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

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

February 2, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Support for president continued to pour in on Friday
  • [02] President, accompanied by large business delegation, to visit Syria
  • [03] Greece moves towards economic, social convergence, Simitis says
  • [04] FM to attend two round-table discussions in U.S.
  • [05] Magriotis to address foreign diplomats in Thessaloniki
  • [06] Euro-MP Katiforis to represent government at the EU Convention
  • [07] Motion for probe into 'illegal naturalizations' fails in Parliament
  • [08] ND calls for crackdown on video arcades
  • [09] ND leader Karamanlis to pay four-day visit to UK
  • [10] Orthodox churches desecrated and pillaged in Albania
  • [11] Defense ministry to donate firing range land for university
  • [12] Evert briefs president about his foreign policy positions
  • [13] Cotton crop weighed in as farmers continue roadblocks in the north
  • [14] Greek PMI rises to 51 in January
  • [15] Bank of Greece battles to keep pension funds' assets
  • [16] Hellenic-British Chamber of Commerce holds conference
  • [17] Survey shows 74.3 percent of Greeks in favor of euro
  • [18] Winner named for Athens metro extension towards airport
  • [19] Contractors apply for new, large-scale project category
  • [20] Club Mediterranee to invest 88 million euros in Greece
  • [21] Greek stocks end flat in ASE
  • [22] ATHOC tender for power distribution centers
  • [23] Clerides and Denktash hold eighth meeting on Cyprus' future

  • [01] Support for president continued to pour in on Friday

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    Support for President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos continued to pour in from all parts of the political spectrum on Friday, with politicians from all parties expressing confidence in the president's integrity and condemning an attempt to link his name in an illegal gaming scandal.

    Both ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy had responded almost instantly on Thursday to implications in a report broadcast by the television channel 'Extra' that Stephanopoulos was involved in an illegal gambling operation in the Patras region, condemning them as slanderous and an attack on democratic normalcy.

    The affair had also given rise to speculation that the president might resign and thus force the country into early Parliamentary elections.

    Commenting on the issue on Friday, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said the president's resignation was out of the question and expressed satisfaction at the almost universal support for Stephanopoulos expressed by political parties and the public.

    He also condemned what he called the "few, sad exceptions," to this rule and reports on Friday that Foreign Minister George Papandreou might be behind the organized attack on the president, saying that these damaged the country's image abroad.

    Asked who was responsible for the report about Stephanopoulos, Protopapas said that 'Extra' channel had taken responsibility for it, and revealed that he had spoken with the channel's owner Giorgos Kouris on Thursday after receiving information about the story it intended to run, asking him not to proceed with "this amoral and ridiculous action."

    "Kouris answered that he very possibly agreed with me and that things were generally difficult but that Mr. Karatzaferis (the journalist presenting the program in question) had his own views," the spokesman said.

    Regarding press freedom issues raised by these developments, the spokesman said the existing legal framework was already strong enough and that part of the implementation of this was in the hands of the journalists' union ESHEA and the National Radio and Television Council (ERS).

    The ERS, he added, had already initiated an investigation on this issue, while he revealed that the press ministry was considering an ERS proposal to bring the journalist code of practice up to date.

    Meanwhile, politicians continued on Friday to express their regard and support for the president and their conviction that he had done nothing unethical.

    Former premier Constantine Mitsotakis, honorary president of ND, reiterated on Friday that there was no doubt that it was impossible for the president to have broken the rules of morality and law, while he criticized sections of the press for "their tactics of surrendering to an often fanatic public opinion people that were helpless and sometimes also innocent."

    Miltiades Evert, another former leader of the main opposition, described the reports as a smear attack as he emerged from a meeting with Stephanopoulos on Friday, saying that the majority of Greeks agreed with the political parties in supporting the president.

    Parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis, who also met Stephanopoulos on Friday, expressed Parliament's and his own regard for the President and described the aspersions against him as "unjust and unacceptable".

    "Kostis Stephanopoulos adorns the Hellenic Republic, is absolutely committed to duty and is the foremost factor for guaranteeing our country's smooth progress," he said after the meeting.

    He also condemned the media for slipping standards and urged them to work toward quality broadcasts.

    Support for Stephanopoulos was also expressed on Friday by Antonis Samaras, leader of center-right Political Spring, veteran Leftist leader Manolis Glezos and Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, who described the affair as a "disgusting, amoral and despicable attack."

    PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis on Friday underlined that Stephanopoulos had served the presidency in the best possible way and that any mud slung in his direction would return to the person throwing it. Support for Stephanopoulos was also expressed by Christos Polyzogopoulos, president of the umbrella trade union organization General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), over the phone.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), meanwhile, raised questions as to the true aims of those stirring up the issue of illegal gambling and the attempt to link this with Stephanopoulos. The party also noted that the problem was the legalization of electronic gaming, which led to artificial distinctions between legal and illegal gambling, with tragic consequences for young people.

    The attack on the president was similarly condemned by the Athens journalists' union ESHEA, which said that journalists and the Greek people would not allow the circulation and fabrication of suspect scenarios that damaged democracy and the concept of a free press.

    According to sources, the affair concerned a building owned by Stephanopoulos since 1959, which was rented out for use as a restaurant and cafe-bar in 1997 to a company entitled "Vasilopoulos-Kontis".

    The same sources, however, said the president never met the owners of the business and that the lease was handled by other persons, while his only connection to the affair was his ownership of the building.

    FM defends president of the republic, rebuts accusations of involvement: Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Friday expressed his full support for President Kostis Stephanopoulos, recalling his "long-time personal friendship and respect" for him.

    "I strongly condemn the attack against the president of the republic, an attack from those journalistic circles which are continuing to undermine the political life of the country with heinous scenarios and reports in the press, in which some people are trying to involve my name," Papandreou said.

    "Everyone has his own history in the land. We all have the responsibility to defend the political and state institutions and the international image of the country," he concluded.

    [02] President, accompanied by large business delegation, to visit Syria

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos will leave Saturday for a state visit to Syria, accompanied by government officials and a large group of businessmen.

    Stephanopoulos, who leaves Saturday morning for Damascus on a three-day visit at the invitation of his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad, will be accompanied by merchant marine minister George Anomeritis, deputy foreign minister Andreas Loverdos, and a delegation of some 40 businessmen active in the region.

    While in Damascus, Stephanopoulos will confer with President Assad and Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa Miro on bilateral issues, focusing on economic and business cooperation, and will also review the situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian problem.

    The visit reciprocates a visit to Athens in 1986 by former Syrian president Hafez al-Assad, the late father of the current president, and aims at further strengthening and broadening the excellent relations between the two countries, according to diplomatic sources.

    The same sources told ANA that Greece has strong business interest in the region, particularly given the economic reforms being advanced in Syria in a bid to render the Syrian economy more open and bring the country closer to the European Union.

    In May 2001, the sources added, then Greek merchant marine minister Christos Papoutsis, and two months earlier the transport minister Christos Verelis, had visited Damascus and signed agreements on road and sea-borne transports.

    The same sources, replying to press questions, said that Greece's position on the Middle East problem was well-known and in line with that of the European Union, and added that Athens considers president Yasser Arafat the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and the sole interlocutor for the settlement of the Palestinian problem.

    [03] Greece moves towards economic, social convergence, Simitis says

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    "Everyday we cover the distance that separates us from Europe as we continue our efforts to further adjust Greek economy into a new environment," Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Friday.

    Addressing a meeting of the National Coordinating Committee for the euro, Simitis noted that "we move towards economic and social convergence by taking advantage of the stability and predictability offered by the euro currency."

    The prime minister said that Greek businesses were pursuing restructuring plans and seeking scale economics with the aim to strengthen their competitiveness, while they also expand in foreign markets to secure a new share in a globalized environment.

    "That's how we ensure the country's growth prospects and create new jobs. The introduction of the euro strengthens national confidence because the country evolved from a regional country among the EU's core members not with a feeling of inferiority but equally and with dignity. Greek economy and the country are becoming stronger with the euro," Simitis said.

    The prime minister noted that, according to recent polls, nine out of 10 Greeks said they did not experience any problems in their transactions with the euro currency, 95 percent of Greeks have already used the new currency and around 70 percent of transactions were made in euros.

    Simitis said that the changeover from the drachma to the euro currency was fully successful.

    Bank of Greece's governor, Lucas Papademos, addressing the meeting said that the domestic market was not experiencing any shortages in the new currency and that the euro's notes and coins share in the domestic market was 76 percent.

    The central banker said that authorities have already withdrawn 75 percent of drachma notes and coins, and that all banks' ATM have been transformed for euro transactions.

    [04] FM to attend two round-table discussions in U.S.

