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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-02-05

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] Greece will join Kosovo peace force if both sides agree at upcoming talks
  • [02] V. Papandreou to visit Moscow following problems in natural gas deliveries
  • [03] Apostolakis predicts continuing crises emanating from Ankara
  • [04] Greece supports Nicosia proposal for int'l force on Cyprus
  • [05] Constantopoulos lauds Russia's role
  • [06] Gov't backs another term for Stephanopoulos
  • [07] PM on Euroelections, PASOK congress
  • [08] Getty Museum returns to Italy several priceless artifacts
  • [09] Euro-MP Lomas arrives in Athens for talks on Parthenon Marbles
  • [10] Samothrace mayor wants 'Winged Victory' back, issue doesn't exist for Louvre
  • [11] Spyridon visit to Athens
  • [12] University students block roads in Athens
  • [13] Kaklamanis cites need for a strong Greek presence in area
  • [14] Hunting issue raised by groups
  • [15] Papantoniou confident of Greece's EMU accession
  • [16] Athens Chamber asks gov't to step up economic reform
  • [17] Dimitriadis Textiles becomes Athenian Capital Holdings
  • [18] Bank of Piraeus Group reports 133.7 pct profit jump in 1998
  • [19] Sanyocom becomes OTEnet's Internet rep
  • [20] Spending on media advertising rises 24.21 pct in January
  • [21] Merrill Lynch gives sell signal for Hellenic Bottling
  • [22] Stocks edge down in technical correction
  • [23] Mutual fund assets rise in January report
  • [24] Dollar gains around Dr 3.0 on drachma
  • [25] UK firms to take part in Infacoma trade fair
  • [26] EU's industrial output up 0.4 pct in Sept-Nov 1998
  • [27] Alumyl Mylonas to form joint venture with Egyptian firm
  • [28] Private construction activity increases
  • [29] Karamanlis cites concern over possible "Agenda 2000" changes
  • [30] Ionian Bank to facilitate environment-friendly investments
  • [31] Work stoppage by OA employees announced
  • [32] Chamber leaders briefed on Treaty of Amsterdam
  • [33] French foreign trade deputy minister in Athens
  • [34] Athens Foreign Exchange
  • [35] Marial Callas International Opera Contest

  • [01] Greece will join Kosovo peace force if both sides agree at upcoming talks

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday that Greece would join an international peacekeeping force in the troubled Yugoslav province of Kosovo if the two parties involved agreed after talks in France this weekend.

    "If there is agreement between the two parties then Greece will take part," Mr. Simitis said after talks yesterday with NATO Secretary General Javier Solana, which focused on Kosovo.

    The premier said he had reiterated to Mr. Solana Greece's positions in favour of a political settlement of the crisis in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo and underlined the importance of agreement being reached between the parties to the conflict.

    Mr. Simitis reiterated Athens' position that the solution which should be sought is the one which respects existing borders, and expressed opposition to any ideas in favour of independence for the province.

    He added, however, that wide-ranging autonomy should be granted to Kosovo similar to that the province enjoyed in the past.

    Any military intervention in Kosovo demands "legally valid procedures" which the Greek side believes will not be secured without the consent of the parties directly involved, Mr. Simitis said.

    Replying to reporters' questions, the Greek premier reiterated the Greek position that any NATO military intervention in Kosovo would require a mandate from the UN Security Council.

    He noted, however, that NATO considered the UN resolutions already adopted provided the requisite legal framework, adding that if this view eventually prevailed, Greece would follow it.

    Mr. Simitis expressed Greece's full support for the Rambouillet talks which are scheduled to begin on Saturday. In view of the fact that the Balkans is a region which continues to be characterised by great fluidity, he added, "a special effort should be made so that principles are adopted and implemented which will guarantee peace and security."

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos also covered preparations for the NATO summit in Washington in April.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Simitis said he had also discussed international developments, NATO's new strategy and structure and confidence-building measures (CBMs) in the Aegean.

    Expressing satisfaction at his talks with Mr. Simitis, Mr. Solana said the international community had undertaken peace initiatives to find a diplomatic solution to the Kosovo problem and the Rambouillet talks had NATO's backing.

    On other issues covered in yesterday's talks, Mr. Solana referred in particular to NATO's "open door" policy, underlining that NATO would remain an open organisation ready to accept new members.

    In reply to questions about CBMs in the Aegean, Mr. Simitis said talks were still in progress and progress had been made on some points. Expressing the view that the talks will at some point bring the required result, he stressed that patience was needed.

