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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-08-26

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, 26/08/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Tender for Ionian Bank declared null
  • Britain rejects demand for Parthenon Marbles damage assessment
  • Kosovo on agenda of Greek, Albanian foreign ministers' meeting
  • IOC president due in Athens early September
  • KKE condemns US bombings in Sudan and Afghanistan as 'criminal'
  • Ancient Greek ports in the Mediterranean
  • Eurobank makes first payment on Cretabank
  • New buses, designed by Tseklenis, give Athens splash of colour
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Tender for Ionian Bank declared null

The Commercial Bank's board of directors yesterday afternoon declared the tender for Ionian Bank null, and said it would re-issue an invitation within three months at the latest. "After a comprehensive discussion, the bank's board of directors decided to reject all the submitted bids, having considered them as unsatisfactory for various reasons," said a statement.

Commercial Bank director general Mr. G. Michelis said the two bids submitted by the Jan Morton Heger law firm and the Exchange Finance Overseas (Holdings) group did not satisfy two of the basic terms of the tender, namely that the price should be fully paid-up, in cash, upon transfer, and that the prospective buyers' proposal should be accompanied by a certificate of a bank acceptable to the seller, validating their ability to pay the value of the shares.

Mr. Michelis added that the joint 135 billion drachma bid by Greece's Eurobank with Ergo Bank was not considered adequate.

Earlier, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said that any decisions on altering procedures in a new tender or even the terms of the sale would be taken at the appropriate time.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Mr. Papantoniou said that he briefed the premier on the course of the economy and forecast that the country's gross domestic product would grow by 3.5 percent this year. He dismissed talk that the inconclusive tender for the sale of Ionian Bank, a medium sized bank, could affect the course of the economy.

Mr. Papantoniou said that pressure on the drachma was attributed to turbulence in international markets, a view shared by Bank of Greece governor Lucas Papademos. Both men agreed that pressures would be short- lived.

Mr. Papantoniou remained optimistic over the prospects of the Athens Stock Exchange and said that any political impact arising from uncertainty over the sale of Ionian Bank would be soon overcome.

Britain rejects demand for Parthenon Marbles damage assessment

British Culture Secretary Chris Smith rejected Greece's demand for the setting up of an UNESCO-sponsored international committee of experts to assess the damage done to the Parthenon marbles by British Museum maintenance staff in the 1930s.

"The British government deems historian St Claire's observations (on the damage done to the marbles) excessive, but I myself see it as an important and open issue", Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos underlined while making the announcement yesterday.

Mr. Venizelos added that his British counterpart had accepted his invitation to visit Greece for a discussion on issues of Greek-British cultural cooperation, but nevertheless commented that such cooperation "will never become perfect, unless the marble s issue is resolved".

A series of new initiatives for the return of the marbles -now housed in London's British Museum- to Greece will be announced by the culture minister within the next few days.

Kosovo on agenda of Greek, Albanian foreign ministers' meeting

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos will discuss the developments in the strife-torn Yugoslav province of Kosovo with Albanian counterpart Paskal Milo during a meeting Sunday in the neighbouring country.

Mr. Pangalos will be in the Albanian town of Korce on Sunday for the official opening of a Greek consulate there.

Diplomatic sources told the ANA that the two ministers would meet on the sidelines of the ceremony, and would also discuss the course of Greek- Albanian relations.

Greece and Albania decided two years ago on the establishment of a Greek consulate in Korce and an Albanian consulate in Thessaloniki on the principal of reciprocity.

The Greek consular service in Korce has already started up operation, headed by career diplomat Nikos Vamvounakis, while Tirana is presently in the process of setting up its consulate in the northern Greek capital.

IOC president due in Athens early September

President of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) Juan Antonio Samaranch is to pay a one-day visit to Greece on September 2 for talks focusing on issues relating to the cultural Olympiad. He will meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.

In a related development, the Organising Committee of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games is speeding up procedures for the construction of projects for the Athens Games.

In its 9th meeting yesterday the committee also decided to open procedures for the hiring of technical consultants, in accordance with European Union provisions, to support the general management of projects.

