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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-11-01

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, 01/11/1998 (ANA)

NEWS HEADLINES

  • New cabinet members sworn in
  • State telecom share price set at Dr 6,100
  • Greece writes socialist manifesto for Europarl't poll in 1999
  • Greek dermatologist says many hair loss therapies useless
  • Film director Gavras welcomes Pinochet's arrest
  • Farmer takes law into own hands, kills burglars
  • Violence erupts after football match, 15 injured
  • Theologian favours women's ordination
  • Police uncover telephone scam against state telecom
  • Eurostat: Greece last in EU for social insurance spending
  • Tax-free bonds to be issued on Monday
  • Police officer suspended after woman escapes from custody
  • WEATHER
  • FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    New cabinet members sworn in

    Seven new ministers and deputy ministers were sworn in on Friday after Prime Minister Costas Simitis announced a minor cabinet reshuffle Thursday evening and sought a Parliamentary vote of confidence.

    The swearing-in ceremony before President Kostis Stephanopoulos and the premier was followed by the first meeting of the Cabinet with its new composition.

    Addressing the cabinet, Mr. Simitis reiterated the three major targets which the government would be striving to attain during the coming period.

    The first, he said, was to maintain and increase the pace of the upward and developmental course of the Greek economy, the ultimate objective being the country's entry into EMU.

    The second target, Mr. Simitis said, was to strengthen Greece's role on the international scene.

    While this role has already been boosted by the major initiatives taken by Greece, the premier added: "We must intensify our efforts".

    The premier said the third target was to improve the quality of life and deal with citizens' daily problems, particularly unemployment, crime and issues related to the country's health services.

    The mini reshuffle, the premier said, means the continuation of the government's task but at a more intensive pace, with greater attention to problems, speed, efficiency as well as "comradeship and cooperation".

    Meanwhile, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterated that the government was resolved to seek a Parliamentary absolute majority of at least 151 votes in the confidence vote on Tuesday night.

    State telecom share price set at Dr 6,100

    The price of shares for sale at home and abroad in the latest flotation of Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) was set at 6,100 drachmas on the recommendation of underwriters, National Bank of Greece said on Saturday.

    The third flotation for the state telecom, which was roughly twice oversubscribed, will bring the government around 302 billion drachmas, the bank said in a statement.

    The offer's coordinators and main underwriters were National Bank of Greece, Credit Suisse First Boston and Salomon Smith Barney.

    National Bank said that the offer was the first successful secondary issue to take place in Europe since a financial crisis erupted this year that battered stock markets around the continent.

    Around 30 percent of OTE's shares will be sold in Greece with around nine million shares available to retail investors, covering 63 percent of demand. Priority will given to purchases of up to 100 shares.

    Domestic institutional investors will soak up around six million shares, representing an average 73 percent of demand.

    Total sales to investors abroad will account for about 92 billion drachmas of funds tapped from the market.

    Stock sold on New York's bourse totalled 122 billion drachmas, with remaining funds coming from investors in Europe.

    Around 75 percent of stock sold abroad was in the form of Athens bourse depository receipts and 25 percent as American Depository Receipts.

    Greece writes socialist manifesto for Europarl't poll in 1999

    Deputy foreign minister Yiannos Kranidiotis has sent British foreign minister Robin Cook, chairman of the governing Committee of the European Socialist Party, a memorandum with the views of the Greek ruling PASOK party regarding the Socialist Manifesto for the European Parliament elections in June 1999.

    The memorandum is based on positions set out by prime minister Costas Simitis on the political and social future of Europe at the recent informal EU summit in Poertschach, Austria. It stresses the need for accelerating the procedure for political unification in the EU, securing political control of Economic and Monetary Union, and strengthening the "society of citizens" and the democratic character of European institutions.

    The Committee will first tackle the draft document in Brussels on November 12 and 13, and is expected to adopt the finalised text in Milan in March 1999.

    Greek dermatologist says many hair loss therapies useless

    A Greek dermatologist has warned that many of the recommended therapies for hair loss are not only ineffective, but they may also cause significant skin problems.

    Speaking at the 49th International Cosmetics and Health Congress in Athens, Dr. Athanasios Papachristopoulos said that "therapies based on vitamins, amino acids and trace-elements do not contribute to hair growth, while frequent use may cause major pro blems."

    "Surgical hair transplants are scientifically proven solutions that have taken on huge dimensions for the past two decades," he added.

    Film director Gavras welcomes Pinochet's arrest

    Internationally acclaimed film director Costas Gavras on Saturday welcomed the arrest in London of Chile's former dictator, Augusto Pinochet.

    Gavras directed "Missing", a film about brutality during Pinochet's 1973- 1990 dictatorship.

    He was speaking in Iraklio on the island of Crete after receiving an award from the city's Technological Education Institute.

    Pinochet, 82, was arrested on October 16 after an extradition request from Spain to face charges of genocide and torture.

    Gavras said that he and his friends in Chile welcomed the arrest although Pinochet may not finally be obliged to face trial.

    The activity surrounding Pinochet at least showed that Europe was acquiring a conscience, and was unwilling to let dictators roam freely, he said.

    Farmer takes law into own hands, kills burglars

    Eighteen-year old Ioannis Mariannis took the law into his own hands and fatally shot two Albanian immigrants who had burgled his family home in the Asprokampos village, Corinthos district, early Saturday morning.

    The two burglars, Dede Tushaj, 48, and Artan Geta, 23, were returning to collect from a nearby spot a booty of mainly food and clothes, which they had siphoned off late Friday night, and was found in their stolen truck, along with two barrels of petrol, a shotgun and an axe.

    Mariannis gave himself up to police several hours later and is to appear before a public prosecutor Monday.