    Mr. Solana too said that some progress had been made and that talks would continue. He observed that the imminent adoption of NATO's new command structure in itself constituted a confidence-building measure.

    The NATO chief said the recent decision by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides not to deploy Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles on the divided island contributed to efforts on CBMs.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said later that the Greek government was in constant contact with all the interested parties in the Kosovo crisis.

    He was responding to a question on whether Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos had sent a letter to both the Serbian and Albanian sides urging them to contribute to finding a solution at the Rambouillet talks.

    Mr. Reppas reiterated that Athens desired autonomy for the region in the framework of Yugoslavia and expressed the hope that the talks in France would lead to a result.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] V. Papandreou to visit Moscow following problems in natural gas deliveries

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou heads to Moscow on Tuesday to discuss continuing problems in natural gas deliveries from Russia via Bulgaria to Greece.

    She is scheduled to meet with Russian Deputy PM and former Russian envoy to Athens Valentina Matvienko, as well as Russian Energy Minister Andrei Generalov.

    Ms Papandreou met yesterday with the Russian charge d'affaires in Athens, whom she handed a letter to pass on to his government. In it she stressed that problems were continuing despite assurances from Moscow in November that they would be resolved.

    The glitches have already affected the operation of several industries in Greece as well as power plants in Keratsini and Lavrion.

    Should deliveries drop further the Keratsini and Lavrion plants will have to resort to oil.

    Greece has said it expects to import enough natural gas from Russia to cover approximately 15 per cent of the country's energy needs.

    Sources said the problem also concerns supplies to Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Apostolakis predicts continuing crises emanating from Ankara

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Deputy National Defence Minister Dimitris Apostolakis predicted that the Turkish regime will continue to follow its own solitary path, creating or stirring up crises with Greece.

    Mr. Apostolakis made his assessment on Greek-Turkish relations in an interview with the monthly defence magazine "Defence and Diplomacy", while at the same time referring to the armed forces' new structure, measures concerning the improvement of conditi ons for permanent staff and training. He also took the opportunity to call on Turkey to change its attitude and function as a state of law.

    Mr. Apostolakis said that the introduction of new systems in the country's arsenal differentiates the structure of forces and increases the armed forces' effectiveness in confronting the Turkish threat.

    Commenting on the programme for the creation of new modern units, Mr. Apostolakis said that the high cost of creating them will secure the compression of expenditures in the depth of time and at the same time there will be better operational functioning for the armed forces.

    On the question of military universities being established, Mr. Apostolakis said that all improvements are understood through the upgrading of existing military academies with respect for their tradition and history.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Greece supports Nicosia proposal for int'l force on Cyprus

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Athens voiced support yesterday for a Cypriot proposal that an international force be stationed on Cyprus to oversee the gradual demilitarisation of the island.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the proposal for the force, envisioned under UN auspices, was "very good, provided the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish sides agree, which to date they haven't."

    "The Greek government is in full agreement with the policy being followed by the Cypriot government for demilitarisation of the island," Mr. Reppas said.

    He said if agreement were reached on the proposal for the force it would be a development that could contribute to a resolution of the Cyprus issue.

    Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides outlined the proposal during a press conference in Brussels.

    The proposal provides for a multinational force to be stationed on the island and would allow the withdrawal of Turkish occupying forces and a small Greek force stationed under the 1960 Guarantors Agreement.

    The proposal also entails the disbanding of the Cypriot National Guard.

    "This force could be deployed on the island even before a solution to the Cyprus problem is reached. It should have a UN Security Council mandate and the consent of Turkey," Mr. Kasoulides said.

    He said that the proposal, put forward some years ago, was worth considering at the present juncture, following the Cyprus government's decision not to deploy the Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

    Mr. Kasoulides met Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos in Athens on Wednesday evening.

    Clerides : NICOSIA (ANA/CNA) - Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides has made it clear that any multi-national force that may be deployed in Cyprus should have its terms of reference and its composition defined by the UN Security Council.

    "I would like to see an international force with a mandate from the Security Council , which will decide on its composition", the president said yesterday, replying to press questions.

    He pointed out that he would accept either the deployment of a NATO force or a force whose composition will be determined by the UN Council.

    Speaking on the same issue, Mr. Kasoulides referred to the Cypriot president's proposal for a multinational force, made up of different countries, including NATO members.

