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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-08-10

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


ATHENS, GREECE, 10/08/1999 (ANA)


  • Finance ministry reports 7.5% rise in budget revenues last month
  • Bourse rises sharply in hefty trading
  • Bond yields rise in low-volume trade
  • Olympic Aviation pilots' union warn of strike
  • No change in age limit for retirement
  • Measures for heatwave in force
  • Footballers' union requests game postponements due to heatwave
  • Tsohatzopoulos to visit to US in September
  • Peace, and nuclear protest rally in Thessaloniki
  • EOT subsidy for Visegrad tourists using overland routes
  • Bank of Greece deregulates currency export
  • To the "Daily Bulletin" subscribers
  • To Readers of the Daily Bulletin
  • Advertising in the Daily Bulletin
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange
  • Finance ministry reports 7.5% rise in budget revenues last month Budget revenues increased 7.5 per cent last month, raising a state budget surplus to 290.37 billion drachmas, a finance ministry report stated yesterday.

    In the seven-month period from January to July, the regular budget's revenues rose 11.43 per cent compared with the same period last year, surpassing a budget target for a 5.83 per cent annual growth.

    The finance ministry expects that this year's budget surplus could reach 350 billion drachmas.

    Finance Undersecretary George Drys said a major hike in revenues in the first seven months of 1999 reflected the imposition of a 0.3 per cent tax on securities transactions in the stock market and the market's rally to record levels this year.

    He added that tax revenues from securities totalled 66.882 billion drachmas, up from 18.262 billion last year, an increase of 266 per cent.

  • Bourse rises sharply in hefty trading The Athens Stock Exchange surpassed the 4,500 level yesterday, reflecting sharp gains in smaller capitalisation stocks.

    The general index ended 1.54 per cent higher at 4,511.97 points to stand only 17 points off its record closing of 4,528.97 points.

    Dealers said the bourse continued to ignore worrying signs in international markets over expectations of a new rise in US interest rates and higher oil prices.

    The Bank, Insurance and Investment sectors succumbed to profit-taking ending 0.28, 0.66 and 2.89 per cent lower respectively. Other sector indices ended as follows: Leasing (+6.76 pct), Construction (+7.78 pct), Industrials (+3.27 pct), Miscellaneous ( +1.97 pct) and Holding (+2.88 pct).

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks surged 4.59 per cent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chips and heavy traded stocks ended 0.31 percent up at 2,519.09 points. Turnover was 230,550 billion drachmas with 34,426,316 shares ch anging hands. Hellenic Telecoms, Papastratos and Themeliodomi were the most heavily traded stocks while Papastratos, Themeliodomi, Hellenic Telecoms and Intracom led the day's turnover.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 21,100 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 21, 080, Ergobank at 30,100, Commercial Bank at 31,290, Titan Cement at 30,500, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,750, Intracom at 22,955, Minoan Lines at 6,020, Panafon at 7,690 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,240.

  • Bond yields rise in low-volume trade A relatively low volume of transactions (46 billion drachmas, of which half was for sale orders) in the secondary bond market yesterday was one of the factors contributing to an widening of the yield spread between the benchmark Greek and German 10-year b onds to 187 basis points from 178 on Friday. The respective yields closed at 6.89 and 5.06 percent.

    Bank dealers said foreign institutionals were staying away from the Greek market and that prices were likely to continue falling as the Bank of Greece maintained its intervention rates unchanged. They also noted that due to the low volume of transactio ns, one or two large orders could further widen the spread, particularly as the finance ministry had already covered a large part of borrowing requirements and did not wish to lock large sums in high rates.

    The central bank intervened by selling 430 million euro to prop up a sliding drachma, which ended at 327 against the European common currency from 326.21 on Friday, and at 305.85 against the US dollar from 303.96.

  • Olympic Aviation pilots' union warn of strike The pilots' union at Olympic Aviation has threatened to call a strike over its demand that the state-owned domestic wing of Olympic Airways implements a long-delayed development plan.

    Pilots' representatives claimed that recently appointed OA managing director Rod Lynch - a top executive with British Air subsidiary Speedwing, which assumed debt-ridden OA's management last month - does not have the right to suspend the plan or halt the procurement of new jets for Olympic Aviation.

