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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-11-03

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] Simitis talks with US ambassador focus on upcoming Clinton visit
  • [02] Greece only country with detailed Balkan plan, Hombach says
  • [03] Athens bourse ends higher in volatile trade
  • [04] Natural gas boosts industrial output in August
  • [05] Yield rises on 15-year bond
  • [06] France Telecom to sell stake in Panafon
  • [07] Xifias to boost share capital
  • [08] Despec launches subsidiary in Cyprus
  • [09] Athens Foreign Exchange
  • [10] Athens dismisses latest Ecevit statements
  • [11] Greek scientists conclude probe into possible damage to Parthenon Marbles
  • [12] Gov't calls Clinton visit an opportunity to expand relations
  • [13] FM Papandreou to visit Cyprus on Friday
  • [14] Tsohatzopoulos: Greek nat'l strategy unaffected by 'circumstantial events'
  • [15] Superfat III garage fire claims the lives of 10 stowaways
  • [16] EIB investment plans discussed in Thessaloniki
  • [17] G.Papandreou briefs ethnic Greek community in Montreal
  • [18] Greece, Moldova agree to upgrade Parliament cooperation
  • [19] Djukanovic calls for end to internecine strife in Kosovo
  • [20] Athens 2004 marketing plan ready for IOC approval
  • [21] Diamantopoulou meets with ESHEA presidium
  • [22] Counter-terrorism meeting held in Athens
  • [23] Athens' post-quake activity no cause for concern:experts
  • [24] Simitis to address FPA luncheon in mid December
  • [25] Figures on newspaper readership in Greece unveiled
  • [26] Papazoi at UNESCO-sponsored discussion in Paris

  • [01] Simitis talks with US ambassador focus on upcoming Clinton visit

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday received US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns for a more than one-hour meeting to discuss preparations for US President Bill Clinton's upcoming visit to Athens.

    No statements were made afterwards.

    Mr. Clinton will visit Greece from Nov. 13 to 15. He will also be making an official visit to Turkey between Nov. 15-17 ahead of an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Istanbul (Nov. 17-19). The US president will then tr avel to Italy and Bulgaria, Nov. 20-21 and 21- 23, respectively.

    Sources told ANA that the meeting took place at the request of the US envoy, who wished to discuss with the premier the finalisation of Mr. Clinton's itinerary here, the contents of his talks with the Greek leadership, as well as demonstrations reported ly planned by various groups in protest of the visit, which has apparently caused concern among US officials.

    The sources said Mr. Simitis reiterated to Mr. Burns that the Greek government did not intend to prohibit demonstrations during the visit, but would not allow demonstrations that would endanger the visit or mar the country's image abroad.

    The same sources said Mr. Clinton's visit here was in reciprocation of Mr. Simitis' state visit to Washington three years ago and should be "viewed in its true dimensions, namely, as an important opportunity for the Greek side to clearly set out its pos itions on all issues without being pressed by time".

    "In that light, the government considers it wrong to approach the issue from the perspective of 'what the US president is bringing to Athens'," sources said.

    Gov't : On his part, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that issues of mutual interest would be discussed during talks between Mr. Clinton and PM Simitis.

    Mr. Reppas was responding to reporters' questions on whether the issue of armaments would be on the agenda of the talks.

    The spokesman said the 'issues of mutual interest' included economic, political and defence cooperation between the two countries, as well as regional issues, such as Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Greece only country with detailed Balkan plan, Hombach says

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greece is the only country to present a detailed action plan for reconstruction of the Balkans, and it has also set an example of steady economic growth for other countries in the region, said Bodo Hombach, special coordinator for the southeast Europe Stability Pact.

    Addressing an international conference in Thessaloniki yesterday on reconstruction for southeastern Europe, Mr. Hombach also implied the forces which had sought a military solution to the Kosovo crisis were not moving fast enough to raise funds for the project.

    He appeared unable to determine exactly when and where a decision would be made on the amount of funds to be raised. The plan would be hammered at a financial summit - possibly in Brussels or Lisbon - which would include the world's eight richest natio ns, major financial institutions and finance ministers from southeastern Europe, Mr. Hombach said.

    He noted, however, that it would be better to wait for another two or three months and not take any hasty decisions on the issue.

