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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-02-13

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] Gov't approves order for Eurofighter, possible participation in production
  • [02] Russia, Greece tackle oil pipeline, natural gas issues
  • [03] Simitis visits Serres today
  • [04] Army special forces receive new speed boats
  • [05] Venizelos satisfied with progress, transparency in Olympic projects
  • [06] SE Europe Youth Centre set for approval
  • [07] US Sixth Fleet to consider Rhodes for R&R anchorage
  • [08] Archaeologists unveil ancient Macedonian finds
  • [09] Baritone Voutsinos passes away
  • [10] NY scientists announce discovery of AIDS-related genetic mutation
  • [11] Klestil looking forward to welcoming Stephanopoulos
  • [12] Archbishopb Spyridon meets Constantopoulos
  • [13] Gov't states support for unwed mothers
  • [14] PASOK congress presents "great challenge," Papandreou says
  • [15] Athens hospital doctors dispute continues
  • [16] Third bank robber gives himself up
  • [17] Music TV channel to be relayed to Australia
  • [18] METKA signs defence contract with Raytheon
  • [19] Greece to auction 7-yr bonds Tuesday
  • [20] EU okays new credit institution for Greece
  • [21] Mytilineos shows interest in 50 pct of TVX Hellas
  • [22] Bank of Piraeus plans to boost share capital by Dr 120 bln
  • [23] Stocks again jump to new record on economic euphoria
  • [24] US embassy to host business event
  • [25] Bankruptcies edge down in January
  • [26] Civil Aviation staff hold work stoppages
  • [27] Oil industry workers call five-day strike
  • [28] Athens Foreign Exchange

  • [01] Gov't approves order for Eurofighter, possible participation in production

    The Greek government yesterday gave the green light for negotiations to begin for the purchase of 60-80 fourth generation Eurofighters as a medium- term measure in the framework of an ongoing multi-million dollar armaments programme.

    The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) gave its approval at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said the Eurofighter would enter service with the Hellenic Air Force after 2005 when the warplane is expected to go into mass production.

    He said the Defence Ministry had been authorised by KYSEA to look into the financial terms under which Greece could participate in the Eurofighter's production programme, on the basis of an order for between 60 and 80 of the aircraft.

    The Eurofighter consortium groups British Aerospace, Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG (DASA), Italy's Finmeccanica and CASA of Spain.

    The respective governments have each agreed to purchase a specific number of a total 620 Eurofighters.

    KYSEA also completed discussion of the procurement of new combat aircraft to meet the immediate needs of the Hellenic Air Force, but no final decision was taken due to a shortage of funds under the approved armaments programme.

    As a result, KYSEA authorised the Defence Ministry to examine the financial aspects of the procurement in conjunction with provision in the current Integrated Medium-Term Defence Equipment Programme (EMPAE) for the purchase of Mirage 2000 and F-16 fight er jets to replace losses.

    KYSEA also gave its approval for the signing of contracts for the purchase of 50 US-made Tehan T-6A training aircraft and eleven French-made Crotale short- and medium-range anti-aircraft systems for the Hellenic Navy and the Hellenic Air Force. Reppas: - Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the final decisions concerning the purchase of new combat aircraft would be taken at the next KYSEA meeting "after taking into consideration all the facts".

    With regard to the purchase of the other aircraft, he said, although a detailed evaluation was made of all aspects, "no decision was taken because the technical parameters must be jointly considered in correlation with the final cost".

    "Because of the tremendous cost involved, there must be a careful examination and for this reason alternative proposals were put forward," Mr. Reppas said, while underlining that the views expressed by other ministers at yesterday's meeting were very si milar to those of the main rapporteur, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

    The spokesman said that the Defence Ministry would cooperate with the National Economy Ministry to ensure that any procurement resulted in the greatest possible deterrent force at the most favourable cost.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Russia, Greece tackle oil pipeline, natural gas issues

    MOSCOW (ANA - D. Konstantakopoulos) - Russia responded positively to Greek proposals on the implementation of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline plan during talks with Development Minister Vasso Papandreou here yesterday.

    Ms. Papandreou met with the Russian government's Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matvienko, Fuel and Energy Minister Sergei Generalov and the President of GAZPROM Erem Viahirev.

