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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-01-28

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, 28/01/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • British Secretary's statements on missiles for Cyprus
  • Simitis receives Olympics organising committee
  • Turkish ship adrift in Greek waters after fire
  • Greece insists on "step-by-step" approach with Turkey
  • Greek stocks hit by rising interest rates
  • Internet users grow rapidly in Greece
  • Greece's cable industry outlook positive, report says
  • Agrotica '98 trade fair opens in Thessaloniki today
  • Pavlopoulos to address business event
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

British Secretary's statements on missiles for Cyprus

The government said today that the views expressed by British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook concerning Nicosia's plans to install S-300 anti- aircraft missiles were his own personal opinion.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas underlined that the views expressed by Cook, who currently presides over the EU Council of Ministers, were not those of the EU.

Nicosia intends to purchase and install the Russian-made missiles to bolster the island republic's defence.

Reppas said Russia would fulfil the commitment it had undertaken so that the missiles could be installed in Cyprus according to schedule.

The spokesman noted that Cook had recognised Cyprus' right to strengthen its defence.

Cook said in Brussels yesterday that the deployment of Russian missiles in Cyprus would not be a particularly prudent action. He clarified at the time that this was his own personal view.

Simitis receives Olympics organising committee

President Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis said today that Athens' successful holding of the 2004 Olympic Games was of national importance.

Simitis received the members of the Games organising committee before accompanying them to the presidential mansion where he introduced them to Stephanopoulos.

Wishing the committee members every success, Stephanopoulos told them that the success of the 2004 Games was the common aim of the entire Greek people, "a true national target".

Simitis said he had told the organising committee that the 2004 Games were a national issue and that the efforts to be made involved not only the present government but the entire Greek people.

"We must all do our bit and the effort must not be allowed to succumb to conjunctions or (political) party expediencies," Simitis said.

"We can promote our country, its views on foreign policy and peace, and give new content to athletics and send out messages different to those emitted by previous Olympiads. The composition of the (organising) committee guarantees the success of this effort," the premier added.

Turkish ship adrift in Greek waters after fire

A Turkish-flag freighter was adrift today inside Greek territorial waters near the island of Andros after fire broke out in its engine room, Piraeus harbour authorities said.

They said the "Hassan Bei" was 10 nautical miles northeast of Cavo Doro off the island of Evia when its captain radioed the Greek Merchant Marine Ministry's search and rescue centre.

The Centre immediately despatched the navy frigate Epirus, a tugboat and two other nearby ships to the scene.

A Greek navy helicopter was also on the spot.

The Ministry said the 20 persons aboard the "Hassan Bei" were all well and accounted for. The ship was en route from Dakar to Istanbul, without cargo, when the fire broke out.

When asked by the tanker "Star" if he required assistance, the Turkish captain replied that the fire had been extinguished and none of the crew were hurt.

The captain gave the same reply when asked by the pilots of the two aircraft which had gone to the Turkish vessel's assistance.

The vessel was later reported to be adrift inside Greek territorial waters, just five nautical miles north of the island of Andros.

In conversations with Greek captains of vessels sailing in the area and the Operations Centre of the Merchant Marine Ministry, the Turkish captain said that due to the fact that he was in Greek waters, the towing of the vessel would be undertaken by a Greek shipping company with which he had already come into contact.

Greece insists on 'step-by-step' approach with Turkey

The policy of a "step-by-step" rapprochement with Turkey is Greece's answer for a normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday in reply to criticism by main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis .

The ND leader made statements on foreign policy following a meeting with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

"Turkey is called upon to harmonise itself with the international legal order and accept the appropriate rules of behaviour. It is called upon to recognise the jurisdiction of the International Court at The Hague, as envisaged by the political framework of the Luxembourg summit," he added.

Earlier, Mr. Karamanlis accused the government of having no strategy and of "attempting to secretly alter its policy, as it appears to have decided to refer all issues - which Turkey unilaterally and arbitrarily has raised in an attempt to change the status quo in the Aegean - to the International Court at The Hague".

Greek stocks hit by rising interest rates

Greek equities remained under pressure for the second consecutive session yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange to lose further substantial ground.

Traders said renewed turbulence in the domestic money market hit sentiment.

A rise in interest rates at Monday's auction of state bills was interpreted as a sign of a rising trend in money market rates.

