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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-07-17

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, 17/07/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Larisa NATO HQ slated to begin operation in October 1999
  • Flynn-Simitis discuss job training programmes funds
  • Gov't to issue low-cost bonds, luring small investors
  • Greek stocks post new high, sprint through 2,700 pt barrier
  • Gov't sees EU lifting ban on share cap rise for Olympic Airways
  • Gov't to back employment in Perama shipyard zone
  • Karamanlis accuses gov't of 'great indifference' on economy
  • Kranidiotis details Greece's initiatives on Mideast problem
  • Pangalos talks with Albania's leadership next week
  • Samaranch addresses Int'l Olympic Academy event in Athens
  • Military leadership observes final phase of 'SARISA '98' exercise
  • Simitis, Romeos discuss measures against police corruption
  • SAE conference in Thessaloniki
  • Medical students volunteer programme
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Larisa NATO HQ slated to begin operation in October 1999

A NATO subregional headquarters in Larisa is scheduled to begin operation on Oct. 4, 1999, the First Army Corps' leadership said yesterday.

During a briefing, local authorities were told that the alliance's inter- service subregional headquarters' establishment in the town of Tyrnavos, beyond its strategic significance, was also of particular economic importance for the wider Larisa region, which would benefit substantially from the annual 25 billion drachmas earmarked for the headquarters' operation.

Hellenic Army officials said the area would also benefit from the stationing of approximately 600 Greek and foreign staff at the headquarters.

In the same context, they added, the First Army Corps had planned a series of interventions, including the use of the military airport at Larisa for civilian purposes, securing places at foreign-language institutions for the educational needs of the staff's children, and staff accommodations.

They said the non-assignment of a region of operational control to the Larisa headquarters would not affect its operation and exercises carried out, while in times of crises and operations, the region of operational control would be set out by NATO in cooperation with the Greek government, which had the "first say on matters of national defence".

Flynn-Simitis discuss job training programmes funds

Prime Minister Costas Simitis met last night with visiting European Commissioner Padraig Flynn and discussed ways to improve Greece's absoption rate of EU structural funds regarding job training programmes.

Mr. Flynn, who is on an visit to Greece, also discussed with Mr. Simitis issues related to the rest of the structural funds' absorption rates, which he called satisfactory.

According to reports, a selection procedure began to choose which programmes will be given a priority status, while those considered ineffective will be cut.

The issue will be on the agenda of a Cabinet meeting today.

Gov't to issue low-cost bonds, luring small investors

The state will begin issuing low-cost, tax-free bonds in September in order to entice small investors into the debt market, Finance Undersecretary Nikos Christodoulakis said yesterday.

The new bonds, priced at 50,000-100,000 drachmas, will be tax-free if buyers retain them until maturity.

The bonds, which have a duration of three, five and 10 years, are not negotiable on the secondary market, Mr. Christodoulakis said.

Greek stocks post new high, sprint through 2,700 pt barrier

Greek equities set a new record on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday with the index overtaking 2,700 points for the first time in its history.

The general index ended 1.84 percent higher at 2,712.52 points.Trade was light to moderate with turnover totalling 55.6 billion drachmas.

Buying interest focused on construction and industrial issues which ended 3.85 and 3.05 percent higher respectively.

Other sector indices were mixed. Banks rose 1.80 percent, Leasing ended 0.29 percent higher, Insurance fell 1.01 percent, Investment increased 1.80 percent, Holding eased 0.69 percent and Miscellaneous ended 1.28 percent up.

The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 1.37 percent. The FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 1.58 percent higher at 1,646.58 points.

Broadly, advancers led decliners by 178 to 67 with another 18 issues unchanged.

National Bank of Greece ended at 47,500 drachmas, Ergobank at 33,200, Alpha Credit Bank at 29,000, Ionian Bank at 17,495, Delta Dairy at 3,980, Titan Cement at 23,000, Intracom at 12,500, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,760 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 8,500 drachmas.

Gov't sees EU lifting ban on share cap rise for Olympic Airways

The government expects the European Union to lift a ban on a share capital rise for Olympic Airways, Transport and Communications Minister Tasos Mantelis said yesterday.

"Negotiations with members of the Commission are leading to a positive outcome," Mr. Mantelis told reporters after a meeting with National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and OA's management.

The EU's executive Commission froze a plan to raise the national carrier's share capital in 1995 due to poor progress in an earlier restructuring scheme for the debt-ridden airline.