    She reported Greece and Russia were in full agreement on the importance of the construction of the pipeline from Burgas, Bulgaria, to Alexandroupolis, Greece, to transport crude oil from central Asia.

    The Greek proposal envisages the creation of a company with a small initial capital, the main aim being the conducting of studies and contacts with petroleum companies to attract investors.

    Speaking to reporters, Ms. Papandreou said that interest has already been shown in the pipeline by American companies and added that the Russians' response to her proposal was very positive.

    Further details of the project will be discussed when Mr. Generalov visits Greece in March, she said.

    Apart from the pipeline issue, Ms. Papandreou also discussed with the Russian officials the issue of the adequate supply of natural gas to Greece.

    Mr. Viahirev acknowledged Russia's responsibility over problems presented in natural gas supplies to Greece and promised they would not appear again in the future.

    In a statement published in Moscow's English-language newspaper "Moscow Tribune" yesterday, the President of GAZPROM recognised that some problems appeared in supplying Greece due to repairs of a "compressor" in Bulgaria.

    Mr. Viahirev again raised a demand for an increase of about 25 per cent in the price at which Greece purchases natural gas. This was rejected by Ms. Papandreou on the grounds that contractual conditions do not exist (price of oil and a divergence in pri ces in the Greek and international markets) which would justify an increase in price. She said that if an agreement was not possible on this issue, it could be referred to arbitration.

    The Russian side conceded the existence of problems regarding the quality of natural gas, but stressed that it has been at a regular level after January 15. It also conceded the problems of pressure and the flow of quantities and promised to do all it could to resolve problems created with Ukraine, Romania and Moldova.

    Ms. Papandreou said the station of Revythousa was to operate in a supplementary fashion as of next summer to enable the handling of possible problems in the supply of gas. She further stressed the need for a linkage between Greece and inter-European gas networks to achieve the greatest possible security in the country's supply and in the framework of the Greek energy market's opening as of 2001.

    Mr. Generalov said both the Greek and Russian sides had failed to meet various aspects of the natural gas agreement and said there was a possibility of a new agreement being signed in April.

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

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

    In September last year, Athens signed an agreement for the joint construction of an undersea pipeline to carry natural gas from Italy to Greece. The project, when completed, is hoped to make Greece a natural gas junction in the wider region of the Balka ns.

    The Italy-Greece pipeline, to be part of the Inter-European natural gas networks, will be financially aided by the EU.

    Deregulation of the energy sector in the EU will mean that Greece will be able to buy natural gas also from Algeria, The Netherlands and Norway through Italy.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Simitis visits Serres today

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will visit Serres, northern Greece, today, accompanied by a large number of ministers.

    The Prime Minister's first stop will be the location where the city's new hospital is being built. The hospital will have a capacity of 300 beds and will cost seven billion drachmas.

    Mr. Simitis will then meet the city's Mayor, Zisis Mitliangas, and make a political speech at the municipal cinema "Asteria."

    At 6:30 p.m. Mr. Simitis is expected to meet the prefect of Serres Mr. A. Karypidis and the 22 mayors of the prefecture, as well as with agencies in the region, to be briefed on problems facing the prefecture and each municipality separately.

    The governmental delegation is to visit the Kilkis prefecture tomorrow.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Army special forces receive new speed boats

    The Greek Army Special Forces' operational capability has been boosted with the addition of 18 speed boats, received during a ceremony at the Special Forces Training Centre in Megalo Pefko, west of Athens, yesterday.

    The "Magna 960" speed boats have a 15-troop capacity, they can reach a 45- knot speed and have a 400-mile self-reliance allowing for greater flexibility, effectiveness and mobility to the amphibious forces charged with the defence of the country's island regions.

    Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said in a speech that the armed forces' efficiency was being upgraded with the acquisition of the new speed boats, in conjunction with the further procurement of inflatable craft.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos expressed satisfaction for the timely addition of the "Magna 960s", the total cost of which was two billion drachmas, while there was provision for the purchase of 14 more.

    The ceremony was also attended by Army General Staff Chief, General Manousos Paragioudakis.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Venizelos satisfied with progress, transparency in Olympic projects

    Culture Minister and President of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the 2004 Olympiad Evangelos Venizelos yesterday stated his full satisfaction with progress in the construction of Olympic projects, as well as with the transparency with which the Athe ns 2004 S.A. company is functioning.