    NEW YORK, 02/02/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou, on arrival in New York, referred to the significance of contacts he will be having in New York over the next three days on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, saying that Greece's presence in a place where so many personalities of international influence meet is important.

    Papandreou will be participating in two round-table discussions, one on European foreign policy and the other on developments in the Balkans.

    While in New York, Papandreou will also meet his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem, who is also attending the Forum's sessions, and noted that "I shall brief him on the Greek government's decisions on the beginning of exploratory contacts."

    Papandreou further said that over the past three years every time he is attending an international conference in which Cem is also participating "we have made it a rule to try and meet and talk."

    He said that this dialogue process started two years ago, adding that he will have the opportunity of seeing Cem again on February 12-13 in Istanbul.

    After New York, where he will also meet former mayor Rudolph Giuliani and several Balkan leaders, Papandreou will go to Salt Lake City where he, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Athens 2004 Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki will be representing Greece at the opening of the Winter Olympic Games.

    "We shall also have the opportunity of promoting the idea of the Olympic Truce," Papandreou said, adding that a Greek emissary has already left for India and Pakistan, conveying a letter to the two countries on the need for a truce during the Winter Games.

    [05] Magriotis to address foreign diplomats in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis will speak at an event on Saturday in Thessaloniki organized by the foreign consular officials stationed in the northern Greek port city.

    [06] Euro-MP Katiforis to represent government at the EU Convention

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday appointed ruling PASOK Eurodeputy George Katiforis to represent the Greek government to the European Union Convention for the future of Europe.

    President of the Greek Center of European Studies (EKEM) Professor Panagiotis Ioakeimidis was appointed as Katiforis' alternate.

    The Greek Parliament will appoint its own representatives.

    The Union Convention for the future of Europe will work on issues regarding the policies and organization and the functions of the European Commission.

    [07] Motion for probe into 'illegal naturalizations' fails in Parliament

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    A majority of deputies in Parliament on Friday voted against a high-profile main opposition New Democracy motion to establish a committee of inquiry over the issue of alleged "illegal naturalizations" in the 1990s.

    Specifically, deputies from ruling PASOK and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) voted against the motion, whereas 127 deputies in the 300-member assembly voted in favor.

    The motion was the second time over the past six months that ND brought its demand to Parliament's floor for a committee of inquiry to focus on allegations of thousands of illegal naturalizations.

    This time around, however, the main opposition called for the "investigation into the legality of procedures in granting Greek citizenship between 1990 to Sept. 4, 2000," a period that also covers the period of 1990-93 when a ND government was in power. ND's last request was from 1996 to 2000.

    A copy of the long-anticipated investigation by top Athens prosecutor Isidoros Dogiakos, which was forwarded to Parliament last month and used as a basis for ND's motion, charged that responsible ministers during the 1996-2000 period failed to "take measures and legislative action" in order to prevent the rambunctious naturalization of foreign nationals by the Greek state.

    [08] ND calls for crackdown on video arcades

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party on Friday called for a change in the law governing videogame arcades in order to allow for on-the-spot inspections by authorities as well as heftier fines for violators.

    ND's call comes on the heels of a week-long furor concerning illegal "video-slot machines" and illegal gambling, in general, throughout Greece, and following last week's expulsion of a Patra-area deputy from ruling PASOK's Parliamentary group after he was secretly taped playing on such a device.

    According to a ND spokesman on Friday, if the government is unable due to time constraints to draft legislation and table it before Parliament then a Cabinet decision is necessary in order to commence a widespread police and financial crimes squad crack-down on arcades-turned-gambling parlors.

    Spokesman Theodoris Roussopoulos added that "such activities don't only cause economic ruin, or simply destroy society's fabric, but also evolve into centers of corruption."

    KKE: Meanwhile, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) issued a press release on Friday where it stated, among others, that "of course, there is a political problem in relation to electronic gambling.

    "... the primary and basic (issue) is its (gambling) licensing and legalization, which leads to artificial divisions between legal and illegal gambling, along with tragic repercussions for youth. The primary and basic (issue) is the climate of decay and corruption that exists and grows, and one which is not unrelated to the general political climate, competition amongst business groups on the field of a deregulated market," the KKE statement read.

    [09] ND leader Karamanlis to pay four-day visit to UK

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis begins a four-day visit to the United Kingdom on Saturday.

