ministry responded yesterday, expressing regret in a relevant announcement, and stressing that the German spokesman's statement contained inaccuracies. Athens noted that war reparations are one thing, while the forced occupation loan is another.

    The foreign ministry added that the wartime "loan" was not a remedy for criminal or illegal acts perpetrated by Nazi forces during the occupation.

    "It was a specific amount taken from the Greek economy at gunpoint and was used by the German state for its own purposes. According to every rule of law, its return is imperative," the announcement read.

    The foreign ministry said that references made to the EU's own funds and cohesion policy in the EU is "absolutely unbecoming."

    This policy belongs neither to Greece nor to Germany and relations between member-states are not a network of bilateral relations. The announcement stated that the EU has its "own independent dynamism" and its own rules of operation, which are the result of overall negotiating.

    The statement added that excellent bilateral relations between Athens and Bonn and close cooperation between the two countries in the framework of the EU, NATO and other international organisations necessitate sincerity and clarity around this important issue.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Gov't denies invitation offer to PKK's Ocalan

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    Abdullah Ocalan, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader currently detained in Rome, has not been invited to Greece, while the government has not received any messages from him, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    Mr. Reppas said Athens had no contact with Mr.Ocalan or his representative, and that the issue of whether he receives political asylum is a matter for Italy's leaders and laws.

    He said, however, that Greece's stance on the Kurdish issue had not changed, noting Greece's efforts to highlight the political issue of the Kurdish people and the use of force by Turkish authorities.

    Mr. Reppas said he was unaware of reports of a supposed message from Mr. Ocalan to the Greek government being brought by PASOK MP Costas Bandouvas, who was in Rome over the weekend.

    Mr. Bandouvas is one of the 109 Greek MPs who earlier this month signed an invitation for the PKK leader to visit Greece.

    The invitation was signed by the Parliament's three vice-presidents, many ruling party PASOK and opposition Democratic Social Movement deputies, one New Democracy deputy and one independent.

    About 29,000 people have been killed in the long-running fight for self- rule between Kurds and Turkish security forces in the southeast of Turkey.

    On Saturday, Greece renewed its criticism of Turkey for its military operations against Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq, and reiterated its support for the self-determination of the Kurds.

    "We have repeatedly and in a more thorough manner than anyone else, raised before international fora, the problem posed by the crude violation of human rights in southeastern Turkey, as well as the problem created by Turkey's military operations in nort hern Iraq," Mr. Reppas told reporters.

    "It is clear that Greece does not support violence as a means of resolving political differences, and neither encourages nor covers armed activities against other countries. Greece respects international treaties and legality. This position is the axis and the founding stone of our policy," he added.

    Synaspismos MP : Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) Eurodeputy Alekos Alavanos, on behalf of his party, tabled the issue of Mr. Ocalan receiving political asylum with the European Parliament.

    In a statement, Mr. Alavanos said that any extradition of the Kurdish leader to Turkey would place his life in immediate danger and would be contrary to the Geneva Convention.

    Meanwhile, opposition Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas is scheduled to meet with Italy's ambassador to Athens tomorrow to press his party's position for asylum for Mr. Ocalan.

    In a letter to the ambassador, Mr. Tsovolas expressed his concerns over the "passions of Europeans in the face of demands of Ankara's militarists".

    Support for the PKK leader receiving political asylum has also come from the Communist Party of Greece.

    Finally, a solidarity rally in support of the Kurdish people and Mr. Ocalan is planned in Patra this Friday.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] WEU defence ministers meet in Rome

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    Defence ministers of countries affiliated with the Western European Union (WEU) yesterday reaffirmed their intention to proceed with establishing a Western European Armaments Group (WEAG) capable of independent action in Europe.

    The WEU defence ministers, meeting in Rome, also signed two cooperation agreements -- one regarding research and technology, and the other relating to cooperation of all WEAG countries in the joint use of test centres.

