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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-05-29

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, 29/05/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Striking Ionian employees again clash with police
  • Primakov says Moscow will deliver S-300 missiles to Cyprus
  • Spanish royal couple "delighted" with visit to Greece
  • Piraeus mayor released on 20 million drachma bail
  • Greenpeace stages anti-nuclear protest outside Pakistani embassy
  • Police arrest son of murdered couple
  • Greece satisfied with NATO decisions on defusing Kosovo crisis
  • Hellenic Petroleum share flotation
  • Greek stocks recoup some losses, buoyed by privatisation
  • Development minister to launch new packaging plant
  • Opposition leader urges gov't to scrap property tax
  • Petzetakis share capital increase
  • Sarantis sales up, foreign currency loans increase losses
  • 18 per cent increase in Delta sales
  • Reduced rates for several OA flights
  • Conference debates Alexander the Great tomb site
  • Smoking still a bad habit for young Greeks
  • Deal for AEK's Nikolaidis all but finished by Anderlecht
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Striking Ionian employees again clash with police

A striking Ionian Bank employee was hospitalised today after scuffles broke out for a second time between protesters and riot police outside the bank's computer centre in the port city of Piraeus. The skirmishes broke out early this morning when riot police tried to remove 50-60 striking employees to enable three Ionian Bank executives to enter the building to operate the computer system, police said. "Our policy will continue," Prime Minister Costas Simitis told a Cabinet meeting later, adding that if the government did not push ahead with its privatisation programme, the problems would be enormous for Greek society as a whole.

Primakov says Moscow will deliver S-300 missiles to Cyprus

Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeni Primakov today assured Greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos that Russian-made S-300 defence missiles would be delivered to the Republic of Cyprus as planned under a Russia-Cyprus contract signed early last year. According to an ANA dispatch from Luxembourg, Pangalos told reporters after talks with Primakov on the sidelines of a NATO foreign ministers' conference: "The Russian minister assured me that his country's intention is to deliver the S-300 missiles to Cyprus". Pangalos said that the Russians "intend to provide every possible technical assistance to Cyprus, such as training, and the despatch of Cypriots to Russia for training in the use of the missiles". Pangalos added that he had accepted an invitation from Primakov to visit Moscow in October.

Spanish royal couple "delighted" with visit to Greece

Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia said today that their stay in Greece had been delightful, after being given a guided tour of the archaeological site of Vergina. The tour of the site in northern Greece, where the royal Macedonian tombs were discovered, wraps up an official five- day visit by the royal couple. They will be returning to Madrid this evening.

Piraeus mayor released on 20 million drachma bail

Piraeus Mayor Stelios Logothetis was today released from prison on bail of 20 million drachmas pending trial on embezzlement charges. Speaking to reporters immediately after being released, Logothetis thanked all his friends who had contributed to raise the bail and all his associates for their support during his period of remand. "I thank you all. My release constitutes a first vindication. Justice should soon complete the necessary procedures and the truth will shine," Logothetis said. He added that the charges against him, including one of embezzling one billion drachmas from municipal funds, had been "devised" by his political opponents.

Greenpeace stages anti-nuclear protest outside Pakistani embassy

A group of 20 members of the environmental organisation Greenpeace today staged a demonstration outside the Pakistani embassy in Athens to protest five nuclear tests conducted by Islamabad. Half of the protesters were dressed in black and wore masks. The demonstration brought traffic to a halt on the road outside the embassy. Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif said in a televised address to the nation that five "successful" nuclear tests had been conducted yesterday in response to the same number of tests by arch-rival India earlier this month.

Police arrest son of murdered couple

Police have arrested a 38-year-old man for the murder of his parents whose bodies were found in a rural area near the village of Karteri, Thesprotia in northern Greece. Spyros Athanasiou has reportedly confessed to the murder of his parents, Vassilis, 66 and Stamatia, 61 whose bodies were discovered early yesterday. Also arrested was his accomplice, Albanian shepherd Robert Binaz, 24, who reportedly told police that Spyros Athanasiou had promised to pay him 1 million drachmas for helping him kill his parents. Athanasiou told police that he murdered his parents because they treated him brutally, often beating him and creating problems for his family.

