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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-12-05

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] FM expresses satisfaction over agreement on EU-Turkey partnership relation
  • [02] Greek, Bulgarian leaders focus on latest Balkan developments
  • [03] Alternate Foreign Minister praises report on progress in European security and defense policy
  • [04] Yugoslav president ends two-day visit to Greece; meets Macedonia-Thrace minister in Thessaloniki
  • [05] ATHOC managing director Petros Synadinos resigns
  • [06] ND leader criticizes full scope of gov't economic policies
  • [07] ND leader outlines proposals for combatting organized crime and terrorism in letter to Prime Minister
  • [08] Government announces securities' transaction tax cut
  • [09] Papantoniou optimism on economy, Venture Capital Forum told
  • [10] Greek stocks extend Friday's rally, end 4.05 pct higher
  • [11] Bulgaria wants to step up business ties with Greece
  • [12] ASE extends trading suspension on Minoan Lines stocks
  • [13] Labor minister unveils compromise proposal
  • [14] Greece to send energy investment delegation to China
  • [15] No winner in initial bidding for wireless phone licenses
  • [16] EU bans meat-based animal feed
  • [17] Portion of noted Kostakis on display this month
  • [18] Franco Zeffirelli to make film on later life of opera singer Maria Callas
  • [19] Stephanopoulos to inaugurate exhibition on Thrace
  • [20] Larissa Modern Arts Center to house exhibition of prehistoric murals discovered on Santorini
  • [21] Nascent Greek nat'l team debuts in Cyprus
  • [22] Denktash should not be appeased, Cyprus government says
  • [23] UN-led proximity talks should continue within defined parameters, Kasoulides says

  • [01] FM expresses satisfaction over agreement on EU-Turkey partnership relation

    BRUSSELS, 05/12/2000 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis / Y. Zitouniati)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou expressed satisfaction over the agreement reached here on Monday on the issue of Turkey's partnership agreement with the European Union, saying it is a historic moment in Turkey's relations with the EU, as well as with Greece.

    Papandreou also underlined that in the framework of the partnership agreement the preconditions, which Turkey is called upon to fulfill, are mentioned.

    The agreement reached during a EU foreign ministers council meeting, has two references of direct interest to Greece. The first concerns Turkey's short-term commitments and anticipates that in 2001 Turkey, in the framework of political dialogue with the EU, should back the efforts of the UN secretary general for a solution to the protracted Cyprus problem. This reference is in a paragraph entitled "short-term commitments" and "strengthened political dialogue and political criteria."

    The second is included in a paragraph entitled "medium-term commitments" and "strengthened political dialogue and political criteria" and focuses on Turkey's commitment to resolve, in the medium term, its possible border differences with Greece in a peaceful way and based on decisions taken at the EU Helsinki summit, also through resorting to the International Court.

    Papandreou attributed the agreement reached concerning Turkey's degree of commitment in solving the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish differences, to the "ingenuity" of the European Union French presidency which included "hot" issues in short-term and medium-term criteria, satisfying Greece's claim for commitments with a timetable, while in parallel the "backing of political dialogue" was added (to the titles of corresponding chapters), as Turkey desired.

    "The partnership relation, as a road map for Turkey's pre-accession course, constitutes a continuation and consequence of Helsinki," Papandreou said, adding that "a new era is also opening for Greek-Turkish relations" and the Cyprus issue.

    Papandreou spoke of a "hopeful path of changes" in Turkey in its rapprochement with Europe in which it will find Greece as its supporter.

    "There are no victors and vanquished, but partners who cooperate," he said, adding that the text on the partnership agreement should not only be accepted but the preconditions should also constitute an "acquired right" for Turkey as well to lead it to a "small revolution" to which Greece could also contribute.

    Papandreou referred to the implements of controlling Turkey's "democratization course" by the EU, which the partnership agreement enacts, saying that there will be assessment procedures, regarding criteria, through the annual progress report, the committees, the association councils and political dialogue.

    Earlier, French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine verified that a tentative agreement has been struck regarding the all-important text for the EU-Turkey partnership agreement.

    Specifically, Vedrine announced that the agreement approved by the Union's 15 member-states is fully based on conclusions emanating from last December's EU summit in Helsinki, whereas short-term and mid-term commitments Ankara must fulfill in its course towards EU accession are also included.

    The French foreign minister, who presides over Paris' current six-month EU presidency, also praised the contributions towards rapprochement by Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem as well as EU enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen.

