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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-08-14

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, 14/08/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Turkish violations reported over northeastern Aegean
  • Dam agreement signed
  • Search continues for missing Italian
  • Thermaikos Gulf mussels given the 'all clear'
  • Parthenon Marbles appeal to tourists
  • Skopjans arrested for using counterfeit dollars
  • Woman raped at stadium during soccer game
  • Albanian arrests... Albanian
  • Equity prices close historic week at record highs
  • Prices unchanged in secondary bond market trading
  • Rising oil prices effect on inflation rate feared
  • ICAP report cites 208% increase in 1998 bank profits
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Turkish violations reported over northeastern Aegean

Several Turkish warplanes infringed on Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) regulations and violated Greek national airspace yesterday on seven different occasions.

Specifically, 10 Turkish F-16s and four F-4 warplanes infringed on Athens FIR regulations in the northeastern Aegean, between the islands of Hios and Limnos. Some of the Turkish fighters also violated Greek national airspace before being intercepted by Hellenic Air Force planes on all seven occasions, while in five instances the interception process developed into midday engagement.

According to air force sources, the violations and FIR infringements by the Turkish warplanes were expected.

Dam agreement signed

The Public Power Corporation (DEH) and a consortium of engineering companies on Saturday signed a contract for the construction of a dam in the area of Gratini, Rodopi, northern Greece.

The estimated cost of the project is 7 billion drachmas. When completed, the dam will create a sufficient volume of water for a power station which will also use natural gas and is currently under construction on the Rodopi Industrial Park.

The three companies which have undertaken construction of the dam are "Michaniki S.A.", "AGEK S.A." and "TERNA S.A."

The Gratini dam and another being constructed at Arato, Rodopi will produce 25 million cubic metres of water for the operation of the power generating station.

The power plant is being built on a 320,000 square metre area of land purchased by DEH from the Hellenic Industrial Development Bank (ETBA) for 590 million drachmas.

The construction of the plant will cost approximately 80 billion drachmas and it will be ready for operation in about two-and-a-half years from now.

It will have an initial output of 300 megawatt which will gradually be increased to 470 megawatt.

Water exiting the DEH plant will be used to irrigate 10 million square metres of arable land on the plain of Rodopi.

Search continues for missing Italian

The Greek coastguard on Saturday continued to search for a young Italian who was missing after going spearfishing off Pylos on the west coast of the Peloponnese.

The man was named as Guido Rostan, 21, who went spearfishing on Friday afternoon off the islet of Venetico.

A coastguard vessel and local fishing boats are taking part in the search.

Thermaikos Gulf mussels given the 'all clear'

The mussels cultivated in the Thermaikos Gulf, northern Greece got a further clean bill of health on Friday from a respected laboratory and local authorities said a ban on the collection and sale of the tasty molluscs would soon be lifted.

The ban was imposed by order of the Prefect of Thessaloniki on July 15 after French authorities claimed to have detected DSP dioxin in the mussels.

On Friday, prefectural authorities received the findings of tests carried out at a Thessaloniki University laboratory, which confirmed the results obtained on August 6 from an Italian state laboratory in Venice showing the mussels to be free of dioxins.

What turned out to be a false alarm began in July when French authorities impounded quantities of mussels originating from the Thermaikos Gulf, saying biotoxins had been detected.

Local producers reacted angrily, saying the move was motivated by national interests, given the fierce competition in the French market.

Samples sent initially from Thessaloniki to the only European Union microbiology laboratory certified for testing mussels in Vigo, Spain, supposedly confirmed the French view.

When the authorities in Thessaloniki attempted to send a second sample to Vigo for testing, they were informed that the laboratory would remain closed until August 17.

Samples were then sent to Venice, Cologne and Thessaloniki University.

The president of a local fishing cooperative in the Thermaikos Gulf, George Liolios, told the ANA on Friday that the latest results vindicated the mussel producers.

Stressing that a "war of interests" was behind the health scare, Liolios said the Greek Association of Shellfish and Mussel Producers was considering taking legal action against the Vigo laboratory.

Parthenon Marbles appeal to tourists

Thousands of visitors to the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple on the Acropolis of Athens are being handed a pamphlet with an appeal for the return of the Parthenon Marbles now housed in London's British Museum.

According to the Culture Ministry 300,000 leaflets have been printed of which 80,000 are in English, 20,000 in Greek, and the rest in German, Italian and Spanish.

The pamphlets are being distributed starting today and continue through the tourist period until October 17.

The Marbles which include 17 figures and fragments of a 160-metre long frieze were carted away in the early 19th century by Lord Elgin, the then British ambassador to the Ottoman empire, while Greece was under Ottoman rule. He sold the Marbles to the British Museum in 1816.

The crusade, said Yannis Tsakopiakos, chairman of the Federation of Culture Ministry Employees' Unions, aims at informing the visitors on the "amputation of the Parthenon and the theft of its sculptures", as well on Greece's efforts for the Marbles' return.

He said the Federation was also sending an open letter to British prime minister Tony Blair "calling for his positive response".

"Our aspiration was and is to actively participate in the effort, at the same time creating a 'spark' for substantive interventions," he said.

Greece has for several years been waging a campaign for the return of the Marbles, which it says it will house in the new Acropolis Museum due for completion by 2004, when Athens will stage the Olympic Games.

Last year, Greece lodged an official protest with the British government over the damage caused to the Marbles and demanded their inspection by an international experts' committee.

The British Museum acknowledged that damage had been caused as the Marbles were being cleaned in 1937, but has consistently refused to return them.