    On his part, government spokesman Christos Stylianides said the government is open to discussion but insists that its role and composition should be approved by the Security Council.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Constantopoulos lauds Russia's role

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Russia can play a strategic role in the balance of power and stability in Europe, the Balkans and Middle East, and its presence is in line with Greece's interests, Coalition of the Left leader Nikos Constantopoulos, who is visiting Moscow, said yesterday.

    "We want the initiatives which Russia undertakes as a member of the UN security council on the Cyprus issue to continue and to be utilised by the governments of Greece and Cyprus, so that the issue remains in the framework of the organisation and is sol ved on the basis of its resolutons, " he said after meeting the leader of the Popular Patriotic Union of Russia, Yennadi Zuyganov, who was the official host.

    "We want the full development of Greek-Russian relations, in the framework of a modern multi-dimensional Greek foreign policy," he added.

    Earlier, starting his three-day visit, Mr. Constantopoulos met with Orthodox Patriarch of Russia Alexiy.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Gov't backs another term for Stephanopoulos

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    The government said yesterday that the re-election of President Kostis Stephanopoulos would be "very useful and beneficial" for Greece.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas made the statement when asked by reporters whether a proposal in support of another term in office for Mr. Stephanopoulos would be broadly accepted and help avert early general elections.

    "The proposal announced by Prime Minister Costas Simitis in a television interview last night (Wednesday) is the positive practical consequence of the way in which the president performs his duties, as well as recognition of his value and abilities," Mr . Reppas said.

    Mr. Simitis said during an interview with the private "Mega" television channel on Wednesday night that Mr. Stephanopoulos was a very able and competent president.

    "He has correctly observed the dictates of the Constitution and I believe he should be president for the next four-year term," Mr. Simitis said. Mr. Stephanopoulos was elec-ted president by parliament in March 1995.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] PM on Euroelections, PASOK congress

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Prime Minister and ruling PASOK president Costas Simitis said during the cutting of the New Year's cake at the party's offices in Athens yesterday that in 1999 PASOK will confirm its leadership in Greek society.

    In a brief statement, Mr. Simitis referred to the two important issues PASOK has to tackle, and concern the party congress and the Euroelections. He said that the congress must be creative and that PASOK must overcome introversion and egocentrical conceptions.

    Referring to the Euroelections, he said that it is a confrontation through which PASOK will follow a victorious course in the year 2000.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Getty Museum returns to Italy several priceless artifacts

    NEW YORK 05/02/1999 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    The J. Paul Getty Museum yesterday announced a decision to return to Italy three stolen artifacts, illegally smuggled from that country and later acquired by the museum.

    A "New York Times" report from Rome noted that a Greek terra cotta cup dating back to 480 BC, a second century statue of ancient god Mithras and a same era Roman copy of a 5th century BC statue by Polyclitus, which were illegally exported from Italy were to be repatriated.

    The museum's decision was not prompted by legal action from Italy, rather by diplomatic action.

    The Times' report noted that Italy, Greece and Turkey are still claiming many artworks in museums around the world.

    The newspaper cited the Italian government's long-standing dispute with the Metropolitan Museum over the 3rd century Hellenistic silver antiquities.

    Often museums refused to repatriate parts of the collections to the countries of origin for fear of being stripped of their collections, but as the report stated, diplomatic chanels will allow for the constant lending of collections between museums thus making them available for exhibition around the world.

    In a related development, the New York Foundation of Greek Civilisation in cooperation with the New York Spyros Vassiliou-Vrionis Centre of Greek Studies is organising a series of lectures and discussions on the art theft repatriation issue.

    The first activity will take place on Feb. 25 and several academics, legal experts and government officials have already stated their intent to participate.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Euro-MP Lomas arrives in Athens for talks on Parthenon Marbles

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday expressed his gratitude to visiting British Eurodeputy Alfred Lomas as well as to other Euro-MPs for "holding up high the banner for return of the Parthenon Marbles".

    Mr. Venizelos said intense pressure was exercised worldwide on Britain and that "all this is understood by Tony Blair's government, which sees British public opinion in favour of the return of the MarblesIpolitically, this is the most significant argument," Mr. Venizelos concluded.

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos said yesterday that all indications pointed to the materialisation of the request for the return by Britain of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

    "All efforts regarding the Parthenon Marbles must be based on optimism, good reasoning and a correct strategy and all indications are pointing to the materialisation of the request sometime", Mr. Avramopoulos said after meeting with the British Euro-MP.

