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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-09-03

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, 03/09/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece, Italy sign natural gas agreement
  • Greek stocks bounce back in line with world markets
  • Greek money rates drop, drachma picks up steam
  • Spending on advertising rises 11.4 pct in Jan-Aug
  • Shippers move 2.2 million passengers to islands in June-Aug
  • Damanaki launches mayoral campaign
  • Samaranch signs protocol for establishment of 'Cultural Olympics'
  • KKE criticises tobacco company
  • Emergency measures planned to confront floods
  • Greek-Polish industrial cooperation
  • OA's share capital to be raised by 14 bln dr.
  • Measures against cheating taxi-drivers
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece, Italy sign natural gas agreement

An agreement for the joint construction of an undersea pipeline to carry natural gas from Italy to Greece was signed here yesterday between Greece's Public Gas Company (DEPA) and ENI of Italy.

Earlier, a joint statement by the two countries on cooperation in natural gas projects was signed by Greece's Development Minister Vasso Papandreou and Italy's Industry and Energy Minister Pier Luigi Persanti.

In Athens, Prime Minister Costas Simitis described the DEPA-ENI agreement as an especially positive one, both for the country overall and the national economy.

Mr. Simitis said that the Rome agreement made Italy Greece's second supplier of natural gas after Russia, which meant that the country now secured a sufficient quantity of gas in competitive rates.

The materialisation of the Greek-Italian agreement, according to Mr. Simitis, will additionally make Greece a natural gas junction in the wider region of the Balkans, with the pipeline network having the potential to be further extended to connect Turkey and Central Asian countries.

The pipeline, to be part of the Intereuropean natural gas networks, will be financially aided by the EU.

The joint statement signed by the two ministers expresses both countries' drive to support the materialisation of the DEPA-ENI cooperation agreement, which additionally provides for the establishment of a joint venture to take care of the supply to Greece of Italian natural gas. The network could potentially be extended to reach other neighbouring countries.

Ms. Papandreou described the agreement as of a strategic importance for Greece, adding that the country's energy programme with Italy will have been finalised by the end of the year

As mentioned in the joint statement, ENI is among the biggest players in the construction of energy projects, with activities expanding in as many as 77 countries. It has six subsidiaries and 48.5 per cent of its shares are in private hands, at Milano, New York and London's stock exchanges.

Greek stocks bounce back in line with world markets

Greek equities rebounded in active trade on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday following a recovery in international markets, especially in Europe.

The general index ended 5.15 percent higher at 2,200.40 points with turnover at 74.9 billion drachmas. Sector indices scored gains. The heavily weighted banking sector soared 7.90 percent, approaching the 8.0 percent daily upper volatility limit.

Insurance jumped 5.05 percent, Investment rose 5.90 percent, Leasing increased 5.23 percent, Industrials ended 3.06 percent higher, Construction rose 4.91 percent, Miscellaneous increased 3.51 percent and Holding ended 3.50 percent up.

The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 3.51 percent up.

The FTSE/ASE 20 blue-chip index ended 5.72 percent higher at 1,342.26.

Broadly, advancers led decliners by 231 to 18 with another 8 issues unchanged.

Commercial Bank, Mortgage Bank, Alpha Credit Bank, Bank of Piraeus, Ergobank, National Bank, Naousa Mills, Ridenco, Vioter, Rilken, Keranis and Bank of Central Greece scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the daily 8.0 percent limit up.

Sarandopoulos, Vis, Athinea, Macedonian Plastics, Xylemporia, Aspis and Pairis suffered the heaviest losses. National Bank of Greece ended at 42, 552 drachmas, Ergobank at 26,136, Alpha Credit Bank at 23,004, Ionian Bank at 11,400, Hellenic Telecoms at 6 ,880, Delta Dairy at 3,370, Intracom at 11,530, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,735 and Titan Cement at 19,650.

Greek money rates drop, drachma picks up steam

Greek interest rates slid yesterday reversing a jump to over 20 percent during international and domestic market turmoil sparked by a financial crisis in Russia.

