|Wednesday, 11 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 01-02-08
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Gov't strongly rejects US press criticism on 2004 Olympics security
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)The government reacted strongly on Wednesday to press reports in the US that question Greece's record on fighting terrorism and the level of security during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Government spokesman Telemachos Hytiris was particularly virulent in his attack on "Los Angeles Times" journalist Wayne Merry, formerly with the US Embassy in Athens, whom he described as a "failed embassy employee," and accused of bias and slander.
The spokesman avoided criticizing high-ranking International Olympic Committee (IOC) official Jacques Rogge, however, who is due in Athens next week at the head of an IOC Coordination Committee that will monitor the city's progress in preparing for the Olympics.
In a letter to the Athens 2004 Olympics Organizing Committee (ATHOC), Rogge had raised the issue of security during the course of the Games ahead of his February 15 visit. Commenting on the letter, Hytiris said only that Rogge referred to all issues requiring the cooperation of the IOC and ATHOC and it was therefore natural that he should also raise the issue of security.
Hytiris also denied links between the US reports and American objections to the statements of Greek Parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis after a meeting with a US congress delegation visiting Greece, over which the US State Department had lodged a demarche on February 1.
"There is no connection with this issue," Hytiris said. "Relations between Greece and the US are very good, as is cooperation between them for dealing with terrorism."
 Minister defends constitutional amendments on forestland use
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)Ruling PASOK party rapporteur on constitutional amendments Evangelos Venizelos on Wednesday evening de-fended changes and clarifications to articles of the constitution regarding forests and public land use, in the face of opposition by environmental groups and judicial authorities.
The minister said that the amendments to the constitution will clarify the meaning of forest, will introduce the state owned forests and forest lands to the state land registry and thus secure them from squatting, while they will mandate the principle of forest management and maintenance that would not exhaust it.
He criticized members of the Greek constitutional court - the Council of State - for opposing the amendment, adding that with their criticism they intervened in the workings of the legislative.
Environmentalists protest amendments to the Constitution regarding forests: Environmental non-governmental organizations on Wednesday symbolically surrounded the Parliament building to protest amendments to the Constitution that they consider damaging to the environment in the long-term.
Representatives of the organizations claimed that amendments to several articles of the Constitution would bar Greece's constitutional court - the Council of State - to rule on the constitutionality of laws that may threaten forests.
The protest was scheduled for Wednesday as the Parliament began discussion on relevant amendments to the Constitution that same day.
 Greek deputy defense minister discusses cooperation with Indian defense minister
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)Greek Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Apostolakis on Wednesday met with Indian Defense Minister George Fernades on the sidelines of the "Aero-India 2001" weapons exhibition-taking place in the Asian country.
The two men discussed the prospects of Greek-Indian cooperation in the defense sector, as part of the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed for this purpose.
Apostolakis will also meet with representatives of Indian defense industries as well as representatives of countries participating in the exhibition.
 Bulgarian FM Nadezhda Mihaylova to hold talks in Athens with Greek counterpart
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)Bilateral political and economic relations, the situation in Yugoslavia and the Balkans in general and the course of Bulgaria's accession to NATO and the European Union will be discussed by Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Thursday with his Bulgarian counterpart Nadezhda Mihaylova, who is making her first official visit to Athens.
On arrival in Athens, Mihaylova will hold private talks with Papandreou, while expanded talks will follow between the two countries' delegations.
In the afternoon, she will be visiting the presidential mansion for a courtesy call on President Kostis Stephanopoulos.
Mihaylova will be attending a dinner Papandreou will be giving in her honor in the evening and on Friday morning she will be having consecutive meetings with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.
 NATO southeaster Europe's navy sub-commander visits Tyrnavos HQ
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)NATO southeastern European navy forces (NAVSOUTH) sub-commander Admiral Jose D. Romero visited on Wednesday the southeaster Europe's joint command headquarters (JC SOUTHCENT) at Tyrnavos Greece.
During his visit at the JC SOUTHCENT he met with the commander General Emmanouil Mantzana and was briefed on activities of the alliance in the region.
Romero's visit also included a short visit to Thessaloniki's historic and archaeological monuments.