    [02] Greek, Bulgarian leaders focus on latest Balkan developments

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    The latest developments in Yugoslavia and the situation in the strife-torn province of Kosovo dominated talks here on Monday between Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and visiting Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov.

    Afterwards, both leaders emphasized that any solution to the Kosovo problem must be found strictly within the framework of the UN Security Council's Resolution 1244, whereas the ongoing process of democratization in Yugoslavia must be supported.

    In terms of bilateral relations between the two Balkan neighbors and allies, Simitis noted that Greece would earmark $60 million for infrastructure works in Bulgaria alone, part of the country's contribution to the Balkan Stability Pact. He added that Sofia must now forward relevant feasibility studies for specific projects it wants to finance through the Stability Pact, as well as prioritizing projects.

    Another point of discussion centered on a recent European Union justice and interior ministers' decision to lift visa requirements for Bulgarian nationals traveling to Schengen Pact countries. The Greek premier clarified that the EU must now follow up and issue a relevant executive order for the decision to be implemented.

    Oil pipeline: In referring to a long-delayed project to construct an oil pipeline connecting Bulgaria's Black Sea port of Burgas with Greece's NE Aegean outlet of Alexandroupoli - an ambitious endeavor that was officially set out on paper in June 1993 between Moscow, Sofia and Athens - both men termed its course as "satisfactory", following what they said were assurances by the Russian government that it will guarantee enough crude annually to make the project financially feasible.

    Plans initially called for a 300-km pipeline to connect the two ports, with 1995 construction costs estimated at around $700 million and with a projected capacity of 600,000 barrels per day.

    Presidents of Greece and Bulgaria refer to excellent level of bilateral relations: President Kostis Stephanopoulos held talks with visiting Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov on Monday, while both referred later to the excellent level of bilateral relations, which constitute a base for the stability of the entire region.

    President Stephanopoulos said he and his Bulgarian counterpart discussed all issues concerning the region's problems, such as the issue of Yugoslavia and the problem of Kosovo, adding that a coincidence of views was ascertained on the policy, which should be applied.

    On the question of bilateral relations, President Stephanopoulos expressed certainty that bureaucratic difficulties observed would be overcome and infrastructure projects between Greece and Bulgaria will go ahead very soon.

    On his part, the Bulgarian president said rapprochement with the European Union is an issue of top priority for his country and for this reason, relations with Greece and regional cooperation are extremely important for Bulgaria.

    He also referred to the political will he ascertained in Athens for infrastructure projects to proceed and which have been scheduled both in the framework of the Stability Pact and the framework of the Greek reconstruction plan for southeastern Europe with Greek financing.

    The Bulgarian president also met with main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis. No statements were made after the meeting.

    Later, Stoyanov visited Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and discussed with him possibilities of cooperation between the two countries at the level of cities, as well as new factors created in the region, which "bring the two countries closer together."

    Monday evening, President Stephanopoulos gave a dinner in honor of President Stoyanov saying the latter's visit will contribute to the even greater strengthening of excellent bilateral relations which have been forged over decades and are on a successful and stable upward trend.

    President Stephanopoulos said the density of bilateral contacts at all levels and the quality characterizing Greek-Bulgarian relations contribute substantively to the consolidation of peace and stability in the region and open new horizons for the two countries' common course both in the Balkan environment and the framework of unified Europe. He also reiterated that Greece unreservedly supports Bulgaria's accession to the EU and NATO.

    [03] Alternate Foreign Minister praises report on progress in European security and defense policy

    BRUSSELS, 05/12/2000 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi on Monday said the European Union presidency's report on progress achieved over the past six months in Common European Security and Defense Policy (CESDP), discussed here at the Council of Foreign Ministers, is a "qualitative leap in the effort to build a truly autonomous crises management by the EU."

    A statement by the "15" was registered in the records, through intervention by the Greek side, that in the framework of the CESDP's activities the safeguarding of protection for the EU's external borders is being reconfirmed, as well as the safeguarding of common values, and its independence and integrity, as described in article 11 of the Amsterdam Treaty. The report will be forwarded to the European Council in Nice.

    Papazoi said "what is important from now on is the speedy implementation of the decisions taken in Nice and a start to the operation of political and military bodies to enable the EU to obtain operational capacity soon."

    [04] Yugoslav president ends two-day visit to Greece; meets Macedonia-Thrace minister in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    In statements shortly before he ended a two-day private visit to Greece on Monday, Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica said that humanitarian aid from Greece was helping Yugoslavia as it struggled to overcome the problems caused by economic sanctions and NATO bombings, while noting that its good relations with Greece had contributed to stability in the Balkans.