    The official praised Greece's cooperation with other states in the region, pointing in particular to its development programmes with Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

    He said Greece was a good example of how a country could develop, noting that average per capita income 25 years ago was 40 percent of the European Union average compared to 80 percent today.

    He welcomed the fact that the office of the Balkan reconstruction agency was based in Thessaloniki, and pledged to be there every weekend.

    The official was adamant, however, regarding relations between the sponsors of the Stability Pact and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

    "The Stability Pact is available to a democratic Federal Republic of Yugoslavia," he said, clearly linking financial aid to Serbia with political change in the country.

    Mr. Hombach said he was expressing an opinion shared by the US administration, European Union members and Russia.

    Certain political parties in Moscow were friendly towards Mr. Milosevic but this was not true of the Russian government, he noted.

    The official said he was in touch with Serbia's democratic opposition and revealed a plan to support independent media in Yugoslavia.

    He also announced a programme aimed at strengthening links between Yugoslav cities and other cities in neighbouring states, like Hungary, to avoid the country's international isolation.

    Mr. Hombach said he could visit Belgrade at Christmas if invited by the Yugoslav Orthodox Church.

    Removing debris from destroyed bridges in the Danube river was a priority, but he rejected a condition set by the Belgrade government of rebuilding bridges destroyed by NATO bombings.

    Referring to Montenegro, Mr. Hombach said that the Stability Pact should avert future clashes and a disastrous winter in the region, hinting that international sanctions imposed on Belgrade could be lifted for Montenegro.

    He acknowledged that sanctions had been criticised in Greece but said it was the only way to combat Mr. Milosevic's political clique.

    Infrastructure projects were a priority for reconstruction of the region and the European Investment Bank was expected to present a detailed programme, he said.

    Supporting small and medium-sized enterprises would be the focus of a plan by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development along with a draft charter to combat corruption and other obstacles undermining foreign investments in the region, Mr. Hom bach said.

    Success of the plans was dependent on action by governments and enterprises and close cooperation on a bilateral and trilateral level among states.

    Greek plan for launch in 2000 : Greece's 180 billion drachma reconstruction plan for the Balkans will come into effect next year, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday.

    Addressing a meeting on the sidelines of the conference, he said the monies would be divided into annual installments of roughly 30 billion drachmas over 2000-2004.

    The beneficiaries of the scheme are Albania, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Romania and Kosovo.

    A separate section of the plan covers Yugoslavia. The funds will be released if Belgrade complies with terms set in the Stability Pact.

    The meeting was also attended by representatives of FYROM, Albania, Romania and Bulgaria.

    "Following comments by my counterparts from those countries, which have been incorporated into the plan, everything is ready for implementation," Mr. Papantoniou told reporters after the meeting.

    The bulk of funding would come from the state budget, funds allocated to bilateral development aid and private finance guaranteed by the state, he added.

    Romania, Bulgaria to build Danube bridge : Romania and Bulgaria yesterday agreed to construct a second major bridge over the Danube River, sources in Thessaloniki said.

    The agreement was made on the sidelines of an international conference on southeast European reconstruction, the sources said.

    Meeting unofficially to discuss the bridge were Mr. Hombach, Bulgaria's ministers of finance and commerce and Romania's finance minister.

    The same sources reported that Mr. Hombach promised that the project would be funded from monies allocated to reconstruction of the region.

    The officials currently favour building the bridge between the cities of Vidin, Bulgaria and Calafat, Romania.

    Construction of a second bridge over the Danube has been discussed in the past but the project was never realised.

    Stability Pact terms need simultaneous application : Reconstruction of the Balkans will be successful only if the three terms of the Stability Pact - economic development, security and democratisation - are pursued simultaneously, Deputy National Economy Minister Rodoula Zissi said yesterday.

    Addressing the conference, Ms Zissi said Greece could play the role of guarantor in the development of Balkan countries.

    She urged the creation of laws to protect investments. The need for a joint growth strategy and the prospects of Balkan countries joining the EU were the main concerns stated by the finance ministers of Bulgaria and Romania in their addresses to the conference.

    Bulgarian Finance Minister Muravei Radev told the conference that a joint strategy by major financial organisations was needed for the region, instead of a country-by-country strategy adopted to date.

