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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-09-23

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, 23/09/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Simitis warns of two difficult years ahead
  • G. Papandreou voices concern over human rights in Turkey
  • First phase of 'Parmenion '98' concludes
  • Gov't cites Luxembourg, Cardiff summits in relation to Cyprus
  • Margarita Papandreou commends Hillary Clinton
  • Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Greece represented at Commission
  • European conference on topic of 'Women-Athletics Cooperation'
  • V. Papandreou says economic borders replaced by qualitative ones
  • In't Energy Organisation recommendations for Greece
  • Greek shipowners focus on problems faced in the sector
  • Greek stocks jump in slim trade led by banks
  • Finance ministry calls information technology tender
  • Gov't determined to keep up barrage of tax checks
  • Romanian trade delegation to visit Athens
  • Advertising in the Daily ANA Bulletin
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Simitis warns of two difficult years ahead

Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed the next two years will be difficult for Greece because, as the international environment is unstable and demanding and because there are specific targets which must be achieved.

Speaking at a party rally organised by his ruling PASOK party at Davaki Square in Kallithea yesterday evening on the occasion of the anniversary of the party's election victory in September 1996, Mr. Simitis said the rally sends a message of certainty a nd success, that the "people want and PASOK wants."

He said that the party is capable and guarantees the country's course in the 21st century since, as he said, toils and sacrifices are producing results because Greece is no longer a small country. It has a voice, prestige and a presence and influences d ecisions, he added.

Mr. Simitis reminded that when the drachma joined the Exchange Rate Mechanism last March, the opposition criticised this decision unwisely, inconsiderately and off-handedly, while now the international crisis was handled with success.

He said that PASOK had requested the popular mandate in 1996, having the country's accession to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) as a cornerstone and today the overwhelming majority of the people side with this option.

Mr. Simitis refuted the argument that the government's policy allows markets to decide, saying that it is doing exactly the opposite since it calls for societies to decide, having given its reply to neo-liberalism.

G. Papandreou voices concern over human rights in Turkey

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou expressed serious concern over human rigths in Turkey, during yesterday's ceremony in Strasbourg for the awarding of the European Human Rights Prize 1998.

The prizes were awarded to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and to the Committee on the Administration of Justice of Northern Ireland, and presented by Mr. Papandreou in his capacity as the current president of the Council of Europe (CoE).

Speaking before the presentation of the awards, Mr. Papandreou said that the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey was operating in a particularly difficult environment, providing support to those in need.

"The situation of human rights in Turkey has often been a matter of international concern", Mr. Papandreou added.

The president of the foundation, Yavuz Onen, revealed that since the organisation's establishment in 1990, 14 members have been murdered.

Mr. Onen said he was in favour of a peaceful solution of the Kurdish problem, the main source of human rights violations.

First phase of 'Parmenion '98' concludes

The first phase of the joint military exercise "Parmenion '98" was successfully concluded yesterday in Evros' Lavara region, with the participation of officers and conscripts, as well as armoured vehicles, helicopters and jetfighters.

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos attended the first final stage of the excercise, which ends today on the island of Hios.

Gov't cites Luxembourg, Cardiff summits in relation to Cyprus

The framework for the accession of Cyprus and other countries to the European Union has been defined by the decisions of the Luxembourg and Cardiff summits and any change to this should be brought to the competent EU bodies, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

Mr. Reppas was responding to reporters regarding France, Italy and Spain's reported objections to Cyprus' accession to the EU.

He said he believed there would not be any change to the EU's decisions, adding that Greece and Cyprus were "unprepared" to pay the price of the stand-off over finding a solution to the division of Cyprus, due to Turkey's intransigence.

Margarita Papandreou commends Hillary Clinton

In a letter distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and reprinted in several newspapers, the former wife of PASOK founder and three-time prime minister Andreas Papandreou, Margarita Papandreou, has voiced her support for US First Lady Hillary Clinton.

"As a former first lady who confronted a similar situation in my life, I feel immensely close to you. I know the ache, the tears, the sleepless nights, the disbelief".

The women involved have some responsibility, but only to their own conscience and sense of morals. The men in power have a responsibility to their families, friends and co-workers, to the voters, to their office. From the time they decided to get into p ublic life, their private lives were open to scrutiny.

Here is where both of them made a mistake, not realising and remembering that they lived in glass houses. They failed to respect their offices and the people who elected them.