KKE condemns US bombings in Sudan and Afghanistan as 'criminal'

The Communist Party of Greece's (KKE) politbureau yesterday described the U.S. bombings in Sudan and Afghanistan last week as "criminal".

It also announced that "the USA and the other imperialist powers are not only interested in immediate economic and political advantages but in familiarising the peoples with criminal military action in the name of peace and security, in the name of arbitration, terrorism and the so-called defence of Human Rights."

The KKE's politbureau criticises finally the EU member states for not having expressed - not even formally - any protest, and the Greek government for its position concerning this question.

Ancient Greek ports in the Mediterranean

A series of events are being promoted by the Hellenic Culture Foundation (EIP) within the framework of the Network of Ancient Greek Ports in the Mediterranean, including EIP's participation in an exhibition entitled "Glory of Alexandria", to be held in th e French city of Agde, and a "Greek Week", also in Agde.

The Network of Ancient Greek Ports in the Mediterranean was established three years ago with the support of the European Union and its main target is to develop relations among ports or port-towns that once used to be a part of ancient Greece in south and southeastern Europe.

The "Greek Week", sponsored by the network and set for the first week of November this year, will include a number of cultural and educational functions on themes relating to the ancient and modern Hellenic culture.

Eurobank makes first payment on Cretabank

The Eurobank Group yesterday deposited 28 billion drachmas which represents 30 per cent of the price for the purchase of Cretabank.

The procedures for the signing of the final agreement for the transfer of Cretabank to the Eurobank Group are expected to be concluded by September 25.

New buses, designed by Tseklenis, give Athens splash of colour

Greek fashion and interior designer Yannis Tseklenis has designed the exteriors of the new ultra-modern Athens buses, which were revealed yesterday by the Athens urban transport organisation OASA. The 750 new fully air-conditioned and electronically equipped buses and minibuses, slated to go into circulation in Athens next month, together with 200 new trolleys, are part of an ambitious prog ramme which, in conjunction with the Athens metro, are designed to completely overhaul and modernise commuter traffic in Athens.

The Mercedes, Volvo and Neoplan buses, being assembed under licence in Greece by the Hellenic Vehicle Industry and Sarakakis Bros., bear the designs and colours of Yannis Tseklenis, who lately has specialised in redesigning the appearance of the mass tr ansport means. In the past decade, Mr. Tseklenis has designed the refurbishing of the entire Olympic Airways fleet, the Hellenic Railways' trains and buses, a fleet of hydrofoils, and the new trolleys.

"I feel that Athens, my home and inspiration for many years, is in desperate need of colour and a little sense of humour," Mr. Tseklenis told the ANA, and he has given the new trolleys and buses plenty of both.

The new turquoise/blue/yellow buses, symbolising the sky, sea and sun, will compete with the new purple/yellow trolleys on the streets of Athens.

In addition, the rear of the vehicles have been designed to carry Scotch- printed themes of cultural content. The first such theme will be a photo reproduction of an ancient Athenian marble relief with a giant inscription reading "The Parthenon Marbles b elong to Athens".

"Just like that, in plain English," Mr. Tseklenis said. According to OASA, 169 of the new buses will be in service in Athens by the end of the year, while the rest will be gradually introduced by the end of the year 2001. Of the total 750 buses, 340 will be articulated buses, 210 regular buses and 200 mini buses.

WEATHER

The forecast for today is fine and sunny with cloud increasing in the course of the day with the possibility of local storms in mountainous regions. Winds will be northerly moderate to strong and very strong in the Aegean. Temperatures in Athens will range from 22-34 and in Thessaloniki from 22-31.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 303.125 British pound 497.309 Japanese yen (100) 210.254 French franc 50.394 German mark 168.838 Italian lira (100) 17.135 Irish Punt 423.584 Belgian franc 8.200 Finnish mark 55.530 Dutch guilder 149.896 Danish kr. 44.354 Austrian sch. 24.010 Spanish peseta 1.992 Swedish kr. 36.767 Norwegian kr. 38.781 Swiss franc 202.249 Port. Escudo 1.652 Aus. dollar 174.885 Can. dollar 195.960 Cyprus pound 575.360

(L.G.)


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