 Coalition of the Left leader promises party's solidarity for problems faced by Greek minority in Albania
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos on Wednesday promised his party's solidarity for a solution to problems faced by the Greek minority in Albania and stressed the need for the further development of Greek-Albanian relations in talks with the President of Albania's Human Rights Party Vassilis Melios and the party's deputy Grigoris Karamelos.
On his part, Melios referred at length to the Greek minority's problems and to his party's efforts to resolve them. He thanked the Coalition of the Left for its steadfast support and for initiatives it has undertaken to develop Greek-Albanian relations in the framework of its overall policy for peace, stability and cooperation in the Balkans and the European perspective of all countries in the region.
 ND MPs call state-run TV to task for not covering censure motion debate
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)Greece's state-run television channel ERT came under fire on Wednesday for its decision not to cover the debate on the censure motion brought against National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou by main opposition New Democracy.
In a letter sent to Parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis, five ND deputies talk of a "unilateral decision" by ERT's management and ask that ERT Gen. director Panagiotis Panagiotou be summoned to Parliament to explain.
According to the secretary of ND parliamentary group, Dimitris Sioufas, and the four other MPs signing the letter, the "television blackout imposed served only those who are responsible for the crimes that were carried out repeatedly and en masse against the Stock Exchange and the hundreds of thousands of retail investors that were trapped in Sophocleous (ASE) and led to ruin."
 KKE leader says Greek students in Yugoslavia should be allowed to transfer
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga said on Wednesday that the failure to recognize the right of Greek students at Yugoslav universities to transfer to courses in Greece was a clearly political issue, especially at a time when conflict in southern Serbia was escalating.
After a meeting with representatives of the Greek students in Yugoslavia and their parents, Papariga said that NATO "did not want a live revelation that radioactive materials were used during the bombings [in Yugoslavia]" while stressing that the government "no longer has any serious argument for saying no, apart from its dependence on NATO."
 Ruling PASOK party initiates interactive Internet communication with citizens
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)Ruling PASOK party will begin its reach-out program to citizens via the Internet, party Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis announced on Wednesday.
The site located at www.periferiakianaptixi.gr will allow visitors to read Prime Minster Costas Simitis' address to problems of regional development and to be informed on new public works projects.
The site will be interactive as it will allow visitors to comment on each project or policy and those comments and possible proposals will be used in the process of developing regional policies, Skandalidis said.
 Environment minister parries MP attacks on new airport; airport reps respond to complaints over high fees
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)Athens' new international airport at Spata will be ready within March, Environment and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis reiterated in Parliament on Wednesday, in response to questions by main opposition New Democracy MP Athanassios Heimaras.
He also parried Heimaras' predictions that national carrier Olympic Airways will not have completed its move to the new airport by next month and that air-navigation systems will not have arrived, saying that the new airport will be one of the most modern, safe and reliable in the world.
On the financial side, in response to accusations that landing fees at Spata would be excessively high, Laliotis said that every effort was being made to make the new airport competitive.
He also asked the ND deputy to stop defending the interests of the airline companies but those of Greece and noted that the ratio of fees to profits was better than that originally foreseen by the contract signed by the ND government of 1990-1993.
There was strong protest to the minister's statements from the main opposition, and the discussion had to be cut short by Parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis.
Meanwhile, IATA representatives visiting the new airport by road earlier in the day said they had encountered serious problems and would report these to Prime Minister Costas Simitis in writing, with suggestions on how they might be dealt with.
Airport reps respond to BAR complaint: In a related development on Wednesday, the management of the new international airport responded to a letter sent by the BAR airline association, in which they complained about the increased landing fees at the new airport in Spata.
The letter had been sent to Laliotis, Nat. Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Transport Minister Christos Verelis.
The airport's management defended the higher fees, saying that they were competitive compared to other successful international airports abroad.
While the increase over the fees charged at Ellinikon exceeded 100 per cent, they said, it was not realistic to compare the old Athens airport, and the services and facilities it offered, with the new international-standard airport at Spata.
They added that the fees will be similar to those charged by Vienna, Amsterdam and Manchester airports and lower than those charged at Heathrow or the also newly built airport at Oslo.
