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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-05-07

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

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

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 07/05/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Inflation continues to drop, Papantoniou says
  • US-Greek defence cooperation talks get under way
  • US welcomes the setting up of 'committee of experts'
  • Athens to get electric-powered buses
  • Interpol conference focuses on child abuse
  • Parliament chief notes BSEC's significance
  • Greek Europarliament VP criticises Santer on equality issue
  • Air Greece acquires another airplane
  • Measures to help Perama shipyards unveiled
  • Turnover, prices buoyant on the Athens Stock Exchange
  • Two new museums planned for northern Greece
  • Increased participation at World Athletics Championship
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Inflation continues to drop, Papantoniou says

Inflation fell to below the 6.0 per cent mark in April, while tax revenues marked an impressive rise, according to a statement by National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday after his regular briefing of Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

The minister said that positive tendencies that had appeared earlier in the year were being confirmed, and that the government was "steadily following the course mapped out". He added that the budget was being adhered to, while European Union funds were being absorbed at a satisfactory rate.

According to sources, inflation in April fell to 5.8 per cent from 6 per cent in March, raising hopes that the government's target of 4.5 per cent for 1997 can be attained.

Mr. Papantoniou said also there was a good possibility that the balance of payments would be "much better than what we estimated up to now", since the figures from the customs authorities and the National Statistics Service (ESYE) were much improved compared to the foreign exchanage figures of the Bank of Greece.

US-Greek defence cooperation talks get under way

The annual US-Greece defence cooperation conference began yesterday in Crete with a discussion of military supplies and the two countries' relations with the Balkans and the southeastern Mediterranean, issues of particular interest to the United States.

The US delegation is led by Principal Assistant Deputy Secretary of Defence Jan Lodal, with the participation of US State Department southern bureau chief Carey Cavanaugh and other military and diplomatic officials.

At a joint press conference on Monday night, Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis, heading the Greek side, reiterated that under no circumstances would Greece agree to discuss issues affecting its national integrity or independence. Nor would Greece discuss disarming its air force planes in flights over the Aegean "as it is an area linking national territory, while for the Turkish planes the issue was quite different" said Mr. Apostolakis, recommending the Papoulias-Yilmaz memorandum drawn up in Athens in 1988 as a good basis for reducing tension.

Mr. Lodal expressed agreement with the latter recommendation, although he said it would be extremely difficult to resolve the problem of flights over the Aegean "as there is very little room between national and international air space".

US welcomes the setting up of 'committee of experts'

The United States yesterday welcomed the forming of a "committee of experts" from Greece and Turkey in order to discuss relations between the two countries. During the US-European Union conference on fostering trans- Atlantic relations, Deputy US Secretary of State Strobe Talbott referred extensively to the role he said Turkey has to play in a "united Europe".

Mr. Talbott also strongly defended Turkey's participation in the EU. He expressed the understanding of the US for reactions to the violation of human rights in Turkey and problems with Greece, but added that "these difficulties do not make Turkey any le ss European.

He went on to say that the US "welcomes the forming, just last week, of a committee of experts which will look into the issues which have caused so much tension between Greece and Turkey."

Athens to get electric-powered buses

Ten electric-powered buses will be put into service in the Greek capital in February next year, Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos announced yesterday on the occasion of a European conference on renewable energy sources.

The three-day European Congress on Renewable Energy Implementation was inaugurated on Monday by Development Minister Vasso Papandreou.

At noon yesterday, members of the environmental organisation "Greenpeace" presented an electric-powered vehicle in the centre of Athens.

The vehicle was also driven by Greece's EU Energy Commissioner Christos Papoutsis, under whose auspices the congress is being held.

Built by Greek scientists at the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources, the vehicle operates on batteries which must be recharged every 10 hours.

With a maximum range of 100 kilometres on fully-charged batteries, the vehicle can reach a top speed of 70kph.

Interpol conference focuses on child abuse

An Interpol conference being held in Thessaloniki on crimes against children yesterday discussed the proliferation of child pornography through the Internet.

Police are proposing to set up a special network in cyberspace in order to deal with the problem, said Anne Chrisine Olsen, president of Interpol's permanent working group concerning crimes against children.

According to the meeting, child pornography on the Internet usually takes the form of the electronic transmission of photographs or short films, while on occasions, meetings are set up with young children. During his speech at the conference, the Secret ary General of the Public Order Ministry, Ioannis Papadogiannakis, said no organised child pornography rings have been found in Greece, although isolated instances of abuse by parents appear to be on the increase.

Mr. Papadogiannakis stressed that Greek police are cooperating with Interpol in efforts to combat child pornography.

Parliament chief notes BSEC's significance

Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday said Greece attributed great importance to the future prospects of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation pact.

Addressing the 14th meeting of the presidium of the organisation's Parliamentary Assembly (PABSEC), which was held in Athens under Greek presidency, Mr. Kaklamanis said the BSEC had an immense strategic, economic and cultural interest and prospects for the peoples in the region.

He assured the meeting of Greece's participation in procedures aiming at a peaceful, creative and better future for the region, while stressing Greece's role as the link between the European Union countries and the BSEC.