The minister forecast that delivery of the first new aircraft in the fleet renewal project would begin in September.

Gov't to back employment in Perama shipyard zone

The government plans to reduce heavy unemployment in a shipyard zone near Piraeus by providing work for 2,000 jobless at a cost of seven billion drachmas.

Unemployment in the Perama shipbuilding and repair zone is currently at 50 percent of the working population, among the highest jobless rates in the country.

The programmes devised by the labour and social security ministry will be implemented and funded by the Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED), an offshoot of the ministry.

The details of the scheme, which was released yesterday, are as follows:


Daily subsidies of 5,000 drachmas to employers who hire workers aged 18- 64 for two months of on-the-job training and 22 months of work, with a commitment to extend employment for another six months. The category covers 1000 jobs.
Daily subsidies of 5,000 drachmas for two years to employers who hire workers aged 54 or over ahead of retirement. The category covers 500 jobs, and OAED will also pay employers' social insurance contributions for the workers.
Subsidies of 2.8 million drachmas (downpayment of 1.8 million drachmas plus four six-monthly instalments) each for 500 self-employed, with a commitment to keep the business going for two years.
Hourly payment of 1,000 drachmas to 500 workers for 180 hours of vocational training.

Karamanlis accuses gov't of 'great indifference' on economy

Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis held a meeting on the economy with party cadres yesterday and accused the government of "an orgy of extravagance in the public sector...and of showing signs of great indifference."

Mr. Karamanlis said that debt settlements which have taken place have burdened the economy with 2.5 trillion drachmas and spoke of a policy of wretchedness and of burdening the Greek taxpayer.

Referring to the banking sector, he expressed support for denationalisation, but accused the government of trying to exploit the purchase of Cretabank cheaply by a business group and create artificial euphoria.

He also said that the Ionian Bank must be denationalised through international tendering and the price to be paid must correspond to its value in the bourse.

Kranidiotis details Greece's initiatives on Mideast problem

Greece fully supports peace and stability in the Middle East, and undertakes initiatives with a view to rekindling the peace process, while it also contributes decisively to the formulation of European policy in the region and believes that Europe must undertake a more active role in the Mideast problem, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said in an exclusive interview with ANA.

"Greece has every interest in the promotion of peace and stability in the region of the eastern Mediterranean. It seeks, therefore, to assist in the rekindling of the Middle East process, which has been deadlocked for the last year-and-a-half.

"It was within this context that I proposed during the third Conference of Dialogue for Peace and Cooperation in the Middle East, held on Rhodes between July 1-5, that the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians meet in Greece, if they so desire," said Mr. Kranidiotis, who represented Athens at a recent conference of prominent Israeli and Palestinian personalities and journalists.

Mr. Kranidiotis said it was decided on Rhodes that the conferences for dialogue should continue on a permanent basis, as well as to set up a standing committee for monitoring the resolutions adopted, which will be comprised of five Palestinians, five Israelis and representatives of Greece and the EU.

The joint resolutions adopted during the Rhodes meetings contain a series of confidence-building measures in the economic, cultural and sports sectors, he added.

He further noted that the Middle East problem had always had a direct impact on the Cyprus issue and that this continued to hold true today.

Pangalos talks with Albania's leadership next week

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos will discuss the entire spectrum of bilateral relations as well as issues concerning the situation in the Balkans - especially Kosovo - when he meets the Albanian leadership in Tirana on July 20-21, the foreign ministry announced yesterday.

Mr. Pangalos, who will be accompanied by a business delegation, will meet Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani, PM Fatos Nano, FM Paskal Milo, Tirana's public order minister, the parliament president, and the president of the Albanian parliament's constit utional revision committee.

Constitutional law professor and Euro-MP Dimitris Tsatsos has contributed to the ongoing constitutional reform process in the neighbouring country.

The agenda of discussions will also include cross-border and economic cooperation as well as a bilateral educational agreement, to be signed during Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis' forthcoming visit to Tirana.

Samaranch addresses Int'l Olympic Academy event in Athens

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch said yesterday that the 2004 Olympic Games to be staged here will give a entirely new dimension to the event.

"The city of Athens was exactly what was needed to give a new dimension to the Olympic Games in the third millenium," he said yesterday during an opening ceremony of the 38th annual conference of the International Olympic Academy.