Greece satisfied with NATO decisions on defusing Kosovo crisis

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday described as positive a NATO decision to consider ways to stop the Kosovo conflict from spilling over its borders, as well as military measures to supplement diplomatic mo ves for a settlement. Speaking at a press conference after the end of the NATO foreign ministers' session, Mr. Pangalos clarified that the decision did not imply an intervention in the internal affairs of the sovereign Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and that NATO clearly condemned the use of violence and terrorism in the region, calling on both sides to work for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.

Hellenic Petroleum share flotation

The Hellenic Petroleum S.A. group will provide 46,430,000 shares with public registration and private investment, of which 27,841,702 concern the sale of existing shares belonging to the state.

The above shares will be provided in part on the international market through private investment, as well as on the local market with public registration for investors (at least 30 per cent of the total issue) and with private investment for the company's employees. Accumulated capital from the increase in share capital will be used primarily to finance the company's investment programme.

Greek stocks recoup some losses, buoyed by privatisation

Greek equities rebounded on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday halting a sharp decline in the previous two sessions.

Traders said the market had regained confidence in a government drive to privatise state-owned banks and public enterprises.

The general index closed 1.03 percent higher at 2,549.07 points with most sector indices ending up.

Trade was moderate with turnover at 62.6 billion drachmas.

Banks rose 1.25 percent, Insurance jumped 2.97 percent, Investment increased 1.55 percent, Leasing fell 0.07 percent, Industrials rose 0.46 percent, Construction ended 1.93 percent up, Miscellaneous soared 2.84 percent and Holding ended 1.45 percent hig her.

The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.45 percent up, and the FTSE/ASE 20 index rose 1.03 percent to finish at 1,529.38.

National Bank of Greece ended at 43,300 drachmas, Ergobank at 27,010, Alpha Credit Bank at 31,700, Delta Dairy at 4,410, Titan Cement at 23,330, Intracom at 20,250 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 8, 550.

Development minister to launch new packaging plant

Development Minister Vasso Papandreou will launch a new 63-million dollar packaging plant on Sunday as part of a three-day tour of the prefecture of Magnesia. The plant is owned by VPI SA, whose shareholders are private Hellenic Bottling SA (51 percent) , state-run Hellenic Petroleum SA (35 percent), and Radici of Italy (14 percent). It produces PET packaging material, a form of plastic.

Hellenic Bottling is a blue chip on the Athens bourse, and Hellenic Petroleum is scheduled for a part-float this summer.

The investment is unusual for Greece as it spans the public and private sectors, and also two countries. A hundred jobs have been created in the scheme.

Tomorrow she will visit Metka SA and Imas SA to monitor progress in long- term contracts the two firms made with Public Power Corp. worth 36 billion drachmas.

Opposition leader urges gov't to scrap property tax

Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday called on the government to abolish an unpopular tax on larger real estate (FMAP), vowing his party would do so if it came to power.

"Common sense dictates the abolition of FMAP, and we, as government, shall do so," Mr. Karamanlis told reporters during a visit to a suburban tax office. He said that the cost of implementing the tax was higher than its revenue.

Mr. Karamanlis also accused the government of improvisation and a lack of coordination in handling tax returns, resulting in thousands of mistakes and inconvenience to taxpayers.

The tax officers union said recently that complexities in the system had led to numerous errors in estimating the tax payable on property. The outcome was that many taxpayers were overcharged.

Petzetakis share capital increase

The AG Petzetakis S.A. company will proceed with an increase in its share capital by issuing 695,625 new shares at a sale price of 1,200 drachmas each and 177,856 new privileged shares at a sale price of 650 drachmas per share.

The new shares will be provided with a right of preference for old shares and at a ratio of 1:10 in both cases.

Sarantis sales up, foreign currency loans increase losses

Sales of the Sarantis cosmetics group increased by 31 per cent in the first quarter of 1998, totalling 6.6 billion drachmas against 5 billion drachmas in the corresponding period last year.