Bank of Greece sources reported new capital outflows totalling 150 million US dollars at the drachma's fixing, while the Greek currency's parity eased by 0.66 percent against the dollar. The drachma was stable against the DMark and the Ecu.

The general index closed 1.23 percent lower at 1,410.23 points with most sector indices losing ground. Banks fell 1.72 percent, Insurance eased 1.51 percent, Leasing dropped 0.44 percent, Investment fell 0.28 percent, Industrials eased 0.60 percent, Constructions plunged 3.08 percent, Holding ended 2.09 percent off but Miscellaneous bucked the trend to end 1.19 percent up.

The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 0.32 percent, while the FTSE/ASE index ended 1.48 percent down to 769.84 points.

Trading remained moderate with turnover at 13.2 billion drachmas. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 160 to 49 with another 26 issues unchanged.

Bank of Athens, Sarandopoulos, Radio Athina, Sato and Dane scored the biggest percentage gains, while Alumil, Technodomi, Levenderis, Viokarpet and Lanakam suffered the heaviest losses. National Bank of Greece ended at 19,650 drachmas, Ergobank at 13, 420, Alpha Credit Bank at 14,500, Delta Dairy at 2,730, Titan Cement at 13,460, Intracom at 14,540 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 5,440.

Internet users grow rapidly in Greece

The use of Internet is rapidly growing in Greece according to a report by the Institute of Financial and Industrial Research (IOBE) on telecommunications networks.

The report said that the number of Greek users of the Internet was estimated at 20-25,000, while a big number of users - mainly students - take advantage of free access offered by universities.

Greek Internet companies turnover totalled 2 billion drachmas in 1996, a figure likely to grow substantially in coming years.

The report noted that competition would increase in the future and that only a few companies would survive.

Greek companies were steadily adopting electronic data information systems (EDI).

More than 100 companies, mainly multinational subsidiaries, have adopted the EDI system, while another 250 were expected to follow soon.

Greece's cable industry outlook positive, report says

Greece's cable industry outlook is positive, but the sector may face increased competition in the domestic market due to the liberalisation of public utilities procurement contracts in the European Union, the Institute of Financial and Industrial Research (IOBE) said yesterday in a report.

Greek cable manufacturers depend largely on orders by Public Power Corporation and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation.

The two Greek utilities recently signed procurement contracts covering 25 percent of the country's cable industry turnover.

The report urges cable manufacturers to seek expansion in eastern Europe ahead of an expected massive investment in the telecommunications and energy sectors in the region.

Currently, almost 40 percent of Greek cable manufacturers production is exported and the industry showed a surplus of 75 million Ecu in 1995.

Italy is Greece's main supplier in cables. On the other hand, Britain and France are the main exporting markets.

Agrotica '98 trade fair opens in Thessaloniki today

Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas today inaugurates the 14th Agrotica international trade fair in Thessaloniki, rated as the biggest agricultural trade fair in the Balkans and this year is expected to show increased numbers both in exhibitors as in visitors.

According to HELEXPO figures, 1,517 Greek and foreign exhibitors will take part in the fair, covering 38,500 square metres, up from 1,500 and 36,807 respectively last year.

Albania, Bulgaria, France, Spain, Italy, Poland and Tunisia are taking part with state-sponsored pavilions.

Pavlopoulos to address business event

Prokopis Pavlopoulos, State Deputy for the main opposition New Democarcy party, will be the guest speaker of the first of this year's series of business luncheons organised by Delos Communications in cooperation with the Financial Times.

Mr. Pavlopoulos will address the luncheon today (Thursday) on "Public Adminstration and Economy", to be held at the Grande Bretagne Hotel at 1:00 p.m.

WEATHER

Cloudiness and light snowfall in most parts of Greece today. Winds variable, moderate to gale force. Athens will be cloudy with mild rain and temperatures between 3-7C. Cloudy with slight snowfall in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 1-4C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 281.619 Pound sterling 464.792 Cyprus pd 532.684 French franc 47.027 Swiss franc 194.154 German mark 157.530 Italian lira (100) 15.964 Yen (100) 222.962 Canadian dlr. 194.551 Australian dlr. 190.365 Irish Punt 394.122 Belgian franc 7.637 Finnish mark 52.060 Dutch guilder 139.803 Danish kr. 41.368 Swedish kr. 35.603 Norwegian kr. 38.011 Austrian sch. 22.400 Spanish peseta 1.858 Port. Escudo 1.541

(M.P.)


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