    He made the statement after chairing a meeting with the Sports Secretary General, members of the Greek Olympic Committee and the president and managing director of Athens 2004 on the crisis experienced by the world Olympic movement in recent weeks, foll owing revelations of bribery concerning members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

    Mr. Venizelos also reiterated that Greece has the opportunity and obligation to contribute decisively to the rebirth and reprojection of Olympic ideals. In this direction, Greece has undertaken considerable initiatives, the most important being the Cult ural Olympiad, he noted.

    Referring to transparency in the functioning of the Athens 2004 company, Mr. Venizelos stressed it is the sole company in the broader public sector which comes under continuous and daily audit by a special tripartite committee of senior Audit Council ju dges. He said the prime minister's and the government's resolve for respect for rules of transparency is being observed absolutely.

    Mr. Venizelos denied press reports of a delay in establishing a subsidiary of Athens 2004 to supervise the special Olympic projects, adding that this would be set up after specialised working groups had completed their task.

    Mr. Venizelos also announced that the president of the IOC's coordinating committee, Mr. Krog, will be coming to Greece on February 18-19.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] SE Europe Youth Centre set for approval

    The 3rd Conference of Students of SE Europe which began in Athens yesterday is expected to ratify the decision of the administrative board of the National Youth Foundation concerning the establishment of a SE Europe Youth Centre as an international, nonpr ofit youth organisation with headquarters in Greece.

    Participating in the establishment of the regional centre will be the student unions of Greece, Turkey, Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bulgaria, Romania, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Cyprus. Student representati ves from all these countries are attending the three-day conference at the Zappion Hall.

    One of the objectives of the centre would be to promote political stability and cooperation in the region.

    Speaking at yesterday's opening session, Education Minister Gerassimos Arsenis stressed that the youth of SE Europe were beginning "to take the destiny of the region in their own hands".

    "Many believe that SE Europe is a powder-keg, but this is not so. The consolidation of peace, however, will come only through cooperation," he said.

    Mr. Arsenis said there were no longer any "substantial" borders between countries, and those that did exist could become bridges of cooperation between peoples.

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou reiterated a Greek proposal for the organisation of an international truce during the staging of the Olympic Games, as in ancient times.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] US Sixth Fleet to consider Rhodes for R&R anchorage

    The holiday island of Rhodes looks set to become a permanent rest and recreation anchorage for vessels of the US Sixth Fleet if all goes well with a visit by US navy officers to the Aegean island next month.

    The officers will visit the island towards the end of March to ascertain whether the island satisfies all the prerequisites for providing anchorage facilities and receiving crew members on shore leave.

    The issue was first discussed last year by representatives of Rhodes municipality and the US Embassy in Athens after the US side expressed interest in selecting an island with the necessary infrastructure for R&R visits by US Sixth Fleet vessels all th e year round.

    In addition to the requisite port facilities, the island to be chosen must also have modern hotels which can provide accommodation to the families of crew members.

    Interest has also been expressed by Corfu in the Ionian Sea and Chania, Crete, but Rhodes is seen to have the edge because of its waste treatment plant which could serve the needs of the fleet vessels.

    The US side is setting as a selection condition an agreement with the local water supply and drainage corporation which would allow each warship sailing into Rhodes to empty its waste at the plant for a fee.

    During their visit to Rhodes, the US officers will also have talks with hoteliers.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Archaeologists unveil ancient Macedonian finds

    Archaeologists in Thessaloniki yesterday unveiled important recent discoveries dating to the ancient Macedonian era.

    Head of the archaeological team Prof. Dimitris Pantermalis presented remnants of a sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, including a sacrificial altar, and public lavatories found at Dion, in Pieria district.

    According to Mr. Pantermalis the sanctuary dates at least to the 4th century B.C. since archaeologists discovered 4th century B.C. writing on several slabs along with it.

    The professor noted that the sanctuary was not just a religious centre but also a political one.

