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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-11-28

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, 28/11/1998 (ANA)

NEWS HEADLINES

  • Athens-Thessaloniki motorway to reopen Saturday evening
  • Doctor arrested for alleged extortion
  • Simitis, Clerides hold wide-ranging talks
  • Central bank says inflation below 2.0 pct feasible by end-1999
  • New FYROM Parliament president visited by Greece's envoy
  • Greece says Turkey gunning for `Ottoman A-bomb`
  • Greece to take part in conference on Mideast peace process
  • Development minister in Iran to boost ties
  • Greek ambassador in Kosovo
  • Kurdish rep calls for Ocalan asylum in Athens, other EU capitals
  • Gov't promises heightened scrutiny of police force
  • Bail granted to four held responsible in fatal tugboat fire
  • Rate drops 50 basis pts in ministry's 12M T-bill auction
  • Finance ministry to reopen seven-year bonds Dec 1
  • Stocks climb again after correction
  • Athens bourse consolidates, braces for assault on 2,500 pts
  • Need for more luxury hotels in Athens before Olympics
  • WEATHER
  • FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    Athens-Thessaloniki motorway to reopen Saturday evening

    Circulation along the motorway connecting Athens to Thessaloniki is likely to be restored by Saturday evening after a flyover under construction in Pieria collapsed in heavy rain, police said.

    No injuries or damage to vehicles were reported.

    The highway was closed to traffic around 1050 when subsidence caused the flyover at Ziliana, between Leptokarya and Skotina, to collapse over both sides of the motorway.

    Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on both sides of the motorway far from exit points.

    Doctor arrested for alleged extortion

    A senior doctor in a northern state hospital was arrested for allegedly extorting cash from a patient in return for performing an operation, police said on Saturday.

    The doctor was identified as Mavrodis Mavroudis, 54, director of the urology clinic at Kozani Prefecture Hospital.

    The patient, farmer Mihail Tsivelidis, 61, told his son that Mavroudis had demanded an illegal payment of 100,000 drachmas in order to perform the operation, police officials said.

    His son reported the alleged extortion attempt to police, who marked five of 10 banknotes due to be given to the doctor.

    After the patient's son handed over the cash, police arrested the doctor in his office in possession of the marked banknotes.

    Mavroudis is to appear before a public prosecutor to hear charges.

    Simitis, Clerides hold wide-ranging talks

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides on Friday held talks focusing on a fresh UN initiative of shuttle talks in Cyprus, the island republic's EU accession course and defence, especially on the proposed deployment of Russian- made anti-aircraft missiles in Cyprus.

    Speaking after more than two hours of talks, Mr. Simitis indicated clearly that the Cypriot government would decide the fate of the missiles in consultation with Greece.

    Mr. Clerides stressed that Cyprus is ready to defend itself if Turkey realises its threats against the island republic.

    Central bank says inflation below 2.0 pct feasible by end-1999

    Bank of Greece governor Lucas Papademos said on Friday that consumer price inflation would fall rapidly in the first six months of 1999, and was likely to slip below 2.0 percent by the end of the year.

    Submitting an interim report on monetary policy to parliament, Mr. Papademos said an inflation figure below 2.0 percent by the end of next year was "feasible", and a decline in the first-half would be "swift".

    The report is a supplement to the central bank's monetary policy outlook released in April.

    Easing interest rates would be examined by the bank's monetary council the week after next, he said.

    Mr. Papademos underlined the need for the continuation of current, tight monetary policy until the inflation target was attained that would enable entry into European economic and monetary union by January 1, 2001.

    New FYROM Parliament president visited by Greece's envoy

    The head of the Greece's liaison office in Skopje, Ambassador Alexandros Mallias, met with new Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Parliament President Savo Klimovski on Friday.

    Afterwards, Mr. Mallias said he delivered a message of congratulations to Mr. Klimovski from Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis on his election to the post. The message mentions the will for bilateral relations to forge ahead for the creation of preconditions to enable all issues to be resolved.

    Greece says Turkey gunning for `Ottoman A-bomb`

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos told Parliament on Friday that Greece had "well-founded suspicions" that Turkey will use a proposed nuclear power plant at the Akkuyu site to attempt the production of nuclear weapons.

    He told the legislature that the planned construction of the plant on Turkey's southeastern Mediterranean coast and north of Cyprus, was fraught with problems because of the high level of seismic activity in the area, the out-dated technology chosen and because Turkey might use the plant to gain nuclear weapons.

    "Turkey, of course, says the plant will not be used for this purpose, but it will not be the first time Ankara does something which it has expressly said it will not do," Mr. Pangalos said.

    Greece to take part in conference on Mideast peace process

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis has left for Washington to represent Greece at sessions of an international conference aimed at providing support for peace and development in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, within the framework of the Middle East peace process.

    The decision to hold the conference was contained in the Wye River Memorandum interim peace accord signed by Israel and the Palestinians in the United States on Oct. 23.

    Development minister in Iran to boost ties

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou on Friday began a four-day official visit to Iran, aimed at boosting economic and trade ties as well as strengthening bilateral political relations.

    More than 20 entrepreneurs representing major companies engaged in the food, energy, construction, metal works, tourism and fisheries sectors are heading to Tehran along with Ms Papandreou.

    Greek ambassador in Kosovo

    The Greek ambassador to Yugoslavia, Panayiotis Vlassopoulos, visited Kosovo last week and met with the local Serbian and Albanian leadership.