Airport representatives also mention that the structure and level of airport fees were determined after two years of negotiations with IATA and contend that the rise in prices will not be such as to deter passengers, especially foreigners, from flying to Athens.
The airport management cites expert surveys carried out on its behalf to support its arguments, which say that any negative impact from the increase in fees will be relatively brief and not very significant. This is also borne out by the fact that the airport tax charged in 1993 to help finance the building of the new airport, which represented an increase of 800 to 1000 per cent over fees then charged at Ellinikon, did not affect passenger traffic. Conversely, this increased by 4.2 million passengers between 1993 and 2000, representing a 5.4 per cent increase a year.
The impact on domestic flights is expected to be greater, and here the airport company claims to have made efforts to keep costs as low as possible, making full use of all leeway given by the law.
Commenting on the issue of navigation charts, finally, the airport company pointed out that these were the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority (YPA) and that it had been known all along that these would be published on January 25, 2001. This, they added, had already happened and the processes would be activated on March 1 and would be adequate for the operation of the new airport.
Gov't spokesman reaffirms March opening for new airport, future park at Ellinikon site: Government spokesman Telemachos Hytiris reiterated on Wednesday that Athens' new international airport at Spata would begin operating in March, while he said that the statements by Prime Minister Costas Simitis regarding the conversion of the old airport site into a park still stood.
 Greek merchant shipping fleet on the rise
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)Empirikos Group, a Greek shipping company, on Wednesday announced it would raise the Greek flag to four new vessels of a total capacity of 1.15 million register tons.
Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis, commenting on a sharp increase in the country's merchant shipping fleet in January (17 new registrations, no deletion) said that "the Greek merchant fleet is significantly increasing despite the fact that we have not taken any new measures to boost the sector. Things would go even better after the unveil our measures."
Papoutsis said the ministry was examining proposals for lower taxes on the merchant shipping sector.
 Passenger shipping fares to increase by 7.0 percent
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)Passenger shipping fares will increase by 7.0 percent this year, Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis said on Wednesday.
Papoutsis said the increase in fares was agreed with National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and will be implemented gradually in two stages. The first, an increase of 5.0 percent from March 1 and the second, a 2.0 percent rise from June 1.
The minister said the rise was necessary because passenger fares remained unchanged in the last three years despite a jump in fuel prices.
 Survey urges for more government measures to support tourism
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)A survey by the Institute for Tourist Research and Forecasts on Wednesday urged the government to take more measures to support the sector.
The survey called for measures to categorize all tourist accommodations, implementing saturation rates for all regions, raising a ceiling in financial support of small- and medium-sized tourist units, increasing - substantially - advertising spending on tourism, simpler and faster procedures to approve financial support, abolishing a liquidity index as a criterion to evaluate investment projects and strengthening local hotel unions' voice in decision-making bodies.
The survey said that financial support policies currently ensured the viability of non-healthy enterprises and discouraged new investment initiatives.
The survey also noted several infrastructure weaknesses as counter-incentives in the growth of the tourism sector (telecommunications and transport inefficiencies, bureaucracy, high capital costs).
 Hellenic Telecoms opens up to Greek telecom market
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) decided to open up to the Greek telecom market aiming to facilitate companies involved in the broader sector, on a client basis.
OTE's board said on Tuesday, February 6, that this decision was dictated by the organizations dominant position in the Greek market and formed part of the management's efforts to expand activities in the sectors of: completion of middle-term policy on network development, faster offer of new services and products, re-evaluation of its commercial policy, merging or liquidating existing OTE subsidiaries and establishing new ones.
OTE said it was willing to provide organizations "space" to mobile telephone operators, fixed wireless telephone operators and companies unbundling the local loop by charging an agreed fee.
The organization also said it would seek cooperation with third parties in fields where enhanced capabilities for major developments or additional know-how were required.
OTE's board also discussed cooperation with the largest distribution networks of the market in an effort to promote faster services and products required by the organizations new commercial policy.
 Social security funds suffered no losses from bourse investment
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)The social security funds suffered no losses to their reserves as a result of investment on the Athens Stock Exchange, social security deputy minister Nikos Farmakis said Wednesday in parliament.
