NEWS IN DETAIL
Athens-Thessaloniki motorway again open to traffic
Circulation along the highway connecting Athens to Thessaloniki was
restored late on Saturday after a bridge in Pieria collapsed in heavy
No injuries or damage to vehicles were reported.
Traffic is now moving through the new flyover at Leptokarya, which was
rushed into service following the collapse of the older bridge, which dates
back to the 1960s.
The flyover is part of a new section of motorway linking Athens to
Thessaloniki that is almost completed, the public works ministry said in a
Customs officials launch rolling strikes Monday
Customs officials begin a week of rolling strikes as of Monday, following
the breakdown of talks with the labour ministry over the future of their
Customs workers want their pension fund exempted from labour ministry plans
to merge a number of sector-specific pension funds, part of the ministry's
"mini-reforms" of the pension and health system.
A warning strike by customs officials earlier this month caused chaos at
Greece's borders, with hundreds of lorries stranded at border posts.
EU chief says Greece on target for EMU entry
Greece is well placed to make its goal of joining economic and monetary
union in 2001, European Commission president Jacques Santer said in an
interview with a Greek newspaper on Sunday.
Santer told "Ethnos" that he was categorically opposed to reducing cohesion
fund monies for Greece and said that economic and not political criteria
would determine Greece's success.
He added that the Commission would persist with its decision to begin
procedures for accession with Cyprus and expressed the hope that accession
talks could be the pretext for a political resolution to the division of
Ruling party local gov't officials analyse election defeat
Local government officials of the ruling party on Saturday conducted a post-
mortem on PASOK's weak performance in local elections last month,
concluding that grass roots action was sluggish and out of touch with
Winding up a two-day congress in Athens, the secretaries of prefectural and
departmental committees said that PASOK's contact with social movements and
young people had slackened.
The officials also charged that personal interests had come to overshadow
collective decision-making, exacerbated by the use of television by
In addition, a number of delegates said they were concerned at what they
saw as the party's nebulous identity.
Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Costas Simitis launched a stinging,
25-minute attack on the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party.
Simitis accused ND of being stagnant and obstructionist, also relegating
its policy to attitude-based cafe talk and its practice to football pitch
ND spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos later described the prime minister's
criticism as insulting and stemming from panic due his personal failure in
power and that of his party.
Teachers vote to strike early December
The heads of local teachers' unions on Saturday voted in favour of holding
a 24-hour nationwide strike and rallies in all major cities in early
An exact date for the strike will be decided by Monday, a statement said.
Two possible dates are December 7 and 9. Students have already decided on a
rally and protest march to the education ministry on December 9.
The teacher's federation OLME has already said it would participate in a
general strike called for December 15.
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.
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.
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 to set up squad to deal with barrage of bank robberies
The public order ministry is planning on establishing a squad of specially
trained officers to deal with an epidemic of bank robberies, according to
new minister Philipos Petsalnikos.
Speaking to new officers at the Police Academy on Saturday, Petsalnikos
said 250 of their number would be trained specifically in guarding banks
and quickly mobilising to track down robbers.
The new squad will be equipped with 100 motorcycles, some of which would be
unmarked, and which will enable police to move quickly in tracking down
culprits in bank robberies.
Also at the disposal of the new squad will be a police helicopter which
will patrol the Attica skies during banking hours. A police officer on duty
in the chopper will coordinate ground chases of bank robbers.
No rift between Athens, Nicosia over S-300 missiles
Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides on Saturday denied that there was any
breach between Athens and Nicosia and that the unified defence pact between
the two countries was sound.
Clerides was speaking in the Peloponnese port city of Patras, following his
meeting on Friday with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
Clerides told reporters that reports the Russian S-300 missiles would be
deployed on Crete rather than Cyprus were false and denied that Prime
Minister Simitis had proposed the alternative site.
The proposal that the missiles be deployed on Crete had been made in the
part by a number of countries such as the U.S. and European Union
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
The fixed-income bonds at 10.30 percent annually will be offered to retail
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
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
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.
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