    Kostunica arrived in Greece on Sunday at the head of a delegation of Yugoslav government officials to carry out a pilgrimage to the Serb Orthodox Hilandariou Monastery on Mount Athos, a semi-autonomous monastic community in northern Greece.

    On his return from the Athos peninsula, the Yugoslav stopped over in Thessaloniki, where he met Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Paschalidis, visited the city's Aghios Demetrios Cathedral and laid a wreath at the allied military cemetery of Zejdelik.

    After a half-hour meeting with Paschalidis, Kostunica made statements that stressed the difficulties now facing Yugoslavia.

    "Yugoslavia needs humanitarian aid at this time because of the sanctions, the bombings and its economic state. But it is not our intention to turn Yugoslavia into a country that depends on humanitarian aid but to develop its economy and its relations abroad - as was the case with Greece, with whom relations have always been good and have contributed to stability in the Balkans," he said.

    He also stressed that the political changes in Yugoslavia were "more than just important for peace, stability and democracy in the area."

    Paschalidis, on his part, said that Greece had earmarked 180 billion drachmas for Balkan reconstruction, out of which 95 billion would be spent in Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. He added that the Macedonia-Thrace ministry would be organizing consignments of humanitarian aid of specific goods, such as sugar, milk and others, and that he would support programs for training Yugoslav executives in European issues at Thessaloniki educational institutes.

    Kostunica and his entourage had spent Sunday night at the Hilandariou Monastery, which is populated almost entirely by monks of Serb origin, where they had attended an all-night vigil. Abbot Moysius and the entire monastery had met them earlier on Sunday. Shortly before, the Yugoslav president had also visited the Vatopedi monastery, which he reached via the Mount Athos capital of Karyes, where he was received with the honors of a head of state.

    Kostunica, who is distinguished for his strong adherence to the Orthodox Christian faith, had expressed his desire to visit Mount Athos and the monastery of Hilandariou before the Yugoslav elections. In fact, according to certain circles, he had vowed to make such a pilgrimage if he won the presidential elections in his country.

    Kostunica's scheduled official visit to Athens in December is still pending, while the exact date of his visit has not yet been set.

    [05] ATHOC managing director Petros Synadinos resigns

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    Managing director of the Athens 2004 Olympics Organizing Committee (ATHOC) Petros Synadinos on Monday tendered his resignation from the post.

    In his letter of resignation to Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Synadinos cited personal reasons, but sources close to him said he quit in disagreement with the ATHOC administration on the allocation of duties among the organizing committee officials.

    Synadinos also informed environment, town planning and public works minister Costas Laliotis as well as Press and Mass Media Minister Dimitris Reppas of his resignation.

    Synadinos, who took over as managing director of ATHOC in late June after the resignation of Costas Bakouris, was general secretary at the Merchant Marine ministry before taking on the ATHOC post and a member of the team that organized Athens' successful bid for hosting the 2004 Games.

    The sources also said the resigned ATHOC managing director had been disgruntled in recent months after many of the duties initially assigned to him by the premier were stripped from him in a new law introduced by recently-sacked culture minister Theodoros Pangalos. Those duties, the sources said, were turned over to ATHOC president Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.

    Daskalaki, who is in Lausanne for consultations with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said "every one of us is sad that Petros Synadinos left for personal reasons. We collaborated very well both during the bid for the Games and now. I wish the best of lack. The course to the Olympic Games is long. As we know from experience gained by other cities, personal cost is needed many times. We are focused at our work. We must honor IOC as well, as it entrusted us to organize the 2004 Games and the state, as it entrusted us to organize such a great project... we are going forward".

    On his part, Reppas expressed his regret over the resignation of Synadinos and thanked him for his services to "this great effort".

    Last October, Premier Costas Simitis fired a senior Athens 2004 official for feuding with Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis, who is in charge of major projects for the games. Before his dismissal, Costas Liaskas had proposed outside technical advisers to supervise construction.

    Culture minister comments on Synadinos' resignation: Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Monday called for unity and avoidance of party confrontations and of petty political approaching of the Athens 2004 issue.

    Commenting on the resignation of managing director of the Athens 2004 Olympics Organizing Committee (ATHOC) Petros Synadinos from his post, Venizelos said that Athens "2004 is a national effort, a national strategy. It is unavoidable, there will be changes of persons, since the duration (of preparations) is long."

