Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-01-12
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 12/01/1998 (ANA)
- Greek equities dive on international unrest
- Elderly woman killed in illegal immigrants drop
- Bulgaria returns missing manuscript to monastery
- Calls for speedier visa processing
- Kranidiotis meets with Turkish envoy
- One Albanian killed, two wounded in dawn raid
- Greece reiterates: national airspace extends to 10 miles
- Stephanopoulos leaves for week-long official visit to India
- Athens terms Turkish claims on WWII history 'miserable insults'
- Greece's Jewry rejects Turkish accusations
- Bomb blasts target tax offices
- Fishermen protest tax measures by blockading Kalymnos, Leros
- Greek First Division soccer results
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greek equities dive on international unrest
Greek equities plunged to their lowest levels since November 25, 1997 on
the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday, reeling from the turmoil in international
and domestic money markets.
The general index plunged 5.08 percent to end at 1,405.37 points. Traders
said the market was particularly concerned over prospects of higher
interest rates in the Greek market, likely to hit the banking sector's
Analysts and bankers agreed that the government's hard drachma policy,
using high interest rates to defend the drachma from external pressures,
would lead to a volatile interbank market, higher inflation and interest
rates. Such a likelihood would have a severe impact on most listed
companies, due to higher debt servicing.
The Greek drachma, however, remained stable in the domestic foreign
exchange market. Its parity was steady against the Ecu, DMark and US dollar,
while a Bank of Greece source reported inflows of more than 100 million US
Interbank rates though remained at high levels to an average of 20 percent
Sector indices lost substantial ground. Banks ended 6.02 percent down,
Insurance eased 3.61 percent, Leasing dropped 3.98 percent, Investment fell
3.62 percent, Construction ended 5.31 percent off, Industrials lost 4.25
percent, Miscellaneous eaed 2.98 percent and Holding was 4.09 percent
The parallel market index for small cap companies dropped 3.78 percent,
while the FTSE/ASE index ended 5.79 percent off at 786.30 points.
Trading was heavy with turnover at 17.7 billion drachmas.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 201 to 19 with another 9 issues
Desmos, Constantinidis, Remek and Levenderis scored the biggest percentage
gains, while Eteva, Atemke, Atticat, Singular and Delta Informatics
suffered the heaviest losses at the day's down limit of 8.0 percent.
National Bank of Greece ended at 21,995 drachmas, Ergobank at 13,430, Alpha
Credit Bank at 14,705, Delta Dairy at 2,900, Titan Cement at 13,050,
Intracom at 13,600 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 5,
Elderly woman killed in illegal immigrants drop
An elderly woman among a group of 30 Iraqi Kurds trying to reach the
Dodecanese island of Kastellorizo early this morning was thrown against
rocks by the rough seas and drowned while attempting to reach shore from a
Apparently the woman had become wedged in the rocks. Coast guard officials
who were called to the scene by a passing fishing boat were unable to save
The survivors, 12 men, six women and 11 children, will be taken to Rhodes
The Kurds told the authorities they had paid two Turks 1000 dollars each to
take them from the Turkish port of Kas. They were put aboard a seven-metre
boat and towed halfway towards Kastellorizo. The Turks then left them to
make their own way ashore and returned to the Turkish coast.
Coast guard authorities believe one of the Turks to be Ali Pahlilan, who
has allegedly transported dozens of boatloads of Kurds to the Dodecanese.
Bulgaria returns missing manuscript to monastery
A priceless manuscript written at a Mt. Athos monastery 235 years ago is on
its way back from Bulgaria where it was found last year after being stolen
from the Zografos monastery in 1985.
The manuscript, written by the monk Paisios, details Slavo-Bulgarian
history and is considered by Bulgarians to have laid the foundations for
the country's cultural rebirth.
Despite opposition, Bulgarian President Peter Stoyanov decided to return
the document to Mt. Athos' Zografos monastery. Seventy-five percent of
citizens polled by the Bulgarian state radio "Horizont" were against the
The document was discovered in September last year at Sofia's National
History Museum, where it had been handed in by an "anonymous donor".
