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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-09-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


ATHENS, GREECE, 16/09/1999 (ANA)


  • Condolences pour in for Kranidiotis, five other victims
  • Probe into plane's plunge ordered at highest level
  • Gov't, seismologists downplay quake prediction
  • Quake-stricken municipalities designate areas for new housing
  • Talks between Greek, Turkish diplomats resume
  • Ecevit: No concession over Cyprus
  • US ambassador on loss of Kranidiotis, quake relief
  • Rampant stocks sprint towards 6,200 points
  • Futures trade falls
  • Companies offer quake aid
  • Gov't again calls for price cuts
  • Eurostat reports slip in Greek exports for '98
  • Magriotis discusses Greek aid with Yugoslav consul in Thessaloniki
  • Olympiakos-Real tie at 3-3
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


  • Condolences pour in for Kranidiotis, five other victims The bodies of six people, including Alternate FM Yannos Kranidiotis, killed late Tuesday evening in a freak air accident just before landing in Bucharest, were brought back to Athens yesterday.

    The 52-year-old Nicosia-born Kranidiotis; his 23-year-old son Nikos; Greek state TV and radio reporters Dimitris Pantazopoulos and Nina Assimakopoulou; the minister's bodyguard Nikos Assimakopoulos and flight engineer Mihalis Papadopoulos were all kille d when the Falcon commuter jet plunged from 23, 000 feet to 4,000 feet in a matter of seconds, just as it commenced landing procedures and while nearing Bucharest.

    Kranidiotis will be buried at noon tomorrow at the Athens First Cemetery, while the other victims will be laid to rest today.

    US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright yesterday expressed her condolences to Foreign Minister George Papandreou praising the role of the late minister in formulating Greek foreign policy and especially on the Cyprus problem.

    Turkish President Suleyman Demirel expressed his condolences to his Greek counterpart Kostis Stephanopoulos, noting the "valuable services" Kranidiotis offered to Greece, adding that Turkey "shares the sorrow of the Greek people owing to the loss of a noted diplomat and political man."

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem called his Greek counterpart George Papandreou and expressed his condolences over the loss.

    British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said he was saddened by the news.

    German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer sent his condolences to the victims' families through his telegram to Mr. Papandreou.

    The government of Israel also expressed its condolences, as Israeli FM David Levy sent Mr. Papandreou a telegram.

    In Athens, US ambassador Nicholas Burns issued a statement offering his condolences to the Greek people .

    All the ambassadors of European Union countries, the ambassadors of Switzerland, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Russia, Canada, Lebanon, India, Japan, Egypt, Argentina, the People's Republic of China, Indonesia and the representative of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as well as the Palestinian diplomatic mission signed a book of condolences at the foreign ministrfy.

    In Vienna, the president of the Austrian federal parliament Heinz Fischer expressed his deep grief and condolences.

    Cyprus has declared a three-day mourning period with flags flying at half mast to mourn Kranidiotis' death.

  • Probe into plane's plunge ordered at highest level Prime Minister Costas Simitis wants the probe into the causes of the accident which cost the lives of Alternate FM Yannos Kranidiotis and five other people to go "as high as it needs to", government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    Mr. Reppas said the prime minister had contacted the management of Olympic Airways, which maintains the prime minister's plane, requesting that the inquiry ascertain who was responsible for the events leading up to Tuesday evening.

    The Athens public prosecutor yesterday ordered an urgent preliminary inquiry into the circumstances of the plunge of the Falcon aircraft.

    Prosecutor Georgios Koliokostas ordered the questioning of witnesses and the inclusion of the aircraft's documents on inspections, maintenance and repairs carried out on it to be attached to the case file.

    He also ordered an expert's report to ascertain the condition of the plane and whether a malfunction had occurred during the flight.

    Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis yesterday travelled to Bucharest to oversee the investigation into the fatal airplane free-fall on Tuesday evening which claimed the life of Alternate FM Yannos Kranidiotis.

  • Gov't, seismologists downplay quake prediction There are no methods to forecast earthquakes in Greece, Town Planning Minister Costas Laliotis stressed yesterday in response to letters forwarded to the ministry by the controversial VAN team of seismologists.

    The VAN team claimed it had predicted an earthquake near the central city of Lamia.

    Speaking to reporters after a three-hour ministerial meeting yesterday presided over by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Mr. Laliotis noted that if anyone thinks he has the "forecast of the time, magnitude and epicentre of an upcoming earthquake, he should come out and say so."