    Mr. Avramopoulos called Mr. Lomas an important personality of the European Parliament, "fighting his own battle with reliable arguments to achieve the dream of all civilised people for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to their birthplace".

    The British Eurodeputy is scheduled to hold a press conference today after his visit to the Acropolis, and will meet with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos at noon today.

    Mr. Lomas, who played the key role in lobbying for a petition signed on Jan. 15 by 339 Eurodeputies for the return of the Parthenon friezes, will be the honoured guest at a reception hosted by a group of Eurodeputies tonight.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Samothrace mayor wants 'Winged Victory' back, issue doesn't exist for Louvre

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    The mayor of the small northeastern Aegean island of Samothrace yesterday reiterated the issue of returning the "Winged Victory" statue back to the island, in a letter to EU Commission Christos Papoutsis.

    Georgios Hanos requested the aid of the Commission and the Europarliament for the repatriation of the 190 BC head-less statue, as in the case of the Parthenon Marbles.

    According to a Reuters dispatch from Paris, Louvre spokesman Christophe Monin rejected the demand, saying "we have not been notified, as far as we are concerned this demand does not exist."

    At present the statue is displayed at the museum's main staircase.

    Athens Nedws Agency

    [11] Spyridon visit to Athens

    MONTREAL 05/02/1999 (ANA - I. Frangouli)

    Archbishop of America Spyridon will visit Athens next week, aimed at developing cooperation and stable relations between Athens and expatriate Hellenism, according to a statement he made to the Archdiocese's radio programme .

    Talks between Spyridon and members of the government will focus on cooperation with Greece for the improvement of education in the US to secure the viability of the Greek language and the question of more frequent contact between the new Greek generation with the motherland, as well as the exchange of visits between young people in the US and Greece.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] University students block roads in Athens

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    University students yesterday blocked several central Athens roads to protest recent reforms in the education sector.

    Athens and Thrace university students imitated high school pupils, who have been staging protests and roadblocks for some two months, blocked a central Athens avenue yesterday, shouting slogans against the education reforms.

    High school students blocked several Athens roads for a few minutes yesterday without creating any serious problems, while a diminishing number of school buildings under "occupation" now doesn't exceed 80.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Kaklamanis cites need for a strong Greek presence in area

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis held talks with a student delegation from the air force war academy and the naval war academy who visited Parliament yesterday.

    They were given a briefing by deputies who are members of Parliament's standing defence and foreign affairs committee and were given a guided tour of the premises.

    "Only a powerful Greece with an equal role in the European Union, international alliances and backing, social unanimity and stability and armed forces which are capable of confronting every threat can safeguard the paramount commodity of peace from Turkish aggressiveness," Mr. Kaklamanis said.

    He said that "in any case, war is a tragedy and Greece, like every civilised country, is peace-loving," adding that "in present circumstances to enjoy peace you must be able to avert war without pursuing friction and tensions."

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Hunting issue raised by groups

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    The heads of the Greek Ornithological Society (EOE) and the Greek Centre for Treating Wild Animals and Birds (EKPAZP) detailed yesterday the situation created to date from hunting, poaching and recent conflicting decisions by the Council of State and the agriculture ministry on the hunting of migratory birds in February.

    EOE director Costas Vassilakis commented on the Council of State's decision to ban the hunting of 18 migratory birds to their locations of reproduction in February and the ministry's decision immediately afterwards to revoke the council of State's decision.

    "It is a joke made in bad taste. The ministry ignored the Council of State because of pressure exerted by a small but armed minority," he said.

    Hunters have already proposed the amendment of the Directive on the Protection of Wild Birds, while the start to a European campaign has been announced to collect two million signatures with the purpose of preventing the amendment of the directive and to request the removal from the hunting list of those whose numbers are showing a serious decrease in Europe.

    The reason for the campaign was the submission at the European Parliament of 1.5 million signatures by French, Spanish, Italian and Greek hunters who requested hunting to be free from July until February.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Papantoniou confident of Greece's EMU accession

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday stressed that he was certain of Greece's accession to the Economic Monetary Union (EMU) on Jan. 1, 2001.

    During his address at the "Active Citizens' Movement", the minister said the accession to EMU will be an event of greater historical value than Greece's accession to the European Economic Community, since "it is the product of a national effort."