    [06] ND leader criticizes full scope of gov't economic policies

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Monday criticized the government's policies on the economy, taxation, budget, education, public services, and agriculture.

    Addressing a Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce conference, Karamanlis called for a different policy on the economy, saying that the tax policy was focused only on revenue, while the policy of listing state enterprises in the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) reached its limits.

    He stressed that increased competition is in line, along with the restructure of public enterprises and agencies, the abolition of state monopolies and the lifting of obstacles for the establishing of businesses.

    He added that privatization could play an important role in the banking sector, in transportation, telecommunications and energy.

    The opposition leader proposed the restructuring of the public sector, along with a "brave tax reform" coupled with cuts in consumer spending by the public sector.

    Speaking on the allocation of moneys of the third community support framework fund, he said that the government "has only now begun to prepare, as if they are not in power and tomorrow it is possible that they might say they found barren land from themselves".

    In discussing the budget, he said it was based on over-optimistic predictions of the course of the dollar and international petrol prices, stressing that "the new budget is presented with a surplus, but is in danger to prove factitious".

    He reiterated ND's proposal for the establishment of non-state universities and the correlation of education with the job market, calling for the radical restructure of the educational system with the creation of technological park for electronic software companies, which will then be tax exempt.

    Karamanlis also called for the "re-founding" of public administration as a central decision-maker and controller, adding that the public sector should no longer be "addicted" to party politics.

    He said that a new agricultural and regional policy should be implemented, aiming to reduce production costs, to orient toward new markets, to emphasize packaging and processing and to provide support for big infrastructure projects.

    [07] ND leader outlines proposals for combatting organized crime and terrorism in letter to Prime Minister

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    In a letter to Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis outlined a number of proposals for dealing with organized crime and terrorism, which he said required cooperation and collaboration of all political forces in Greece.

    Among these is a proposal that terrorist cases should not be tried by juries but by panels of experienced judges and that a witness protection program be introduced for those testifying, as well as for investigators and judicial officials.

    Karamanlis also proposes amendments to article 187 of the penal code on "forming a gang" and stricter penalties for serious offences, up to and including life imprisonment, while he recommends that there be provision for the acquittal or for suspending the sentences of gang members who provide information that leads to arrests.

    Another measure he proposes is that police and private citizens be given the right to penetrate criminal organizations by order the Appeals Court public prosecutor.

    Justice Minister Michalis Stathopoulos and Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis had been informed of ND's proposals earlier on Monday by ND cadres Dora Bakoyianni and Theodoros Anagnostopoulos.

    [08] Government announces securities' transaction tax cut

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    Greece's National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Monday announced a cut in securities' transaction tax from 0.6 percent to 0.3 percent, a moved aimed to boost liquidity in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Addressing a Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce conference, Papantoniou said the government also planned to adopt a more favorable tax policy towards long-term mutual funds and announced a more active role by banks in managing social security funds. These measures, combined with the government's privatization program and implementation of Third Community Support Framework projects, would give a new boost to the Greek economy, Papantoniou said.

    He said the government was planning 10 more privatizations in the first six months of 2001 and announced the floating of Greek Soccer Pools on the Athens bourse in the next few weeks.

    "Greece's telecommunications market is already in a rapid deregulation course and a procedure to auction new wireless licenses is under way. At the same time, we prepare for the auction of third generation wireless' licenses," Papantoniou said.

    He said that Hellenic Telecommunications Organization was making significant administration restructuring steps while seeking a strategic partner to enhance further its position in European telecoms market.

    Papantoniou said the country's energy market would be deregulated by February 17, 2001 and noted that the private sector could produce up to 30 percent of the country's energy production.

    The Public Power Corporation, Greece's electricity utility, was on its way to the Athens bourse, he said.

    Referring to a government decision to lift a cabotage system on the country's passenger shipping sector two years earlier than originally planned, in 2002, Papantoniou said it would offer better services to passengers, safer sea transport and more jobs. He reiterated the government's will to proceed with more privatizations, like the Piraeus Port Organization, Helexpo, and Olympic Airways.

    "Adjusting the Greek society to the new economy demands a total upgrading of its human resource," Papantoniou said and urged employers and workers to work together in this direction.

    "We must achieve our ambitious targets. We have both the will and the ability," he said.

    Top state bankers welcome gov't measures on bourse, banks: Two leading state bankers - National Bank of Greece governor Theodoros Karatzas and Commercial Bank of Greece chief Yiannis Stournaras - on Monday welcomed new government measures to boost liquidity in the flagging Athens bourse.

