Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-09-17
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 17/09/1998 (ANA)
- 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
- 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
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
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,
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
The conference will be held at the Iaso Maternity Clinic and the Asteras
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
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
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
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
The company held talks last week with the Cypriot group, which includes
participation by a bank representing the interests of a major international
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
The firm, due to launch operations in 2000, will own the cruiseship,
organise seven-day cruises and take bookings from a leading international
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
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
Panathinaikos plays in the E Group, while Olympiakos is in the A Group.
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.
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