The company presented losses of 361 million drachmas due to the registration of extraordinary losses totalling 1.16 billion drachmas from loans in foreign currency. Prior to these losses, the company had showed profits of 803 million drachmas as against 344 million drachmas in the corresponding period last year.

18 per cent increase in Delta sales

The Delta dairy company increased sales by 18 per cent in the first quarter of the year, totalling 16.5 billion drachmas, while profits increased by 12 per cent, to 537 million drachmas.

At a group level, sales increased by 24 per cent and total profits amounted to 933 million drachmas as against 817 million drachmas over the corresponding period last year. Depreciation carried out during the first three months in 1998 amounted to 2.1 b illion drachmas.

Reduced rates for several OA flights

Olympic Airways will offer reduced fares for a limited number of seats to 20 European round-trip destinations from Athens and Thessaloniki as of June 1. Specifically, fares to the following destinations will be decreased to 75,000 drachmas:

Amsterdam, Budapest, Berlin; Brussels, Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Zurich, Geneva, London, Istanbul, Milan, Moscow, Marseilles, Munich, Naples, Paris, Rome, Stuttgart and Vienna.

Conference debates Alexander the Great tomb site

Two Egyptian archaeology professors yesterday debated the exact location of Alexander the Great's tomb in Alexandria, during a conference entitled "From Macedonia to the World", which began Wednesday in Veria and will last until Saturday.

Archaeology professor Faouzi el Fakharani said that "if the tomb of Alexander the Great is discovered...it will be more significant than the pyramid of Tutankhamen."

Mr. Fakharani said that the mistake many reseachers make is that they confuse the facts about ancient Alexandria with the one of the early Arab era.

He added that the topography and the size of the city has changed, with the only reliable sources being those dating before the 4th century AD.

Mr. Fakharani said that his study is based on ancient sources dating from 25 AD to the 3rd century AD as well as the entrance of an ancient tomb with a Macedonian architectural style, found at the old Orthodox cemetery of Alexandria.

Another Egyptian archaeology professor, Mahmoud el Saadani, diagreed with his compatriot, saying the tomb is approximately 1.25 miles from the position Mr. Farakhani pointed out.

Smoking still a bad habit for young Greeks

Greeks are smoking more than ever and starting younger but the majority of them still believe there should be a ban on tobacco advertising, according to the findings of a study, released yesterday.

Greeks begin smoking, on average, at the age of 13.5, according to the Greek Cardiology Centre's (ELIKAP) survey of 5,000 students aged 12-18 in 20 different areas around Greece.

Of the sample group, nine percent were regular smokers, 30 percent were occasional smokers while 86 percent had parents who were smokers.

Although only 26 percent of Greek women smoke - compared to 60 percent of Greek men - the percentage is still one of the highest in the European Union. Another study showed that 40 percent of female medical students were smokers.

Deal for AEK's Nikolaidis all but finished by Anderlecht

Greek football star Demis Nikolaidis is reportedly only a step away from signing with one-time Belgian powerhouse Anderlecht, according to sources from Brussels.

The same sources said representatives of the Brussels-area club are expected soon in Athens to finalise the deal for the 25-year-old Nikolaidis, one of the most lethal strikers in the Greek first division with popular AEK Athens. The deal is widely expected to be the most expensive transfer ever for a Greek footballer.

WEATHER

Partly cloudy in Athens tomorrow, winds light westerly. Temperatures between 16 and 28C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki with possibility of rain or brief thunderstorms, sunny spells. Winds light westerly, temperatures between 15 and 26C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 302.917 British pound 493.044 Japanese yen(100) 217.387 French franc 50.612 German mark 169.706 Italian lira (100) 17.218 Irish Punt 427.552 Belgian franc 8.227 Finnish mark 55.826 Dutch guilder 150.576 Danish kr. 44.561 Austrian sch. 24.125 Spanish peseta 1.998 Swedish kr. 38.551 Norwegian kr. 39.878 Swiss franc 203.851 Port. Escudo 1.657 Aus. dollar 188.703 Can. dollar 208.320 Cyprus pound 576.352

(S.S.)


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