    In addition, Karatzas said he supported another measure announced by the government earlier in the day to free National and Commercial, the country's two largest state banks, from state control.

    Under the measures, shareholders will elect the banks management, and executives will be offered shareholding incentives.

    New Democracy again criticizes gov't over bourse performance: The New Democracy party on Monday criticized the government for the Athens Stock Exchange's poor performance this year.

    The party's spokesman for economic affairs, George Alogoskoufis, said that the bourse was living an extended crisis with losses to shareholders estimated at around 35 trillion drachmas over the last 12 months, equivalent to almost three quarters of the country's gross domestic product.

    He claimed that many retail investors had been misled by the government, and were now trapped in stocks they were unable to sell.

    Alogoskoufis accused the government of bulling up the market before national elections on April 9 through state shareholdings, and then letting the market slide at the expense of both private and state shareholders.

    Alogoskoufis was addressing an economic conference held by the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce.

    [09] Papantoniou optimism on economy, Venture Capital Forum told

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    National economy and finance minister Yannos Papantoniou on Monday expressed optimism on the Greek economy, addressing the 2nd Venture Capital Forum on the new economy taking place at a central Athens hotel.

    "Just as we succeeded on the EMU front, we shall also succeed in the sector of the new economy," Papantoniou told the Forum.

    He said the changes brought about in society and the economy was a "new industrial revolution".

    The minister said special attention should be placed on strengthening technical know-how, boosting entrepreneurship, and increasing capital availability.

    The Greek government's initiatives for achieving a transition from the traditional to the new economy centered on liberalization of the markets, boosting the available capital, the information society program, and the new money market.

    Papantoniou noted the imminent liberalization of the telecoms and energy markets on January 1 and February 17 next year, respectively, which he said was within the timetable set out by the European Union.

    As for boosting capital availability, Papantoniou said the New Economy Fund (TANEO) would reinforce new economy companies with a total 150 billion dr.

    In addition, he said the information society program -- earmarked for one trillion dr. under the Third Community Support Framework (CSF) recently signed with the EU -- was oriented towards the sectors of education, culture, digital economy and communication.

    [10] Greek stocks extend Friday's rally, end 4.05 pct higher

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    Equity prices extended Friday's spectacular rebound on the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, pushing the general index above the 3,500-point level for the first time after 13 sessions.

    Traders said government initiatives to support the market and the economy, combined with year-end buying by institutional investors, created a general upward trend in the Athens bourse.

    The general index ended 4.05 percent higher at 3,541.20 points, with turnover an improved 130.063 billion drachmas, raising hopes of a sustained recovery in the market.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 3.90 percent higher at 2,010.41 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index ended at 438.79 points, up 6.30 percent.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: 7,378.91 + 4.23% Leasing: 710.91 + 6.11% Insurance: 1,640.51 + 5.94% Investment: 1,329.92 + 8.09% Construction: 1,464.81 +10.22% Industrials: 2,177.24 + 3.75% Miscellaneous: 3,261.25 +5.77% Holding: 4,337.77 +2.11%

    The parallel market for smaller capitalization stocks soared 7.46 percent to 380.26 points.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 353 to three with another two issues unchanged.

    Astir Hotels, National Properties, Alpha Bank and National Bank were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Leading shares' closing prices (in Drs): National Bank: 13,850 Alpha Bank: 12,605 Commercial Bank: 18,000 Eurobank: 9,450 Pireaus Bank: 5,695 Lambrakis Press: 5,770 Altec: 3,400 Titan Cement (c): 14,605 Hellenic Telecoms: 5,740 Panafon: 2,920 Hellenic Petroleum: 3,880 Attica Enterprises: 3,015 Intracom: 9,085 Hellenic Telecoms: 5,625

    Equity futures end up, tracking Athens bourse: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished higher on Monday, in line with the bourse indices on which they are based.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 3.90 percent up, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 6.30 percent higher.

    Turnover was 23.9 billion drachmas.

    A total of 4,648 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 with turnover at 18.6 billion drachmas.

    On the FTSE/ASE 40 index, 2,992 contracts changed hands on turnover of 5.2 billion drachmas.

    Bond prices rise in heavy trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Monday finished higher in heavy trade across the board.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.615 percent from 5.676 percent in the previous session.

    The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 67 basis points from 68 basis points a day earlier.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 260 billion drachmas from 114 billion drachmas in the session before.

    Buy orders accounted for around 192 billion drachmas of trade.