Replying to a question tabled by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Farmakis noted that the social security organizations, on the responsibility of their elected administrative boards, had decided since 1995 to invest in high capitalization stocks on the Athens bourse and although the stock market crisis had chipped away at the profits they had made, there was no loss to the initial capital.
Farmakis said securities owned by the social security funds totalled 1,545 billion dr. on October 30, 1995, rose to 4,061 billion dr. as at December 31, 1999, and the decline in the Athens Stock Exchange general index lowered capital gains to 3.8 trillion dr., which was a figure higher than the initial sum invested.
KKE deputy Antonis Skyllakos accused the government of "sinking the funds' reserves in gambling", resulting in delays in the payment of pensions by the funds at Christmas, and demanded the withdrawal of the capital from the said investments, citing trade union's mobilizations in that direction.
Responding to Skyllakos, the deputy minister called the demand for immediate withdrawal of the capital "incomprehensible", claiming that the only trade union organizations that had demanded such a move were those controlled by the KKE.
He warned that such a move would "destroy everything in the economy, as well as in the social security funds and the capital market".
 Second Hellas-Sat bidder gets chance in problem tender
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)New Skies Satellites NV has been given until Friday to submit proposals in a government tender seeking a company that will build and operate Hellas Sat, Greece's first telecoms satellite system, after talks broke down with the leading consortium, Deputy Transport and Communications Minister Alekos Voulgaris said.
Voulgaris told reporters on Wednesday that his ministry had broken off talks with the first consortium, led by EMI SA, after it made new, last-minute demands that were not included in the original tender.
In addition, the consortium had failed to submit to the ministry the statutes of the company that would sign contracts with the state in the deal, raising doubts about its ability to raise a total of 200 million US dollars needed to build and launch the satellite, Voulgaris added.
The satellite has to be operational by April 9, 2002 at the latest under the terms of the band awarded to Greece.
Earlier in the day, replying to a question in parliament tabled by main opposition New Democracy (ND) deputy Marietta Yannakou-Coutsikou on the delay in signing the satellite contract, Voulgaris said that Greece was at no risk of losing the band (39 degrees east in the geostatic orbit), because a six-month extension to the expiry date could be requested from the International Telecommunications Union.
Yannakou-Coutsikou stressed the need to develop the satellite in order to eliminate communications problems faced by the Greek armed forces, noting that Turkey already had a similar satellite.
In October, the government declared null and void for a second time a transport and communications ministry tender for the license after an evaluation committee for the September 29 tender said that neither of the two bids submitted met its terms. New Skies Satellites NV and EMI SA submitted the bids.
A similar tender three months earlier was also declared null and void after the ministry's evaluating committee declared that the three offers submitted -- by Eutelsat, EMI and New Skies Satellites NV -- failed to comply both with the terms of the tender and with the law.
 Olive oil subsidies and prices rose in 1999, agriculture minister says
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)The income of Greek olive oil producers in 1999 rose to almost 500 billion drachmas, compared to 234 billion drachmas in 1991, Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis said on Wednesday, responding to criticism that their income was decreasing.
Speaking during a press conference of the Olive-oil Producer Cities of Greece (DEPE) and in the presence of European Federation of Olive Oil Producer Cities (FEMO) president Enrico Lupi, the Greek minister said that the subsidies for olive oil production did not decrease, to the contrary, he said, it increased.
He added that the subsidized production rose to 441,000 tons in 1999, up from 312,000 tons in 1998, while the market price for olive oil was 326 drachmas per kilo in 1999, up from 285 drachmas per kilo in 1998.
Anomeritis also said that the ministry aims to pay the subsidies directly to farmers "in their bank accounts", without deductions. In the past farmers' cooperatives withheld a percentage of European Union subsidies on produce. The legality of the deductions has been contested in court and a ruling is awaited.
The minister also noted that only 30 percent of Greek olive oil producers made their living solely from the cultivation of the olive tree.
KKE leader calls for olive oil production subsidies on Lesvos: Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga said that the government could support olive oil production on the island of Lesvos for the benefit small- and medium-scale producers - in defiance of European Union directives - in order to solve the problem of the general population's diet and support local growth.
Papariga was speaking after a meeting with the Coordinating Committee for the Survival of Lesvos.
