Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-09-02
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 02/09/1998 (ANA)
- Greece keeps EMU target date of 2001 despite Russian market fallout
- Greece willing to join aid effort for Russia
- Greek stocks sink 3.8 pct, rebound off early hours
- Greece to retender Hellenic Duty Free Shops Sept. 30
- Greece aims to improve airport facilities, services
- Airport infrastructure projects
- Greek, Cypriot capital market commissions to work together
- Greece so far nets Dr 444 bln in tax revenue
- Woman accused of espionage released
- Tsohatzopoulos enters military talks with Tunisian officials
- Defence Minister to visit Cyprus for Independence Day
- Israeli embassy denial
- Greek parl't to hold tele-conference
- British genius honours Greece by his presence
- Ministry gets tough on taxi-drivers
- New tomb discovered at Vergina
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece keeps EMU target date of 2001 despite Russian market fallout
Greece's government will adhere to its target of joining European economic
and monetary union by 2001 despite the fallout from political and financial
turmoil in Russia, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou
"There is nothing to indicate that Greece will not be a member of EMU on
January 1, 2001. We are progressing steadily along the path we have forged,
" Mr. Papantoniou said.
The global financial crisis was long-term, but there were clear indications
that the situtation was under control, he told reporters.
Mr. Papantoniou was speaking after a 90-minute meeting with Prime Minister
Costas Simitis on the government's 1999 economic policy, which is due to be
announced at the opening of the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair on
Despite some signs of stabilisation in domestic markets so far this week,
volatility would continue due to the upheaval abroad, Mr. Papantoniou
"Greece is keeping a close watch on developments in other European
countries and the situtation is under control," he added.
The government was carrying out its privatisation programme normally, but
it could not predict the outcome due to uncertainty abroad.
According to the minister, reactions to the financial crisis by Greek stock,
money and foreign currency markets had not exceeded those of other European
countries, showing their maturity.
But easing the impact of the crisis is the fact that the drachma is a
member of the EU's exchange rate mechanism, which has helped to buffet it
against the worst of the fallout, the analysts said.
Greece willing to join aid effort for Russia
Greece, maintaining traditional ties of friendship with Moscow, is prepared
to take part in any effort to help Russia out of its crisis, Foreign
Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with President Kostis Stephanopoulos
on foreign policy, Mr. Pangalos said there was concern in all European
capitals over Russia's political and financial crisis.
"If the West does not help Russia, the consequences will be adverse and we
will all suffer the repercussions," Mr. Pangalos said.
He declined to forecast the possible outcome of a meeting scheduled
yesterday between US president Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris
Greek stocks sink 3.8 pct, rebound off early lows
Equities slumped in moderate trade yesterday but finished well off the
day's lows in the wake of Wall Street's second biggest plunge in history in
the previous session, which helped to drag down the market early in
The Athens general index ended 3.81 percent lower at 2,092.61 points,
sharply off the day's lows when the market shed 7.8 percent, approaching
the daily 8.0 percent lower volatility limit. Turnover was 58.1 billion
Sector indices lost substantial ground. Banks fell 3.99 percent, Insurance
dropped 4.93 percent, Investment was 4.52 percent off, Leasing plunged 7.48
percent, Industrials were 3.28 percent lower, Construction fell 4.75
percent, Miscellaneous eased 4.29 percent and Holding dropped 5.50
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 4.53 percent
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 214 to 26 with another 7 issues
Commercial Bank, Ionian Bank, Sysware, Betros, Allatini, Ideal, Kreka,
Piraeus Leasing, Commercial Invest and Hellenic Bottling suffered the
heaviest losses hitting the daily 8.0 percent limit down.
National Bank of Greece ended at 39,400 drachmas, Ergobank at 24,200, Alpha
Credit Bank at 21,300, Ionian Bank at 10,677, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,850,
Delta Dairy at 3,290, Intracom at 11,250, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,670 and
Titan Cement at 19,300.
