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

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, 10/08/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Chinooks grounded for safety inspection
  • Parachutist killed in exercise
  • Bank robber puts his foot in it
  • NASA astronomers on eclipse cruise
  • Greece's trade deficit falls
  • Equities break new records
  • Bond short-term interest rates jump
  • Olympic Aviation pilots' union warn of strike
  • Footballers' union requests game postponements due to heatwave
  • Tsohatzopoulos to visit US in September
  • 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

NEWS IN DETAIL

Chinooks grounded for safety inspection

Greece on Tuesday grounded its nine Chinook helicopters after similar moves by the US and British airforces, pending a safety inspection by manufacturer Boeing Co., a national defence ministry announcement said.

The US army yesterday placed its 466 CH-47 Chinook helicopters temporarily out of service for safety checks after the discovery of a crack in the engine gear of a British CH-47 during a routine check, while the British Royal Air Force announced earlier today it has grounded its own fleet of 31 Chinooks.

The Greek army has been using its Chinooks mainly for emergency transportation and fire-fighting, and occasionally for the transport of senior state officials.

Parachutist killed in exercise

A parachutist was killed and another critically injured on Tuesday during a frogmen's exercise in Pachi, near Megara, west of Athens, a defence ministry spokesman said.

The two parachutists were carrying out routine jumps this morning when the straps of their parachutes became entangled and they began to fall to the ground at speed.

The spokesman said one of the parachutists managed to open his reserve parachute but was only 30 metres from the ground.

One of the parachutists died en route to hospital, while the other suffered fractures in his legs and spine and was reported in serious condition at the 401 military hospital in Athens.

Bank robber puts his foot in it

Apparently dazed and confused, an armed robber on Tuesday left a bank in Athens carrying less than when he entered after stumbling on his way out.

The young man, armed with a revolver, held up a branch of the Agricultural Bank in the district of Kallithea and was about to leave with 3 million drachmas when he stumbled and fell to the floor.

He quickly got to his feet and ran out of the bank leaving behind not only the money but also his gun.

Employees at the bank immediately notified the police and officers in a patrol car passing by chance arrested a young man who is believed to be the robber.

NASA astronomers on eclipse cruise

NASA astronomers will be sending images of Wednesday's last total solar eclipse of the millennium live to the Internet from aboard a Greek cruiseship in the Black Sea.

Some 250 astronomers will monitor what has been called the world's most followed eclipse in history aboard "Olympic Princess", one of the four Potamianos-owned Royal Olympic Cruises Ltd's cruisehips carrying out cruises in the Black Sea during the eclipse.

On board are NASA astronauts/astronomers Scott Carpenter and Ronald Parise, who will comment live on and send images of the eclipse via NASA satellites to the Internet, on website "www.eclipse99.nasa.gov".

Greece's trade deficit falls

Greece's trade deficit fell to 1.123 billion euros in February from 1.147 in January and a shortfall of 1.397 billion euros the same month last year, the Bank of Greece said in a report.

The central bank said that the current accounts balance showed a surplus of 264 million euros in February compared with a deficit of 501.1 million euros in the previous month, reflecting increased capital inflows from the European Union and a shrinking trade deficit.

The bank attributed a fall in February's trade deficit to an improvement in oil products balance.

The central bank also said that its foreing exchange reserves fell to 19.99 billion euros in February, down from 21.46 billion in January, but sharply up from 13.80 billion in February 1998.

Forex reserves rose to an estimated 21.20 billion euros at the end of July.

Equities break new records

Equity prices surged to new records on Tuesday with the general index surpassing the previous record closing of 4,528.97 recorded in July 22 for its 35th record this year.

It ended at 4,585.26 points, up 1.62 percent from Monday but off the day's highs. It now stands 67.50 percent higher in the year.

Medium capitalisation stocks, particularly in the construction sector, led the day's rally which was later expanded to blue chips stocks in the banks and industrial sectors.

Turnover was a huge 323 billion drachmas. Hellenic Telecoms and Duty Free Shops were the most heavily traded stocks.

Market sources attributed the recent record rally of the market to its unusual, for the month, high liquidity coming from re-invested profits and capital inflows to the mutual funds market.

Analysts said institutional investors have discounted the Greek markets' upgrading from an emerging to a mature market, a decision likely to be taken within the month.

They also predict, however, a correction of the market setting the market's fluctuation limits between 4,420 and 4,680 points.

Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (+1.55 pct), Leasing (+2.31 pct), Insurance (+0.96 pct), Investment (+2.48 pct), Construction (-4.05 pct), Industrials (+1.06 pct), Miscellaneous (+3.17 pct) and Holding (+2.00 pct).

The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks increased 0.50 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chips and heavy traded stocks rose 2.24 percent to 2,575.64 points.

Broadly, advancers led decliners by 157 to 131 with another six issues unchanged.

A total of 26 stocks ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up, while another three ended at the day's limit down.

Stock market authorities decided a temporary suspension in Alcar-Aemet share trading.

National Bank of Greece ended at 21,300 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 21, 500, Ergobank at 30,500, Commercial Bank at 32,100, Titan Cement at 30,450, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,850, Intracom at 23,000, Minoan Lines at 6,000, Panafon at 7,980 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,739.

Bond short-term interest rates jump

Short-term interest rates jumped significantly during Tuesday's regular state securities auction by the finance ministry, following a pattern in international market where speculation of a rise in US interest rates was pressuring bond prices.

The average weighed bond yield of six-month Treasury bills jumped to 9.88 percent from 9.02 percent in the previous auction of July 8.

Primary dealers offered 75 billion drachmas in bids, two and a half times more than the asked sum.

The finance ministry finally accepted bids totalling 31.5 billion drachmas.

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.

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 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.

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.

WEATHER

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.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

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
(S.S.)
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