"You, the representatives of Athens, but also those of Sydney, must take care to set aside all your problems and organise the best possible Olympic Games," he urged.

Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said: "Everythingis taking place under full transparency with as little cost as possible, and according to the commitments entered in the file of the Athens candidacy," he added.

Military leadership observes final phase of 'SARISA '98' exercise

The national defence ministry's civil leadership and the armed forces' leadership watched the final phase of the exercise codenamed "SARISA-98" yesterday, making the joint ascertainment that the new structure of the country's armed forces is being completed successfully.

The exercise was planned by officers of the Second Army Corps, which according to the new structure now constitutes the land-based army's rapid deployment force, with the target of exercising staffs and units in planning and conducting combined operatio ns under a single command.

Addressing the army's leadership and the officers of the Second Army Corps at the end of the exercise, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said that "SARISA-98" constituted the first substantive confirmation of the armed forces' new capacity to achieve, if necessary, in parallel with effective defence at national borders, a flexible retaliation in the event of a strike by the enemy in whatever part of the country.

Simitis, Romeos discuss measures against police corruption

Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday met with Public Order Minister George Romeos to focus on measures against corruption in the police force.

After the meeting, Mr. Romeos stated that the government will introduce a bill in Parliament in August for the creation of an internal affairs division, which will be overseen by a prosecutor.

Furthermore, Mr. Romeos noted that all evidence will be open to prosecutors as part of an ongoing investigation.

He added that he personally approved 2,300 residence permits for foreigners out of a total of 70,000 applications in Attica and 400,000 around the country over the past five months, as was prescibed by law.

Defening himself, the minister noted that the signing of permits is a matter of policy and was exercised by ministers of the 1990-1993 New Democracy government as well.

As for the permits he signed, Mr. Romeos said that he assumes "total responsibility for those permits. I have complete evidence and I am proud for the policy we followed towards immigrants..."

Meanwhile, new evidence has been given to prosecutor Georgios Gerakis, who is probing corruption in the police force, by an unidentified source on Wednesday.

Shortly before midnight, a box was left containing various documents outside the Athens court complex off Evelpidon street, claiming that it contained evidence concerning police corruption.

Mr. Gerakis is examining its contents.

SAE conference in Thessaloniki

The World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) yesterday decided to create an expatriate Greeks institute, during the first day of this year's SAE conference in Thessaloniki.

The private institute will be based in Thessaloniki and its goal will be the financial, technical and organising support towards SAE.

Furthermore, SAE members discussed the Greek expatriate youth olympics, also planned for the next year in Thessaloniki. These games will be held every four years.

In a related development, SAE President Andrew Athens yesteday met with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos and was briefed on programmes set up to support Greek expatriates. The two men also discussed the creation of an Internet site by the ministry.

The agenda for today's conference session focuses on issues related to the problems of ethnic Greeks living in former Soviet Union countries.

Medical students volunteer programme

The Society of Greek Medical Students (EFIE) will organise a volunteer programme to staff medical clinics on various Greek islands during the summer.

The programme is financed by the New Generetion general secretariat and includes 95 medical students from seven medical schools in Greece as well as other countries.

Room and board costs will be met be local governments on the islands.

EFIE has also set up a medical students exchange programme with its Turkish counterpart, involving 20 students from each country.

Greek students will volunteer their services in Istanbul, Ankara and Anatolia hospitals, while their Turkish counterparts will volunteer on the islands of Lesvos, Hios and Kos.

WEATHER

Fine weather with cloud increasing in the afternoon. Possibility of storms in the northeast. Temperatures will range from 15-28 in the north, 16-31 in the mainland, and 19-29 on the islands. Athens, sunny with mild to strong winds and temperatures from 22-31C. Same in Thessaloniki with increasing cloud and temperatures from 20-28C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 296.162 British pound 484.532 Japanese yen (100) 213.211 French franc 49.330 German mark 165.371 Italian lira (100) 16.781 Irish Punt 415.747 Belgian franc 8.021 Finnish mark 54.471 Dutch guilder 146.717 Danish kr. 43.430 Austrian sch. 23.511 Spanish peseta 1.949 Swedish kr. 37.222 Norwegian kr. 39.059 Swiss franc 196.13 Port. Escudo 1.617 Aus. dollar 187.081 Can. dollar 198.956 Cyprus pound 563.258

(C.E.)


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