    Drachma extends gains against US dollar: The drachma continued moving higher against the US dollar on Monday following the euro/dollar's rate jump above the 88 cents level in international foreign exchange markets.

    The Greek drachma rose to 383.580 drachmas per dollar at the day's fixing, up from 389.110 drachmas on Friday.

    The drachma also moved closer to its central parity against the euro currency at 340.600 drachmas.

    [11] Bulgaria wants to step up business ties with Greece

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov, who is currently paying a two-day visit to Greece, said on Monday that the Balkans would benefit from closer business links between Greece and his country.

    Stoyanov was addressing Greek and Bulgarian business representatives at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    Existing business ties between the two countries already stood as an example for the entire Balkan region, he added.

    [12] ASE extends trading suspension on Minoan Lines stocks

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    The Capital Market Commission on Monday decided to extend a trading suspension of Minoan Lines shares, initially enacted after the suicide of the company's vice-president last week under pressure following the sinking of a ferry that resulted in the loss of 80 lives.

    The Commission extended the suspension of trading of Minoan Lines shares on the Athens Stock Exchange to Wednesday, December 6, to "ensure the time margin for full briefing of investors".

    Pantelis Sfinias, vice president of the board of Minoan Flying Dolphins, a subsidiary of Minoan Lines, jumped out of the window of his 6th floor MFD office in Piraeus on November 29.

    News of Sfinias' suicide immediately plunged the Minoan Lines stock by 11.98 percent, at the razor's edge of the 12 percent volatility limit under Greek bourse rules, prompting the Capital Market Commission to suspend trading of Minoan shares up to and including December 1 to protect investors "as a result of the situation following the tragedy".

    MFD was the owner of the Express Samina ferry that sank in a storm off Paros late September after scraping a well-marked rocky outcropping, in Greece's worst maritime disaster in 35 years.

    [13] Labor minister unveils compromise proposal

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    Labor Minister Tassos Giannitsis on Monday unveiled a new compromise proposal on the retirement terms of heavy industry and unhealthy jobs, accepting an agreement between employers and trade unions.

    Giannitsis withdrew a relative clause from a labor reform legislation, currently under discussion in parliament, and said he will submit an amendment on Tuesday, based on the agreement between employers and trade unions.

    The amendment covers 1,300 workers annually, with a cost of eight billion drachmas.

    Giannitsis said that by next week the parliament would have voted a draft bill on labor reform and increasing employment.

    He noted, however, that he remained "open" to further proposals, based on agreements between employers and trade unions.

    Giannitsis said that a social dialogue on social security reform would begin in the first quarter of 2001.

    [14] Greece to send energy investment delegation to China

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    Greece is to send an energy investment delegation to China in 2001, the two countries' governments agreed on Monday.

    The delegation will sound out the outlook in China for investments in renewable energy - wind power, geothermal energy and solar power.

    The move was agreed at a meeting between Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and China's minister of research and technology, Zhu Lilan, who is currently paying an official visit to Greece.

    A symposium will also be held on energy, research and technology cooperation between the two countries.

    [15] No winner in initial bidding for wireless phone licenses

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    The first round of bidding for six wireless phone licenses began on Monday in a move that will end a monopoly on Greece's fixed-line phone services.

    The short listed groups and consortiums, announced on Thursday, are as follows:

  • Panafon

  • Europrom (Prometheus Gas)

  • Quest Wireless

  • Public Power Corporation Telecommunications-NBG Greek Fund Limited (National Bank of Greece)-Alpha Investment Holding SA (Alpha Bank)-General Bank of Greece

  • Ideal Wireless

  • Mediterranean Eurozone Services SA

    No winner emerged in the tender so far, which will continue until Friday. The cash offered totalled around 17 billion drachmas, the National Telecoms and Post Offices Commission said in a statement.

    Sources said the figure was considered to be low.

    The highest bidder was Europrom in both frequencies being offered - 3.5 GHz and 25 GHz.

    Coming equal first in three other frequencies in the 25GHz band were the Public Power Corporation Telecommunications consortium, Mediterranean Eurozone Services SA and Quest Wireless.

    A seventh bidder, KEASAP, had pulled out of the tender before offers were submitted.

    Under the terms of bidding, the winners are committed to providing services for at least 20 percent of the population within two years from award of the license.

    On January 1, 2001, state Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, which is a heavily traded stock on the Athens bourse, loses its monopoly in the fixed-line telephone market in line with European Union directives.

