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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-02-09

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, 09/02/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece condemns consulate bombing
  • Archbishop Spyridon arrives on visit
  • Parliament begins debate on Amsterdam treaty
  • Greek telecoms will stay in state's hands
  • Greece, U.S. plan joint exercises
  • Bilateral sports coooperation agreement signed
  • Two Nigerians arrested on drug charges
  • Profit-taking batters ASE
  • Interest rates fall further in bond auction
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece condemns consulate bombing

The government today strongly condemned a bomb attack near the Turkish conslate in the northern Greek city of Komotini and said that such actions were aimed at harming Greek-Turkish relations. The Foreign Ministry, in an announcement, said the Greek government "unreservedly condemns the motives behind this attack". "The perpetrators of the criminal action, which aimed to strike a blow to Greek-Turkish relations, are spurred by base motives and are the pawns of circles whose target is to create anomaly". The announcement said that the police had taken the necessary steps to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice. The explosion occurred Monday night across the street from the Consulate. The area had been cordoned off by police since early in the afternoon after receiving telephone calls warning of a bomb. Similar calls had been made to radio stations in Komotini. A bomb disposal expert was slightly injured when the bomb went off as he was trying to defuse it.

Archbishop Spyridon arrives on visit

Archbishop Spyridon of America arrived in Athens Tuesday on his first visit to Greece since being taking over as Prelate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America three years ago. Spyridon, former Metropolitan of Italy was elected to replace the former Archbishop Iakovos by by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in July 1996. Education undersecretary Yannis Anthopoulos, secretary general for overseas Greeks Stavros Lambrinidis and Metropolitan Pavlos of Neohorio greeted him at the airport. Spyridon, who will be in Greece until February 15 at the invitation of the Greek government, is scheduled to meet with Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, Prime Minister Costas Simitis and President Costis Stephanopoulos, as well as the defence, education and religious affairs, culture and alternate foreign ministers.

Parliament begins debate on Amsterdam treaty

Parliament begins a five-day debate on Tuesday evening which is expected to conclude with the ratification of the Treaty of Amsterdam. The treaty, which in effect revises the Maastricht Treaty on European unification, was signed in Amsterdam on October 2, 1997 by the foreign ministers of the European Union member-states.

Greek telecoms will stay in state's hands

Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Tuesday that the government did not intend to sell a majority holding in the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) to private investors but noted that some changes may be made in the future in order to make the state telecom company more competitive. The premier was speaking to reporters after a lengthy meeting with OTE's board of directors at the organisation's headquarters. Commenting on an upcoming fourth sale of OTE shares, a 10 per cent package which will increase the private sector's stake to a total of 45 per cent, Simitis said the government was trying to considerably reduce the state's participation in such enterprises.

Greece, U.S. plan joint exercises

A joint military exercise between Greek and U.S. forces is scheduled to take place in the northwestern Aegean, March 2-9. Army, naval and air force units from both countries will participate in amphibious operations commanded by the national defence general staff.

Bilateral sports coooperation agreement signed

Greece and the United States signed a protocol of cooperation in the sports sector on Tuesday, providing for the exchange of knowhow and information on sports issues. The protocol will also extend U.S. help in developing Olympic sports which are unfamiliar to Greece, such as baseball. "We believe the implementation of this agreement will bring good results," Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras, who signed on Greece's behalf, said. U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Burns said the protocol was "very important" for both countries. "The Olympic Games of 2004 will be a great moment for the Olympic Movement. Greece is a force in international sports. I hope that this protocol will be a symbol of friendship and cooperation between the peoples of the two countries," he said.

Two Nigerians arrested on drug charges

Two Nigerians were arrested in Athens on Tuesday after being found in possession of half a kilo of cocaine. They were identified as Antony Vicandu, 35 and Jade Olokuo, 30. The two Africans were due to be formally charged by a public prosecutor later today.

Profit-taking batters ASE

Greek equities ended Tuesday's session sharply lower on the Athens Stock Exchange hit by profit-taking and rumours of unsatisfactory bids in the sale of Ionian Bank. The general index ended 3.09 percent off to 3,219.91 points. Turnover was 123.6 billion drachmas and volume 28,481,099 shares. Bank shares were particularly hit. Ionian Bank's share price fell 5.2 percent, followed by Commercial Bank with a 3.6 percent loss. Sector indices lost ground. Banks dropped 3.87 percent, Leasing fell 1.20 percent, Insurance ended 0.35 percent off, Investment eased 0.93 percent, Construction ended 0.39 percent up, Industrials fell 2.71 percent, Miscellaneous ended 0.88 percent down and Holding plunged 3.74 percent. The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 3.20 percent down. The FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 3.32 percent off to 2,042.95.

Interest rates fall further in bond auction

Short-term interest rates dropped substantially during Tuesday's successful auction of three- and six-month Treasury bills by the finance ministry in the domestic market of primary dealers. Three-month yields averaged 9.5 percent from 11.07 percent in the previous auction of December 22. Bids submitted totalled 228 billion drachmas, six times more the asked price of 40 billion. The ministry finally accepted bids totalling 48 billion drachmas. Six-month yields averaged 9.54 percent, from 10.46 percent in the previous auction of December 8. Bids submitted totalled 206 billion drachmas, five times more the asked price. The ministry accepted bids totalling 48 billion drachmas. Bankers said the new drop in short-term interest rates paved the way for a decision by the Bank of Greece to cut its intervention rates in the domestic interbank market.

WEATHER

Scattered showers are forecast today in the eastern Aegean islands, the Cycladic and the Dodecanese islands. Possibility of rain in the evening in the northwestern Greece. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Few clouds in Athens with temperatures ranging between 3-13C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 1-9C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 283.960 Pound sterling 464.018 Japanese yen (100) 249.805 French franc 48.788 German mark 163.360 Italian lira (100) 16.501 Irish Punt 405.685 Belgian franc 7.920 Finnish mark 53.737 Dutch guilder 144.985 Danish kr. 42.981 Austrian sch. 23.219 Spanish peseta 1.921 Swedish kr. 36.039 Norwegian kr. 37.002 Swiss franc 199.551 Port. Escudo 1.594 Aus. dollar 185.291 Can. dollar 190.643 Cyprus pound 548.576

(M.P.)


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