Lesvos and all of Greece could solve the problem of the population's diet with quality and good prices, if there was a meaningful reaction to the dominant policy, she said.
The government, she added, could decide to oppose and not conform to EU directives and the interests of the few, in order to support olive oil production on the island in favor of small-scale and medium-scale farmers as opposed to large-scale olive oil wholesalers.
She also called on the government to take drastic measures for the development of livestock breeding, the second basic economic sector and source of development on Lesvos.
 Industry, listed firms blast bourse attackers
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)Industrialists and companies quoted on the ailing Athens bourse on Wednesday blasted critics who named specific individuals or made generalizations in their condemnation of the market's long-standing decline.
In a joint statement, the Association of Greek Industry and Union of Athens Bourse Listed Companies said the critics were doing a disservice both to the country and to the courts in citing, for example, "lost capital" and "abuse" of funds.
The two trade groups called on the capital markets commission to uncover any irregularities as soon as possible in order to halt "the unfounded allegations and attacks against innocent people".
 ASE launches cooperation deal with Belgrade bourse
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)The Athens Stock Exchange and the Belgrade Stock Exchange are beginning to implement a cooperation deal following signing of a memorandum in December 2000.
An ASE statement on Wednesday said that the Greek market would organize a series of specialized seminars aimed to create and develop Belgrade's stock market and to train its staff.
The first round of seminars will start on February 12 in Athens with the participation of high-ranking officials from the Belgrade market.
The training program will cover, in this stage, the basic principles of capital markets, securities transaction, clearing, listed companies, securities firms, investors, spreading of information, technological infrastructure and selected case studies from the Greek market.
The program also includes virtual transactions based on the way the Belgrade market would operate.
Training services to the Belgrade market are expected to be completed in four theme stages, including training on an electronic transactions system, structure and network management, hardware technology and applications management.
 Greek stocks end lower on ASE
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)Equity prices ended lower on Wednesday as lack of follow-through buying and tight liquidity conditions reversed an initial advance on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Smaller capitalization stocks were badly hit, while investment shares resisted pressures.
The general index eased 0.77 percent to end at 3,130.10 points, off the day's lows of 3,118.56 and the day's highs of 3,189.55 points. Turnover was a low 105.74 million euros, or 36.03 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.70 percent lower at 1,826 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 0.92 percent to 325.59 points.
Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: 6,896.17 -0.40% Leasing: 470.07 -2.24% Insurance: 1,243.83 -0.31% Investment: 1,268.92 +0.32% Construction: 1,247.91 -2.02% Industrials: 1,875.64 -0.62% Miscellaneous: 2,054.39 -2.92% Holding: 3,215.30 -1.11%
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended 3.17 percent lower at 243.23 points.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 235 to 89 with another 32 issues unchanged.
Coca Cola Bottling, Alpha Bank, Hellenic Telecoms, Panafon, Piraeus Bank and National Bank were the most heavily traded stocks.
Leading shares' closing prices (in euros): National Bank: 38.74 Alpha Bank: 33.74 Commercial Bank: 50.70 Eurobank: 20.68 Piraeus Bank: 14.68 Lambrakis Press: 10.20 Altec: 5.88 Titan Cement (c): 37.20 Hellenic Telecoms: 16.72 Panafon: 7.16 Hellenic Petroleum: 9.36 Attica Enterprises: 6.16 Intracom: 19.40 Minoan Lines: 4.98 Viohalco: 10.46 Coca Cola Bottling: 18.82
ASE rejects talk over small caps market future: The parallel market for smaller capitalization stocks will continue operating under its present form with a new sector index - including 40 shares - expected to be unveiled by the end of February, the Athens Stock Exchange said on Wednesday.
It was commenting on a daily financial newspaper report that ASE authorities were planning to abolish the parallel market.
An ASE statement said that by the end of February a new wider index of the main market - including 60 shares - would be presented to the public.
The new indices will offer further advantages on credibility and transparency, they will be updated and will reflect accurately the market. They will be calculated according to new rules, based on international standards and the experience the Greek market has obtained from managing FTSE/ASE indices.
ASE will launch the revised FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40 indices by the end of April, based on the free float of shares, and a new FTSE/ASE small cap index.