    Violence erupts after football match, 15 injured

    Fifteen people were injured in incidents during Saturday's first division football match between PAOK Thessaloniki and championship holders Olympiakos Piraeus, which the referee called off in the 83rd minute.

    The incidents started when the guest team took a 2-1 lead with a penalty in 79, and acquired explosive dimensions when the hosts were disallowed a goal a minute later. The pitch was invaded by fans and the stands sustained extensive damage.

    About 3,000 Olympiakos fans had to be escorted out of the city under strong police protection several hours later.

    Theologian favours women's ordination

    A memorandum submitted to the Holy Synod by theologian Giorgos Moustakis calls on the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Greece's leadership to consider a proposal for the ordination of women.

    Speaking during a press conference, Mr. Moustakis explained that he was asking for the ordination of women in the lower ranks of the clergy, "where they could prove of great assistance with worship and religious life", as he said.

    A Roman Catholic clergyman in Athens shared the Orthodox theologian's views.

    Police uncover telephone scam against state telecom

    Police are seeking the operators of a racket involving the non-payment of telephone calls abroad that is estimated to have cost the Greek state telecom around 1.5 billion drachmas in lost revenue, Attica police said on Saturday.

    Officers of Attica police's financial crimes department discovered the scheme on Friday after breaking into three apartments in Athens suburbs that were equipped with digital phone lines acquired from Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).

    Ten Pakistanis and two Indians were arrested while using lines in the apartments in Kallithea and Nea Ionia as part of the scam that involved non- Greek nationals paying unknown persons, and not OTE, a cheap rate for calls abroad.

    Police have launched a hunt for two individuals believed to have masterminded and run the scheme. They have ordered phone lines for homes and offices from OTE outlets under the false names of Ioannis Serseliadis and Suleiman Mohammed.

    After receiving payment from customers for calls made on the lines, which were used on a 24-hour basis, the two would disappear when payment of the phone bill was due, shifting the operation to other apartments.

    The system employed three-party lines, a service offered by OTE that enables callers in different countries to communicate with charges appearing on the Greek bill.

    The twelve arrested have appeared before a public prosector.

    Eurostat: Greece last in EU for social insurance spending

    Spending on social insurance in Greece is the lowest in the European Union, both in absolute figures and as a percentage of GDP, according to statistical figures on the EU's member-states unveiled by the Union's statistical service - Eurostat.

    According to Eurostat estimates, the main conclusion reached on the expenditure of each country per capita in the social insurance sector is that in Greece this expenditure represents a percentage which is clearly less than 50 per cent of the average EU expenditure.

    The estimates were based on Purchase Value Units (PVU), namely an "artificial currency" used by Eurostat to enable it to compare expenditures made by EU countries.

    According to these estimates (with 1995 being the year of reference), Greece spends 2250 PVU per person annually to cover social insurance, while the corresponding average EU expenditure is 4831 PVU.

    Apart from Greece, other countries having below EU average expenditures are Portugal (2313), Spain (2914), Ireland (3165), Italy (4491) and Britain (4543). Luxembourg heads the list with 7725 PVU.

    Tax-free bonds to be issued on Monday

    The finance ministry is issuing two-year bonds in electronic form on Monday and Tuesday, at a fixed annual rate of 10.75 per cent.

    The bonds are freely transferrable, and tax-free if retained until maturity.

    An auction of 150 billion drachmas worth of five-year bonds through primary dealers, at a fixed annual rate of 8.9 percent, is also scheduled for Tuesday. The ministry may also accept non-competitive bids totalling 30 billion drachmas.

    Sources say the government is now considering a return to issuing long-term securities, as the money market appears to be back on the way to normalisation.

    Meanwhile, according to the Bank of Greece, the economy's total liquidity, as measured by the benchmark M3 indicator, increased by 1.3 per cent in September, down from 2.8 per cent in August.

    Police officer suspended after woman escapes from custody

    A police officer was suspended after a Ukrainian national arrested for working illegally in a bar near Piraeus escaped from custody during questioning at a local aliens bureau, police said on Saturday.

    The Ukrainian, identified as Leonila Vilskova, 33, was arrested in the early hours of Friday for working as a waitress without a work permit in a bar in Drapetsona.

    Hours later Vilskova disappeared, evading the attention of at least twenty police officers in the Piraeus police department and two armed guards at the building's entrance. She has yet to be found.

    Also arrested by Attica - not Piraeus - aliens' police was the bar's owner, Vangelis Geranios, and two other Ukrainian women working at the bar, who also lacked work permits and passports. The three are to appear in court on Monday.

    The four were being questioned at the aliens' bureau, housed in the Piraeus police department building, when Vilskova disappeared.

    Suspended from duty was officer Antonis Karabekios.

    Police reporters noted that the authorities had announced the incident to the media a day late.

    WEATHER

    Overcast weather is forecast throughout the country on Monday with rain expected in northern, western and central mainland Greece. Winds southwesterly, moderate, turning strong at sea. Temperatures in Athens ranging from 16C to 23C, and in Thessaloniki from 09C to 17C.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 278.762 British pound 467.827 Japanese yen (100) 238.516 French franc 50.346 German mark 168.724 Italian lira (100) 17.061 Irish Punt 420.013 Belgian franc 8.182 Finnish mark 55.473 Dutch guilder 149.608 Danish kr. 44.410 Austrian sch. 24.017 Spanish peseta 1.985 Swedish kr. 36.006 Norwegian kr. 37.904 Swiss franc 206.753 Port. Escudo 1.646 Aus. dollar 173.526 Can. dollar 179.552 Cyprus pound 569.507

    (C.S.)


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