    Final decisions by Olympic Aviation's pilots, who fly exclusively to destinations within Greece, will be decided on during an assembly today.

  • No change in age limit for retirement Deputy Labour Minister Fivos Ioannidis was quoted in a published newspaper interview yesterday as stressing that despite changes in Greece's social security system, the age limit for retirement will not be altered.

    The interview was published in the Athens daily "Exousia".

    He added that the current age limit of 65 will continue to be in force, while any changes will conceivably affect new workers.

  • Measures for heatwave in force The national emergency assistance centre (EKAB) and hospitals since yesterday have been on full alert to handle emergencies that may be caused by high temperatures anticipated to continue into Thursday.

    Paramedics, who can be reached by dialing 166, have been on alert to provide over-the-phone information to eldery citizens seeking advice regarding the use of their medication.

    "The heatwave impact has not been not felt yet," EKAB officials said yesterday, adding that they treated 44 heat-related incidents by noon yesterday. (Continued on page 2)

    Local government and EKAB staff postponed pre-scheduled work stoppages due to the expected heatwave, while the Athens municipality will activate a telephone centre so that anyone seeking health-related information may call at (01) 34.27.513-16.

    The health ministry issued a warning for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children and chronic disease patients to avoid unnecessary outdoor activities, exposure to the sun and the consumption of alcohol, recommending regular showers, light clothi ng and meals as well as increased liquid intake, particularly water.

    EKAB medics warned vacationers against sunbathing from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to prevent sunstroke.

    The National Tourism Organisation (EOT) beach on the Saronic, Varkiza, Vouliagmeni, Voula and Alimos will remain open up until midnight through Sunday and entrance after 8 p.m. will be free of charge.

    Finally, the Greek Labor Centre (EKA) issued a release requesting reduced hours during the heatwave since "particularly difficult conditions are anticipated in many worksites either due to lack of proper air conditioning or due to the nature of work."

  • Footballers' union requests game postponements due to heatwave The union of professional footballers (PSAP) yesterday sent a letter to the Greek Soccer Federation (EPO) seeking a postponement of all cup games scheduled for this week because of the heatwave sweeping Greece.

    In the letter, PSAP points out that there were already a number of heat- related problems in games played over the weekend, when temperatures reached approximately 38C. According to weather forecasts, temperatures are expected to rise steadily during the week, reaching 42C and above in some areas of the country by tomorrow.

    PSAP said that requiring athletes to play in such conditions placed them at risk. Athens powerhouse AEK is scheduled to play the first leg of a Champions League qualifier against AIK Stockholm in the Greek capital tomorrow, a day that will also witness the last total solar eclipse of the millennium.

  • Tsohatzopoulos to visit to US in September National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will visit the United States in late September at the invitation of his US counterpart William Cohen, who recently visited Athens, sources said yesterday.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' visit is estimated to coincide with a NATO defence ministers' conference, scheduled for Canada on Sept. 22. According to reports, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos will visit Boston and California.

  • Peace, and nuclear protest rally in Thessaloniki A peace rally and protest against nuclear weapons was held in Thessaloniki yesterday in light of 54th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

    The rally began near the city's White Tower and ended at the nearby US consulate.

    Protesters demanded the removal of NATO forces from the Balkans and also called for the destruction of what they claimed were nuclear weapons stored at the Araxos airbase in the northwest Peloponnese.

    The Thessaloniki-based "Committee for International Detente and Peace" (EDYETH) organised the rally.

  • EOT subsidy for Visegrad tourists using overland routes The National Tourism Organisation (EOT) yesterday announced the inclusion of Yugoslavia's road network in a subsidy programme for central Europe tourists travelling in groups overland to northern Greece.

    To date, routes through Bulgaria and the Adriatic were subsidised by EOT for tourists hailing from Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. A subsidy of 6,000 drachmas per tourist transported by means of mass transit through travel agencies wil l be allocated.

    The programme will be in force from Aug. 15 to Oct. 31.

  • Bank of Greece deregulates currency export The Bank of Greece yesterday announced that Greek citizens will be allowed to export up to 10,000 euros or their equivelant without any official justification.