    The Bulgarian government had already drafted such a programme and handed it to Mr. Hombach, he said.

    Romanian Finance Minister Decebal Traian Remes said that financial organisations were not addressing the region's real needs, such as those arising in the wake of the Kosovo war.

    He asked for the Black Sea bank and cooperation council to become more actively involved in reconstruction efforts.

    He said that the Stability Pact needed to include both direct financing and options for participation in reconstruction by companies from the countries involved in extending aid.

    Bulgarian Tourism and Trade Minister Vasily Vasilief said the December Helsinki summit could be the starting point for EU accession talks with Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Athens bourse ends higher in volatile trade

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    Equity prices ended a highly volatile session moderately higher yesterday reflecting a lack of fresh incentives to buy.

    The general index ended 0.34 percent higher at 5,649.60 points, off the day's high of 5,687 but sharply off the day's low of 5,500 points. Turnover was a moderate 271.5 billion drachmas.

    Shares in the Industrials and Investment sectors attracted heavy demand pushing the two indices 1.08 and 1.20 percent higher respectively.

    Other sector indices ended as follows: Banks (+0.14 pct), Leasing (-1.30 pct), Insurance (-0.71 pct), Construction (-1.51 pct), Miscellaneous (-0.35 pct) and Holding (-0.35 pct).

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks rose 0.99 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks rose 0.60 percent to 2,869.80.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 182 to 143 with another five issues unchanged.

    A total of 32 shares ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up, while another six ended at the day's limit down.

    Macedonian Spinning Mills and Panafon were the most heavily traded stocks.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 22,890 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 23, 340, Commercial Bank at 24,600, Titan Cement (common) at 38,880, Hellenic Petroleum at 5,140, Intracom at 15,300, Minoan Lines at 9,780, Panafon at 4, 095 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,870.

    Bonds pick up steam, drachma rises : Secondary market bond prices yesterday gained 50-65 basis points in buying interest fuelled by hopes of a realignment of the drachma's parity in the European Union's exchange rate mechanism II, traders said.

    Bonds had shed 20-30 basis points a day earlier.

    The benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.93 percent, the same as a day earlier, from 6.97 percent on Friday, taking the yield spread over German bunds to 182 basis points from 181 basis points in the previous session and 178 basis points on Friday .

    Electronic trade was light at 39 billion drachmas from 34 billion drachmas in the previous session and 30 billion drachmas on Friday.

    Sell orders accounted for the bulk of yesterday's turnover.

    In the foreign exchange market, demand for drachmas continued on talk of the impending adjustment of the currency's central parity in ERM II.

    The demand nudged up the drachma against the euro. At the central bank's daily fix, the euro was set at 329.050 drachmas from 329.620 drachmas in the previous session and 330.050 drachmas on Friday.

    The US dollar was set at 313.050 drachmas from 311.590 drachmas a day earlier and 316.040 drachmas on Friday.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Natural gas boosts industrial output in August

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    The composite industrial production index, including mining, manufacturing and electricity-natural gas, increased by 8.1 percent in August compared with the same period last year.

    The rise reflected a sharp rise in the electricity-natural gas production index (up 30.7 pct) and a steady increase in the manufacturing production index (up 4.5 pct) mainly due to a rise in the production of foodstuffs, chemicals and metals.

    The two indices' rises overshadowed a 10.3 percent drop in the mining production index.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Yield rises on 15-year bond

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    The yield on fifteen-year bonds rose moderately yesterday in a weekly auction of state securities by the finance ministry.

    The average weighted yield for 15-year bonds worth 100 billion drachmas and paying an annual coupon of 6.5 percent rose to 7.26 percent from 6.96 percent in the previous auction of securities with the same term on September 7.

    Bids submitted by the market's primary dealers totalled 291.3 billion drachmas, almost three times more than the amount sought, highlighting continuing demand for Greek bonds.

    The average weighed price of the bond was set at 93.354, up from a minimum accepted price of 93.305.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] France Telecom to sell stake in Panafon

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    France Telecom will sell its 20 percent equity stake in Panafon through an international share offering and an international bond convertible into Panafon's shares, George Koronias, Panafon's chief executive, said yesterday.