    Karamanlis will meet with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, main opposition Conservative Party leader Ian Duncan Smith and discuss the issue of the Euro army, the general developments in the Balkans and the combatting of international terrorism.

    The ND leader will also visit the British Museum where the Parthenon Marbles are kept and attend a dinner in London with the presidium of the Greek shipping cooperation committee, the so-called Committee.

    Karamanlis will also visit Scotland where in Edinburgh he will meet with Conservative Party president and former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkin and give a speech at the city's university on the course of democracy in the western Balkans and within the framework of the initiative of the European Peoples' Party of which he is head.

    He will conclude his visit to the UK on Wednesday afternoon.

    [10] Orthodox churches desecrated and pillaged in Albania

    GJIROKASTER, 02/02/2002 (ANA - P. Barka)

    The Archbishopric of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania in an announcement on Friday described the latest cases of desecration and pillaging of Orthodox churches in the region of Gjirokaster as acts of sacrilege which insult the country's inter-religious harmony.

    Last Monday at the renovated church of Aghia Paraskevi of the community of Dervitsani in the prefecture of Gjirokaster, holy vessels as well as the Gospel were set on fire and the door and windows were destroyed.

    Similar incidents occurred ten days ago at a monastery in Delvine and at Saint Nicholas Church of the community of Sarakinista in Gjirokaster where priceless icons were stolen.

    The Orthodox Church of Albania expressed its concern over the latest acts, which insult the inter-religious harmony. It accused the police of being indifferent and called on the competent authorities to impose the law.

    [11] Defense ministry to donate firing range land for university

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Friday announced that the defense ministry will donate one of its firing ranges near the city of Tripoli, Peloponnese for the establishment of a university there.

    The establishment of a university in the region has been a standing demand of the Arcadia prefecture for some time now.

    [12] Evert briefs president about his foreign policy positions

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Friday met main opposition New Democracy MP Miltiades Evert, a former leader of his party, who briefed the president about his positions on foreign policy issues, such as developments in Greek-Turkish affairs - where he apparently referred to Turkish provocations - and the European army.

    [13] Cotton crop weighed in as farmers continue roadblocks in the north

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's cotton crop for this year has weighed in at 1,095,000 tones, falling within the quantity on which the government had based predictions for final cotton prices, Deputy Agriculture Minister Vaggelis Argyris announced on Friday.

    The final price of cotton - which largely depends on the size of the cotton crop - is a key demand of farmers manning tractor road blocks and staging other protest action throughout the country.

    "The ginning period is over and we are today in a position to say that our predictions were within the limits. We have so far collected 1,077,000 tones plus 17,000 tones given extra to farmers who had small yields due to damage," the minister said.

    The final price for cotton, however, would not be known until the after the end of hearings where farmers contested the quantities recorded for them.

    "The rejection or not of these will determine the final price," the minister explained and whether the final quantity collected would exceed 1,146,000 tones.

    To speed up the process, the necessary services would work over the weekend and hopefully the final price for cotton could be announced on Monday, Argyris said.

    Meanwhile, farmers continued rotating roadblocks in the north of the country with increasing intensity as they entered the fifth consecutive day of their protests, creating problems for vehicles traveling to and from the city of Thessaloniki and to the Greek borders with Bulgaria and Turkey.

    In Athens, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis met with the farmers' coordinating committee at his party's headquarters in Rigillis Street on Friday and was briefed on the problems of the farming community and their demands.

    He reiterated afterward that ND supported the farmers' just demands but was opposed to the blocking of roads as a form of protest.

    ND spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said that farmers were justified in expressing their discontent with the government's indifference and urged the government to attend to farmers' problems instead of telling them - as the new agriculture minister had done - to cope on their own.

    PASOK party secretary meets delegation of farmers' unions: Ruling PASOK party Secretary Costas Laliotis on Friday met with farmers' representatives and discussed the problems that have apparently led farmers to protests, which have occasionally culminated in the blockage of highways, mostly in northern Greece.

    Laliotis called the dialogue substantive and reliable, adding that PASOK has always been the party that discussed issues with farmers aiming to secure their income and develop rural areas.

    He reiterated PASOK's standing position for solutions that protect farmers, but stated his opposition to road closures, which he called an "extreme form of struggle which upsets normality and isolates the farmers from the citizens".

    "PASOK always had unbreakable bonds with the farmers and we believe that with our intervention the dialogue their delegation will be holding with the ministry on Monday may prove beneficial to them," Laliotis said.