    The announcement noted that the export of currency up to 2,000 euros for professional-business expeditures will also be allowed without bureaucratic procedures or justification.

    Finally, private citizens and companies will not be required to fill out paperwork for the transfer of capital abroad.

  • To the "Daily Bulletin" subscribers Dear friends,

    As you are aware, technological developments in the mass media sector are rapid. Today, all the news services are offered online. The "electronic newspaper" supplements, and in many cases replaces, the printed newspaper. Contact via e-mail also affords the ability for direct communication.

    These developments, as many others, have also influenced our own work here at Athens News Agency (ANA), which is adapting all its services to the new technology. In the framework of these changes, the "Daily Bulletin" will - as of Jan. 2, 2000 - be converted from a printed to an electronic medium for our subscribers.

    With this change, our subscribers will: a) receive our news items online, at the moment the news is breaking. b) receive the next day's "Daily Bulletin" on their screens at midnight, with the ability to print it out if they wish or simply view on screen. c) receive the "Bulletin" either via the paid ANA services on the Internet, or via e-mail sent to a subscriber's e-mail address. d) also have the ability, for a small surcharge, to utilise the ANA's English-language data bank, which contains all the news items appearing in the "Daily Bulletin" since 1992.

    We believe that these changes, which correspond with the new function of the international and national news agencies, will satisfy subscribers' needs for immediate and credible information. In order to subscribe to this service, you must have a PC and a modem, or an e-mail address.

    All who wish to continue receiving our services must prepare for these changes which, as stated, will commence on Jan. 2, 2000.

    Takis Mantis, the director of ANA's informatics and telecommunications department, is at your disposal for any technical information on tel: 64.00.560 and 64.00.038.

    I sincerely hope all our subscribers will adapt to these necessary technological changes.

    Andreas Christodoulides ANA General Director Athens News Agency

  • To Readers of the Daily Bulletin The Athens News Agency (ANA) provides a same-day, around-the-clock-news service in English to keep subscribers up to date on the issues that shape Greece's political and economic scene. The ANA Special English Service offers diplomats and journalists the latest news through on line (PC & Modem) on the country's foreign and domestic policies, its political parties, trade unions and pressure groups, the economy, industry and transport, and visits by officials from abroad.

    For further information, please call Chris Eliou, Director of the Special English Service on 6400560 , Ext.613.

    You may order subscriptions from George Tsambras, Management and Sales Department, on 6400580, fax 6400024.

  • Advertising in the Daily Bulletin The ANA will from now on welcome professional half-page or full-page advertisments in its daily English and French Bulletin.

    Advertisements will be accepted from embassies, banks, commercial and maritime companies, chambers of commerce, advertising companies, airlines, organisations, professional associations, educational and research institutions in Greece and abroad as well as international bodies.

    Also, for a small fee, the above groups may channel their Press Releases (PRs), announcements or photographs - in Greek, English or French - to the ANA's more than 100 media subscribers throughout Greece and Cyprus via the recently introduced ANA on-line PR's service.

    For details on and arrangements for the advertising and/or PRs on-line service, please contact the ANA Management and Sales Department, tel: 6400580 , fax: 6400024.


    Fine weather with soaring temperatures is forecast throughout Greece today. Winds mostly weak in the west, weak to moderate in the east and locally stong in the Aegean. Athens will be sunny and hot with temperatures between 25-39C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 23-37C.


    Tuesday's rates (buying)
    U.S. dollar          303.403
    Pound sterling       487.171
    Japanese yen (100)   262.781
    French franc          49.452
    German mark          165.854
    Italian lira (100)    16.753
    Irish Punt           411.882
    Belgian franc          8.410
    Finnish mark          54.557
    Dutch guilder        146.199
    Danish kr.            43.583
    Austrian sch.         23.574
    Spanish peseta         1.949
    Swedish kr.           36.920
    Norwegian kr.         39.170
    Swiss franc          202.671
    Port. Escudo           1.618
    Can. dollar          201.674
    Aus. dollar          197.458
    Cyprus pound         560.480
    Euro                 324.384
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