    The minister, however, expressed concern over the impact of a slackening of the effort for accession.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Athens Chamber asks gov't to step up economic reform

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    The Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry said in a report yesterday that the government needed to step up changes it is bringing about in the economy, including fiscal revitalisation, tax reform, and an overhaul of social insurance.

    The country would not be fully prepared to enter the 15-nation European Nation in 2001. Therefore complacency should be avoided and pre-election concessions avoided, Chamber president Yiannis Papathanasiou told a presentation for the six-monthly report.

    At the same time, Greece's EMU entry was likely in 2001 due to a positive political climate in the EU, Mr. Papathanasiou said.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Dimitriadis Textiles becomes Athenian Capital Holdings

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Shareholders of Dimitriadis Textiles yesterday approved a plan to switch the company's line of business to financial services, renaming it Athenian Capital Holdings.

    The changes resulted from a recent overhaul in ownership, following the purchase of a 72 percent stake in the firm by a group of Greek businessmen and US derivatives firm LFG. The original owner, Vassilis Theoharakis, retains a 4.0 percent stake.

    The new company's chairman, Panagiotis Korliras, said Athenian Capital Holdings had secured a 25 million dollar loan to finance its activities, and would raise its share capital within the year.

    The firm is expected to sell a minority stake to a major European investment bank in around six weeks that will also take part in the share capital rise.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Bank of Piraeus Group reports 133.7 pct profit jump in 1998

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Piraeus yesterday reported a 133.7 percent increase in its 1998 consolidated pre-tax profits to 22.7 billion drachmas.

    The parent bank's pre-tax profits for the same year were 124.4 percent up at 13.5 billion drachmas from 6 billion drachmas in 1997.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Sanyocom becomes OTEnet's Internet rep

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Sanyocom, a subsidiary of Sanyo Hellas Holdings, yesterday became the commercial representative of Internet services and products for OTEnet, the state telecom's Internet provider.

    Sanyocom is already the commercial representative of Cosmote, the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation's mobile phone subsidiary.

    In 1998, Sanyocom contributed 3.0 billion drachmas in turnover to the Sanyo Hellas' consolidated sales.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Spending on media advertising rises 24.21 pct in January

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Spending on media advertising nationwide rose by 24.21 percent in January to 28.8 billion drachmas against the same month of last year, Media Services SA said in a report released yesterday.

    The monthly report showed that television commercials again accounted for the lion's share of spending, totalling 11.7 billion drachmas, or 40.80 percent of the market.

    Ranking second was spending on advertisements in magazines at 10.4 billion drachmas, or 36.06 percent of the market.

    Newspapers and radio stations followed with spending totalling 5.3 billion drachmas and 1.3 billion drachmas respectively.

    The products or services that drew the biggest spending were Bodyline, Eleftherotypia, Hyundai, Silhouette and Johnnie Walker.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Merrill Lynch gives sell signal for Hellenic Bottling

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Merrill Lynch has given a sell recommendation for Hellenic Bottling, according to a Reuters report yesterday.

    Release of the US firm's report led Hellenic Bottling's stock to lose 7.30 percent, closing at 10,290 drachmas.

    Despite the firm's sound management, a heavy business involvement in Russia has hurt its finances, Reuters quoted Merrill Lynch as saying.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Stocks edge down in technical correction

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Equities ended yesterday's session slightly lower reversing a seven-day record rally on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Traders said the market finally succumbed to profit-taking after several unsuccessful attempts to stage a downward correction.

    The general index ended 0.39 percent off at 3,293.21 points after gaining 13.32 percent in the previous seven sessions.

    Turnover was 147.5 billion drachmas and volume 23,906,102 shares.

    Sector indices were mixed.

    Banks fell 0.08 percent, Leasing rose 0.64 percent, Insurance eased 1.93 percent, Investment dropped 0.82 percent, Construction jumped 3.85 percent, Industrials fell 1.65 percent, Miscellaneous ended 1.37 percent up and Holding rose 0.91 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.10 percent higher.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 158 to 115 with another 17 issues unchanged.

    A total of 44 stocks hit the day's 8.0 percent limit up. Among them were Anek Lines, Avax, Aktor, Atemke, Ergas, Metka, Dimitriadis, Papahellinas, Petzetakis and Singular.

    Zampa, Alysida, Halyps Cement, Hellenic Bottling, Despec, Ippotour, Panafon and Naoussa Spin Mills suffered the heaviest losses.