    The second find is a luxurius public lavatory of the 2nd century B.C., where free-flowing water ducts removed all waste, while the lack of partitions indicated a different cultural stance toward this biological activity.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Baritone Voutsinos passes away

    Base baritone Frangiskos Voutsinos, the internationally popular artist of the Athens Opera, died yesterday of brain disease. He was 65.

    Among the last successful performances of Voutsinos, who had studied at the Athens Conservatory and the Academy of Vienna, were the Magic Flute, Nabuko, Trovatore, Midsummer Night's Dream and Fidelio. His funeral will take place at the Athens First Ceme tery at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] NY scientists announce discovery of AIDS-related genetic mutation

    NEW YORK (ANA) - A Greek-American researcher, Dr Leon Kostrikis, of the Aaron Diamont Research Centre in Manhattan, and his associate John Moore, have announced the discovery of a genetic mutation which they say may be responsible for 20 per cent of Afric an Americans being six times more prone to infection from the AIDS virus than whites.
    Athens News Agency

    [11] Klestil looking forward to welcoming Stephanopoulos

    VIENNA (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis) - Austrian President Thomas Klestil said he is especially looking forward to the visit Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos will be paying to his country next week, the first in history by a Greek head of state, in an excl usive interview with the Athens News Agency (ANA) here yesterday.

    Mr. Klestil said during the visit "we will have so much in common to discuss," and expressed the admiration, appreciation and gratitude of Austrians for Greece, the country's great geopolitical importance, very good relations between Vienna and Athens a nd the possibilities of broadening and improving them.

    He also referred at length to Turkey's "somewhere-in-the-future," long-term and conditional European prospects, the unquestionable recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, Austria's support for Cyprus' accession negotiations with the EU, which may help in resolving the Cyprus issue, as well as to EU's enlargement in general.

    On the question of Turkey's European prospects, Mr. Klestil added that country had to fulfill the list of values applied in Europe, such as the rule of law, respect for human rights and protection and support for minorities.

    Mr. Klestil, having knowledge of the Cyprus issue due to his long diplomatic career, said that everyone recognised the Republic of Cyprus and understood Greece's sensitivity as a kind of protecting power for Cyprus. Austria supported the start of specif ic negotiations between the EU and Cyprus, in equality with the other candidate countries of central and eastern Europe.

    He said he hoped the accession negotiations would have a positive effect for a political solution to the problem of Cyprus in its entirety. Stephanopoulos starts Austria visit Monday: - President Stephanopoulos will arrive on Monday for a three-day-visit at the invitation of his Austrian counterpart.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos is reciporcating the 1984 visit to Athens of then Austrian President Rudolf Kirch-schlaeger.

    Transportation and Communication Minister Tassos Mantelis, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Deputy National Economy Minister Alexandros Baltas are to accompany the president during the visit.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos is scheduled to meet with Mr. Klestil, Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima and Parliament President Heinz Fischer.

    The agenda of discussions is expected to include bilateral relations, developments within the European Union, the Cyprus problem, Greek-Turkish relations, EU-Turkish relations and conditions in the Balkans.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Archbishopb Spyridon meets Constantopoulos

    Coalition of the Left party leader Nikos Constantopoulos yesterday called for Greece's support of the Greek Orthodox Church and Greeks in America, through a "concrete policy".

    Mr. Constantopoulos was speaking after talks with visiting Archbishop of America Spyridon.

    The Archbishop expressed satisfaction over the meeting, adding that he had long followed Mr. Constantopoulos's "balanced positions on various political issues, particularly those pertaining to national issues".

    Last night, Spyridon hosted a reception for Greek media representatives.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Gov't states support for unwed mothers

    The thorny issue of whether the state should provide more extensive support for unwed women who choose to have children reared its head in Parliament again yesterday.

    "In a country which is under 'demographic pressure', Deputy Health and Welfare Minister Theodoros Kotsonis said, "each woman who brings a child into the world is welcome and should receive social protection."

    "However," he added, "we cannot suggest (to society) that a single-parent family is the family which is best placed for the (healthy) development of children."

    Predicting an increase in the number of single-parent families, Mr. Kotsonis said the government was "having difficulty" in distinguishing between "the single mother arising from specific conditions - so that she may receive all the support she is entit led to - from those cases which, due to the support available, can lead to a single-parent situation."