What I want to say, Hillary, is that you have your head on straight. You not only carry yourself with decorum and dignity, which is a tribute to womanhood everywhere, but you know what is important and what is unimportant. In a world where poverty affec ts over two-thirds of the population, in a world where and men kill women out of suspicion of "immoral" behavior, in a world full of regional wars, in a world where our precious children are out on the street, neglected, we cannot spend time worrying abo ut something that did not even fall into the category of sexual harassment.

Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Greece represented at Commission

The Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Greece has been included in a list of religious denominations represented at the European Commission as of last Monday, according to an announcement. The announcement followed Monday's visit by the director of the Church's delegation at the European Union, Nikos Savvopoulos, to the European Commission's adviser on religious issues, T. Jansen.

The announcement said the Orthodox Church of Greece's interest was stressed for its active participation in European events, which led to the creation of its delegation in Brussels.

Mr. Jansen listened with interest to the European prospects of the Church of Greece and agreed to its inclusion in the list of religious denominations represented at the European Commission.

European conference on topic of 'Women-Athletics Cooperation'

A number of ministers for sports from various countries and Olympic Games medallists will be in Athens on Friday to attend the third European conference on "Women-Athletics-Cooperation", organised by the sports general secretariat and the women's athletic s association "Kallipateira".

Juan Antonio Samaranch, the president of the International Olympics Committee, will declare open the conference at a ceremony at the Athens Concert Hall.

The four-day conference will draw some 200 participants from 40 countries. Of that number, at least 89 of the participants will be women.

V. Papandreou says economic borders replaced by qualitative ones

Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said the country must hurry if it desires to overcome obstacles at a time when economic borders have been replaced by qualitative ones.

Ms Papandreou was speaking yesterday at a European conference on "Tourism- Quality-Education" at the Asteras Hotel in Vouliagmeni.

She said that it is necessary for the country to proceed with faster rates with the completion of quality infrastructures, upgrading the country's tourist product and services provided.

"Many important projects are underway in Greece at airports, ports, road axes, etc, which have improved the qualitative standard of our tourism," she said.

However, she conceded that despite positive steps in many sectors considerable qualitative interventions in tourism must still take place.

In't Energy Organisation recommendations for Greece

The government's energy policy is moving in the right direction and must be continued, but efforts must be strengthened for development of a suitable legislative framework as well as a policy framework that is necessary to encourage competitiveness, the I nternational Energy Organisation (IEO) stressed during the presentation yesterday of a study on Greece's energy policy.

The recommendations were presented by IEO representative Jean Boyrder and the development ministry's energy secretary general.

The recommendations, which are not binding for the government, include the continuation, strengthening and speedup of efforts for the development of a suitable legislative framework, as well as a policy framework, which is necessary to encourage competi tiveness.

In addition, the strengthening by the ministry of its cadre potential which will formulate energy policy, will support this separation and will satisfy increasing demands for new policies to be shaped and implemented.

Furthermore, encouragement of a more commercial character in relations between state corporations, the study and creation of a permanent and independent administrative authority to secure fair access to energy markets, both for private and state corpora tions, and the creation of a longterm privatisation policy in the energy sector, including a timetable for denationalisations and targets for the final level of state control and ownership.

Greek shipowners focus on problems faced in the sector

Issues preoccupying Greek shipping as well as problems emanating from the prolonged crisis in shipping and the world's economy were examined yesterday in Piraeus during the second meeting this year between the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) and the Greek

Committee for Shipping Cooperation of London.

After recommendations were made by the presidents of the two groups, Yiannis Lyras and I. Hatzipateras, respectively, a discussion followed on all isues contained in the agenda and a series of conclusions were reached.

It was ascertained that the commercial fleet under Greek control continues to hold first place in the world despite daily difficulties faced in the operation of the shipping industry in the world.

However, the crisis in the world economy, together with the subsequent crisis in the freight market, create grave concern for the future.

A considerable number of Greek-owned ships have already been withdrawn from service and a big part of dry cargo ships is moving at a marginal level and as a result economic deadlock is being created for many companies.

According to data provided by the unions, the Greek-flagged fleet does not exceed 890 ships at present, while in 1990 it numbered 1,871 and in 1995 1, 863. More specifically, since January 1996 the Greek-flagged fleet of ocean- going ships has shrunk by a bout 22 per cent, namely, it has lost about a fourth of its strength, and as a result it now ranks fourth in the world classification.

The shipowners said that the main reason for this situation is the lack of Greek ships' competitiveness which the state refused to bolster in time with measures similar to those taken by the merchant marines of other EU partners and in accordance with t he persistent indications on the part of shipowners, and of course, the crisis in the freight market which showed the national register's vulnerability.