The document is being brought to Greece by road, accompanied by the
Bulgarian culture undersecretary and the president's chief of staff who are
to be met at the border by a heavy police contingent. The document will be
kept at Thessaloniki's Bulgarian Consulate overnight and handed over in a
special ceremony at Karyes, on Mt. Athos, tomorrow morning.
Calls for speedier visa processing
Northern Greek commercial unions are calling for a solution to delays in
issuing visas at Greek consulates in Balkans states, whose visitors to
Greece spend an average 1,000 dollars per day, according to Thessaloniki
Commercial Association president Dimitris Dimitriadis.
At a press conference in Thessaloniki today, it was stressed that the
queues outside consulates in Balkan countries had doubled since Greece
signed the Schengen Agreement.
The unions have called for increased staffing at consulates where necessary
and have offered to contribute equipment to help speed up the process.
Dimitriadis accused the government of not fully realising the importance to
the economy of foreign exchange inflows from the Balkans, saying that each
visitor from the Balkans spends an average of 1,000 dollars per day in
Also addressing the press conference were the presidents of the commercial
and technical chambers of Thessaloniki, as well as the commercial
associations of Pieria and Kavala.
Kranidiotis meets with Turkish envoy
Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis today briefed Turkish Ambassador
in Athens Ali Tinaz Tuygan on Greece's position regarding recent developments
in relations between the European Union and Turkey, according to informed
The meeting took place at the Ambassador's request.
Kranidiotis is reported to have told the ambassador that Greece was not in
principle against a European vocation for Turkey, that it desired and
supported such a development in so far as Turkey decided to recognise and
respect the same principles and rules as all EU member states as well as
other states that wished to join the EU.
The undersecretary reiterated that this reasoning was reflected in the
decisions taken at last month's Luxembourg summit, which he said Turkey
According to the same sources, Kranidiotis strongly condemned the most
recent violations of Greek air space by Turkish air force planes as well as
the generally provocative behaviour of Turkey over the past few days.
One Albanian killed, two wounded in dawn raid
One Albanian illegal immigrant was killed and two others were critically
wounded early today when an unidentified person opened fire against them
near a farm in Imathia, northwestern Greece, police said.
Witim Uka, 26, succumbed to his wounds and died in hospital in nearby
Naousa, where he and the other two Albanians, Misir Uka, 23, and Ali
Boundani, 17, were taken by a police patrol. All three -- two of them
relatives -- came from Elbashan.
Police told the ANA that the three were sleeping in a storehouse in a farm
when the attacker, who, they said, spoke Greek, came in a dawn and asked
for the whereabouts of a fourth Albanian who was not with them at the time.
He then opened fire and disappeared. Police have launched a manhunt for the
Greece reiterates: national airspace extends to 10 miles
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Saturday reiterated that
Greece's airspace extends to a 10-mile limit rejecting comments by US
ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns on the issue. Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said
the "sole criterion for a country's behaviour is that imposed by national
Mr. Burns on Friday reiterated Washington's stance that the limits of each
country's airspace should correspond to those of its territorial waters,
meaning that the US recognises a six-mile limit for Greek airspace.
"No one's view is a criterion for the behaviour of a country," the defence
minister said, emphasising that Greece's airspace, as clearly set out in a
1931 presidential decree and valid for decades, stood at the 10-mile
"If some people, for their own purpose and using their own criteria, want
some other limit for Greece, that is their opinion," he said.
The defence minister was speaking after briefing Greek Eurodeputies on the
ministry's defence programmes and on initiatives being taken to promote
security and stability in the region, as well as specific issues involving
Stephanopoulos leaves for week-long official visit to India
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos leaves for India today in
an official visit aimed at boosting political and economic ties between the
Accompanying Mr. Stephanopoulos, who is the guest of Indian President K.R.
Narayanan, are Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Finance Undersecretary
Alekos Baltas and a delegation of leading Greek business representatives.
It is the first such visit by a Greek head of state to India.
Tomorrow, Mr. Stepanopoulos will have talks in New Delhi with Mr. Narayanan,
and India's prime minister and parliament speaker.
Athens terms Turkish claims on WWII history 'miserable insults'
A Turkish foreign ministry statement characterising Greek Foreign Minister
Theodoros Pangalos a "descendant of Greek fascism" was sharply rejected by
Athens on Saturday as containing "miserable insults and unjustified
In a written statement, the Turkish foreign ministry attacked Mr. Pangalos
for his statement the previous day, which called on European Union member-
states to take a firm stand on what he called the "Kurdish genocide" being
carried out by Turkey.