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos addressed the meeting on the role of the WEU, saying that a dilemma remained - on the basis of French and British proposals - on whether Europe's defence should rely on NATO or be an independent activity wit hin the context of the WEU.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos stressed, however, that the question should be addressed and answered on the basis of acceptance and backing of Euro-Atlantic cooperation.

    He further estimated that in view of NATO's Washington meeting, Europeans will hold discussions to clarify whether Europe would assume greater responsibility for its defence and security policy.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Gov't on Burns visit to public order authorities

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    The government yesterday downplayed press speculation over a visit by US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns to public order authorities last week.

    "US ambassador Nicholas Burns is promoting bilateral relations between Greece and the United States and this framework includes visits to (state) services," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. He denied that the government was in possession of information related to a possible terrorist attack.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Karamanlis: PM Simitis oblivious to citizens' problems

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday lashed out against government policy, accusing Prime Minister Costas Simitis of being outside the realm of social reality and oblivious to citizens' problems.

    Addressing a meeting of ND's central committee, the ND leader launched a stinging attack against the ruling PASOK party, describing it as being "politically weaker than ever before, uncoordinated, tired, confused and lacking a political identity."

    This goes to show that PASOK is coming to the end of its historic cycle, which necessitates ND to assume responsibilities, as more and more voters are turning to ND for a lifeline, Mr. Karamanlis said.

    Referring to the 1999 state budget, which the government submitted, he said it was indicative that the government had failed to grasp the social messages in light of PASOK's poor showing in the recent municipal elections.

    Mr. Karamanlis described the budget as one of "accounting tricks, indicators and figures without prospects". He said that the budget kept taxes in place and state wastefulness would continue.

    On Greece's course towards Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), Mr. Karamanlis said ND supported the national objective. However, he added, "the matter which arises is what kind of Greece will we place in EMU?"

    He announced that the ND's national congress will take place Dec. 5- 6.

    Gov't : In response, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said "Greece is nearing and achieving one major goal after another that we've placed. The government's work cannot be invalidated by ND's false words."

    Athens News Agency

    [17] ESP delegation meets with Albanian leadership

    TIRANA 17/11/1998 (ANA - P. Haritos)

    Members of the European Socialist Party's delegation expressed their desire for a widening of cooperation and the ratification of Albanian's constitution as well as support for processes concerning a referendum.

    Swedish Development Aid Minister Pierre Schori, Italian Foreign Undersecretary for European Affairs Uberto Ranieri and the socialist group's deputy president and Greek MP Yiannis Roubatis held talks with Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani, Prime Minister Pandeli Majko, Foreign Minister Paskal Milo, Deputy Prime Minister Illyr Meta, Parliament's Foreign Affairs President Sabri Godo and Public Order Minister Petro Kochi.

    Talks focused on the referendum and the position of the opposition which has called on its supporters to abstain from voting.

    The delegation was also briefed on the situation prevailing 17 months after the March 1997 crisis in the sectors of public order, education and employment.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Gov't denies delay in 2004 preparations

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    The government yesterday vehemently denied that it was lagging behind in preparations to stage the

    2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

    "I cannot believe (International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio) Samaranch said that we are behind schedule in (the construction of) projects," Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos told reporters, referring to a Spanish newspaper report citing Mr. Samaranch.

    "The IOC president has tremendous experience. We have exceptional cooperation with himIhis statements are always optimistic and he believes that Athens will organise the most impressive Olympic Games ever.

    "The IOC is always concerned about Olympic Games projects. However, there is not the slightest delay in projects in our country," he said.

    Mr. Venizelos, who has just returned from a 10-day trip to Australia where he met with Sydney 2000 Olympic Games officials, said Athens had a more responsive and effective organisational structure than Sydney.

    Greece is beginning preparations for the Games with 75 per cent of installations ready, while Sydney had a percentage rate of about 40 per cent, Mr. Venizelos said.

    "In terms of projects, Greece is ahead compared to Sydney at a comparable time," he added.

