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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-09-17

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, 17/09/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Athens reiterates position on Cyprus demilitarisation
  • Rolling Stones rock Athens
  • Tax inspectors find fake Rolling Stone tickets
  • FBI director arrives in Greece
  • Int'l conference on plastic surgery in Athens
  • Industrialists want spending cuts, not tax hikes in 1999 budget
  • Greek stocks end higher fuelled by selective buying
  • DANE Sea Line in revival plan with Cypriot group
  • Greek tobacco output, sales rising
  • Kinnock begins official visit to Greece today
  • Int'l conference for women journalists ends in Athens
  • Champion's League results
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Athens reiterates position on Cyprus demilitarisation

Greece reiterated yesterday that anyone interested in alleviating tension on Cyprus should support the idea of reducing armaments on the island republic, with a final goal of complete demilitarisation.

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos conveyed the message to visiting British Defence Secretary George Robertson, who arrived in Athens yesterday after talks in Ankara.

Mr. Robertson called on Nicosia to postpone the deployment of the Russian- made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles on the island.

"The S-300 missiles do not add anything to the security of Cyprus. On the contrary, they add to the existing tension. And what is now the priority is reducing tension," Mr. Robertson said after talks with Mr. Tsohatzopoulos.

However, the Greek minister said that "anyone really interested in confronting tension should support the idea of a reduction of armaments, with the final goal of complete demilitarisation of Cyprus.

Greece believes that the establishment of a no-fly zone over Cyprus could be the "first step" in reducing armaments, and this first step could then be expanded to other areas, he said.

Mr. Robertson said that in his talks in Ankara, with Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz and his defence and foreign ministers, he stressed the fact that Britain was prepared to aid in supervising the moratorium.

However, he said, the reply he received from the Turkish leadership was that the issue of a no fly zone was related to the issue of the S-300 missiles on the island.

Rolling Stones rock Athens

A diverse crowd of about 75,000 people flocked to the Athens Olympic Stadium (OAKA) last night for what promoters billed as the "concert of the decade" in Greece, as the Rolling Stones played in Athens after 31 years.

The Greek rock band "Xylina Spathia" opened for rock music's "seniors" at 8 p.m., while the Rolling Stones appeared about an hour and a half later on the largest stage ever set up for a concert in Greece.

The Greek audience loudly cheered on as a tirelessly moving and jumping Mick Jagger opened the Stones' performance with "Satisfaction", before leading into "Let's Spend the Night Together".

"Good evening Athens, we are in Greece again", the veteran rocker said in Greek before throwing off his pink coat and take a position under a huge screen on stage.

Earlier in the afternoon, the four remaining members of the Rolling Stones were awarded a gold "Bridges to Babylon" album in a stadium hall by their record company.

They were last in Greece a generation ago, in 1967, when their performance was cut short when trouble began between the police and audience.

Tax inspectors find fake Rolling Stone tickets

Finance ministry inspectors confiscated 1,700 tickets and 8,000 ticket stubs already sold to the public for yesterday's Rolling Stones concert in Athens, a ministry press release stated.

According to reports, spots checks led to the confiscation of the tickets, which were not declared properly to the tax service. Tax evasion worth 96 million drachmas were cited.

Authorities said the firm "Ticket Hellas S.A." sold 8,000 tickets and was preparing to sell another 1,700 correctly marked by the tax service but not declared for tax purposes. The firm and the company New Wave Int'l. Ltd., which organised the concert, were expected to face forgery charges.

FBI director arrives in Greece

FBI director Louis Freeh yesterday began a two-day visit in Greece. Mr. Freeh, who is currently on an official European tour, will have talks on various issues with several high-ranking government officials.

The FBI director is scheduled to meet today with Public Order Minister George Romeos and Greek Police (El.AS) chief Lt. Gen. Athanasios Vassilopoulos. According to reports, issues to be discussed include drugs smuggling, terrorism and state security.

US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns will host a dinner in Mr. Freeh's honour later in the evening.

Int'l conference on plastic surgery in Athens

More than 10,000 Greeks resort to plastic surgery of one form or another every year, taking advantage of less painful and more effective developments, the association of Greek plastic surgeons said yesterday.

Women comprise the majority of those opting for plastic surgery, with men accounting for 20 per cent of cases, doctors said at a news conference to announce the holding of an international conference on plastic surgery in Athens, Sept. 23-25.

The most popular procedures for women are face-lifts, liposuction and rhinoplasty. Advances in facelifts in particular - making the procedure less painful and time-consuming - have led to an increase in its popularity, physicians said.

The advent of laser technology has revolutionised the practice of plastic surgery, with the process now hoped to be of help in dealing with facial imperfections and hair and tatoo removal.

Falling costs have also contributed to the burgeoning popularity of plastic surgery, with specialists saying that most procedures are cheaper "than an appendectomy" although health funds by and large will not cover the cost of surgery.

The conference will be held at the Iaso Maternity Clinic and the Asteras Hotel.

Industrialists want spending cuts, not tax hikes in 1999 budget

Industrialists want the government to cut state spending in the 1999 budget being drafted rather than boost revenue by hiking taxes, Iason Stratos, president of the Federation of Greek Industry, said yesterday.

Next year's budget also would be crucial in determining whether Greece would join European economic and monetary union by its target date of January 1, 2001, Mr. Stratos told a monthly news briefing.

In addition, the government should reject EMU entry based on political criteria and privileged terms, he said.

"The only way (to join EMU) is to attain the Maastricht Treaty's criteria, and that is the target on which we should focus our efforts."

Inflation had to fall in order to bring down interest rates, the economy and the state needed restructuring, and tight fiscal discipline also would be needed after the country's entry into EMU, Mr. Stratos said.