Greek stocks jump in slim trade led by banks

A rebound in international markets helped the Athens Stock Exchange to recover more than half of its losses in light trade yesterday following a plunge in the previous session. Leading the rally was the heavily weighted banking sector.

The general index ended 2.80 percent higher at 2,140.28 points with turnover at 35.1 billion drachmas. Sector indices scored gains. Banks soared 3.54 percent, Insurance ended 0.37 percent up, Investment rose 2.33 percent, Leasing ended 2.55 percent higher, Industrials increased 2.68 percent, Construction ended 2.43 percent up, Miscellaneous rose 1.91 perce nt and Holding increased 2.79 percent.

The parallel market index ended 0.97 percent higher, and the FTSE/ASE 20 blue-chip index rose 2.93 percent to 1,293.07 points.

Broadly, advancers led decliners by 194 to 42 with another 12 issues unchanged.

Bitros, Eltrak, Sigalas, Remek, Kyriakoulis, Technodomiki, Nafpaktos Mills, Alcatel, St. George Mills and Hellenic Spin Mills scored the biggest percentage gains.

Elfico, Desmos, Boutaris, Britannia, Daring, Xylemporia, Ideal and Galis suffered the heaviest losses.

National Bank of Greece ended at 39,790 drachmas, Ergobank at 23,800, Alpha Credit Bank at 21,900, Ionian Bank at 10,340, Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,600, Delta Dairy at 3,175, Intracom at 11,370, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,565 and Titan Cement at 18,150 drachmas.

Finance ministry calls information technology tender

The finance ministry yesterday authorised an open tender for the supply of information technology including equipment, applications, and data entry systems in a project to computerise national heritage data.

Finance Undersecretary George Drys said the project was budgeted at 170 million drachmas.

Gov't determined to keep up barrage of tax checks

Finance Undersecretary George Drys yesterday reaffirmed the government's intention to step up tax inspections, saying the move was key to improving efficiency and promoting confidence between taxpayers and the state.

Commenting on recent press reports, Mr. Drys said that the finance ministry was not considering the re-introduction of automatic checks for outstanding tax cases, but would order inspections on a case-by-case basis.

Mr. Drys said that the measure, introduced last June, had proved efficient and there was no need for change.

Romanian trade delegation to visit Athens

A Romanian business delegation begins a three-day visit to Athens today at the invitation of the Commerce and Industry Chamber of Athens. The Romanian delegation, headed by George Cojocaru, chairman of Romania's Commerce and Industry Chamber, will hol d a bilateral forum with Greek businessmen this morning.

Trade between Greece and Romania exceeds 370 million US dollars annually.

Greek investments in the Balkan country total around 80 million US dollars, according to Romanian figures.

The two countries enjoy traditionally good political and economic relations.

Romania is the biggest market in the Balkans, and the government has undertaken an effort to promote its privatisation programme abroad.

Advertising in the Daily ANA Bulletin

The ANA will from now on welcome professional half-page or full-page advertisements in its daily English and French Bulletin.

Advertisements will be accepted from embassies, banks, commercial and maritime companies, chambers of commerce, advertising companies, airlines, organisations, professional associations, educational and research institutions in Greece and abroad as well as international bodies.

Also, for a small fee, the above groups may channel their Press Releases (PRs), announcements or photographs - in Greek, English or French - to the ANA's more than 100 media subscribers throughout Greece and Cyprus via the recently introduced ANA on-line

PR's service.

For details on and arrangements for the advertising and/or PRs on-line service, please contact the ANA Marketing Department, tel: 6400580, fax: 6400024 between 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

WEATHER

Cloud and scattered showers will prevail throughout Greece today. Winds northerly, northwesterly, moderate. Athens will be partly cloudy with temperatures between 15-26C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 15- 24C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 288.801 British pound 483.521 Japanese yen (100) 213.498 French franc 50.915 German mark 170.698 Italian lira (100) 17.277 Irish Punt 427.254 Belgian franc 8.275 Finnish mark 56.064 Dutch guilder 151.374 Danish kr. 44.832 Austrian sch. 24.259 Spanish peseta 2.010 Swedish kr. 36.317 Norwegian kr. 38.400 Swiss franc 207.154 Port. Escudo 1.665 Aus. dollar 168.139 Can. dollar 188.361 Cyprus pound 574.368

(C.E.)


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