    Speaking to reporters during a press conference, Mr. Koronias said the international share offer would include an offering to institutional investors, domestic and abroad, and a public offering to Greek retail investors along with a private placement to Panafon's staff.

    Panafon's road show began yesterday in Athens and will continue in foreign capitals until November 19.

    The share offering to Greek investors will be launched on November 16 and subscriptions will last until November 19.

    The share price will be set on November 21.

    Credit Suisse First Boston is the main coordinator of the offer and manager of the book building process.

    Alpha Credit Bank and National Bank of Greece are the main underwriters in the domestic offer with Warburg Dillon Read and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter underwriting the international issue.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Xifias to boost share capital

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    Xifias SA, a listed Greek acquaculture company, will seek to raise four billion drachmas from the market through a share capital increase.

    The plan envisages a three-to-10 rights issue of common shares worth 2,000 drachmas each and preference shares at 1,800 drachmas.

    The company's sales rose 6.0 percent in the period January-September with profits up 22 percent in the same period.

    Xifias confirmed a cooperation agreement with Metro International, a German retail company, and a strategic partnership deal with German company Appel Feinkost GmbH & Co.

    The agreement envisages the retailing of Xifias' products in the German market and joint development of new products and packaging.

    Xifias has a new investment programme worth 4.3 billion drachmas which includes the operation of a new fish packaging unit in Kavala, northern Greece.

    The programme is one of the biggest ever in Europe.

    A company statement said that Galaxy Airways, its affiliate airline, was progressing satisfactorily with the addition of two more aircraft to its fleet and the expansion of its flights, domestic and foreign.

    Xifias also confirmed it was in the final stage of talks to acquire companies in the acquaculture and food sectors.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Despec launches subsidiary in Cyprus

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    Despec Hellas SA yesterday announced the creation of a subsidiary in Cyprus aimed at supporting its plan to expand in southeast Europe.

    Despec Cyprus Ltd will offer computer peripherals and office recyclable goods.

    Despec Hellas SA is to hold two-thirds of the company's equity capital and Pouliadis Associates Cyprus Ltd the remaining one-third.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: November 2, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             310.546 317.746
    Can.Dollar            211.336 216.236
    Australian Dlr        199.164 203.782
    Pound Sterling        511.316 523.172
    Irish Punt            414.465 424.074
    Pound Cyprus          565.797 578.915
    Pound Malta           737.081 767.793
    Turkish pound (100)     0.061   0.064
    French franc           49.762  50.915
    Swiss franc           203.578 208.298
    Belgian franc           8.092   8.279
    German Mark           166.895 170.765
    Finnish Mark           54.899  56.172
    Dutch Guilder         148.121 151.556
    Danish Kr.             43.914  44.932
    Swedish Kr.            37.662  38.535
    Norwegian Kr.          39.462  40.377
    Austrian Sh.           23.722  24.272
    Italian lira (100)     16.858  17.249
    Yen (100)             296.231 303.099
    Spanish Peseta          1.962   2.008
    Port. Escudo            1.628   1.666
    
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              310.546 317.746
    Montreal              211.336 216.236
    Sydney                199.164 203.782
    London                511.316 523.172
    Dublin                414.465 424.074
    Nicosia               565.797 578.915
    Paris                  49.762  50.915
    Zurich                203.578 208.298
    Brussels                8.092   8.279
    Frankfurt             166.895 170.765
    Helsinki               54.899  56.172
    Amsterdam             148.121 151.556
    Copenhagen             43.914  44.932
    Stockholm              37.662  38.535
    Oslo                   39.462  40.377
    Vienna                 23.722  24.272
    Milan                  16.858  17.249
    Tokyo                 296.231 303.099
    Madrid                  1.962   2.008
    Lisbon                  1.628   1.666
    
    Athens News Agency

    [10] Athens dismisses latest Ecevit statements

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greece yesterday said Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's recent statements that Greece could not be a guarantor power for Cyprus were "unfair".

    "These statements are not accurate, as Greece is not only a formal guarantor power but one in practice, as it meets all its obligations and commitments," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

    "Turkey is the one which does not meet its obligations as it comes into conflict with UN resolutions," he added.