    Eskimo, Hellenic Telecoms, Alpha Credit Bank and Metka were the most heavily traded stocks.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 20,600 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 37, 600, Ergobank at 25,550, Ionian Bank at 18,000, Titan Cement 23,850, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,290, Intracom at 15,700, Minoan Lines at 7,305, Panafon at 10,080 and Hellenic Telecoms at 8,460.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Mutual fund assets rise in January report

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    The net assets of domestic mutual funds in January increased by 248.18 billion drachmas, or 2.76 percent, to 9,250.86 billion drachmas, Ionian Bank said in a report released yesterday.

    The net assets of growth funds rose 23.50 percent in January, while fixed- income and money market mutual funds' assets increased 1.54 percent, Ionian's monthly report said.

    On the other hand, the net assets of foreign investment funds dropped 10.07 percent in the same month.

    The report said that January's total mutual fund assets accounted for 49.73 percent of all drachma private deposits reported in November 1998.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Dollar gains around Dr 3.0 on drachma

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    The dollar gained around 3.0 drachmas on the drachma in the foreign currency market yesterday to end at 285.450 at the central bank's daily fix from 282.950 the previous day.

    The drachma edged down slightly against the euro, with the Bank of Greece halting its rise by purchasing around 30 million euros at the fix.

    The euro was fixed at 321.640 drachmas from 321.010 in the previous session.

    Rates were slightly softer in the interbank market, and bonds in the secondary market fluctuated around 10-15 basis points, showing signs of consolidation.

    Athens News Agency

    [25] UK firms to take part in Infacoma trade fair

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Companies from the UK are to take part in Infacoma 99, a construction and building materials trade fair to be held in Thessaloniki on February 10-12, the British Embassy's press office said in a statement yesterday.

    The companies are Baxi Air Management, Chapman Taylor Partners, Cotech (UK) Ltd, Geo Robson & Co Ltd, Holt JCB Ltd, Idenden International-Evode Ltd, Kalon Group, Plashapes, Rycroft, SGB International, Skylon and Tensid UK Plc.

    In addition, twenty four companies including those taking part in the trade fair will visit Athens on 8-10 February for trade contacts. They are from the construction, medical and car accessories sectors.

    Further details on the companies are available from the embassy's commercial section on 7272637.

    Athens News Agency

    [26] EU's industrial output up 0.4 pct in Sept-Nov 1998

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Industrial production in the European Union rose by 0.4 percent in September-November 1998.

    The highest rate of increase was posted by Ireland at 5.0 percent, and Greece's output rose 1.3 percent.

    Athens News Agency

    [27] Alumyl Mylonas to form joint venture with Egyptian firm

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Alumyl Mylonas announced yesterday that it had signed an agreement with Eipal of Egypt, an aluminium firm, to set up a joint venture.

    The Greek firm is to have a 51 percent stake in the venture, a factory that is to launch operations in 2000.

    Athens News Agency

    [28] Private construction activity increases

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Private construction activity in Greece increased by 0.4 per cent in November 1998 compared to November 1997, the National Statistics Service (ESYE) announced yesterday.

    In addition, overall private construction activity increased by 7.2 per cent in November 1998 from October 1998.

    Private activity for the first 11 months of 1998 rose by a significant 9.3 per cent year-on-year, as Attica led the country with 14.1 per cent, followed by Macedonia with 11.9 per cent.

    Activity was reported as decreasing in central Greece and Evia by 7.8 per cent, and Aegean islands by 4.4 per cent.

    Athens News Agency

    [29] Karamanlis cites concern over possible "Agenda 2000" changes

    BRUSSELS 05/02/1999 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday expressed concerns over the problems that Greek farmers may confront following re-distribution of European Union funds prescribed by the "Agenda 2000."

    Answering reporters' questions at the sidelines of a European Peoples' Party (EPP) meeting, Mr. Karamanlis said every possible attempt will be made so as to avert a decrease of the EU budget in areas that would damage the Cohesion fund countries - Greece, Spain, Ireland and Portugal.

    Mr. Karamanlis said the EPP's Euroelection programme is well-rounded and includes issues such as the future of the European Union, "Agenda 2000" and education.

    He added that views of EPP leaders charged with drafting the programme coincided.

    With regard to Turkey, Mr. Karamanlis said the final draft of the EPP programme satisfied Greek national sentiments and stressed that "we mean the European prospect of Turkey to the degree that Turkey acts as a European state accepting International Law ."