    [16] EU bans meat-based animal feed

    BRUSSELS, 05/12/2000 (ANA- B. Demiris)

    European Union farm ministers agreed on Monday to impose a six-month temporary ban on animal feed containing ground-up animal carcasses, beginning on Jan. 1, 2001.

    The ban aimed at containing the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (VCJD) in Europe, as more than 80 people have died in Britain and two in France of the human equivalent of the disease.

    Greece was represented by Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis, who expressed his satisfaction over the decision, which, as he said represents a universal about face in animal feed.

    Greece consumes 220,000 tons of beef per year, 150,000 of which is imported, thus the country was very interested in EU-wide measures.

    Meat-based animal feed has been illegal in the Union since the late 1980s when the disease first broke out in Britain, the feed however continued to be used in other animals and birds.

    The new measure, the minister said, would ban such animal feed totally, except in feeding fish in aquacultures.

    He added that the measure also banned the consumption of intestines, as they were listed in the high danger product category.

    Germany and Finland voted against the measures, while Belgium abstained, Anomeritis said.

    [17] Portion of noted Kostakis on display this month

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    Part of the prolific Kostakis collection of priceless Russian avant-garde artwork will finally go on display in Thessaloniki this month, almost seven months since a 14 billion-drachma purchase deal was concluded.

    The Greek state formally acquired the collection with the signing of an agreement last April between the Thessaloniki State Museum of Modern Art and representatives of the late collector's granddaughter, Aliki Kostaki.

    One hundred works will be exhibited at the Lazariston Monastery in the fortress district of Thessaloniki as of Dec. 16 and for the next three months, it was announced on Monday

    The Kostakis collection of 1,275 Russian avant-garde artworks includes works by Malevic, founder of the 'supremacist' school, Tatlin the founder of 'constructivism', Papova, Rozanova and Matiushin. The collection is comprised mainly of paintings, although sketches, engraved manuscripts and documents are included.

    Art aficionado Georgios Kostakis, a Muscovite of Greek descent, built up his collection between 1930 and 1960 by exchanging works by western artists for paintings dating from the period of 1910-1930 by then unknown Russian avant-garde artists. In 1977 he donated about 150 pieces to the Tretiakov Art Gallery in Moscow, while he kept the bulk of the art, initially in a bank vault in Cologne.

    [18] Franco Zeffirelli to make film on later life of opera singer Maria Callas

    ROME, 05/12/2000 (ANA - L. Hatzikyriakos)

    Renowned Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli is planning to make a film about the legendary Greek soprano Maria Callas, starring Teresa Stratos, another Greek-origin soprano.

    In an interview appearing in an Italian newspaper on Monday, Zeffirelli said his film would be filmed in Paris and Romania in February and would focus on the latter part of the famous opera diva's life, when her destructive affair with Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis arrested her career and caused her decline and eventual early death in Paris.

    [19] Stephanopoulos to inaugurate exhibition on Thrace

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Tuesday will inaugurate the "Thrace 2000: 80 years of incorporation into Greece" at the Eleftherios Venizelos hall of the Parliament building.

    The exhibition showcases items borrowed from museums and personals collections, providing the visitor with a historical promenade of the region of Thrace since the ancient times.

    [20] Larissa Modern Arts Center to house exhibition of prehistoric murals discovered on Santorini

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    An exhibition of prehistoric Aegean painting will open in the city of Larissa on Saturday and run until February 10, 2001.

    The exhibition comprises 41 exact reproductions of ancient murals found in prehistoric Akrotiri, an ancient city being excavated in the district of Thera on Santorini, and will be housed in Larissas Modern Arts Center.

    Archaeologists estimate that the murals were painted in 1620 BC, shortly before the city was destroyed by a massive volcanic eruption, and are a valuable insight into the values and society of the early Aegean world.

    [21] Nascent Greek nat'l team debuts in Cyprus

    Athens, 05/12/2000 (ANA)

    The Greek national baseball team posted a win and a loss in its maiden appearance during a tournament over the weekend in Cyprus -- its historic official debut four years before the Athens 2004 Olympics.

    Although baseball is "America's national past-time" and immensely popular in Central America, the Caribbean and Far East, the game is still relatively unknown in this Mediterranean country of 11 million people.

    In its first game, the Greek team defeated Cyprus 12-2, whereas it lost to an Israeli team in existence for 10 years 12-4.

    Along those lines, a first-ever baseball cup tournament - "Hellas 2000" -- will get underway next weekend with 16 recently created teams participating. The finals are set for Dec. 15-17.