In the domestic foreign exchange market the drachma rebounded against a
declining US dollar, ending 1.51 percent higher. It finished slightly lower
against the DMark and the Ecu.
Greece to retender Hellenic Duty Free Shops Sept. 30
The government announced yesterday it would hold a new international tender
through the bourse for the sale of a 67 percent stake in Hellenic Duty Free
Shops. Another 13 percent will be sold using Balladur-type convertible
bonds in order to aid the gove rnment's privatisation drive. Investors will
later be able to convert the debt paper into the stock of privatised
Bids for Hellenic Duty Free Shops will be accepted by September 30, and the
government reserves the right to annul the tender if financial conditions
remain adverse due to an international market crisis.
A binding letter of guarantee of up to two billion drachmas is required to
bid in the tender for the company, which is already listed on the Athens
The firm has signed a memorandum of understanding with the manager of a new
international airport being built for Athens, which is due to open in Spata,
west of the capital, in March 2001.
Greece aims to improve airport facilities, services
Greece plans to improve the standard of services, security and facilities
at its airports, Transport and Communications Minister Tasos Mantelis said
Mr. Mantelis was addressing a conference on airport security organised by
the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which ends today.
The government has allocated some 1.5 billion dollars to modernising
airports over the next three years. A new international airport being built
for Athens at Spata, which opens on March 1, 2001, will be supplied with
state-of-the-art security syste ms, along with four other airports
servicing international flights, Mr. Mantelis said.
Airport infrastructure projects
The infrastructure projects of the five international airports of Greece
demanded by the Schengen Treaty were completed recently.
The 5.5-billion-drachma project added 15,000 sq. metres of room for
passenger capacity, which will be needed for the division of incoming and
According to the treaty, passengers travelling within the European Union
will not be subject to passport control, thus the incoming flights to EU
member-states must be physically divided from the internal ones.
Greek, Cypriot capital market commissions to work together
Greece and Cyprus signed a protocol for the two countries' capital markets
commissions to exchange information and launch cooperation, Cypriot Finance
Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said in Nicosia yesterday.
The protocol, signed by Greece's capital markets commission chairman
Stavros Thomadakis and his Cypriot counterpart, Frixos Sorokos, will cover
cooperation in setting the regulatory framework for the stock market and
help to strengthen bilateral financial ties.
Greece so far nets Dr 444 bln in tax revenue
Tax revenue collected from tax returns filed this year so far totals 444
billion drachmas, the finance ministry said in a statement yesterday.
The ministry's tax department has processed 3,997,728 tax returns from a
total of 4.5 million submitted in 1998.
It has sent 1,740,114 debit notes to taxpayers totalling an additional
547.1 billion drachmas, and 1,331,305 credit notes totalling 103.1 billion
Woman accused of espionage released
The government yesterday confirmed a report in Athens daily Avriani that
Greek authorities had arrested and investigated a woman for espionage on
the island of Lesvos.
The woman was later released and allowed to continue her holidays as the
charges were found to be groundless.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said earlier that the competent
authorities were examining the issue and that he had nothing further to
Avriani said the Greek woman from the mainland Greek town of Agrinio had
been arrested on holiday on Lesvos for filming military bases and
installations on the island.
Tsohatzopoulos enters military talks with Tunisian officials
Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday discussed with Tunisian
officials the terms of a military cooperation agreement, regarding the army,
the navy and the air force.
The talks, which will continue today, also inlcude training programmes,
armament procurements and the defence industry.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos, during his meeting with Tunisian Defence Minister Ben
Yahia, noted the need for cooperation between the region's countries, who
can decisively contribute toward the maintenance of stability and security,
as well as the confronting of whichever problem.
Discussion included the possibility of joint military exercises and the
need for regional security.
According to reports, the Tunisian defence ministry showed interest in
purchasing armaments manufactured in Greece.
Defence Minister to visit Cyprus for Independence Day
According to a report aired by the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (RIK),
Greek National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos is scheduled to visit
Cyprus to attend a military parade on Oct. 1, marking the island's
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos, together with Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides, will
receive the salute of the parade.
