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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-09-04

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, 04/09/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece to adopt EMU-oriented budget in throes of market turmoil
  • Greek stocks slump, dragged downbgy turmoil in world markets
  • State gets around Dr 50 bin from new tax-free bonds
  • German tourist arrivals in Greece up 10 pct in 1998
  • Greek mutual fund assets post 21.23 pct rise this year
  • Greece, Tunisia sign defence agreement
  • US stand has no relation with Denktash proposal, Greece says
  • Moscow rejects Denktash proposal for Cyprus confederation
  • PM optimistic on outcome of municipal elections
  • Greek consulate in Nis
  • Thessaloniki documentary Film Festival
  • Bill on digital TV tabled
  • OTE to participate in transatlantic cable
  • WEATHER
  • FOREIGN EXCHANGE

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece to adopt EMU-oriented budget in throes of market turmoil

The government plans to stick to its target of joining European economic and monetary union by January 1, 2001, reflected in planning for next year's budget, amid a financial crisis rocking world markets.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters yesterday that economic policy for 1999 would keep the same targets as this year, which are cutting inflation and deficits, shrinking the public sector, and making structural changes to the economy.

"This is the only right recipe," Mr. Reppas said.

He was speaking after a meeting of the inner cabinet with the ruling PASOK party's political bureau focusing on economic policy for 1999, due to be announced by Prime Minister Costas Simitis in Thessaloniki tomorrow.

The government was concerned at the financial fallout from Russia's crisis, and could not rule out the outbreak of renewed turmoil; but any fresh eruption could, to some extent, be controlled, Mr. Reppas said.

The government felt that domestic markets and the public had reacted maturely to the crisis, and the country had the resources to handle the pressure, mainly due to the drachma's membership of the European Union's exchange rate mechanism.

Greek stocks slump, dragged down by turmoil in world markets

Greek equities ended sharply lower yesterday hit by renewed turbulence in international markets as uncertainty rose over the impact of a Russian financial crisis on the global economy.

Following a 5.15 rise on Wednesday, the general index ended 3.79 percent off at 2,117.11 points in light-to-moderate trade with turnover at 44.8 billion drachmas.

Sector indices lost ground. Banks fell 3.69 percent, Insurance eased 1.22 percent, Investment ended 3.49 percent off, Leasing plunged 8.0 percent at limit down, Industrials fell 4.28 percent, Construction dropped 2.92 percent, Miscellaneous ended 6.0 pe rcent off and Holding dropped 3.56 percent.

The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 4.22 percent off. Bucking the trend, the FTSE/ASE 20 blue-chip index rose 3.42 percent to finish at 1,296.26 points.

Broadly, decliners led advancers by 208 to 34 with another 10 issues unchanged.

Keranis, Mosholios Chemicals, Mouriadis, Dimitriadis, Daring, Commercial Invest, Ideal, Bank of Central Greece and Aspis scored the biggest percentage gains.

National Bank of Greece ended at 40,480 drachmas, Ergobank at 25,000, Alpha Credit Bank at 22,395, Ionian Bank at 10,700, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,700, Delta Dairy at 3,150, Intracom at 11,000, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,650 and Titan Cement at 18,705.

State gets around Dr 50 bln from new tax-free bonds

The state has collected around 50 billion drachmas from the sale of new savings bonds aimed at retail investors that were put on the market in a public offer, according to early estimates released by the finance ministry yesterday.

The two-year fixed-income bonds dated September 2 have denominations ranging from 10,000 drachmas to 15 million drachmas, and are tax-free if held until maturity, but can be liquidated before then. The rate until expiry is 10.75 percent.

German tourist arrivals in Greece up 10 pct in 1998

German tourist arrivals in Greece by the end of the year will show an increase of more than 10 percent against 1997, the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) said yesterday.

The favourite holiday destinations for Germans, who showed the highest rate of increase among visitors to Greece, were Crete, Rhodes and Corfu.

According to Platon Davaki, who heads GNTO's Germany office, sales of package holidays to Greece rose by 5.0-18 percent in line with the size of tour operators.