ASE will begin road shows, in cooperation with listed companies and P&K Securities, in Milan and Frankfurt on February 19 and 20, respectively, ahead of the Greek market's upgrading to a mature market.
Deutsche Bank will organize the road shows. ASE also plans road shows in Paris, Brussels, London, New York and Boston in cooperation with foreign investment firms.
Equity futures end down, tracking Athens bourse: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Wednesday, in line with the bourse indices on which they are based, traders said.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 0.70 percent down, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 0.92 percent lower.
Turnover was 38.2 million euros on 4,145 contracts traded, the dealers said.
Bond prices drop in brisk trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Wednesday finished lower in heavy trade with institutional investors seen dumping 20-year paper after a morning rise in the market, dealers said.
The new Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.32 percent from 5.33 percent a day earlier.
The yield spread over German bunds was 57 basis points, the same as the day before.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 967 million euros (about 329.5 billion drachmas) from 610 million euros (around 208 billion drachmas)in the previous session.
Sell orders accounted for the bulk of turnover.
Greek bond market jumps in January: The Greek bond market jumped in January with turnover and prices rising reflecting strong buying interest, mainly from foreign investors, for domestic state securities, the Bank of Greece said on Wednesday.
Turnover in the domestic electronic secondary bond market totalled 28 billion euros, or 6.909 trillion drachmas, in January, sharply up from 7.64 billion euros (2.604 trillion drachmas) from the same month last year and compared with a monthly average of 10.60 billion euros, or 3.612 trillion drachmas in 2000.
Bond prices rose significantly across the board but mainly in long-term issues, while the bid/ask spread fell spectacularly.
The 15-year bond price was 108.12 points on January 21, and the 20-year bond price was 97.10 points, compared with 107.64 and 98 points of January 31, 2000 respectively.
The spread fell to 9.56 basis points from 22.55 basis points in January 2000, contributing in cutting the borrowing cost for the Greek state.
The Bank of Greece said bond prices would be positively affected in the future due to an anticipated further decline in the spread between Greek and eurozone bond yields.
The 20-year Greek/German Bund yield spread fell to 77 basis points in January, from 96 basis points the same month last year. The spread of long-term bonds between Italy, Spain and Portugal against the German bonds are currently at the 30-40 basis points level.
The central bank said it expected a slower world economic growth to contain inflation, cut interest rates and offer even bigger returns to holders of Greek bonds.
The Bank of Greece said a total of 10 foreign banks, mainly based in London - were acting as primary dealers in the Greek bond market.
Euro/dollar reference rate set at 93.25 cents: The European Central Bank set its reference euro/dollar rate at 93.25 cents on Wednesday, slightly up from 93.22 cents the previous day, pushing the US dollar/drachma rate at 365.41 drachmas.
The ECB also set its euro/yen rate at 108.36 yen (3.14 drachmas), the euro/sterling at 63.84 pence (533.75 drachmas), the euro/Swiss franc rate at 1.5392 (221.38 drachmas) and the euro/Cyprus pound at 59.93 cents (588.20 drachmas).
 Gov't, passenger shippers hold talks on deregulation
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis and leaders of the Union of Passenger Ship owners on Wednesday held talks on changes in the sector, including deregulation of the market.
The talks covered an upcoming bill on deregulation, improving port infrastructure, and providing ships for little-used routes to remote islands.
Senior executives of the union told reporters after the meeting that they agreed with many of Papoutsis' proposals on deregulation, and that more meetings would follow.
 Four banks short-listed in social insurance fund tender
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)Four banks have been short listed in a government tender to find an external consultant and manager for Social Insurance Organizations Mutual Fund, which spans funds from state and state-approved health and pension funds.
The short listed banks are Alpha Bank, EFG Eurobank Ergasias, Commercial Bank of Greece, and National Investment Bank for Industrial Development, a subsidiary of National Bank of Greece. All four are listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.
The banks will shortly be invited to submit financial proposals for each fund.
 Education minister gives Technical Educational Institute presidents and deans proposals on resolving pending problems
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)Education Minister Petros Efthymiou on Wednesday gave presidents, deans and students of Technical Educational Institutes (TEI) proposals contained in a draft bill on resolving the institutes' pending problems.