Bankers reported capital inflows of 200 million US dollars, 400 million Ecus and 200 million DMarks in the domestic foreign exchange market.

The drachma rebounded strongly to end 0.91 percent higher against the US dollar, 0.80 percent up against the mark and 0.83 percent higher against the Ecu.

Spending on advertising rises 11.4 pct in Jan-Aug

Spending on advertising in Greece totalled 218.4 billion drachmas in January-August, showing an 11.44 percent increase from the same period last year, Media Services SA said in a report yesterday.

The report said that television commercials accounted for 45.76 percent of the total at 99.9 billion drachmas; followed by magazines at 30.98 percent, or 67.7 billion, newspapers at 18.05 percent, or 39.4 billion and radio at 5.21 percent, or 11.4 billi on drachmas.

Magazines and newspapers showed hefty revenue increases of 23.46 percent and 26.04 percent in the same period, but income from radio commercials was down by 32.13 percent. Income from television advertisting rose by 7.30 percent. In August, spending on advertising rose 30.68 percent to 13.2 billion drachmas.

Shippers move 2.2 million passengers to islands in June-Aug

Coastal shippers moved 2,235,688 passengers in the peak tourist season months of June-August from the ports of Piraeus and Rafina to islands in the Saronic Gulf and Aegean, the merchant marine ministry said yesterday.

It said in a statement that passengers travelling from the port of Piraeus totalled 1,260,953 in the same period, against 1,208,441 a year earlier.

Passengers travelling from Pireaus to islands in the Saronic Gulf were 566, 386, down from 598,174 last year.

Passengers from the port of Rafina totalled 408,349, up from 391,663 in the same period of 1997.

Damanaki launches mayoral campaign

Athens mayoral Candidate Maria Damanaki yesterday inaugurated her campaign at an Athens hotel, among a large representation of the ruling PASOK party and the Coalition for the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party officials, as well as representatives of social movements.

Ms. Damanaki, who is supported by PASOK and Synaspismos, accused her main opponent in the October election, main opposition New Democracy (ND) supported Mayor of Athens Dimitris Avramopoulos of financial intransparency, the non-existence of projects and the degredation of the municipal council.

Ms. Damanaki, the former Synaspismos leader, said that the combined forces of the progressive polical landscape will win the elections on the second round.

Ms. Damanaki spoke of a lack of projects, noting that Mr. Avramopoulos received 225 billion drachmas and spent only eight billion "for facades, railings, fountains, and lighting of four major streets".

Ms. Damanaki added that Mr. Avramopoulos "refused dialogue during the pre- election period as he has done for the last four years, by his absence and degredation of the Municipal Council."He is trying to convince that he represents the new element in the polical scene, because he has no polical past. But the absence of a past is in itself a polical action."

Samaranch signs protocol for establishment of `Cultural Olympics`

Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch yesterday signed the protocol establishing the "Cultural Olympics" International Institute, which will be responsible for this new institution.

Mr. Venizelos had proposed to UNESCO the new institute have a status as a non-governmental organisation, based at Olympia, Greece.

Mr.Venizelos said that the first Cultural Olympics will be held at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games leading to the Athens 2004 Games, while the four- pronged subject will focus on the civilisation of peace, social cohesion, the society of information and the civilisation of innovation.

The culture minister said that a second cooperation protocol was also signed between the Olympia Archaeological Museum and the Lausanne Olympic Games Museum. Mr. Samaranch said "the texts we signed were an important beginning for the 2 004 Games." He added that he always supported the idea the Games had two dimensions, an atheletic and a cultural one, and that the 2004 Games in Athens will have a third one, the historical.

Mr. Samaranch who flew to Athens yesterday for a series of meetings with Greek officials on preparations for the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics, met earlier with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

Mr. Samaranch told a press conference last night that this was "the first meeting between the IOC and the 2004 Games organising committee."