    Mr. Ecevit, speaking on Turkish state television on Monday, said Greece had "lost" the right to be considered a guarantor power for Cyprus as the military junta then ruling the country was behind an attempted coup on the island in 1974.

    Mr. Reppas said Mr. Ecevit's statements did little to contribute to the progress already noted in improving relations between Greece and Turkey. He said, however, that talks between Greek and Turkish foreign ministry officials on finding common ground on non-contentious issues would continue.

    "The Greek side will present its positions at these talks P what is important is that we do not follow the path of isolation," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Greek scientists conclude probe into possible damage to Parthenon Marbles

    LONDON, 03/11/1999 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    A team of Greek scientists yesterday concluded their investigation into possible damage to the Parthenon Marbles, housed in London's British Museum. The issue was raised by the British newpaper "The Mail on Sunday", which quoted historian William St. Clair.

    St. Clair revealed in a book recently that the Marbles were damaged by museum curators some 60 years ago when they attempted to "clean the Marbles" by...scraping them.

    Despite requests by foreign and Greek reporters the team declined to comment on their finds, stressing that their presence was not political but scientific.

    According to sources, the final report will be handed to Greece's culture ministry by the end of November. Greece has been demanding the return of the Marbles, arguing they are an integral part of a monument registered by UNESCO as a world heritage creation and not just a Greek archaeological site.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Gov't calls Clinton visit an opportunity to expand relations

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    The government said last night that the upcoming visit by US President Bill Clinton would be an opportunity to expand the friendly ties between Greece and the United States.

    Speaking after a session of the inner cabinet last night, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said "the relations between Greece and the US are at a good level. The traditional ties of friendship with that country and its people are strengthened by the lengthy presence of a large and prosperous ethnic Greek community in the US. It is the choice of both countries to continue their bilateral relations based on equality and mutual benefit. The presence of Mr. Clinton as the president of a major country will be an opportunity to expand our friendly relations.

    "The political, military and economic cooperation with the US is an element which can contribute to securing conditions of peace, stability and security in the Balkans and SE Europe."

    He added that the government would present Athens' positions on Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations as well as Greece's role in the region.

    "Greece is a democratic and hospitable country, and on the basis of this long-standing tradition will welcome and honour our guest," Mr. Reppas said.

    "We hope that discussions in Athens will lead to joint conclusions and give a new impetus to further cooperation between the two countries and their people," he concluded.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] FM Papandreou to visit Cyprus on Friday

    NICOSIA, 03/11/1999 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou will visit Cyprus Friday, Cypriot official sources said.

    Mr. Papandreou's talks in NIcosia will focus on the Helsinki EU summit next month.

    Cyprus government spokesman Mihalis Papapetrou said the US has assured Nicosia that the Cyprus issue would be "very high" on the agenda of issues to be discussed by US President Bill Clinton in Athens and Ankara. Asked by reporters to comment on US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns' recent statement that the Cyprus issue would be discussed but would not be at the centre of Mr. Clinton's talks in Greece and Turkey, Mr. Papapetrou said the US president's visit "will be judged from the results".

    "If it (the Cyprus issue) is not at the centre (of the talks), we shall criticise them," the Cyprus spokesman said.

    Asked to comment on statements by Turkish premier Bulent Ecevit and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday calling for a Cyprus solution based on "two states" on the island republic, Mr. Papapetrou said that such statements "do not aid the effor ts being made to break the impasse" in the Cyprus problem and "vanish even the slightest trace of optimism" for a Cyprus solution.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Tsohatzopoulos: Greek nat'l strategy unaffected by 'circumstantial events'

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos stressed yesterday that Greece's positions are not negotiable, adding that the country's national strategy is not affected by any 'climate due to circumstantial events'.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was commenting on statements by his Turkish counterpart regarding islets in the Aegean. He spoke after the signing of contracts for the procurement of anti-tank ammunition, where he stressed the need for a new framework of co-existence between the two countries to be shaped in the prospect of relations between Turkey and the European Union. He also called on Turkey to implement preconditions set by the EU for candidate countries accession.

    He reiterated that whatever positive development in bilateral relations does not lead to a change in Greece's policy. He added that there was a long way to go for whatever change in the country's strategy due to the existing continuous, relentless, unil ateral and illegitimate demands on the part of Turkey, which will collapse like a pack of cards, as he said.