    Mr. Venizelos said he agreed in talks with Australia's competent minister for the Olympics that Greek officials would visit Australia to observe preparations for the 2000 Games.

    Referring to plans for an "Olympic lottery", which would conceivable raise funds for the Olympic Games budget, Mr. Venizelos said the idea was still being worked on.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Gov't cites difficulty in cooperating with Oliver Stone over film on Alexander

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    The government announced yesterday that it doubted whether it would be able to continue assistance toward noted Hollywood director Oliver Stone regarding his plans for a feature film based on the life of Alexander the Great.

    "At the present time it is not at all certain whether we would find any grounds for cooperation, at least on the script," Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said.

    Mr. Venizelos was responding to press questions in the wake of reports that Mr. Stone's version of the life of Alexander would differ markedly from the accepted historical version, including how the Macedonian warrior-king died.

    Mr. Stone, the director of blockbusters such as "JFK", "Born on the Fourth of July", "The Doors" and "Platoon", met with Mr. Venizelos in 1996 during research for the production of a film on the life of Alexander.

    Mr. Venizelos then indicated Athens' interest in the project as well as that of several expatriate Greek financiers, assuring Mr. Stone of every possible support should he decide to shoot the motion picture in Greece. Responding to reported cri ticism by several main opposition New Democracy deputies, he said: "We cannot censor Hollywood...I don't know what I can do."

    Athens News Agency

    [20] European week against drugs opens in Athens

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    The "European Week for Drug Prevention" opened in Athens yesterday, as the simultaneous event took place in all EU member-states.

    At a press conference given at the health ministry, experts stressed that prevention is probably the most effective way to fight drug abuse.

    The meeting, which is to last until Sunday, bears the message: "The first step is to talk".

    Addressing the first day of the event, Health Deputy Minister Theodoros Kotsonis pointed out that European nations' targets were to increase awareness of the public on the specific problem, to boost European cooperation and promote extensive campaigns, targeted mainly at the younger age groups.

    Similar events are organised during the week by Greece's Organisation Against Drugs in the 32 information centres operating around the country.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Roussel perjury, slander trial adjourns

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    An Athens court hearing perjury and slander charges filed against Thierry Roussel, the father of 14-year-old Athina - heir to the vast fortune of late shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis - will adjourn to allow members of the Onassis family to mark the 10t h anniversary of the death of Athina's mother, Christina.

    Mr. Roussel, Athina and their family will mark the anniversary on the Onassis private island of Skorpios.

    Mr. Roussel has been in Athens since early November to stand trial on the charges, arising from a complaint filed by the French national two years ago, accusing the Onassis Foundation board of mismanagement.

    A court dismissed Mr. Roussel's complaint early in the year.

    In the hearing yesterday, counsel for the defence told the court that Mr. Roussel did not desire to control the Onassis Foundation's finances, but neither did he want the present board to do so.

    Onassis Foundation deputy president Apostolos Zambelis told the court that the management of the foundation was overseen by chartered accountants and a financial report was forwarded to Mr. Roussel personally.

    Shortly, Swiss courts will also supervise the balance sheets, at Mr. Roussel's request, he said.

    Asked why the members of the board of the Onassis Foundation had appointed their children as members of the board, Mr. Zambelis said that the children had all the qualifications required to serve on the board and were also trustworthy.

    The trial is expected to readjourn on Friday, according to court sources.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Consuls tout western Macedonia's development prospects

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    Greece provides a very attractive setting for investments which is continuing to improve, according to the general consuls of the US and Germany in Thessaloniki, who added that there are businesses from their respective countries that are interested in ma king investments in the area.

    The two officials were among 16 other diplomats who participated in a three- day tour of western Macedonia at the initiative of the Association of Northern Greece Industries.

    The envoys spoke favourably of what they described as the region's "incredible" development, saying they were impressed at changes in the country's investment sector, among others.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Fouras in Albania

    Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    Deputy Minister for Sports Andreas Fouras began a three-day visit to Albania yesterday at the head of a delegation from the Greek Football Federation.

