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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-10-24

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, 24/10/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Simitis to deliver momorandum at EU summit
  • Papantoniou calls for cut in indirect taxes
  • Papandreou expresses regret over student's death
  • Industrial production up by 4.9%
  • Greek equities end lower
  • Ecumenical Patriarch in Mount Athos
  • Reward posted for armed robbers
  • Father, son arrested with arms cache
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Simitis to deliver momorandum at EU summit

The need to revive the "European plan" and to give a new vision to the European Union's citizens is the focal point of Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis' memoradum, which he is to present on Saturday night, during the informal summit at Poertschach, Austria, accoriding to his press office. The premier will present his memorandum, during this summit focusing on the issue "the Present and Future of Europe". The seven-point text centres on the question "After EMU What?", attempting to provide answers to developments after the adoption of the euro, according to the press office. The seven points are as follows:

A. The need for a common vision on the future of the EU.

B. The need for speeding up the political unification of the EU

C. The need for fighting unemployment

D. The need for the EU to come closer to citizens

E. The need for promoting an effective common foreign and security policy.

F. The need for strengthening the society of citizens

G. The need for creating a Union which will be responsive to the demands of European societies. Mr. Simitis' office said further that the prime minister would insist on the pressing necessity of a social Europe, as EMU is a means and not an end in itself. The summit will tackle issues such as the further development of the EU, internal security and institutional matters, with other issues likely to be on the agenda are the global economic crisis and Kosovo. The Greek premier will take part in a separate two-hour working lunch of socialist and social democratic heads of government in the EU.

Papantoniou calls for cut in indirect taxes

A marathon inner cabinet meeting yesterday put the final touches to the 1999 budget, which includes a package of lower indirect taxes which will cost state coffers 180 billion drachmas but aid in the fight against inflation.

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said after the 5.5 hour meeting that the government would speed up procedures to present next year's budget in an effort to reassure foreign markets and Greek society that the country was heading safely towards EMU despite turmoil in international markets.

Mr. Papantoniou confirmed that there would be no new taxes in 1999, nor a new tax draft bill.

Final decisions on the exact cuts in indirect taxation will be taken at a Cabinet meeting to be held shortly before the budget is tabled in Parliament, in mid-November.

The cuts proposed include a 20 percent reduction on special consumer charges on vehicles as of 1999 and a reduction in VAT on electricity bills from 18 to 15 percent. An alternative proposal is for a reduction in VAT on medicine and on water bills from 8 to 5.0 percent.

Papandreou expresses regret over student's death

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Saturday expressed the government's deep regret over the death of Marko Bulatovic, the 18-year-old technical college student shot by a policeman in the centre of Thessaloniki. "For Greece, the tragedy is indeed serious. A young Serb, a student, lost his life while on a college trip to Greece, at a time when the feelings in Greece and Serbia are of deep friendship and affection. I should like to stress that this grief is shared by all Greek citizens. This should be clear not only to Buratovic's family but to all Serbs," Papandreou said. Buratovic had been in Greece with fellow-students for little over a week. The four busloads of students had arrived in Thessaloniki at midday on Friday, following a week in Corfu. Eyewitnesses said that the youth and his companions had been standing outside a clothing store on Thessaloniki's main shopping street, Egnatia, when police arrived. The eyewitnesses said police attempted to arrest the youths and Buratovic was shot in the head while trying to release himself. Thessaloniki Police Chief Athanasios Dalamangidis said the killing of the Serbian student was "an unfortunate incident" and that the police were conducting an inquiry. He said that a Greek woman had filed a complaint with the police that a "young Yugoslav" had stolen her wallet. The complaint was filed at 10.30 a.m., some 90 minutes before the Serbian students arrived in the city.

Industrial production up by 4.9%

Industrial production increased by 4.9 percent in the first eight months of the year compared with the corresponding period in 1997, Greece's National Statistics Service said. Industrial production rose 3.3 percent in August.

Greek equities end lower

Greek equities ended Friday's session lower on the Athens Stock Exchange in what traders called a normal correction ahead of the weekend. The general index ended 0.97 percent down to 2,076.81 points, to show a net gain of 1.78 percent in the week. Trading was thin with turnover at 35.2 billion drachmas. Sector indices were lower. Banks fell 1.03 percent, Investment eased 0.84 percent, Industrials ended 0.88 percent off, Construction plunged 2.46 percent, Miscellaneous fell 1.92 percent and Holding dropped 2.0 percent. Leasing bucked the trend to end 8.0 percent higher, hitting the daily limit up. Insurance also rose by 0.28 percent. The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 1.33 percent.

Ecumenical Patriarch in Mount Athos

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians, left Istanbul on Saturday began a two-day visit to the autonomous monastic community of Mount Athos. The Patriarch, accompanied by a number of senior clergy, arrived by yacht to take part in celebrations marking the 1,000th anniversary of the founding of the Xenophon Monastery. Prime Minister Costas Simitis will travel to Mount Athos, on Monday to meet with Vartholomeos. Vartholomeos is also expected to meet with President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos.

Reward posted for armed robbers

The Union of Greek Banks (EET) on Friday said it was offering a reward of 30 million drachmas for information leading to the arrest of two bank robbers who killed a girl in Thessaloniki on Thursday. Twenty-year-old Vassiliki Katsanou, a student, was hit by a stray bullet during the robbery of a branch of the Commercial Bank in Triandria, Thessaloniki. The two masked gunmen shot at the ceiling as they left the bank, with one of the bullets ricocheting off the ceiling to hit Katsanou in the heart. An extensive manhunt by Thessaloniki police failed to find any trace of the two men.

Father, son arrested with arms cache

Police in the town of Drama arrested a father and son after finding an extensive hoard of arms in their residence. Police said a search of the home in the village of Kavalari found a 9mm pistol, two rifles, four single- barrelled guns, a double-barrelled shotgun, an air-rifle and two wireless radios similar to those used by police. The two men, Savvas Tsapanidis, 64, and his son Yiannis, 29, will be charged later on Friday.

WEATHER

Scattered cloud throughout Greece on Saturday with possibility of light rain in the west of the country. Winds northerly, light to moderate, turning strong in the Aegean Sea. Fair in Athens with temperatures between 16-24C. Overcast in Thessaloniki and temperatures of 13-20C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 279.248 British pound 472.192 Japanese yen (100) 235.640 French franc 50.640 German mark 169.627 Italian lira (100) 17.155 Irish Punt 423.584 Belgian franc 8.227 Finnish mark 55.838 Dutch guilder 150.506 Danish kr. 44.626 Austrian sch. 24.121 Spanish peseta 1.997 Swedish kr. 36.069 Norwegian kr. 37.803 Swiss franc 207.194 Port. Escudo 1.653 Aus. dollar 174.790 Can. dollar 180.802 Cyprus pound 573.396

(M.S.)


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