Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-09-24
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 24/09/1998 (ANA)
- Commercial Bank of Greece hopes to sell Ionian in four months
- Half a million people so far declare real estate for land register
- Greek stocks end flat in volatile trade
- OA: Flight schedule unaffected from civil aviation employees strike
- Thessaloniki picked as Balkan entry point for Chiquita bananas
- Hostage stand-off ends in bloodshed
- Milosevic meeting with Greek business delegation
- Mediterranean nations' culture ministers to meet on Rhodes
- Final phase of 'Parmenion '98' concludes
- Mass infringements of Athens FIR by Turkish warplanes recorded
- US arms sale to Greece
- Athens, Piraeus public hospital physicians join strike
- Infertility problems, high rate of abortions
- Sofia conference targets int'l stolen car smuggling activity
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Commercial Bank of Greece hopes to sell Ionian in four months
Commercial Bank of Greece hopes to privatise Ionian Bank, its subsidiary,
in four months using a sale consultant and a phased process to set a market
price for the bank.
State Commercial Bank governor Konstandinos Georgoutsakos told a news
conference yesterday that JP Morgan, an international investment house,
would act as consultant in Ionian's 51 percent sale.
The three-step privatisation plan would be delayed if JP Morgan recommended
a slow-down due to any turmoil in domestic or world markets, Mr. Georgoutsakos
The plan follows a recent abortive tender for the bank on the Athens Stock
Exchange in the wake of a long-term strike by workers. No consultant was
used in the sale.
In the latest plan's first phase, JP Morgan will prepare a sale prospectus
after a detailed investigation of Ionian's finances and legal status
carried out with an international auditor and law office.
In the second phase, the consultant will approach potential buyers in
Greece and abroad, requesting indicative, non-binding bids.
And in the third phase, JP Morgan will ask a small number of interested
investors to submit final bids, then negotiating with each in turn in order
to secure the highest price for Ionian's stock.
The new sale process would separate Ionian's buyout price from its stock
market value, an entanglement that helped to scotch the first attempted
sale, and ensure transparency, Mr. Georgoutsakos said.
He justified the method used in the first sale as being in line with the
Half a million people so far declare real estate for land register
Around 500,000 owners of real estate have registered their properties for a
national land register being created in Greece for the first time,
Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said
The registration rate for areas being catalogued was around 90 percent, Mr.
Albania and Greece are the only European countries without a land
The register, which is expected to start phased operations in 2004, aims to
protect state land from encroachment, formalise private ownership rights,
and provide revenue for the state.
To receive deeds of ownership, applicants will pay duty of 10,000-300,000
drachmas in line with the value of the property, with the majority expected
to pay 20,000-30,000 drachmas. The process is due to start in two years,
Mr. Laliotis said.
Revenue from the duty and an extra administrative fee will be used to
finance operation of the register.
The next phase of the project budgeted at 42 billion drachmas will involve
properties in 447 local authorities, or 16 percent of the country's total
urban area, 10 percent of total farm land and seven percent of other
Greek stocks end flat in volatile trade
Greek equities ended mixed to higher on the Athens Stock Exchange in light
to moderate trade yesterday reflecting a lack of fresh incentives and
The general index rose 0.04 percent to end at 2,141.06 points amid price
Turnover rose to 42.5 billion drachmas boosted by block trades.
Sector indices were mixed. Banks fell 0.38 percent, Insurance rose 0.75
percent, Investment dropped 0.59 percent, Leasing was 1.26 percent off,
Industrials increased 0.68 percent, Construction eased 0.63 percent,
Miscellaneous rose 1.40 percent and Hold ing was 0.83 percent down.
The parallel market index for small cap companies dropped 1.69 percent, and
the FTSE/ASE 20 blue-chip index fell 0.14 percent to 1,291.23 points.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 146 to 80 with another 23 issues
National Bank of Greece ended at 39,980 drachmas, Ergobank at 23,600, Alpha
Credit Bank at 21,620, Ionian Bank at 10,230, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,615,
Delta Dairy at 3,150, Intracom at 11,350, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,550 and
Titan Cement at 18,000 drachmas.
OA: Flight schedule unaffected from civil aviation employees strike
All Olympic Airways and Aviation flights will be carried out as normal
during rolling 24-hour strikes called by civil aviation employees,
beginning today through Sunday, an OA statement read.
Civil aviation employees are protesting against planned changes in the
institutional framework of work regulations, being introduced by the
government. They are also demanding that two bills due to be submitted to
Parliament be scrapped. They charge that the bills provide for the
establishment of a company that would regulate airports and civil
The Civil Aviation Authority has filed a motion with courts to have the
strike declared illegal. Sources said a ruling was expected late yesterday.