    He was responding to a question from a ruling party PASOK MP Evangelos Vlassopoulos over provisions which would provide support for single mothers.

    Mr. Vlassopoulos said the benefits available today were "too low, " and called for the state to take a different stance on unwed mothers.

    According to last available figures, in 1995 Greece had 3,100 unwed mothers.

    Mr. Kotsonis admitted that Greece lacked a legal framework which would protect and support single mothers although he pointed to ministry programmes geared towards the needs of one-parent families, such as preferential placement in state-run nurseries a nd child-care centres.

    Greece also provided subsidies for children of 2,700 single-parent families, he said.

    The issue of more support for single parents came up at Parliament last September when the House tussled with whether single mothers should be considered a "special needs" group eligible for state support and programmes.

    Speaking then, Labour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou said he was concerned over whether "we can protect all those who have (consciously) chosen not to marry but to have a child."

    He was responding to MP complaints that women with three or more children received extensive state support.

    Doubts over supporting unwed mothers were also expressed by conservative opposition New Democracy deputy Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who suggested that single mothers be judged by a court as to whether she had made a lifestyle choice to have children or was t ruly disadvantaged.

    The court would hear the testimony of two witnesses or "expert opinion" to determine the woman's motives in having children, he said.

    "Children should not be born if the only aim is to provide the mother with a job," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] PASOK congress presents "great challenge," Papandreou says

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday that dialogue preceding the PASOK congress in March should be placed on the right path while a re-connection with the "base" was needed.

    Speaking in Iraklion, Crete, Mr. Papandreou said that PASOK's 5th Congress, held three years after the death of the party's founder, presented a great challenge "to prove that we continue the work and the struggle of Andreas Papandreou and that this con tinuation is based on our principles and our values as well as on unity".

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Athens hospital doctors dispute continues

    Health and Social Welfare Minister Lambros Papadimas yesterday said that everything possible had been done to satisfy a great portion of striking Athens hospital doctors' demands.

    Mr. Papadimas, after yesterday's fruitless meeting with the leadership of the doctors' union, said that the health ministry will safeguard citizens' health during the doctors' mobilisations "at any cost".

    Doctors did not consider that essential issues had been Iresolved, despite a ministerial decision for a several-billion drachma increase to 1999-shift- duty allocations, and will continue with the announced six-hour work stoppages Monday through Wednesda y at all hospitals of the Attica basin.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Third bank robber gives himself up

    A fugitive suspect for robbery, hunted down by police for the past ten days, gave himself up in Corinthia, Peloponnese, yesterday.

    Seriously wounded Ioannis Karadimos was taken to a local hospital after guiding police over the phone to the abandoned house where he had been hiding.

    Karadimos and two accomplices were wanted for armed robbery of about four million drachmas from a rural branch of the Agricultural Bank in the district. One of them was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police while on the run, while the other was found dead in a cave from exposure to cold.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Music TV channel to be relayed to Australia

    MAD TV, the only music channel of the country, will start relaying its programmes to Australia as of March 25.

    Greek-Australian bilingual television channel GATV and MAD signed an agreement for the daily broadcast of a six-hour Greek program as well as Sunday's TOP-10.

    MAD has also entered into negotiations with a Cypriot television channel for a daily 20-hour broadcast of its program to Cyprus, expected to start before the end of the year.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] METKA signs defence contract with Raytheon

    Metka, a member of Mytilineos Holdings, announced yesterday that it has signed a US$14.2 million contract with US based Raytheon Systems Co., to manufacture and assemble 42 mobile platforms for the Patriot anti-aircraft missile launching system.

    The platforms to be built at Metka's Volos plant were ordered from Raytheon by the Greek government under a long-term defence procurement plan. Foreign companies were urged to work with domestic firms.

    Under the same armaments plan, Metka had signed a US$6.2 million contract with Lockheed Martin Overseas Corp. on January 29 to manufacture and assemble the launchers.

    The two contracts are the first step in a drive by Metka, which is listed on the Athens bourse, to become a player in the European defence industry.

    The firm is now seeking contracts for the co-production of tanks and submarines.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Greece to auction 7-yr bonds Tuesday

    The finance ministry will auction a new issue of seven-year bonds worth 320 billion drachmas on Tuesday, it said in a statement yesterday.