Skopjans arrested for using counterfeit dollars

Three Skopjans were spending free holidays in Greece using counterfeit 100 U.S. dollar notes until they fell into the hands of the police late Thursday night.

The three, identified as Anton Kolarov 23, Goran Alginov 25, and Bizka Nikolova 26 had been holidaying for the past three days at a camping in Sithonia, in Halkidiki, northern Greece.

But last night they went into a local bar where they paid the bill with a fake 100-dollar note. The bar owner got suspicious and alerted the police who arrested them. Police found in their possession another 15 bogus 100- dollar notes.

They told police that they had spent 1,100 fake dollars.

They were charged with importing counterfeit currency.

Woman raped at stadium during soccer game

Athens police are looking for three youths who are alleged to have raped a 21-year-old woman in the toilets of the Olympic Stadium during a soccer game between Panathinaikos and Leonidio for the Greek Cup.

The incident is alleged to have taken place during last night's match in Athens.

Unconfirmed television reports said the girl may have been a drug addict who had gone into the toilet for a fix.

Albanian arrests... Albanian

An Albanian bag-snatcher was caught and handed over to the police in Thessaloniki by a fellow Albanian who heard the cries of the victim and ran to her assistance.

The incident took place at around midnight Thursday when Michalis Marantidis, 22, grabbed the bag of Elisabet Sarikyriakidou, 63 and ran off.

The woman called for help and Astrit Ago, 26, a labourer, who was passing at the time, chased and caught Marantidis and handed him over to the police who arrived a few minutes later.

Equity prices close historic week at record highs

Equity prices ended a historic week at new record levels on Friday pushed by strong buying interest in blue chip stocks.

The general index ended 102.71 points, or 2.19 percent up at 4,799.62 for its 38th record close this year. The index has recorded a 487.37 points gain in the last nine sessions.

Turnover was 219.823 billion drachmas reflecting high liquidity in the market with 31,119,993 shares changing hands.

The Insurance and Holding sectors outperformed the market ending 7.44 and 7.5 percent higher respectively. Other sector indices ended as follows: Banks (+1.12 pct), Investment (+1.2 pct), Leasing (+0.60 pct), Construction (+3.80 pct), Industrials (+3.40 pct) and Miscellaneous (+3.29 pct).

The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks rose 3.53 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.53 percent up at 2,675.42 points.

Broadly, advancers led decliners by 224 to 65 with another five issues unchanged.

A total of 36 shares ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up, while another two ended at the day's limit down.

Hellenic Petroleum, Hellenic Telecoms and Naoussa Textiles were the most heavily traded stocks, while Commercial Bank, Eurobank and Alpha Credit Bank led the day's turnover.

National Bank of Greece ended at 22,310 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 21, 850, Commercial Bank at 34,000, Ergobank at 31,500, Titan Cement at 33,100, Hellenic Petroleum at 3,315, Intracom at 22,780, Minoan Lines at 5,695, Panafon at 8,200 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,720.

Prices unchanged in secondary bond market trading

Despite sellers dominating yesterday's trading in the secondary bond market, prices remained unchanged.

Fifteen year bonds attracted 10 billion of the 21 billion-drachma sales volume, out of 27 billion drachmas worth of total trading.

The benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.73-6.74 per cent, with a spread of 183-184 basis points above the respective German bund.

The market appeared to be waiting for the announcement of the latest US monthly inflation figures on Aug. 17, which will indicate the next possible moves of the Federal Reserve on the 24th of the month.

In a three-month deposit auction, the Bank of Greece absorbed additional liquidity of 200 billion drachmas at an average rate of 10.07 per cent, up from 9.91 per cent from the previous auction on July 8. At the central bank's daily fix, there was a small outflow of 75-80 million euros, and the drachma closed at 326.95 from 326.66 in the previous session. The dollar rose to 307.57 from 305.46 a day earlier.

Rising oil prices effect on inflation rate feared

The government is reportedly concerned over the latest increase in international oil prices, expected to push up August inflation figures.

Gasoline prices were 4.5 drachmas per litre up at the pump yesterday, diesel cost two drachmas more per litre, while heating oil rose up 2.7 drachmas per litre.

ICAP report cites 208% increase in 1998 bank profits

The ICAP research institute yesterday presented a report on Greece's banking sector, noting the greater than ever consolidation and outstanding profits of 208 per cent on a year-to-year basis for 1998.

Consolidation regarded several buy-outs, mergers and privatisations of several banks throughout the year, actions which continued into 1999.

The report stated that net profits of 21 banks included in the report rose to 349 billion drachmas, compared to 113 billion drachmas in 1997.

The same report stated that deposits rose by 16.5 per cent, loans by 18.1 per cent, assets rose by 8.6 per cent and equity by 33.5 per cent, while the total number of employees rose by 1 per cent.

WEATHER

Fine weather with a drop in temperatures is throughout the country today. Some local cloud over mainland Greece in the afternoon with scattered showers expected in the north. Sunshine in Athens with temperatures between 22-35C. Local cloud in Thessaloniki in the afternoon with temperatures from 20-32C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          305.109
Pound sterling       490.246
Japanese yen (100)   263.078
French franc          49.444
German mark          165.830
Italian lira (100)    16.751
Irish Punt           411.820
Belgian franc          8.040
Finnish mark          54.549
Dutch guilder        147.176
Danish kr.            43.646
Austrian sch.         23.570
Spanish peseta         1.949
Swedish kr.           36.962
Norwegian kr.         39.398
Swiss franc          202.522
Port. Escudo           1.618
Can. dollar          205.165
Aus. dollar          198.509
Cyprus pound         561.452
Euro                 324.334
(S.S.)
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