    Athens News Agency

    [30] Ionian Bank to facilitate environment-friendly investments

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Ionian Bank has announced a cooperation agreement with the European Investment Fund for promotion in Greece of the "Development and Environment" funding programme, which aims to orient and facilitate businesses towards investments friendly to the environm ent.

    The scheme exclusively concerns new investments in fixed capital and equipment, which aims either at direct environmental benefits (savings in energy or natural resources, soil or water protection, restriction of contamination etc), or to the developm ent of productive equipment which can be used for the protection of the environment and the manufacturing of products with environmental characteristics.

    The programme is addressed to small and medium sized enterprises which employ up to 100 people. The funding ceiling is one million euros (336 million drachmas) and the minimum five million drachmas. The repayment period is between three and 10 years.

    Athens News Agency

    [31] Work stoppage by OA employees announced

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    The Federation of Civil Aviation Associations (OSPA) on Wednesday called a three-hour work stoppage for noon next Friday to protest the government's intention to hire a strategic manager for debt-ridden Olympic Airways.

    The national economy ministry announced an international tender for a manager for the ailing national carrier on Sunday.

    According to sources, British Airways, Lufthansa and a US operator have expressed interest in taking over the state-run carrier's management.

    OSPA said it would meet in the lead up to Friday's work stoppage to determine further protest action.

    Athens News Agency

    [32] Chamber leaders briefed on Treaty of Amsterdam

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and several chambers of commerce presidents agreed yesterday to have contacts between the foreign ministry and chamber representatives "enacted."

    In the framework of contacts between Mr. Papandreou and social partners in light of the Treaty of Amsterdam's ratification in Parliament and its application, he met with the chamber presidents yesterday, who found the opportunity to express their views on issues preoccupying them and concerning the Amsterdam Treaty.

    Athens News Agency

    [33] French foreign trade deputy minister in Athens

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    French Foreign Trade Deputy Minister Jacques Dondoux arrives in Athens for a two-day visit on Monday, a French embassy press release said yesterday. Mr. Dondoux, during his visit, will meet with Greek government officials and will hold a press conference on Wednesday at the French embassy, the release stated.
    Athens News Agency

    [34] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: February 4, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             283.166 289.732
    Can.Dollar            187.706 192.058
    Australian Dlr        181.114 185.314
    Pound Sterling        463.581 474.330
    Irish Punt            405.132 414.525
    Pound Cyprus          549.568 562.310
    Pound Malta           702.151 731.407
    Turkish pound (100)     0.074   0.077
    French franc           48.642  49.770
    Swiss franc           199.070 203.685
    Belgian franc           7.909   8.093
    German Mark           163.136 166.919
    Finnish Mark           53.663  54.907
    Dutch Guilder         144.786 148.143
    Danish Kr.             42.908  43.903
    Swedish Kr.            35.849  36.680
    Norwegian Kr.          36.906  37.762
    Austrian Sh.           23.187  23.725
    Italian lira (100)     16.478  16.860
    Yen (100)             249.428 255.212
    Spanish Peseta          1.918   1.962
    Port. Escudo            1.591   1.628
    
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              283.166 289.732
    Montreal              187.706 192.058
    Sydney                181.114 185.314
    London                463.581 474.330
    Dublin                405.132 414.525
    Nicosia               549.568 562.310
    Paris                  48.642  49.770
    Zurich                199.070 203.685
    Brussels                7.909   8.093
    Frankfurt             163.136 166.919
    Helsinki               53.663  54.907
    Amsterdam             144.786 148.143
    Copenhagen             42.908  43.903
    Stockholm              35.849  36.680
    Oslo                   36.906  37.762
    Vienna                 23.187  23.725
    Milan                  16.478  16.860
    Tokyo                 249.428 255.212
    Madrid                  1.918   1.962
    Lisbon                  1.591   1.628
    
    Athens News Agency

    [35] Marial Callas International Opera Contest

    Athens 05/02/1999 (ANA)

    The "Grand Prix Maria Callas" international opera contest will be concluded on Tuesday at the Athens Concert Hall, with several noted opera stars making up the awards committee.

    The event, held for the third consecutive year at the initiative of Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, began on Feb. 2 with the participation of 34 opera singers from various countries.

    A slight earthquake measuring 3.6 points on the Richter scale was recorded at 2:14 p.m. yesterday east of Corinth. The tremor was felt in almost the entire prefecture of Corinth. No damage was reported.

    Athens News Agency

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