    Baseball is among the Olympic sports that Greece is obligated to field a team for the upcoming Olympiad.

    [22] Denktash should not be appeased, Cyprus government says

    NICOSIA, 05/12/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    The government will not tolerate any attempt to appease Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in the effort to see the UN-led proximity talks continue into a new round, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said here on Monday, adding that Denktash's threats to leave the talks dominated today's meeting between the President and the UN envoy for Cyprus.

    He also said President Glafcos Clerides gave further clarifications on some points discussed at the last round of talks in November in Geneva, for which the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto had sought more details.

    The UN envoy informed the President about his meetings in Athens and Ankara, prior to his visit here, and they exchanged views on the situation.

    Papapetrou said the President and de Soto first had a private meeting, followed by a working breakfast with the participation of members of the Cypriot and the UN working teams to the talks.

    The Spokesman said if need be, the President would see de Soto tomorrow as well. Later today, the UN official is seeing Denktash, who has been threatening not to return to the negotiating table unless his puppet regime in Turkish occupied Cyprus is afforded international recognition.

    "Mr. de Soto is trying carry forward the peace process, following Denktash's threats to leave the talks. We have made it abundantly clear that we are not going to tolerate any attempt to pacify Denktash or any yielding to his demands", Papapetrou stressed.

    Replying to questions, the Spokesman said he had not established any attempt to meet Denktash's terms.

    "We gave clarifications on some non papers already discussed at the UN peace talks. The debate among National Council members on other non papers has not been completed, therefore we have submitted no comments on these", Papapetrou told the press after the meeting.

    He said the focus of today's working breakfast was Denktash's threats to abandon the talks.

    The Spokesman said de Soto did not seek a reply to the invitation to talks from the President, noting that Clerides has made his position on the matter clear.

    Papapetrou said there was no reference to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's report on his good offices mission and the renewal of UNFICYP's six-monthly mandate, to be submitted today to the Security Council.

    Replying to questions, he said it was very important for the government to hear de Soto clarify once more that Annan's statement in Geneva on November 8 reflects his own ideas and the way he understands the parameters of a comprehensive solution.

    De Soto has chaired five rounds of proximity talks, separate meeting with the President and Denktash, since last December during which he presented the two sides with numerous non papers on the four core issues under discussion (constitution, security, territory, property-refugees).

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    [23] UN-led proximity talks should continue within defined parameters, Kasoulides says

    LARNACA, 05/12/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    UN-led proximity talks should continue within the parameters defined by the UN, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides stressed here on Monday, cautioning also everybody against any moves to satisfy demands of the Turkish Cypriot side, which fall outside these parameters, or to change these parameters.

    Speaking on his departure for Brussels, Kasoulides called on the UN top envoy for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, currently visiting the island, to clarify with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash his real intentions as to his participation in the next round of talks in late January in Geneva. Denktash has threatened not to go back to Geneva unless his self-styled regime in Turkish occupied Cyprus is recognized as a so-called state.

    The UN Secretary General has invited the two sides to talks but he is not expecting a reply now because, as de Soto has explained, there is particular interest in special issues at present, Kasoulides said.

    As he explained, the UN envoy was apparently referring to discussions between Turkey and the European Union on the formers partnership agreement and the interest of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides in Kofi Annans report on Cyprus and the subsequent resolution the Security Council is set to adopt on the matter.

    What we would like to see is the continuation of the negotiations which should carry on in accordance with the parameters set out in UN Security Council resolution 1250,÷ Kasoulides said, recalling that these provide for talks without any preconditions, all issues on the table, talks until an agreement is reached and in full consideration of UN resolutions.

    The minister stressed that these parameters do not give the right to either the UN or anybody else to ’satisfy any terms Denktash demands or to make any changes other than those stipulated in those parameters.

    Neither we, nor even more so the UN, can sideline these parameters, the minister said.

    Replying to questions, he said non-papers or ideas or statements made by the UN at the proximity talks bear the same weight as far as the negotiations are concerned.

    What Annan put forward in writing in November in Geneva is not a proposal that needs to be approved or rejected, Kasoulides said of an 11-page non paper outlining Annan's vision of what a comprehensive settlement could be like.

    The Foreign minister flew to Brussels to attend the biannual ministerial meeting between Cyprus and the European Union.

    On the sidelines of the meeting, he will have talks with the Belgian minister responsible for European Affairs and high-ranking EU commissioners.

    Kasoulides will then join President Glafcos Clerides in Nice for the EU summit.


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