NEWS IN DETAIL
Croatia's President Tudjman begins first visit to Greece
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman yesterday began a two-day official visit
to Athens, his first since the former Yugoslav republic's independence was
recognised. Mr. Tudjman met with Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos soon
after his arrival and with Prime Minister Costas Simitis at midday.
Greece and Croatia's foreign ministers later signed accords on combatting
the narcotics trade, terrorism and organised crime and on cooperation in
the tourism sector.
Mr. Tudjman met with President Stephanopoulos and both officials said there
was room for improvement in bilateral relations, particularly in trade and
The situation in the Balkans,and particularly in Kosovo, were the focus of
talks between the two presidents and delegations from their countries.
Taking part in the talks on the Greek side were the ministers of foreign
affairs, merchant marine and transport and communications; and the deputy
minister of national economy.
In statements to reporters after their meeting Mr. Tudjman said that Greece
had a major role to play in the resolution of the Yugoslav crisis and that
Croatia and Greece would continue to work towards a satisfactory answer to
the problems in Bosnia and Kosovo.
He also expressed hope that Greece would contribute to plans to construct a
highway linking southern and central Europe along the Adriatic coast.
Particular emphasis was laid on the Adriatic Highway project, which will
link Croatia to Greece and pass through Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia-
Herzegovina, Slovenia, Italy and Austria during Mr. Tudjman's talks with
The project, based on an idea first put forward by Foreign Minister
Theodoros Pangalos, will be the focus of a meeting of the foreign, public
works and transport ministers of both countries in the first-half of 1999,
a statement issued after Mr. Simitis and Mr. Tudjman's meeting said.
Bourse to be privatised, then listed in first-half of '99
The Athens Stock Exchange S.A. is to begin a second share offer this week
that will lead to its majority privatisation and listing through bookbuilding
in the first half of 1999.
Bourse president Spyros Kouniakis told a news conference yesterday that on
sale are 750,000 stocks representing 15 percent of share capital, which
follows a previous offer of 39.7 percent in holdings.
The state, which currently owns 60.3 percent of the bourse, will hold less
than 50 percent after the latest share sale, leading to a majority
It will, however, retain supervision of the stock exchange.
Eligible to buy stock are brokerages, investment companies, mutual fund
managers, insurance firms, state health and pension funds and enterprises
Stocks end higher in active trade
Equities finished higher yesterday hitting the 2,500-point barrier in an
early rally but later shedding most of their gains on profit-taking after a
sharp rise in the market last week.
The general index ended 0.54 percent up at 2,477.26 points, sharply off the
day's highs that initially took the market 1.60 percent higher.
Buying interest turned from blue chips to small and medium-sized cap firms,
propelling many stocks to the daily upper volatility limit of 8.0
Trading was active with turnover staying robust at 62.1 billion drachmas.
Volume was 14,835,000 shares.
Sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 0.28 percent, Leasing ended 0.15
percent up, Insurance increased 1.65 percent, Construction soared 3.0
percent, Industrials rose 0.64 percent, Miscellaneous ended 0.31 percent up,
Holding jumped 2.84 percent, but Investment bucked the trend to end 0.23
National Bank of Greece ended at 49,650 drachmas, Ergobank at 27,625, Alpha
Credit Bank at 26,290, Ionian Bank at 12,300, Hellenic Telecommunications
Organisation at 7,230, Delta Dairy at 3,830, Intracom at 13,750, Titan
Cement at 19,850, Hellenic Petro leum at 2,380 and Minoan Lines at 6,600
Greece tells Prince Charles it wants the Parthenon Marbles back
Britain's Prince Charles yesterday was asked to intervene for the return of
the Parthenon Marbles to Greece as he continued a three-day visit here
coinciding with the Britain and Greece Festival.
The British heir-to-the-throne, who arrived in Athens on Sunday evening,
met with President Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday and toured the Acropolis
in the afternoon, accompanied by Greek culture minister Evangelos
The culture minister said he told the Prince that the British government
should "make a brave move and return the Parthenon marbles to Greece".
