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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-10-19

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, 19/10/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • High abstention rates in municipal poll
  • Latest results from municipalities and prefectures
  • Poll results 'disappointing' for govt
  • Government meeting on budget
  • Greek equities end lower on Athens bourse
  • Greek health gets 70 MECU loan
  • Norwegian captain arrested over pollution
  • Kastellorizo couple to get Ipekci award?
  • Greece participates in Schengen operation
  • Piraeus hosts European oncology conference
  • Lalaounis exhibition in Moscow
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

High abstention rates in municipal poll

Abstention and blank/invalid votes soared to 42.4 percent in prefectural polls and 38 percent in municipal polls in Sunday's run-off local government elections, the Interior Ministry said this morning. The Ministry said that, with 98 percent of election results in, voter participation for the prefectural authorities stood at 67.1 percent, while blank and invalid votes accounted for 9.5 percent. In the poll for municipal leaders, voter participation stood at 69.6 percent while blank and invalid votes accounted for 7.6 percent.

Latest results from municipalities and prefectures

The Ministry also said that the main opposition New Democracy party (ND) had carried 27 of the 54 prefectures throughout the country, while PASOK had carried 25 prefectures, the Coalition of Left and Progress (SYN) one (Hania, Crete), and Independents one (former PASOK parliamentarian and minister George Petsos in Pella). PASOK-backed candidates carried 433 of a total 900 municipalities throughout the country, ND-backed candidates carried 368, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) backed candidates 24, SYN- backed candidates 12, Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) backed candidates 5, Political Spring-backed candidates three, and Independents carried 55 municipalities.

Poll results 'disappointing' for govt

The government reiterated on Monday that the municipal and prefectural elections around the country over the past two Sundays had disappointed the ruling party. Echoing Prime Minister Costas Simitis's comments on Sunday, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the result "fell short of expectations". But the result of the elections were not a defeat for the government, which was not being judged during the poll, Reppas said. The outcome did not presage any change in the government's policies, he added. Main opposition New Democracy was "a cheque waiting to bounce" if it thought it had the confidence of voters, Reppas said.

Government meeting on budget

National Economy and Finance Minister Yannos Papantoniou on Monday chaired a meeting of deputy ministers on the 1999 budget. According to reports, the meeting focused on procedural matters related to the presentation of the budget, both at the inner cabinet meeting on Friday and to Parliament. The budget, and related proposals to reduce special consumer charges on vehicles and on Value Added Tax, will be brought to the inner cabinet for approval on Friday.

Greek equities end lower on Athens bourse

Greek equities ended fractionally lower on the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday in what traders described as a normal correction following the market's 17.3 percent jump last week. The general index ended 0.62 percent lower to 2,027.80 points in thin turnover of 38.7 billion drachmas. Volume was 9,491,000 shares. Sector indices were mixed. Banks rose 0.23 percent, Insurance ended 1.35 percent higher, Investment fell 1.23 percent, Leasing soared 8.0 percent, Industrials fell 1.78 percent, Construction ended 0.39 percent up, MIscellaneous gained 1.79 percent and Holding eased 1.69 percent. The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 0.30 percent.

Greek health gets 70 MECU loan

The European Investment Bank (EIB) approved a loan-framework of 70 million Ecus (23.7 billion drachmas) to finance projects in Greece's health sector, according to an ANA dispatch from Brussels. The loan, the first ever earmarked by EIB for Greece's health sector, aims to implement small and medium-sized investments in programmes already adopted by a Second Community Support Framework in the period 1994-99. These programmes are included in a wider project aimed to combat imbalances and improve efficiency in health services in Athens and Thessaloniki, as well as other Greek cities suffering from lack of quality medical services.

Norwegian captain arrested over pollution

The Norwegian captain of a Bahamas-flag cruiseship has been detained and fined for polluting the sea south of Delos island, Merchant Marine ministry sources said today. They said Erik Bjurstedt, captain of the cruiseship "Marco Polo", was been detained on Sunday and served with an administrative fine of two million dr. for polluting the sea with detergents. Also, the captain and first engineer of the Cyprus-flag tanker "Sea Sun" were detained Sunday for causing a 2.5 nautical mile long, five-metre wide oil slick northeast of Cape Kafirea. Tanker captain Nikos Fivgas and first engineer Yannis Stamatelis will appear before a public prosecutor today.

Kastellorizo couple to get Ipekci award?

The Athens section of the Greek-Turkish friendship group Ipekci Prize said on Monday that they would propose bestowing the award on the parents who sent their seriously ill child to a Turkish hospital when the Greek ambulance service was unable to provide a helicopter to transfer her to a Greek hospital. The Athens branch unanimously proposed Themistocles and Christina Zamayias, of the far-flung Greek island of Kastellorizo, for the Ipekci Communications Award 1998-1999 for not being swayed by the efforts of some to not send their daughter to the neighbouring Turkish coast for treatment. The incident caused an uproar in the Greek press and public opinion. An Ipekci Prize statement said the Zamayias had been nominated for "taking the right and courageous decision, which also strengthened Greek- Turkish rapprochment between peoples".

Greece participates in Schengen operation

Greece said on Monday it had arrested 11 foreign nationals with stolen or fake travel papers and one in possession of a stolen car, during last week's international Schengen Treaty operation on the movement of illegal immigrants. The large-scale operation involving the police forces of all Schengen Treaty signatories was held October 15-18 and aimed at coordinating cooperation and information exchange in the movement of illegal immigrants. The operation was planned in the framework of other activities that will give Schengen treaty members a wider picture of the flow of illegal immigration.

Piraeus hosts European oncology conference

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) will be holding its 23rd Congress in Piraeus from November 6 to 10, bringing together oncologists from 30 countries. The discussions will include such topics as new developments in the treatment of breast cancer, stem cell transplantation, new targets for cancer treatment, supportive care, melanoma, sarcoma, leukaemia, cancer genetics, molecular oncology, novel therapeutics and pharmacology. The ESMO general assembly will also be held on November 9, while the ESMO Award and the Hamilton Fairley Award for Clinical Research for 1998 will also be presented during the conference.

Lalaounis exhibition in Moscow

Greek jeweler Ilias Lalaounis takes his famous collection to the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow next week, for display in the museum's centennial celebrations. The collection, housed in Athens at the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum, will be on display at the Pushkin Museum for the duration of a two-month cultural programme celebrating the latter's centennial, held under the auspices of the Russian Ministry of Culture. The creations are grouped in six sections by source of inspiration: pre- historic art, history of Greek art, the art of four civilisations, nature, modern technology, and a few special commissions.

WEATHER

Mostly fair weather is expected throughout the country today with local clouds in the western and northern regions, possibly turning to rain in the northwest in the afternoon. Fair weather in Athens with temperatures from 13-25 C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 11-24 C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 275.558 British pound 468.760 Japanese yen (100) 240.580 French franc 50.882 German mark 170.624 Italian lira (100) 17.241 Irish Punt 425.370 Belgian franc 8.271 Finnish mark 56.078 Dutch guilder 151.275 Danish kr. 44.886 Austrian sch. 24.257 Spanish peseta 2.008 Swedish kr. 35.139 Norwegian kr. 36.829 Swiss franc 210.463 Port. Escudo 1.664 Aus. dollar 175.683 Can. dollar 178.560 Cyprus pound 576.808

(M.P.)


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