    Two agreements were signed for the procurement of the 84mm '551 HEAT' anti- tank ammunition - a deal between the Hellenic Arms Industry (EBO) and the Swedish company Celcius/Bofors amounting to 11 billion drachmas.

    The first agreement amounting to 1.66 billion drachmas concerns the procurement of 4,380 rounds of this type of ammunition. The 'HEAT 551' will be delivered in three months to meet pressing needs of the army.

    The second agreement amounting to 9.34 billion drachmas concerns the procurement of 16,300 rounds of ammunition which will be manufactured by EBO in cooperation with Bofors with a scale increase in added value ranging between 19 and 41 per cent. The ammunition will be delivered to the army gradually in 9 and 27 months respectively from the time of the contract's activation.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said cooperation between EBO and the Swedish company lays the foundations for the Greek war industry's participation in the new framework of the European defence industry.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Superfat III garage fire claims the lives of 10 stowaways

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    A total of 10 stowaways died as a result of a fire that broke out Monday evening aboard the Superfast III ferry boat, shortly after the vessel set sail from Patra towards Ancona, Italy.

    Port authority officials told a noon press conference yesterday that 10 bodies had been found - eight men and two women - following a detailed search of the high-speed ferry.

    Patra harbourmaster K. Kontogeorgos said no identification papers or travel documents were found on the bodies.

    Earlier, it had been announced that all 307 registered passengers and 106 crew members were all accounted for and had been safely evacuated.

    The casualties, all stowaways, were believed to be Kurdish illegal immigrants, Mr. Kontogeorgos said, adding that an investigation would be launched to determine how they managed to board the ferry undetected.

    The 10 victims died of asphyxiation, a Patra coroner said last night after an autopsy on the bodies.

    Meanwhile, sources said the stowaways had either taken advantage of the commotion in the port before the ferry set sail to sneak aboard, or were aided by individuals "for a fee".

    The ferry was towed to the port of Patra and will remain there by decision of the public prosecutor until a preliminary investigation into the causes of the blaze was completed and repairs carried out .

    Only four of the passengers were slightly injured. One woman broke a leg when she slipped during the evacuation. She was later listed in good condition in nearby Rio Hospital. The other injured passengers were given first aid and kept in hospital overni ght for precautionary reasons.

    Most of the passengers were evacuated by vessels that arrived to the rescue of the Superfast III.

    The vessel was 15 miles off Patra when the fire began in the parking level of the 11,246-ton ferry, owned by Superfast Ferries SA.

    Yesterday evening the fire flared up again on the vessel's thrird level garage, as the ship remained anchored outside the port.

    Two firefighters were injured while battling the flames and were transported to one of the city's hospitals.

    Finally, a group of Kurds protested outside the port authority offices, reportedly demanding the bodies of the victims be handed over to them.

    Simitis visit to ferry boat operator's offices cancelled : PM Costas Simitis' scheduled visit yesterday to a coastal shipping firm's offices was cancelled, following an on-board fire in a garage of a Superfast III ferry boat in the Patra Gulf on Monday evening, a blaze which cost the lives of 10 stowaway illegal immigrants. Mr. Simitis was due to be briefed by Strintzis Lines officials on Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) programmes, which the company utilises to train new shipping executives.

    A few months ago, the owner of the Superfast ferries, Attica Enterprises, acquired a 38 per cent share package in Strintzis Lines, with five of the seven members of the Strintzis board of directors coming from Attica Enterprises.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] EIB investment plans discussed in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    The European Investment Bank (EIB) has selected 40 investment plans budgeted at six billion euros as part of Balkan reconstruction, EIB Vice- President Panayiotis Gennimatas announced yesterday in Thessaloniki.

    The bank will cover 50 per cent of each investment proposal's budget, while the rest will be invested by donors, commercial banks, governments or other national and international agencies, he said, while addressing a conference on the Balkans, and organ ised by the Thessaloniki Northern Greece Industries' Association.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] G.Papandreou briefs ethnic Greek community in Montreal

    MONTREAL, 03/11/1999 (ANA - I. Frangouli)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou was welcomed by Montreal's Greek community during his address at the city's ethnic Greek community centre on Monday.