    Small opposition parties meet with farmers' committee, discuss related issues: Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary Aleka Papariga held talks with a farmers' committee on Friday and, in a statement afterwards, expressed support for the farmers' claims.

    Papariga accused the government of slandering the farmers' struggles, of lying about their real state and misleading with false funds.

    She said KKE supports the struggles and claims of lower and middle class farmers , adding that agricultural production in the country should be fully developed.

    Papariga further said that her party supports the need of backing farmers' families with the purpose of maintaining the population in the countryside.

    On his part, Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos called on the government to commit itself on the final price of cotton and to immediately pay compensation to farmers whose produce was damaged by snowstorms in late December and early January.

    Following his meeting with the farmers' committee, Constantopoulos also accused the government of placing the country's agricultural policy very low on its agenda.

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas called the demands of the farmers just and justified at the end of his meeting with the committee and declared his party's solidarity with the "struggles of farmers".

    [14] Greek PMI rises to 51 in January

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's purchasing managers' index PMI rose to 51 in January, returning to levels recorded before the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US, official figures showed on Friday.

    The country's manufacturing activity expanded in January for the 32nd time in the last 33 months, a report by NTC Research and Greece's Purchasing Institute said, while it recorded the fastest monthly growth rates since September.

    The report said that that PMI's increase reflected a rise in production, new orders, supplies and employment over the month.

    The purchasing managers' index is a composite index designed to offer a general view of conditions prevailing in the manufacturing sector. Readings above 50 indicate growth, while below that level a shrinking activity.

    [15] Bank of Greece battles to keep pension funds' assets

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    A battle between the Bank of Greece and commercial banks to win the management of pension funds' reserve assets, took a new turn on Friday after the central bank said that net returns of a "Joint Fund of Pension Agencies" totalled 6.478 percent in the first half of 2001 and 6.745 percent in the second half of the year.

    The returns were significantly bigger than any other institutional investor in the country. Pension funds are excluded from fee payment when entering or exiting the Joint Fund.

    Bankers estimate that pension funds' reserve assets, mainly deposited with the Bank of Greece, exceed 5.0 trillion drachmas.

    The central bank does not want a reform of the current institutional framework, while commercial banks want a bigger share in managing pension funds' assets and call for the deregulation of the market.

    [16] Hellenic-British Chamber of Commerce holds conference

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    Development Ministry industry secretary general Yiannis Kalogirou announced the creation of a guarantee fund for small enterprises, while addressing a conference organized by the Hellenic- British Chamber of Commerce in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Friday night.

    The event concerned "the funding of processing businesses by 3rd Community Support Framework investment programs of the development and agriculture ministries, as well as of the Hellenic Organization of Small and Medium-Size Enterprises and Craftsmen."

    Addresses were made during the conference's inauguration by the Chamber's executive deputy president Christos Akkas, Minister of Macedonia and Thrace George Paschalidis and British Ambassador to Greece Sir David Madden.

    Referring to the guarantee fund, Kalogirou said the measure comes to fill a vacuum in the market linked to the inability of small and very small businesses to provide necessary guarantees for banks.

    He said the fund will operate under the supervision of the Bank of Greece, it will have share capital amounting to about 35 billion drachmas and will aim at supporting about 40,000 small and medium-size enterprises and providing guarantees totalling 700 billion drachmas over a 10-year period.

    [17] Survey shows 74.3 percent of Greeks in favor of euro

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    A survey conducted by the Metron Analysis company in two stages, both before and after the introduction of the euro currency, shows that 74.3 percent of Greeks are in favor of the new currency.

    Moreover, 99 percent have obtained euro currency, 94.2 percent have conducted transactions with euros and 73.1 percent carry out transactions primarily with the new currency.

    Regarding the percentage of people's information on the euro, 73.3 percent are either adequately or well-informed on the new currency, while the percentage of people feeling inadequately informed is decreasing and has reached 26.1 percent.

    However, it was added that phenomena of unjustified price increases have been ascertained. Despite the fact this trend is decreasing after three weeks of the euro's circulation, cases of unjustified increases are numerous.

    [18] Winner named for Athens metro extension towards airport

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    Themeliodomi SA, an Athens-quoted engineering contractor, on Friday was named the winner of a tender for extension of an Athens metro line towards the city's international airport.