Greek stocks end higher fuelled by selective buying

Greek equities ended moderately higher yesterday, changing direction for the third consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange.

Traders said that the market remained nervous awaiting action in the government's privatisation plan. It also was watching jittery markets abroad.

The general index ended 1.10 percent higher at 2,222.84 points in light-to- moderate trade with turnover at 38.6 billion drachmas.

Buying activity focused on construction and industrial shares, and on smaller cap companies.

Sector indices were mixed. Banks rose 0.25 percent, Insurance fell 1.27 percent, Investment ended 0.44 percent up, Leasing dropped 1.22 percent, Industrials rose 1.22 percent, Construction jumped 3.37 percent, Miscellaneous soared 2.74 percent and Holdi ng ended 3.22 percent up.

The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 1.25 percent, and the FTSE/ASE 20 blue chip index ended 1.0 percent up at 1,346.41.

Broadly, advancers led decliners by 167 to 63 with another 24 issues unchanged.

National Bank of Greece ended at 40,645 drachmas, Ergobank at 25,150, Alpha Credit Bank at 23,780, Ionian Bank at 10,450, Hellenic Telecoms at 7,000, Delta Dairy at 3,250, Intracom at 12,220, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,650 and Titan Cement at 18,700 drachmas.

DANE Sea Line in revival plan with Cypriot group

DANE Sea Line, an endebted shipper listed on the Athens bourse, is carrying out a plan to return to profitability by holding a share capital increase and entering the cruiseship market aided by a Cypriot shipping and tourism group.

DANE's management said in a statement yesterday that the company plans to buy a stake in a cruiseship to ply a route linking Rhodes, Turkey and Cyprus.

The company held talks last week with the Cypriot group, which includes participation by a bank representing the interests of a major international business concern.

Under the plan, a company will be set up with DANE and the Cypriot group holding 49 percent each. The remaining 2.0 percent is to be held by the bank.

The firm, due to launch operations in 2000, will own the cruiseship, organise seven-day cruises and take bookings from a leading international tour operator.

Talks between the two sides are due to continue in October after DANE completes its 4.65 billion drachma share capital increase, which began on September 2 and is due to end on October 2.

According to DANE, the Cypriot firm is interested in taking part in the share capital increase, which is to be paid up in cash.

In addition, DANE is holding talks with another Cypriot shipping group over operation of one of its ships, the Ialysos, when it is withdrawn from the market and replaced.

Options being discussed are purchase of the vessel by the group, if DANE decides to sell; or creation of a company that will handle refurbishing of the vessel and then operate it on a route linking Cyprus, Israel and Egypt.

Greek tobacco output, sales rising

Greek tobacco output and sales are rising despite fears of a loss of European Union subsidies.

General Director Dimitris Kounatiadis of the Cooperatives Union of Greek Tobacco Producers SA (SEKE) told a news conference yesterday that continuation of the rise would depend on the types of tobacco to be produced, quality, prices and quantity.

Market sources have expressed fears that the market will suffer if the EU eliminates subsidies to support the tobacco production industry, a move currently being debated.

SEKE says it is the country's largest tobacco exporting cooperative, and, on the basis of 1997 data, ranks top among 14 tobacco industries operating in the country with Greek or foreign capital.

The company's turnover in 1997 was 8.755 billion drachmas with sales at 7.043 billion drachmas, gross profits at 1.711 billion drachmas and net profits at 633.546 million drachmas, Mr. Kounatiadis said.

Kinnock begins official visit to Greece today

European Union Transport Commissioner Neil Kinnock will begin a two-day visit to Athens today with talks on issues concerning his duties with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, among others.

He will also meet with Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis as well as Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis. Tomorrow, Mr. Kinnock will also meet with Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

Mr. Kinnock will visit the construction site of the new Athens airport at Spata tomorrow morning and will have meetings with the leaderships of the Union of Greek Shipowners and the Union of Passenger Ship Owners.

Int'l conference for women journalists ends in Athens

Participants at the 14th Conference of the International Association of Women Journalists and Writers, which ended in Athens yesterday, vowed to embark on a campaign against what they called the "adverse effects of the Internet", especially on children.

Participants went so far as to call the Internet the "virus of the century", while many advocated pressure for more regulations to "filter" information entering the worldwide web.

The three-day conference, entitled "The Value of Education in Journalism in the 21st Century", was attended by women journalists from around the world and especially from South America, as the group was founded by Chilean national Gloria Sala de Caldero n. Other issues examined included new technologies in journalism, education and training of journalists, which the group stressed should focus on humanistic values rather than commodities.

Champion's League results

Panathinaikos of Athens beat Dynamo Kiev 2-1 in Athens, while Olympiakos Piraeus drew 2-2 with Porto in Portugal in Champion's League group matches yesterday.

Panathinaikos plays in the E Group, while Olympiakos is in the A Group.

WEATHER

Mostly fair weather will prevail throughout Greece today with scattered cloud in the west in the afternoon and the possibility of rain in the northwest in the evening. Winds westerly, southwesterly, moderate. Athens sunny with temperatures between 17-29C. Same in Thesssaloniki with temperatures from 12-27C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 288.523 British pound 483.203 Japanese yen (100) 213.250 French franc 50.691 German mark 170.029 Italian lira (100) 17.210 Irish Punt 425.568 Belgian franc 8.242 Finnish mark 55.871 Dutch guilder 150.769 Danish kr. 44.592 Austrian sch. 24.160 Spanish peseta 2.002 Swedish kr. 36.990 Norwegian kr. 38.291 Swiss franc 205.880 Port. Escudo 1.659 Aus. dollar 171.938 Can. dollar 192.150 Cyprus pound 574.685

(C.E.)


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