Specifically, he referred to the Black Sea Cooperation Bank and its future role in the region. The Thessaloniki-based bank was inaugurated recently.

Greek Europarliament VP criticises Santer on equality issue

The Greek vice-president of the European Parliament, George Anastasopoulos, lashed out against European Commission President Jacques Santer yesterday, accusing him of limited progress in the issue of equality between the sexes, during a Europarliament session yesterday.

Mr. Anastasopoulos was commenting on an announcement put out by Mr. Santer regarding Commission activities on the issue.

"Has Mr. Santer realised how limited this progress is in relation to the problem's dimensions?" Mr. Anastasopoulos said.

"Even in Europe, where women in decision-making centres account for more than 50 per cent, progress is very limited," he added, urging for more ground-breaking measures.

According to Mr. Anastasopoulos, women deputies account for 6.3 per cent in the Greek Parliament, whereas in France and in Britain they account for 6.4 per cent and 9.5 per cent, respectively. Mr. Santer admitted that pro-gress had not been satisfactory but stressed the issue of reforms in the IGC agreements, designed to bring about greater equality between the sexes.

Air Greece acquires another airplane

The chairman of the private airline Air Greece announced in Thessaloniki yesterday that the company had acquired a third 70-seat turbo-prop "ATR 72" aircraft.

The plane is of the same type as the airline's other two aircraft and was acquired last month. It will be named "Macedonia" and will be based at Thessaloniki's airport.

"Following the complete deregulation of air transport in the European Union as of April 1, we are all called on to face a new situation in the sector," Constantinos Bandouvas said.

He said the company's revenues were "outstanding" in 1996, adding that the company's two aircraft carried 258,618 passengers and its turnover amounted to 3.5 billion drachmas.

Measures to help Perama shipyards unveiled

A government delegation yesterday presented measures for the viability of the Perama area shipyards in Piraeus, as well as a brief report on its activities over the past two years.

The measures were presented in a tense atmosphere in Perama, where attending workers shouted slogans against ministers.

Perama Mayor Yiannis Patsilinakos and the president of the Metal Syndicate, Iordanis Pountidis called for a clear time-frame for the measures.

They also requested explanations as to who will undertake the shipyards' modernisation and reduction of unemployment, which has greatly affected the sector in recent years.

The measures include the entry of the yards into the "Business Programme for Industry" and the EU initiative on small- and medium-sized enterprises, the introduction of incentives for the building of new technology ships, and creation of a register of businesses and of workers.

Turnover, prices buoyant on the Athens Stock Exchange

The volume of trade on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) has seen a dramatic rise in the first four months of the year, with turnover activity improving more than 100 percent over the same period last year.

At the same time, there has been a significant increase in stock prices, according to initial reports from the ASE.

The latest figures show turnover in January-March reaching 938 billion drachmas, in comparison to 444 billion drachmas in the same period last year, an increase of 111.31 percent.

Sources at the bourse described the first quarter "the golden quarter", despite the fact that in February the steady increase was abruptly interrupted, with a subsequent slide in stock prices.

The biggest gains during the period were noted in telecommunications and bank shares. Hotels and wine and beverages, on the other hand, lost their footing.

The bourse's positive prospect, as well as the fall in inflation (which is predicted at 5.8 percent in April) and interest rate cuts, are creating a positive climate for investors.

Two new museums planned for northern Greece

Two new big museums are to be built in northern Greece, it was announced in Alexandroupolis yesterday by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos during a tour by the Central ArchaeologicalCouncil of the prefectures of Evros, Rhodopi, Xanthi and Thasos. An archaeological museum is to be built in Alexandroupolis and a Byzantine museum in Didimoticho.

The Council's plans for the region include restoration work on the ancient theatre on the island of Thasos, budgeted at 400 million drachmas, and to repair the second basilica at the ancient site of Philippi. In addition, extensions are to be made to the Komotini archaeological museum at a cost of one billion drachmas.

Increased participation at World Athletics Championships

The number of countries participating in the sixth World Athletics Championships to be held at the Athens Olympic Stadium over the first 10 days in August has reached 154, after the Palestinian self-rule authority notified the organising committee of its participation.

El Salvador will participate with one athlete in the marathon race; Colombia with four male and six female athletes, and Yugoslavia with six men and three women.

The organisers were certain that the number of countries participating in the event will exceed 191.

WEATHER

Fine weather with some humidity is forecast for most parts of Greece today except in the northwestern regions where it will be cloudy with the possibility of light rainfall starting in the afternoon. Winds will be south-southwesterly, light to moderate, turning strong in the Ionian. Athens will be hot and humid with temperatures between 16-28C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 14-27C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 272.393 Pound sterling 443.761 Cyprus pd 529.232 French franc 46.697 Swiss franc 185.097 German mark 157.559 Italian lira (100) 15.924 Yen (100) 216.504 Canadian dlr. 197.785 Australian dlr. 211.574 Irish Punt 409.398 Belgian franc 7.641 Finnish mark 52.290 Dutch guilder 140.075 Danish kr. 41.358 Swedish kr. 34.579 Norwegian kr. 38.204 Austrian sch. 22.389 Spanish peseta 1.867 Port. Escudo 1.567

(C.E.)


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