Thessaloniki picked as Balkan entry point for Chiquita bananas
A recently signed agreement between Greece's Fruita and the well-know
multinational Chiquita is expected to turn Thessaloniki's port into a major
transit centre for the import of large quantities of bananas towards the
The first shipment of some 40,000 cartons of bananas is expected to arrive
in Thessaloniki on Friday. Fruita has made arrangements for storage in the
Hostage stand-off ends in bloodshed
Twelve persons, including eight police officers, were injured when a hand
grenade exploded following a standoff between police and a Greek-Romanian
fugitive in a downtown Athens apartment early today.
Police stormed the apartment where 27-year old Greek-Romanian fugitive
Sorin Matei broke into the apartment and held a family of three as hostages,
threatening to explode the hand grenade.
He was demanding from police a get-away car and 500,000 dollars to release
the hostages he held in the small apartment on Niovis street off Acharnon.
According to a police spokesman, Matei, who was under the influence of
heroin, pulled the pin from the grenade and fastened it on the trousers of
one of the hostages, Amalia Ginaki, 25.
When police stormed the apartment, Matei pushed the girl towards the
policemen simultaneously exploding the hand grenade.
The girl was in a critical condition at the Red Cross hospital after
surgery which resulted in the amputation of her leg.
Also injured in the explosion were the Chief and Deputy Chief of the Greek
police and six other police officers, one of whom lost his right leg.
Less injured was the Greek-Romanian fugitive, the girl's mother and her
fiance. Miss Ginaki's younger brother was relesed by Matei earlier.
According to the Secretary General of the Ministry of Public Order Yiannis
Papadogiannakis said police stormed the apartment in the belief that the
hand grenade was fake.
Milosevic meeting with Greek business delegation
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic met yesterday with a delegation of
the newly established Yugoslav-Greek Business Council, which comprises of
distinguished businesspeople from both countries.
The Greek and Yugoslav businesspeople briefed Mr. Milosevic on their plans
in the sectors of energy, industry, agriculture, trade, transport and
telecommunications as well as on the potential for capital investment in
Highlighted at the meeting was also the process of decentralisation which
is in progress in Yugoslavia, a fact which also attracts the keen interest
of Greek businesspeople. Mr. Milosevic welcomed the establishment of the
council and said that its proper functioning would contribute to both
The Greek side was represented, among others, by the chairman of the Greek
section of the council, Mr. Mytilineos, and officials from the dairy
company DELTA, the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) and the
Titan Cement Co.
Mediterranean nations' culture ministers to meet on Rhodes
Culture ministers from Mediterranean nations meet on Rhodes this Saturday
to begin a two-day Euro-Mediterranean conference on EU financing for
Ministers are also expected to discuss the holding of an 11-nation
Mediterranean forum - with the participation of the five EU Mediterranean
countries, namely, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and Greece, as well as
non-EU members Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt , Algeria, Turkey and Malta.
Also on the agenda of the Rhodes meeting are the organisation of the Euro-
Mediterranean summit for 2001, the cultural olympiad and bilateral and
Final phase of `Parmenion '98` concludes
President Kostis Stephanopoulos, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos
as well as military and defence ministry officials along with several
foreign dignitaries yesterday observed the final phase of the combined
large-scale military exersise "Parmenion '98", held on the eastern Aegean
island of Hios.
All three branches of the armed forces are participating in the annual
exercise, which began last Thursday and is being directed by National
Defence Chief of General Staff Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis.
The aim of the exercise is to train staff officers and military units in
the planning and execution of joint operations in a modern warfare
environment and in general to enhance the combat efficiency of the armed
The scenario for the exercise on Hios yesterday was the retaking by special
forces of the Angelia islets. This phase of Parmenion was conducted by the
96th Battalion with the additional participation of 6,350 reserves and 6,
550 national guards.
"The country's armed forces, as a part of the Greek people, love peace,
stability and progress, work towards achieving these for the country as
well as for the wider region, through their ability, decisiveness and
preparedness," Gen. Tzoganis said on the completion of the exercise.
"They are ready and able to contribute to regional and international peace,
participating in peace missions of international organisations and
developing peaceful cooperation between various countries." "Greece is a
peaceful and peace-loving country and does not desire any involvement with
anybody but this does not mean that we are not obliged due to the
prevailing situation to have our armed forces at a level of operational and
effective readiness," President Stephanopoulos said.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also congratulated the armed forces, saying that the
exercise confirmed the battle readiness of the armed forces, and their high
level of morale and ability.