    He outlined Greece's main foreign policy guidelines in light of the situation being shaped in the Balkans, and Europe in general, following the war in Kosovo.

    Mr. Papandreou said Greece wants stability in the region, peace and cooperation from all. He said foreign policy aimed at highlighting the image of a country which has no expansionist designs in the region, but demands that rules of international law and UN resolutions should be honoured.

    Replying to a question by the press on US President Bill Clinton's upcoming visits to Greece and Turkey, Mr. Papandreou said the American President is visiting the two countries at a time when there is mobility over the Cyprus issue which is high on the agenda of the international political scene.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Greece, Moldova agree to upgrade Parliament cooperation

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greece and Moldova yesterday agreed to upgrade cooperation between the Parliaments of the two countries, following a meeting between Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and visiting Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi.

    Mr. Kaklamanis thanked the Moldovan president for his country's consistent stance on the issue of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the continuing occupation of the island by Turkish troops. He said that more agreements were likely to be signed soon be tween Greece and Moldova. He mentioned that the association agreement between Moldova and the European Union had recently been ratified by the Greek Parliament.

    The Moldovan president thanked Mr. Kaklamanis and extended an invitation to him to visit Moldova, which was accepted.

    In a special ceremony at the Athens Town Hall, Alternate Athens Mayor Nikolaos Yiatrakos bestowed on President Lucinschi the gold medal of the municipality.

    Mr. Yiatrakos praised Mr. Lucinschi "for leading the country to democratisation and development on a path of peace and cooperation with all the neighbouring peoples, with all the peoples of Europe."

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Djukanovic calls for end to internecine strife in Kosovo

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    Montenegro's President Milo Djukanovic yesterday called for an end to ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, saying the international community had to take 'drastic measures' to protect civilian Serb and Montenegrin population in the troubled Yugoslav province.

    Speaking to government and business officials from Balkans countries attending a conference on reconstruction of the Balkans in Thessaloniki, Mr. Djukanovic said the unarmed Serb and Montenegrin population in Kosovo was "paying the price of (Yugoslav leader Slobodan) Milosevic's policies" at the hands of Albanian Kosovars.

    "There will be no solution if we let nationalism continue to act, to spread its fires through the Balkans," Mr. Djukanovic said.

    Montenegro, he said, could co-exist with Serbia only on an "equal and democratic basis". "If Serbia doesn't like that, Montenegro will insist on its independent course," he said.

    His small republic, he said, had decided to "get off the train not only to save itself but to save Serbia as well."

    But there had been "no serious proposals or answers from Belgrade," Mr. Djukanovic said, adding that Podgorica was being pressured by Belgrade.

    The Montenegrin president, who met with Stability Pact coordinator Bodo Hombach and head of the EU working group for Kosovo Mark Franco while in Thessaloniki, called on Greek businesses to invest in Montenegro.

    Greece, he said, was a model of a developed European country, proof that Europe was possible in the Balkans.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Athens 2004 marketing plan ready for IOC approval

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    The Athens 2004 Olympic Games marketing plan is ready and waiting for International Olympic Committee approval later in the month, 2004 marketing director Georgios Bolos told reporters at a news conference yesterday.

    Managing Director Costas Bakouris said Greece can expect to raise 285 million dollars from sponsorships.

    Sydney, holding the Olympic Games in 2000, set a sponsorship revenue target of $570 million, 90 percent of which has been achieved.

    Mr. Bakouris said organisers were trying to avoid the commercialisation of the Games, without this entailing further burdening the state.

    "We have to approach sponsors from three different angles - the commercial, the patriotic and that of Greek prestige," 2004 vice-president Niki Tzavella said.

    Referring to the government's decision to abandon plans for a lottery that would have raised an estimated 70 billion drachmas for the Games, she said that to date no alternative fund-raising method had been decided upon.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Diamantopoulou meets with ESHEA presidium

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greek EU Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou yesterday met with the Athens Journalists' Union (ESHEA) presidium.

    Ms Diamantopoulou and the ESHEA members discussed changes in employment practices in the Union, focusing on the effects of such changes in the press sector.

    Her visit to ESHEA was part of an initiative on briefing institutional agencies and organisations on new Union policies, following the signing of the Amsterdam treaty.