Prince Charles was later awarded the Gold Key to the City by Athens Mayor
Dimitris Avramopoulos during a special ceremony at the Athens Town Hall
On bestowing the city's medal on the Prince of Wales, Mr. Avramopoulos
requested his support for a return of the Parthenon Marbles, saying:
"The time has come for the monuments of Athenian civilisation to return to
the place which has been preparing for exactly this reason - the new
He flies to Crete today to visit the Knossos archaeological site.
Southern EU states reject spending freeze
Southern countries of the European Union and Ireland, in part, yesterday
rejected a budgetary spending freeze until 2004 at a meeting of the EU's
economic and monetary council.
The Austrian presidency proposed the measure in order to satisfy a demand
by wealthier member-states for a reduction in their contribution to the
Speaking for Greece, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou
"If some people believe that reaching the final phase of economic and
monetary union should be achieved on the basis of divergence, and not
convergence, of member-states' economies, they are seriously mistaken."
He added that the proposal for the freeze will result in the abandonment of
efforts to achieve economic and social convergence within the EU, one of
the 15-nation bloc's most basic aims.
Greece, Egypt to hold first ever joint military exercise
Greece and Egypt are to hold their first ever joint exercise under the
terms of military cooperation set up by the two countries.
The naval exercise, codenamed "Alexandria '98", will be held off the coast
of Alexanrdia from Nov. 27 to Dec. 2.
The exercise aims to boost relations between the two nations' navies and
promote operational cooperation.
Two frigates from each country will take part in the manoeuvre with any
supplementary vessels or forces to be decided during the exercise.
Turkish map shows Greek islands as Turkish
A Turkish foreign ministry booklet issued to mark the republic's 75th
anniversary shows the Greek islands of Rhodes, Samos, Ikaria and Hios as
belonging to Turkey.
The booklet, which was handed out to foreign delegations taking part in
celebrations for the anniversary, was described in yesterday's edition of
the Turkish newspaper "Turkish Daily News" as scandalous.
According to the newpaper, a map in the booklet also contained further
geographical distortions as it showed Iraq in Iran's location and Armenia
in Azerbaijan's place.
Greek, Turkish businesmen debate handling political crises
Greek and Turkish business people held a meeting on the island of Mytilini
at the weekend to discuss issues including the creation of intervention
mechanisms in both countries' governments in periods of political
It was the first such meeting of entrepreneurs from all the Aegean
On the Greek side, participants included chamber officials and business
executives; and on the Turkish side, 180 business officials headed by Ismir
Chamber president Ekmer Demiraz.
Apart from economic cooperation, participants also held sessions on
political interventions and initiatives.
A decision was taken for the meeting to be held every six months in Greece
An intervention that Turkish officials said they would embark on in coming
weeks will centre on a recent row between Greece and Turkey involving the
Halki School of Theology, whose board was sacked by Turkish authorites
without adequate reason earlier this month.
Angelopoulos wins barrage of prizes at festival
Theo Angelopoulos' feature film "An eternity and a day" yesterday won as
many as seven prizes at the 39th Thessaloniki Film Festival - Greek
Angelopoulos' picture received the best film, direction, script, music,
second female role, costume and stage-designing awards.
Constantine Yiannaris' film "From the edge of the city" won second best
film award, while Menelaos Karamangiolis' "Blackout" won the third best
Weather to improve as of today
Traffic at Athens airport was returning to normal yesterday after low
visibility early in the morning forced domestic incoming flights to be
diverted and the cancellation of outgoing flights.
The storm that hit the capital at around 9 a.m. was accompanied by thunder,
lightning and low cloud.
One report said that winds were so strong that it had moved an empty Boeing
727 parked on the runway some 15 metres.
In Thessaloniki, gale force winds uprooted trees and brought down
billboards on parked cars causing traffic jams.
Fire brigade officials in both Athens and Thessaloniki said they had
received dozens of calls for assistance from people trapped in lifts due to
Overnight, the storm struck in the areas of Argos and Nafplion. Fifteen
people were freed by fire department officers from cars trapped by swirling
waters in Argos, with another 10 saved from their flooded homes.
Schools in the two Peloponnese towns were shut for the day as water levels
reached a metre.
Winds had abated somewhat in the Rio-Antirrio region, allowing ferries to
The Meteorological Service said that the weather would start improving
markedly as of today.