    Mr. Fouras is scheduled to meet with Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani and Prime Minister Pandeli Majko, among others.

    Greece and Albania are expected to sign a protocol of cooperation in the sports sector during Mr. Fouras' visit.

    He will also attend tomorrow's match between the Greek and Albanian men's national teams for the European championships cup qualifier in Tirana.

    Athens News Agency Athens 17/11/1998 (ANA)

    ATHENS FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: November 16,1998

    Parities in Drachmas Banknotes Buying Selling US Dollar 278.504 284.961 Can.Dollar 180.068 184.243 Australian Dlr 177.801 181.924 Pound Sterling 465.843 476.644 Irish Punt 415.450 425.082 Pound Cyprus 564.527 578.591 Pound Malta 698.651 727.761 Turkish pound (100) 0.086 0.090 French franc 49.818 50.973 Swiss franc 202.765 207.466 Belgian franc 8.094 8.281 German Mark 166.954 170.824 Finnish Mark 54.957 56.231 Dutch Guilder 148.106 151.540 Danish Kr. 43.928 44.946 Swedish Kr. 34.416 35.214 Norwegian Kr. 37.468 38.337 Austrian Sh. 23.729 24.279 Italian lira (100) 16.876 17.267 Yen (100) 229.797 235.125 Spanish Peseta 1.965 2.011 Port. Escudo 1.630 1.668 For.Exchange New York 278.504 284.961 Montreal 180.068 184.243 Sydney 177.801 181.924 London 465.843 476.644 Dublin 415.450 425.082 Nicosia 564.527 578.591 Paris 49.818 50.973 Zurich 202.765 207.466 Brussels 8.094 8.281 Frankfurt 166.954 170.824 Helsinki 54.957 56.231 Amsterdam 148.106 151.540 Copenhagen 43.928 44.946 Stockholm 34.416 35.214 Oslo 37.468 38.337 Vienna 23.729 24.279 Milan 16.876 17.267 Tokyo 229.797 235.125 Madrid 1.965 2.011 Lisbon 1.630 1.668

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Greek Parliament President confers with Clerides

    NICOSIA 17/11/1998 (ANA/CNA)

    Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday expressed certainty that any problems in Cyprus' accession to the European Union will be overcome as the enlargement process can only be completed with the Cyprus Republic's entry.

    Speaking after a 90-minute meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, Mr. Kaklamanis also said he has brought a message of solidarity from Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    The Greek Parliament President said he discussed with President Clerides the present situation in the Cyprus problem, latest developments and Cyprus' EU course.

    "Our assessment is that any problems will be overcome because Cyprus' accession is a precondition for the EU enlargement procedure", he said.

    Some EU member-states have been trying to connect a settlement to the Cyprus problem with the Republic's EU accession course, but have faced strong opposition from Athens.

    The Greek government has underlined that the two issues are not related and that Cyprus should join the EU along with the five other applicant countries that have begun substantive accession talks.

    Mr. Kaklamanis underlined that Cyprus is well ahead of the other five former eastern bloc countries in conforming with the European acquis communautaire.

    "Cyprus fulfills nearly all conditions for its accession", he noted.

    Referring to the message he conveyed from the Greek premier, Mr. Kaklamanis said it is one of "common struggle and solidarity" for a settlement to the Cyprus problem and the restoration of the unity of the Cyprus Republic.

    The Greek Parliament President was accompanied by his Cypriot counterpart Spyros Kyprianou, on whose invitation he is visiting the island, and Greek ambassador in Nicosia Kyriacos Rodousakis.

    Mr. Kaklamanis has stressed that Cyprus must be reunited for the benefit of all its citizens.

    As he would up his two-day visit here, Mr. Kaklamanis met the Primate of the Church of Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos, party leaders and toured the Green Line, which cuts the capital Nicosia in two.

    Later yesterday he was due to visit the Army General Command and leave for Athens last night.

    Athens News Agency

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