    The ambassador noted that time is a factor for the achievement of a political solution, while he stressed that the problems cannot be solved by violence, but with political dialogue.

    Kurdish rep calls for Ocalan asylum in Athens, other EU capitals

    A representative of the Kurdistan National Liberation Front on Friday requested that Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan be granted political asylum by Greece and other European governments.

    During a press conference in Athens, Roshat Laser accused Turkey of trying to create dissension between the Kurdish and Turkish people through para- state gangs, while he reaffirmed her group's orientation towards a political settlement of the Kurdish issue. He also stressed the need for European Union countries to take initiatives in this directions.

    Gov't promises heightened scrutiny of police force

    Public Order Minister Philippos Petsalnikos announced in Parliament on Friday that the ministry was proceeding with checks on the "sources of wealth" for all 42,000 officers in the Greek police force.

    "We are not going to give anybody a break", he said, adding that a relevant draft bill establishing an internal affairs division is expected to be voted into law next January.

    The minister reiterated his decision to institute a "radical clean-up" in order to rid police of officers "who broke their oath", adding that the police patrols were going to be boosted with officers transferred from posts at prisons, airports and court duty.

    Bail granted to four held responsible in fatal tugboat fire

    A Thessaloniki court on Friday granted bail to the four men held responsible for the fire aboard the tugboat "Aghios Georgios" in which three people lost their lives and a fourth is missing and presumed dead.

    The Piraeus-based "Aghios Georgios" on Monday rushed to help put out a fire that had broken out aboard the tanker "Golden Crete", owned by the Vardinoyiannis group.

    The fire quickly spread to the tugboat, which ran aground one mile from the port of Thessaloniki.

    Three charred bodies were pulled from the burning tugboat and a fourth crew member of the tug was presumed dead.

    The four persons on trial are the captain and second mate of the "Golden Crete", Eleftherios Proedros and Panagiotis Kavvadas respectively, and Greek Fuels and Mineral Oils (EKO) refinery employees Christos Georgiadis and Dimitris Masmanidis.

    Rate drops 50 basis pts in ministry's 12M T-bill auction

    The average weighted rate in a finance ministry auction on Friday of 12- month treasury bills fell to 10.50 percent from 11 percent in the previous tender on October 27, 1998.

    Auctioned were 180 billion drachmas worth of paper with the ministry accepting 216 billion drachmas in bids, more than the original target.

    Finance ministry to reopen seven-year bonds Dec 1

    The finance ministry is to auction 200 billion drachmas of seven-year bonds on December 1 at a fixed 8.70 percent annually, reopening an April 4, 1998 issue, it said in a statement.

    The finance ministry will also launch a public offering of two-year tax- free savings bonds in electronic form on December 2 and 3, it said in a statement yesterday.

    The fixed-income bonds at 10.30 percent annually will be offered to retail investors.

    Stocks climb again after correction

    Equities resumed their upward course in Friday's session following a two- day correction on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index ended 0.95 percent up at 2,478.37 points in active trade with turnover at 62.9 billion drachmas. Volume was 14,278,000 shares.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 0.17 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index rose 0.82 percent to 1,530.81 points.

    Athens bourse consolidates, braces for assault on 2,500 pts

    The Athens Stock Exchange showed signs of consolidation in robust turnover last week that included a downward correction after a 10 percent jump the previous week, taking a breather before a new assault on the 2,500-point barrier.

    The climate improved substantially following a forecast by Salomon Brothers that interest rates will fall by 50 basis points by the end of the year, and a total of three percentage points in 1999, analysts said.

    Optimism over consumer price inflation in November, which is expected to fall below 4.4 percent, was also a supporting factor.

    The general index was 0.58 percent higher on the week. It now stands 67.50 percent up from the beginning of the year, and 12.29 percent off its record peak in July.

    The week's turnover totalled 305.282 billion drachmas, or a daily average of 61.1 billion, slightly down from 61.7 billion the previous week.

    Need for more luxury hotels in Athens before Olympics

    A Greek-British Chamber of Commerce conference on Greece's tourism sector focused on Friday on the need for new luxury and upscale hotels in Athens to cover increased needs during the 2004 Olympic Games and the future.

    According to figures, 100 per cent of luxury rooms and 90 per cent of A category rooms will be occupied by 40,000 athletes expected to arrive for the games.

    WEATHER

    Rainy weather is forecast on Sunday in eastern and northern Greece with storms also likely, but conditions are expected to improve later in the day. Snow is expected in northern mountainous regions. In the rest of the country cloud is expected, turning to rain or storms in many areas, especially in the morning. Winds northerly, moderate to strong. Temperatures in Athens ranging from 12C to 16C and in Thessaloniki from 9C to 11C.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Monday's rates (buying)

    US Dollar 283.345 Can.Dollar 184.532 Australian Dlr 179.671 Pound Sterling 469.117 Irish Punt 414.061 Pound Cyprus 563.456 Pound Malta 702.592 Turkish pound (100) 0.082 French franc 49.650 Swiss franc 201.996 Belgian franc 8.070 German Mark 166.458 Finnish Mark 54.768 Dutch Guilder 147.684 Danish Kr. 43.793 Swedish Kr. 34.899 Norwegian Kr.37.849 Austrian Sh. 23.660 Italian lira (100) 16.814 Yen (100) 231.265 Spanish Peseta 1.956 Port. Escudo 1.623

    (C.S.)


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