    The bonds in electronic form have a coupon of 6.0 percent, down 2.7 percent from previous issues, lowering future interest payments for the state.

    The auction is open to primary dealers, and no commission will be paid.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] EU okays new credit institution for Greece

    BRUSSELS (ANA-M.Spinthourakis) - The European Union's executive commission yesterday endorsed the creation of a new company for the Greek banking mar- -

    (Continued on page 8) (Continued from page 7) ket by Inchcape Holdings Hellas and EFG Eurobank. Autofin, the new company, is to specialise in loans for new and second-hand automobiles, motorbikes and leisure craft.

    The commission said in a statement that creation of the new company would not violate rules on fair competition.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Mytilineos shows interest in 50 pct of TVX Hellas

    The Mytilineos Group has confirmed its interest in buying a 50 percent stake in TVX Hellas, hiring Salomon Smith Barney, the US investment bank, as consultant.

    Salomon will research the deal, handle negotiations and arrange financing if the two companies reach agreement.

    National Bank of Greece International, National Bank's subsidiary in London, will also assist in the negotiations to be carried out by TVX Gold Inc/Canada, TVX Hellas' parent company.

    The deadline for bids in the sale of the 50 percent stake was extended to Monday to give investors more time to study the offer.

    The parent company and its consultant, N.M. Rothschild Inc., will study the bids submitted and begin negotiations within weeks.

    TVX Hellas has purchased Kassandra's mines in Halkidiki, northern Greece, and plans to build a gold production unit in the region.

    The project has sparked protests among some local residents.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Bank of Piraeus plans to boost share capital by Dr 120 bln

    Bank of Piraeus announced yesterday that it plans to increase its share capital by 120 billion drachmas, a move seen as bolstering its position if it submits a binding offer in the privatisation of Ionian Bank.

    At the same time, Xiosbank, a member of the Bank of Piraeus Group, also intends to hold a share capital increase of 37 billion drachmas, which brokers also see as linked to the sale of Ionian.

    JP Morgan, the US investment firm acting as consultant to the sale, is expected to seek binding offers next week in the international tender.

    The two banks' share capital increases are subject to shareholders' approval.

    Bank of Piraeus has called a general shareholders meeting on March 11, and Xiosbank on March 18.

    Bank of Piraeus surprised the market with its new share capital rise as it has only just completed another, also for 120 billion drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Stocks again jump to new record on economic euphoria

    Equities remained on a record-breaking track yesterday with market sentiment supported by upbeat forecasts on the domestic economy by international investment houses, and a debt upgrade by Moody's.

    The general index ended 2.08 percent higher at 3,322.86 points, its 14th record this year, but off the day's highs of 3,442.34.

    Turnover was 159.2 billion drachmas and volume 30,568,471 shares.

    On a weekly basis, the general index gained 2.58 percent. Turnover totalled 693.194 billion drachmas to post a daily average of 138.639 billion against 159.94 billion in the previous week.

    Sector indices mostly scored gains.

    Banks rose 2.51 percent, Leasing fell 0.82 percent, Insurance increased 3.93 percent, Investment ended 0.73 percent up, Construction rose 1.75 percent, Industrials jumped 2.44 percent, Miscellaneous eased 0.32 percent and Holding rose 1.90 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.98 percent higher while the FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 2.09 percent up at 2,157.33.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 208 to 77 with another 9 issues unchanged.

    Bank of Piraeus, Development Invest, Viosol and Allatini were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Bank of Piraeus, Dorian Bank, Bank of Greece, Gek, Ergas, Technodomi, Karelias, Lambropoulos and Bank of Athens hit the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

    Diekat, Ekter, Mohlos, Radio Athina, Papoutsanis, Eltrak, Interinvest, Mouriadis, Xylemporia and Duty Free Shops suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 21,490 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 35, 690, Ergobank at 25,200, Ionian Bank at 17,320, Titan Cement at 23,500, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,340, Intracom at 16,740, Minoan Lines at 7,990, Panafon at 9,750 and Hellenic Telec oms at 8,200. Drachma stays high in forex market:- The drachma remained firm in the domestic foreign currency market yesterday and the central bank made no intervention to curb its ascent, traders said.