According to the bill, "the term 'Third Stage Education' is enacted for the first time with accuracy in the framework of the Greek educational system and its structure is determined in a systematic way."
Clauses are also enacted by which the accession of the TEI to the higher education sector acquires a substantive content, while emphasis is primarily placed on the widening of the establishments' self-administration and the qualitative improvement of the tutorial staff.
Professors' initial assessment is that intentions exist to have problems faced by technological institutes resolved. However, basic issues are not clarified, such as the professional rights of TEI graduates.
 Kokkalis Program to organize conference on the Balkans at Harvard University
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)The third annual scientific conference on the Balkans, organized by the Kokkalis Program for southeastern and central-eastern Europe, will be held at the Center of European Studies of Harvard University on February 9-10.
The aim of the conference is to bring together new researchers dealing in the field of social and political sciences in the Balkans.
The choice of the participants was made following an international competition and after more than 200 applications, the 22 best were approved.
The conference will deal with economic reconstruction, public administration and democratization, the society of citizens and human rights, the mass media and democracy, traditional and new matters concerning security, criminality and corruption.
 Cypriot collector establishes Cyprus antiquities museum in Athens
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Monday will inaugurate an exhibition of antiquities from Cyprus, belonging to the Greek-Cypriot antiquities collector Dimitris Pierides.
Pierides established the first Museum of Ancient Cypriot Art in Greece at the Athinaes art center in Votanikos, Athens, exhibiting 153 terracotta, stone and pottery pieces of his vast collection, showcasing the 9,000-year-history of Cyprus.
He received a large portion of his collection from his great-grand father and added pieces to it himself, aiming "as he (his great grandfather), almost 150 years later to protect them from the conqueror, who is exporting them illegally".
 Russian national to face Greek court for illegal weapons possession
Athens, 08/02/2001 (ANA)The trial of alleged Russian mob killer Vladimir Tatarenkof will begin on Thursday in Komotini northern Greece, as he was charged with illegal possession of weapons and for forgery.
According to authorities, Tatarenkof will be extradited to Russia when he serves his term in Greek prisons if Greek courts of the aforementioned crimes convict him.
In Russia he is expected to face multiple charges of murder.
 Cyprus: Territorial waters not listed in base agreements
NICOSIA, 08/02/2001 (ANA - G. Leonidas)The issue of territorial waters as an extension of two sovereign British bases on Cyprus unexpectedly surfaced here this week, with the government reiterating that no such rights are listed in signed agreements.
According to a local press report, a British High Commission spokesman said the two British bases - one at Dekelia and the other near the port of Limassol - each retain three nautical miles of territorial waters, while basing his assertion on the Zurich and London treaties.
Additionally, the British spokesman, identified as Jonathan Allen, claimed that London also has the right to extend the bases' territorial waters to 12 nautical miles, as guaranteed by Inter-national Law of the Sea.
"Up until today we have not chosen to extend out territorial waters to 12 miles," Allen was quoted as saying, while citing the Cyprus Republic's 12-mile territorial limits at sea.
 University of Applied Sciences and Arts to be established
NICOSIA, 08/02/2001 (CNA/ANA)The Cyprus Council of Ministers, which convened on Wednesday morning under President Glafcos Clerides, has decided to establish a University of Applied Sciences and Arts.
Announcing the decision, Education and Culture Minister Ouranios Ioannides said the aim of the new University is to prepare young people to enter the labor market equipped with upgraded qualifications, as is the trend today in Europe.
Ioannides said he had been authorized to bring to the next cabinet meeting a list of members comprising the preparatory committee, which will prepare the new University's regulations.
The University of Applied Sciences and Arts will include the Higher Institute of Technology, the Medical School, the Forestry College, the Cyprus Catering Institute, and the Mediterranean Management Institute.
Replying to questions, Ioannides said European Union directives on education were being taken fully into consideration and that the Education and Culture Ministry "has no harmonization loose ends".
Cyprus, which applied for European Union membership in 1990, started membership talks in 1998 and is heading candidate countries in adopting EU regulations.
Ioannides also announced that the cabinet had approved granting state land in Nicosia to erect a National Theatre.