Mass infringements of Athens FIR by Turkish warplanes recorded
Six formations of Turkish warplanes infringed on Athens Flight Information
Region (FIR) regulations yesterday, while several fighters also violated
Greek national airspace.
According to reports, four Turkish F-16s, six reconnaisance RF-4 warplanes
and four F-4 "Phantoms" made 11 infringements of air traffic regulations in
the Athens FIR. Three violations of national airspace north of the islands
of Hios and Lesvos were als o reported.
In all cases, the Turkish aircraft were recognised and intercepted by
Hellenic Air Force F-16s and Mirage-2000s, while in two cases interceptions
developed into engagements. Four of the Turkish formations were armed,
US arms sale to Greece
The United States announced on Tuesday the sale of missiles, missile
launchers and rockets to Greece, worth 245 million dollars.
According to a US Pentagon announcement, the purchase concerns 18 launching
systems, 146 long-range rockets and 81 guided regular missiles, as well as
other military equipment of various types.
The specific purchase "will not have any repercussion neither on the
balance of forces in the region nor on the efforts of the US to have a
solution found to the Cyprus issue through the course of negotiations," the
Athens, Piraeus public hospital physicians join strike
Physicians at public hospitals in Athens and Piraeus joined their
colleagues in Thessaloniki yesterday, saying they would continue their two-
week strike to press for more government funding for duty rosters and pay
A representative of the doctors admitted that Health Minister Costas
Geitonas' move to increase spending on duty rosters by 8 per cent was
positive but said they were still waiting to hear whether this applied to
all hospitals before they called off the ir strike.
On Tuesday, doctors at public hospitals in Thessaloniki decided to extend
their strike to next Monday. Yesterday morning they occupied the offices of
the city's Hippocrateion Hospital for three hours in a symbolic protest.
They plan another occupation, at the George Yennimatas Hospital, and the
Centre for Infectious Diseases today.
Doctors want payment for being on call to be increased by 60 per cent of
the daily rostered-on pay as well as increases for rostered duty pay, a 10
per cent increase in starting wages and bonuses for specialists.
Infertility problems, high rate of abortions
Approximately 300,000 married couples in Greece cannot have children,
according to a Thessaloniki University medical professor.
Speaking during a press conference yesterday, organised by the "Ky-veli"
society, obstetrics professor Vassilis Tarlatzis said that around 200,000
abortions are performed annually in Greece, double the number of births.
According to Dr. Tarlatzis, Greece's high infertility rate - 15 per cent as
opposed to Europe's 13 per cent - can be attributed to a large extent to
the increased number of abortions, as well as to men's problems, mainly
infections affecting the reproductive system.
Modern methods to assist couples facing infertility problems are available
in Greece and results are encouraging.
However, low coverage by private and social security funds prevent couples
from seeking assistance.
The average amount given for such a case by funds does not exceed 120,000
drachmas, while expenses can amount to about one million drachmas.
Sofia conference targets int'l stolen car smuggling activity
Six international crime gangs involved in stealing cars, primarily from
northern Greece, before selling them abroad have been broken up by police
in Thessaloniki recently.
Between the period from Greece's joining the Schengen Pact until today, 30
Bulgarian nationals have been arrested at the Promahonas border checkpoint
attempting to leave or enter Greece in a stolen vehicle.
The data was provided by Thessaloniki police during an international
conference on combatting car smuggling. The conference came to a close in
Sofia yesterday with proposals for closer cooperation between police
authorities in this sector. The conference was attended by police and
insurance company representatives from 23 countries. One point noted in
particular during the conference was that while police authorities
performed their duty in solving cases of stolen cars, legislation is
lagging in this sector.
Mostly fair weather will prevail throughout Greece on today with scattered
cloud in the east and south of the country. Winds northerly, northeasterly,
light to moderate, turning strong in the Aegean Sea. Athens will be sunny
with few clouds and temperatures between 17-27C. Same in Thessaloniki with
temperatures from 15-25C.
Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 288.454
British pound 485.207 Japanese yen (100) 212.040
French franc 50.927 German mark 170.738
Italian lira (100) 17.322 Irish Punt 427.254
Belgian franc 8.286 Finnish mark 56.169
Dutch guilder 151.672 Danish kr. 45.112
Austrian sch. 24.345 Spanish peseta 2.023
Swedish kr. 36.668 Norwegian kr. 38.390
Swiss franc 206.748 Port. Escudo 1.667
Aus. dollar 166.160 Can. dollar 188.778
Cyprus pound 578.336