    The extension will take the metro's third line a stretch further towards the airport, east of Athens, from the Ethniki Amyna station on the city's outskirts. The line starts at Syntagma Square.

    The company was the lowest bidder in a tender called by Attiko Metro, the network's operator.

    The project is budgeted at 4.6 billion drachmas (13,499,633.16 euros).

    [19] Contractors apply for new, large-scale project category

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    Seventeen engineering contractors have applied for eligibility to a new government-ordained category for large-scale construction projects that has acted as an incentive to mergers and acquisitions in the sector.

    The deadline for applications was January 31 under a new law setting the eligibility rankings, the public works ministry said in a statement on Friday.

    The applications are due for evaluation within three months, and mergers or acquisitions linked to the applications must be completed by September 30.

    The 17 contractors arranged mergers or acquisitions involving 107 firms in order to quality for bidding in the highest category. A similar restructuring of the market took place for eligibility to the lower categories in the system.

    Companies that do not apply for a ranking under the new arrangement, or that fail to formally submit merger or acquisition plans, will be struck off the register, the statement said.

    Through the new law, the ministry aims to help restructure the sector, creating fewer but larger contracting groups in line with other west European countries.

    The restructuring is expected to help Greek contractors become more competitive in bidding for projects in both western and southwestern Europe.

    [20] Club Mediterranee to invest 88 million euros in Greece

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    Club Mediterranee plans to invest 88 million euros in Greece by 2004, the company's vice-chairman in Europe, Bertrand Julien Laperriere, told Greek Tourism Organizationís president Yiannis Patelis on Friday.

    Club Mediterranee will invest 40 million euros to build a new hotel in Zakynthos, Mr. Laperriere said.

    He also revealed that reservations with the company for Greek destinations were rapidly increasing this year and predicted a substantial increase in tourist arrivals in 2002.

    [21] Greek stocks end flat in ASE

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    Equity prices ended flat the last trading session of a generally subdued week on the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday.

    Traders said investors remained sidelined awaiting fresh news from the domestic business activity.

    The general ended was 0.04 percent off at 2,595.71 points, with turnover a low Dr 32.6 billion, or 95.6 million euros.

    The Construction, Holding and Investment sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (1.03 percent, 1.01 percent and 0.58 percent, respectively), while the Telecoms, Metals and Retail sectors scored gains.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.21 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.21 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 0.02 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 194 to 119 with another 52 issues unchanged.

    The general index ended the week with a net loss of 0.84 percent.

    The most heavily traded shares were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Xifias, Titan, Klonatex (common), National Bank of Greece, and Giannousis.

    Bond Market Close: Prices rise in slim trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Friday finished higher in light trade focusing on ten-year paper.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.28 percent, and the spread over German bunds was 34 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 1.5 billion euros.

    Buy orders accounted for the lion's share of turnover.

    Derivatives Market Close: High-cap futures nose up in flaccid trade: High-capitalization equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange ended at a slight premium on Friday in flaccid trade tracking the main market.

    Medium-cap index futures came under pressure to finish at a discount of about 1.50 percent.

    Changing hands were 2,507 contracts on turnover of 27.1 million euros.

    The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips shed 0.21 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks also lost 0.21 percent.

    [22] ATHOC tender for power distribution centers

    Athens, 02/02/2002 (ANA)

    The Athens 2004 organizing committee (ATHOC) has called a tender for the study, procurement and construction of four power distribution centers in the greater Athens area, all in districts where Olympic competitions will take place.

    A unique clause in ATHOC's tender, however, foresees that chosen contractors subsequently donate a minimum of ?4.4 million in support of the Games - thereby landing them in the category of official 2004 Olympics sponsors.

    The four new power distribution centers are part of ATHOC's and the Greek government's commitment to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) guaranteeing ideal power supply and network conditions for the Athens Games in August 2004.

    The four sites are in the Nikaia, Vrilissia, Hellenikon and Faliro districts, all near current or soon-to-be-constructed Olympic venues and facilities. Facilitating ATHOC's tender was an agreement with the state-run power utility, PPC.

    [23] Clerides and Denktash hold eighth meeting on Cyprus' future

    NICOSIA, 02/02/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash met on Friday afternoon in Nicosia, to continue talks, under UN aegis, on solving the Cyprus problem.

    The meeting, which was their eighth since January 16 and lasted about 90 minutes, took place at premises near Nicosia airport, in the UN-controlled buffer zone.


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