He noted "we did not come to Athens to oversee or control the situation. We are here to offer help, support and cooperation. I am sure of the success of the 2004 Olympic Games, which will all belong to Greece, Athens and the Olympic ideal."

KKE criticises tobacco company

Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga yesterday condemned the management of the Karelias cigarette factory, which refused her request to speak to the employees, during her visit of the Kalamata region.

Ms. Papariga said that problems of the area stem from the general government policies and called on the working classes to rise up against these policies.

She added that KKE had foreseen the stock exchange crisis and stressed that this crisis will help people understand the reality of it and react.

Finally, she accused the government of disbursing huge sums of money in support of ruling PASOK municipal and prefectural candidates, in light of the upcoming local elections.

Emergency measures planned to confront floods

Environment, Town Planning and Public Works (YPEHODE) Minister Costas Laliotis yesterday presided over a meeting on the planned emergency flood control projects for the protection against soil errosion in areas hit by last summer's forest fires.

The minister noted that the projects will not be subject to a unified study of the problem, so as to maintain flexibility and speed of completion.

The projects in southern Greece, excluding Attica will cost an estimated 4.7 billion drachmas and will inlcude log walls water dams and the clearing of dry river beds.

In Attica alone, more than 100 such dams will be constructed on mountainous areas to avert soil errosion and mud slides.

The summer forest fires burned 1,250 hectares of forests in Attica, 1,450 hectares in Hlia, 100 hectares at Taiyetos Mt., 250 hectares in Achaia and 300 hectares in Aetoloacarnania.

Greek-Polish industrial cooperation

Development Undersecretary A. Diamantopoulou met with Polish National Economy Undersecretary V. Kardner yesterday in Athens, with discussion focusing on Greek-Polish cooperation in the industry sector and support to small- and medium-sized enterprises (S MEs). The two officials also examined the potential cooperation of Greece's EOMMEX and ELOT organisations with Poland's corresponding state bodies.

OA's share capital to be raised by 14 bln dr.

National air-carrier Olympic Airways' share capital will be increased by 14 billion drachmas. Making the announcement during a briefing of Board members yesterday, OA president Theodoros Tsakiridis said that an extraordinary general meeting should be held within next week to approve of this, first phase of the company's share capital increase. The development gives the green light to the Greek state, after the final decision by the EU, to pay a guarantee amount of US$478 million for the ailing carrier's fleet renewal. The Greek state will also pay the sum of 50 billion drachmas for OA's relocation to the new Athens international airport in Spata.

Measures against cheating taxi-drivers

Greece's public works ministry is planning to place signs at central intersections giving approximate fares for taxi rides on commonly-used routes, in an effort to protect unsuspecting tourists from being ripped off by unscrupulous taxi-drivers.

In a meeting held at the Athens Prefectural Offices yesterday, representatives of local government, taxi-drivers' unions and organisations and other officials decided on a number of measures to offset the bad image a number of taxi-drivers have given the profession among tourists.

Six taxi-drivers were found to be overcharging - some through sophisticated rigging of taxi meters - in August alone, in a crackdown by police.

The transport and communications ministry also moved Monday to bring Greece's taxi-drivers into line, saying anyone caught overcharging passengers would have their vehicles taken off the roads.

WEATHER

Fine weather in most parts the country today with scattered clouds in central and northern Greece. Winds northerly moderate to strong. Fine weather in Athens, with temperatures ranging from 19-32C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 17C to 30C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 296.757 British pound 494.353 Japanese yen (100) 215.264 French franc 50.642 German mark 169.930 Italian lira (100) 17.201 Irish Punt 426.560 Belgian franc 8.228 Finnish mark 55.840 Dutch guilder 150.407 Danish kr. 44.580 Austrian sch. 24.125 Spanish peseta 1.999 Swedish kr. 37.559 Norwegian kr. 38.553 Swiss franc 206.038 Port. Escudo 1.657 Aus. dollar 173.898 Can. dollar 192.051 Cyprus pound 576.927

(C.E.)


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