Creation of SE European force at its final stage
Processes for the creation and activation of the Multinational Force of
Southeastern Europe is entering its final stage following a meeting between
military experts in Istanbul, reports said yesterday.
Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM), Romania and Turkey will be participating in the multinational
force, while the United States and Slovenia will be observers.
In a recent meeting of military experts relevant protocols were discussed
and signed concerning the force's headquarters, its administration and the
presidency of its political and military committee.
According to the reports, it was agreed that the principle of alternation
every four years will apply for the force's headquarters. The force's first
country to host its headquarters will be Bulgaria, followed by Romania,
Turkey and Greece.
The first presidency of the political and military committee will be
assumed by Greece and will be followed by Romania, Turkey, Albania and
The period of office of the force's administration and of the committee's
presidency will be two years.
The protocols are expected to take on the form of an agreement which will
be signed by the defence ministers of participating countries at the end of
December in Athens.
Pangalos' letter to Albright on S-300 missiles
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday confirmed press reports that
he had sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, but
refused to divulge the letter's contents.
Mr. Pangalos made the comments while speaking to reporters.
The Sunday newspaper "To Vima" said that Mr. Pangalos's letter called on Ms
Albright to assist in finding a way out of the impasse that has arisen over
the issue of the deployment of Russian-made S-300 missiles on Cyprus.
Turkey has openly threatened to take out the missiles if they are deployed.
Nicosia says they are purely for defensive use.
The issue is expected to be discussed during Cypriot President Glafcos
Clerides's visit to Greece later this week.
Patriarch says Istanbul Greeks to stay put
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos yesterday reiterated that the city's
Greek-Orthodox community was resolved to stay where it was, despite the
Mr. Vartholomeos, during the inauguration ceremony for a renovated
educational and arts centre in Ferikoy, Istanbul, said that activities at
the centre were a showcase for the community's dynamism.
He added that he would draw the attention of the Turkish government to
problems faced by the Patriachate and the community during an inter-
religious conference in Ankara.
In a related development, the Patriarch awarded the title of the office of
the Noble of the First Notary of the Holy Church of Christ to American
College Athens branch president, John Bailey.
Use of addictive substances among youth increases
The use of addictive substances has more than doubled among youth in the
past five years, according to the findings of three studies presented
Presenting the results of the studies on students conducted by the Mental
Health Institute, speakers said the most worrying aspect about the findings
was the increasingly common perception that some substances were harmless.
The increase in the use of cannabis was linked to the increasing numbers of
those who believed that its use was harmless, despite the fact that recent
studies in the U.S. have shown an adverse effect of cannabis on brain
function, Athens University associate professor Anna Kokevi said.
The findings revealed that 18 percent of male students and 10 percent of
female students aged 17-18 had tried narcotic substances. Those aged 18-24 ,
the age group with the highest systematic use, the rates were 32 percent
for males and 12 percent for females. Marijuana and hashish were reported
used by all those who had gone on to other narcotics.
Some 5.0 percent of students reported use of synthetic drugs such as
amphetamines, ecstasy and LSD, a figure that was closely linked to the
popularity of nightclubs as a form of entertainment for Greek youth.
Experts said that although drug use was more prevalent among men, women
seemed to be closing the gap over the past 10 years.
Rain and local storms are forecast for today in most parts of Greece, but
the weather will gradually improve in the course of the day. Unstable
weather in the west with the likelihood of rain and storms and spells of
sunshine. Winds westerly to southwesterly moderate and occasionally strong.
Athens will be partly cloudy with temperatures from 12-17C. Thessaloniki
will be overcast and rainy with temperatures from 5-10C.
Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 283.742
British pound 469.295 Japanese yen (100) 233.973
French franc 49.671 German mark 166.587
Italian lira (100) 16.820 Irish Punt 414.656
Belgian franc 8.075 Finnish mark 54.784
Dutch guilder 147.719 Danish kr. 43.807
Austrian sch. 23.679 Spanish peseta 1.958
Swedish kr. 35.061 Norwegian kr. 37.865
Swiss franc 201.961 Port. Escudo 1.624
Aus. dollar 182.042 Can. dollar 183.361
Cyprus pound 563.952