Replying to Mr. Pangalos' statements, the Turkish foreign ministry claimed
that "Greek fascists under the leadership of the likes of Pangalos sent
thousands of Greek Jews to death camps".
In a response, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated:
"The only thing Turkey is achieving with such miserable insults and
unjustified provocations is to worsen its own position. The sooner it
realises this, the better it will be for itself.
"As far as its historically unfounded claims and slander against Greeks are
concerned, we refer it (Turkey) to yesterday's (Friday's) statement by the
Central Jewish Council (of Greece)," Mr. Reppas added.
Greece's Jewry rejects Turkish accusations
The Central Jewish Council issued a statement on Friday after a meeting
with Mr. Pangalos, stressing that the organisation had "repeatedly
expressed its gratitude to the Greek people and the Greek Orthodox Church
for their contribution in saving Greek Jews".
The Central Jewish Council statement was made in response to yet more
claims by the Turkish foreign ministry on Thursday, namely, that during
World War II Greek authorities had "willingly handed over Jews" to Nazi
"Greeks offered as much help as possible to Jews persecuted (during the
Nazi occupation), often endangering their own lives," the Jewish Council's
In addition, Jewish groups of Greece again on Saturday rejected the
accusations made by the Turkish foreign ministry.
Thessaloniki Jewish community president Andreas Sefiha told ANA that Greek
Jews were grateful to their fellow citizens for the assistance against Nazi
persecution, citing resistance by government officials as well as the help
of ordinary citizens.
Bomb blasts target tax offices
Two separate bomb explosions in Athens yesterday evening rocked the finance
ministry's data processing centre (KEPYO) and the 7th tax bureau office in
the Kallithea district.
Unidentified callers warned the "Eleftherotypia" daily and the "Star"
television station of the pending bomb attacks, allowing police to evacuate
both buildings and block traffic in the areas.
According to reports, both time bombs caused powerful blasts, with the
first at KEPYO recorded at 8:04 p.m. and the second 14 minutes later at the
Authorities said the explosions may be related to several false bomb
threats received on Friday by the national economy minister's office.
No injuries were reported in either blast.
Fishermen protest tax measures by blockading Kalymnos, Leros
Vehicle ferries were prevented from docking in Kalymnos and Leros yesterday
after local fishermen and sponge divers blockaded the two Dodecanese
islands' ports to protest against new tax government measures.
Some 60 fishermen launched a blockade on Leros Sunday in the wake of the
mobilisation on Kalymnos, which continued despite talks on Saturday to try
to resolve the dispute.
Greek First Division soccer results
Olympiakos-Veria 4-1 Pyrgos-Panathinaikos 0-0
PAOK-Athinaikos 1-0 Kalamata-OFI 1-0
Apollon-Heraklis 0-0 Proodeftiki-Ethnikos 2-3
Panahaiki-Kavala 2-0 Panionios-Ionikos 2-2
Xanthi-AEK play today Standings-points:
AEK, Olympiakos 43, Panathinaikos 40, PAOK 37,
Ionikos 33, Heraklis 28, OFI, Apollon 24, Xanthi 23,
Panionios, Pyrgos 20
Fair weather with some cloudiness in most parts of Greece including the
Cyclades and Dodecanese islands and Crete. Sleet in the northern parts of
the country in the morning. Winds light to moderate. Athens mostly sunny
with a few clouds and temperatures between 5-14C. Same in Thessaloniki with
temperatures from 5-12C.
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.436
Pound sterling 461.459 Cyprus pd 534.192
French franc 46.810 Swiss franc 193.346
German mark 156.706 Italian lira (100) 15.946
Yen (100) 216.653 Canadian dlr. 198.698
Australian dlr. 183.193 Irish Punt 390.848
Belgian franc 7.598 Finnish mark 51.763
Dutch guilder 139.068 Danish kr. 41.158
Swedish kr. 35.654 Norwegian kr. 38.202
Austrian sch. 22.276 Spanish peseta 1.849
Port. Escudo 1.534