Embattled national carrier Olympic Airways also posted a slight rise in passengers from Germany, despite cancelling around 90 flights so far due to strikes and staff shortages.

Greek mutual fund assets post 21.23 pct rise this year

Assets of Greece's 180 mutual funds totalled 8.7 trillion drachmas on August 31, showing a 21.23 percent rise from the start of the year, the Union of Institutional Investors said in a statement yesterday.

The composition of the market by assets per category was money market funds at 66.22 percent; fixed income at 21.03 percent; combined at 8.72 percent; and equity at 4.02 percent.

There are 30 mutual fund management firms operating in Greece.

Greece, Tunisia sign defence agreement

Greece and Tunisia yesterday signed an agreement providing for cooperation in the defence and military sectors.

Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, winding up a three-day official visit to Tunisia, signed the agreement, which provides for joint military exercises and defines conditions for other forms of cooperation, such as in the defence industry.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the countries of the Mediterranean could contribute decisively to the maintenance of stability and security in the region, overcoming the problems arising at a localised level.

A joint Greek-Tunisian military committee will examine the details of the agreement which aims, Tunisian Defence Minister Ben Yahia said, "not only at defence but at peace in the region of the Mediterranean."

In statements to reporters, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the issues of security and economic growth were linked, saying: "Economic progress can be achieved when there is collective security in the entire region".

US stand has no relation with Denktash proposal, Greece says

Greece said yesterday that there was no relation between the official stance of the United States and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's proposal for a Cyprus confederation.

Commenting on a US State Department's statement issued late Wednesday, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said:

"There is no relation whatsoever between the official US position with the position formulated by Mr. Denktash. Mr. Denkash proposes a confederation while the US officially spoke once again for the need of a solution with the creation of one federal, b icommunal, bizonal state."

Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis described US reaction to the Turkish proposal as "not particularly satisfactory", pointing out it could have been "more positive".

Mr. Kranidiotis, in Durban for contacts on the side lines of the 12th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement to promote Greece's bid for a non- permanent seat in the UN Security Council, next October, met yesterday with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Commenting on the proposal put forward by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and already rejected by the Cyprus government and political parties, Mr. Kranidiotis stressed it did not help achieve peace nor the efforts for a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem.

He said the Turkish positions outlined in the proposal, that calls for a confederation of "two peoples and two states", are not new, adding that "Turkey has simply revealed its true face".

Mr. Kranidiotis believes the proposal was put forward because "Turkey feels isolated in the European world and has realised that Cyprus' course of accession to the European Union (EU) is irreversible."

He called on the US administration to be less "short-sighted" in respect to its political and strategic policies.

Moscow rejects Denktash proposal for Cyprus confederation

Russia stressed yesterday that the proposal put forward by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for the establishment of a confederation of two separate states on the island, contradicts many UN resolutions on Cyprus.

Moscow also said it is unproductive and constitutes yet another effort to gain recognition of the self-proclaimed illegal regime in the Turkish- occupied areas.

Russian Foreign Ministry senior spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin said in a statement that his country consistently calls for a rapid resumption of the intercommunal talks.

He said one cannot ignore the fact that the proposal contradicts UN resolutions, as well as high-level agreements signed by Mr. Denktash himself in 1977 and 1979.

PM optimistic on outcome of municipal elections

Prime Minister Costas Simitis predicted last night that results of October's municipal and prefectural elections will be good for his ruling socialist PASOK party.

Mr. Simitis visited the offices of PASOK's Prefectural Committee B3 in Agia Paraskevi in Athens last night and held talks with local cadres on the occasion of the 24th anniversary of the founding of the PASOK party.

Mr. Simitis also said that there are no differences between 1974 and 1998 and that it is a mistake to compare that time with today. He said the target remained the same and is the transformation of society, adding that it must be understood that great changes have taken place from 1974 until today. He further went on to say that targets remain the same and are none other than the implementation, with continuation and consistency, of Democratic Socialism.

Greek consulate in Nis

A Greek consulate will be inaugurated in the city of Nis today to cover the region of southern Serbia as well as Kosovo.