    The ESHEA presidium underlined the problems Greek journalists confront in terms of employment conditions, salaries and social security, stressing their unwavering stance on the application of collective bargaining agreements. Issues concerning regional media were also discussed.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Counter-terrorism meeting held in Athens

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    European and international experts on counter-terrorism will be in Athens for today's conference on dealing with terrorist threats or acts before and during major sports, cultural or other events.

    The meeting is organised by the public order ministry and dubbed 'Hercules'. It will run through to Nov. 4 and has drawn representatives from the European Union and G-8 countries, as well as Interpol, Europol and the European Commission.

    The goal of the meeting is the mutual exchange of information and practical experience in dealing with terrorist threats or activities in the the wake of the directions taken by terrorist groups and new developments in armaments and methodologies.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Athens' post-quake activity no cause for concern:experts

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    Seismologists meeting in Athens yesterday stressed that post-seismic activity in the wake of the devastating Sept. 7 earthquake was "reassuring".

    "The Mount Parnitha chapter is over," experts said at a conference organised by the Athens University.

    Seismology professor Vassilis Papazahos reiterated that Mount Aegaleo, in the western part of Attica, had acted as a natural buffer and blocked the expansion of the earthquake eastward.

    Otherwise, he said, the seismic activity of Sept. 7 could have had a devastating impact on the city of Athens.

    Mr. Papazahos stressed that Greece's earthquake protection policy was generally good, but that it required further supplementation in some areas.

    Asked about yesterday's 4.5 Richter earthquake near Ioannina, NW Greece, the majority of the experts present said that it presented no cause for concern.

    An earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale jolted NW Greece early yesterday morning. There were no reports of damage or injuries.

    The tremor was recorded at 5:42 a.m. and was located 15 kilometres north of Ioannina.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Simitis to address FPA luncheon in mid December

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will be the guest speaker at a 1 p.m. luncheon in his honour by the Foreign Press Association (FPA) of Greece on Tuesday, Dec. 14 at the Caravel Hotel.

    Mr. Simitis will speak on government policy and answer questions by Greek and foreign reporters.

    Reservations should be booked at the FPA, 23 Academias St., Tel.: 36.37.318.

    Athens News Agency

    [25] Figures on newspaper readership in Greece unveiled

    Athens, 03/11/1999 (ANA)

    An average reader provides only 3.5 to seven minutes to read his daily newspaper, while 85 per cent of readers choose only the pages interesting them out of bulky newspapers a nd ignore the main title.

    Twenty years ago, 85 per cent of material appearing in magazines was "fresh news", while today 95 per cent of their material is "frozen" and comes primarily from the Internet.

    Over the past 10 years, about 735 new magazines were published in Greece. However, their circulations will follow a downward trend in coming years, as is already the case with newspapers.

    In the Attica region today, 23 daily newspapers are published, 21 weeklies, 362 magazines and 44 publications by professional organisations and unions, while 47 radio and TV stations are operating.

    Data on the present and future of journalistic employment in Greece constituted the object of a big research study prepared by the Greek department of the Union of European Journalists in the framework of the European Union programme Integra in cooperat ion with the Professional Training Centre Dimitra from Larisa and presented in Thessaloniki yesterday.

    According to forecasts, the participation of newspapers and magazines in the market will decrease by 3.6 per cent by the year 2001, but will increase 22 per cent in the electronic media.

    The increase in the foreign-language population in Greece in past years creates the need for the circulation of foreign-language publications (three Albanian-language newspapers are already circulating in Greece as well as three Russian, one Polish one and one Hungarian one, while many radio stations have included foreign-language news bulletins in their programmes.

    Athens News Agency

    [26] Papazoi at UNESCO-sponsored discussion in Paris

    PARIS, 03/11/1999 (ANA - O. Tsipira)

    Culture Minister Elizabeth Papazoi yesterday participated in a round-table discussion on the issue of "culture confronting globalisation", organised by UNESCO.

    Culture ministers from 40 countries participated in the event, which took place during the 30th General Conference of UNESCO.

    Ms Papazoi noted the dangers to cultural heritage stemming from urbanisation, calling for an international campaign to protect the cultural heritage of all the peoples around the world.

    Athens News Agency

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