Israeli embassy denial
The Israeli Embassy in Athens yesterday denied press reports that Israel
was planning joint military exercises with Turkey. "The Embassy of Israel
would like to declare that reports in certain of today's (Tuesday's)
newspapers, which are based on reports from Turkish newspaper Hurriyet,
related to some imminent joint Israeli-Turkish exercises have no basis in
reality," a statement said.
Greek parl't to hold tele-conference
Greek Parliament deputies today will hold an on line meeting with their
counterparts in Austria, Germany and Finland, to discuss issues on
employment, business development, support for the ability to adapt and
policies of equal opportunity.
This first on-line conference was realised at Parliament President
Apostolos Kaklamanis' instigation, during the last European parliament
conference in Rome.
PASOK deputy Pantelis Economou, main opposition New Democracy (ND) deputy
Marrieta Yiannakou-Koutsikou and Coalition of the Left and Progress
(Synaspimos) deputy Yiannis Dragasakis are the Greek parliamentarians set
to take part in this tele-conference.
British genius honours Greece by his presence
An impressively simple and undoubtedly modest Stephen Hawking, the globe's
top brain in physics, speaking on Samos island yesterday, rejected the
title "mo-dern Einstein", ascribed to him by many, by saying "people need
an Einstein to admire", and admitting that he was "good, but not an
exception like Einstein".
Speaking during a press conference given in the context of the second
international conference on cosmology, geometry and physics on the eastern
Aegean island, the world famous physicist also rejected the myth of "the
loneliness of his scientific genious".
He was asked whether he had a dream about his science and the universe that
he wished to see come true.
He said his "modest aspiration" was "to understand the laws governing the
universe and how this was created. But above all, why the universe is what
it is and whether it could have been created differently".
Stuck on a wheel-chair for 35 years due to a rare muscle disease, and
speaking through his computer since 1985, the English physicist observed
that science was expecting more from the field of observation. He noted
that more results will come from new satelites and their telescopes.
Ministry gets tough on taxi-drivers
The transport and communications ministry moved yesterday to bring Greece's
taxi-drivers into line, saying anyone caught overcharging passengers would
have their vehicles taken off the roads.
Minister Tassos Mandelis has sent a letter to prefectural authorities
asking them to step up checks on taxis and to implement the measure as soon
Six taxi-drivers were found to be overcharging - some through sophisticated
rigging of taxi meters - in August alone, in a crackdown by police.
According to Mr. Mandelis's letter, taxi-drivers may also be grounded and
face fines if they act " inappropriately" at airport, port and bus and
railway station pick-up points, refuse to take passengers or are selective
in who they pick up.
New tomb discovered at Vergina
Archaeologists announced yesterday that they had discovered the 12th tomb
at Vergina, northern Greece, where the tomb of Philip of Macedon, father of
Alexander the Great, is located.
The latest tomb was discovered during works to construct a protective
covering over the excavation sites and is located a short distance from the
first Macedonian tomb discovered in 1865.
Experts date the 12 sq.m. tomb to the end of the 4th century B.C. and said
the interior walls were decorated with red, white and black paint.
The latest find has fostered hopes that it may lead to more finds and
excavations are continuing in the area. The work is financed by the
University of Thessaloniki.
Fine weather throughout the country today with scattered clouds in in
central and northern Greece and possible rainfall in the north. Athens will
be warm and humid with temperatures between 20-32C. Same in Thessaloniki
with temperatures from 18-27C.
Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 299.485
British pound 502.388 Japanese yen (100) 216.901
French franc 51.094 German mark 171.299
Italian lira (100) 17.327 Irish Punt 430.826
Belgian franc 8.303 Finnish mark 56.286
Dutch guilder 151.776 Danish kr. 45.065
Austrian sch. 24.332 Spanish peseta 2.018
Swedish kr. 37.438 Norwegian kr. 38.337
Swiss franc 208.062 Port. Escudo 1.671
Aus. dollar 172.296 Can. dollar 192.587
Cyprus pound 581.312