Greece is the first country to open a consulate in Nis to facilitate Yugoslav tourists and businessmen wishing to obtain visas.

It will also serve the big Greek community in Nis, composed primarily of students and businessmen, and will contribute towards the development of economic and cultural relations between Serbia and Greece.

The inauguration will be conducted by the Foreign Ministry's Administration and Organisation Secretary General Constantine Zoras in the presence of the Mayor of Nis Zoran Zivkovic and other Serb officials.

The Greek consulate in Nis will function as a branch of the Greek consulate in Belgrade until its establishment is ratified by the Greek Parliament, and will be controlled by officials from that consulate.

Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival

Thessaloniki Film Festival (TFF) director Michel Demopoulos yesterday announced the establishment of the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival.

Greek state television, the European Documentary Sector, Media II and the Culture Ministry are co-founding members of the new festival along with the TFF.

He said that the first run of the festival was set for March 15 to 21, 1999, while he added that the art director of the new institution will be Dimitris Eipidis.

Mr. Demopoulos said that the festival was entitled "Images of the 21st century", while he added that it will not be competitive.

Bill on digital TV tabled

The bill on digital TV was tabled in Parliament with certain amendments yesterday. It had previously been given to various bodies for observation and comment several weeks ago.

The bill is titled "For the provision of digital radio and TV services and similar clauses" and contains 21 articles defining the country's new digital "landscape and environment."

A report by Press and Mass Media Minister Dimitris Reppas tabled together with the bill said that "Proceeding with the enactment of a specialised legislative framework for providing digital radio and TV services, our country is entering the informatics society equipped with all the guarantees which are necessary for the democratic, transparent and individual-focused provision by the electronic mass media of new informational, educational and entertainment services for Greek citizens."

The report places particular emphasis on the new operational form imposed by technological changes and stressed that "this new operational rapprochement now constitutes an actual fact in our country as well."

OTE to participate in transatlantic cable

The Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation OTE will participate in the international underwater cable TAT-14 which links Europe with the United States and increases the capacity currently linking it to the US 50 times.

The General Director of Commercial Affairs Mr. Kargados signed on behalf of OTE in Paris on Wednesday for the organisation's participation in a joint venture establishing the new transatlantic cable.

The joint venture establishing the new cable comprises 50 telecommunications companies including AT&T, Cable and Wireless, Deutsche Telecom, France Telecom and Sprint. They jointly signed an agreement for construction and maintenance for the establishme nt of a new cable optical fibre network which will link the US with Europe.

The TAT-14 will have a length of 15,000 km and will cost less than 1.5 billion dollars. The Japanese company KDD-SCS will undertake to construct the project which is expected to become operational at the end of 2000.

Having a 2.3 per cent stake in the joint venture, OTE is one of the important shareholders.

'Value of Education in Journalism'

The International Women-Journalists' Union (IWJU) will hold the "Value of Education in Journalism of the 21st Century" conference in Athens on Sept. 14 to 17.

The conference will focus on ethics, the responsibility of journalists to the public, Internet and the effects of globalisation on journalism.

The 90 participants from Latin America, Europe, Asia and the United States elect the new governing body of the union at the end of the conference.

WEATHER

Fair weather in most parts the country today with scattered clouds in central and northern Greece, with possible rainfal later in the day. in northwestern Greece. Winds northerly light to moderate. Athens sunny with temperatures between 18-32C. Partly cloudy and hot in Thessaloniki with possibility of rain in the afternoon and temperatures from 17-30C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 295.368 British pound 496.556 Japanese yen (100) 217.635 French franc 50.919 German mark 170.485 Italian lira (100) 17.291 Irish Punt 427.552 Belgian franc 8.273 Finnish mark 56.028 Dutch guilder 151.206 Danish kr. 44.828 Austrian sch. 24.239 Spanish peseta 2.010 Swedish kr. 37.440 Norwegian kr. 38.182 Swiss franc 207.130 Port. Escudo 1.664 Aus. dollar 170.158 Can. dollar 192.296 Cyprus pound 576.253

(C.E.)


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