    At the Bank of Greece's daily fix, the euro was set at 322.020 drachmas from 322.180 in the previous session. Bond prices were flat, and interbank rates soft again.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] US embassy to host business event

    The US embassy's commercial section announced yesterday that 12 US state representatives, who are authorised by 150 US firms to present cooperation proposals to Greek businesses, will be available in Athens for meetings on March 8-9.

    The Multi-State/Catalog Exhibition, which includes holding the meetings, is also to include information on the products and services of another 150 firms.

    For more information contact the US embassy on +30-1-720-2307 and +30-1-720-2334.

    Athens News Agency

    [25] Bankruptcies edge down in January

    The number of businesses filing for bankruptcy dropped to 63 in January from 135 in the same month of 1998, marking a sharp 53 percent decline, the Hellenic Banks Union said in a monthly report.

    Businesses declared bankrupt last month were 61 against 60 a year earlier, the report said.

    Bounced checks, however, rose by 13 percent to 25.3 billion drachmas last month compared with January 1998.

    Athens News Agency

    [26] Civil Aviation staff hold work stoppages

    Four Olympic Airways domestic flights and one international flight to Milan were cancelled yesterday as civil aviation employees held a three-hour walk- out to protest the government's plans to give management of Olympic Airways to a foreign company.

    Another ten flights - including flights to London, Larnarca, Tirana, Dusseldorf and Rome - had their flight take-off times changed during the work stoppage, which began at 12 midday.

    The Federation of Civil Aviation Associations (OSPA) called the walk-out last week after the national economy ministry announced an international tender for a manager for the ailing national carrier.

    The deadline for the expression of interest for the tender ended yesterday.

    According to sources, British Airways, Lufthansa and a US operator have already expressed interest in taking over management.

    Athens News Agency

    [27] Oil industry workers call five-day strike

    Workers at state-run Hellenic Petroleum Corporation called a five-day strike yesterday, demanding assurances of job security.

    The strike effectively means that no petroleum products or natural gas will be distributed and refineries and chemical processing plants will have their supply cut by 50 percent.

    Apart from assurances about the status of their jobs, workers are demanding management come good on its pledges to plough one billion drachmas back into the company to modernise installations.

    They say that if the investments in the company do not go ahead, plants will be forced to shut down, leading to a "foreign exchange haemorrhage" through the increasing need to import products.

    Athens News Agency

    [28] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Bank of Greece closing rates of February 12, 1999
    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes        Buying    Selling
    US Dollar         283.920   290.503
    Can.Dollar        190.206   194.616
    Australian Dlr    182.325   186.552
    Pound Sterling    461.915   472.625
    Irish Punt        405.610   415.014
    Pound Cyprus      548.576   561.295
    Pound Malta       698.539   727.645
    Turkish pound (100) 0.074     0.077
    French franc       48.699    49.828
    Swiss franc       199.491   204.117
    Belgian franc       7.919     8.102
    German Mark       163.329   167.116
    Finnish Mark       53.727    54.972
    Dutch Guilder     144.957   148.318
    Danish Kr.         42.962    43.958
    Swedish Kr.        35.764    36.593
    Norwegian Kr.      36.952    37.809
    Austrian Sh.       23.215    23.753
    Italian lira (100) 16.498    16.880
    Yen (100)         248.069   253.821
    Spanish Peseta      1.920     1.964
    Port. Escudo        1.593     1.630
    
    Foreign Exchange   Buying   Selling
    New York          283.920   290.503
    Montreal          190.206   194.616
    Sydney            182.325   186.552
    London            461.915   472.625
    Dublin            405.610   415.014
    Nicosia           548.576   561.295
    Paris              48.699    49.828
    Zurich            199.491   204.117
    Brussels            7.919     8.102
    Frankfurt         163.329   167.116
    Helsinki           53.727    54.972
    Amsterdam         144.957   148.318
    Copenhagen         42.962    43.958
    Stockholm          35.764    36.593
    Oslo               36.952    37.809
    Vienna             23.215    23.753
    Milan              16.498    16.880
    Tokyo             248.069   253.821
    Madrid              1.920     1.964
    Lisbon              1.593     1.630
    
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