  • Quake-stricken municipalities designate areas for new housing Work crews are continuing to clear away rubble in order to relieve earthquake sufferers in all the areas struck by the devastating earthquake on Sept. 7 in the greater Athens area.

    Town Planning Minister Costas Laliotis stressed yesterday that most municipalities have informed the ministry that they have designated locations where the first new communities will be built.

    The municipality of Metamorphosis has earmarked two hectares on Tatoi street where 200 homes are expected to be erected. The municipality of Menidi has proposed three locations, one of which was considered suitable, and where 200 homes will likewise be built.

    The Ano Liosia municipality has pointed to three locations of a total area of about five hectares where 500 homes will be built. Zefyri has not yet determined locations, while the community of Thrakomakedones, the suburban municipality of Nea Philadelphia and the municipality of Erithrea are still in the process of determining relevant spaces. Kifissia has earmarked space for 10 homes.

  • Talks between Greek, Turkish diplomats resume The second leg of the second phase of "low-impact" talks between Greece and Turkey on a senior foreign ministry officials' level continued yesterday, this time focusing on cultural and multi-lateral cooperation.

    Greek and Turkish diplomats have already proceeded in preparing the ground work to cover the vacuum created by long absence of close relations, sources said.

    The Greek delegation is expected to discuss issues regarding personal security.

  • Ecevit: No concession over Cyprus Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said yesterday that Ankara will make no concession over the Cyprus issue, despite warming Greek-Turkish rel ations following earthquakes in both countries.

    Mr. Ecevit also spoke of two completely separate and independent states in Cyprus and made groundless allegations of fears by Turkish Cypriots of "so- called genocide".

    His statement, made shortly before his visit to Washington, may provide an indication of the intransigent stance the Turkish side will observe in impending initiatives.

  • US ambassador on loss of Kranidiotis, quake relief US ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns yesterday termed the death of Alternate FM Yiannos Kranidiotis a "huge loss for Greece."

    Speaking at a press conference organised by the Hellenic American Business Council the US envoy also stressed that Kranidiotis was courageous supporter of the national interests of Greece and Cyprus.

    Referring to the recent disastrous earthquake in the Attica area, Mr. Burns disclosed that, apart from immediate aid by the US government amounting to 50,000 dollars towards the Greek Red Cross, the US embassy in Athens is in contact with the US Army co mmand in Europe for additional supplies to be sent, namely, tents, and prefabricated houses.

    During the press conference, the joint presidents of the Hellenic American Business Council Athanassios Lavidas (Lavipharm S.A.), on the Greek side, and expatriate Greek-American Alex Spanos for the US side, announced that they will each provide 100,000 dollars for earthquake sufferers.

  • Rampant stocks sprint towards 6,200 points Equities surged yesterday with the general index nearing the 6,200-point level with no sign yet of staging a downward correction.

    The index ended 2.10 percent higher at 6,181.05 points, its 51st record this year.

    It now stands 125.79 percent higher from the beginning of 1999. Yesterday's turnover exceeded 500 billion drachmas.

    Traders said new money continued to enter the market, keeping liquidity at very high levels.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (+0.06 pct), Insurance (+1.57 pct), Construction (+6.60 pct), Miscellaneous (+1.48 pct), Leasing (+5.18 pct), Investment (+4.91 pct), Industrials (+3.34 pct) and Holding (+5.86 pct).

    National Bank of Greece ended at 26,600 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 26, 580, Commercial Bank at 30,470, Titan Cement at 40,000, Hellenic Petroleum at 5,184, Intracom at 30,050, Minoan Lines at 9,433, Panafon at 9,600 and Hellenic Telecoms at 8,100.

  • Futures trade falls Trade on the newly created Athens Derivatives Exchange yesterday dropped to 2.6 billion drachmas on 424 futures contracts from 3.3 billion drachmas in the previuos session and 3.9 billion drachmas on Monday.

    Contracts for September ended at 3,174.23; for October at 3,131.53; for November at 3,139.76; and for June 2000 at 3,265.25.

    No trades were reported in December 1999 futures.

  • Companies offer quake aid More companies joined a growing list of donors to victims of the killer earthquake that hit Athens on September 7.

    The latest donations, announced yesterday, are as follows:

    Panafon, a mobile phone operator listed on the Athens bourse, has ordered temporary dwellings worth 100 million drachmas for the homeless in the temblor
    Aget Heracles, a cement producer listed on the bourse, has given Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Minister Vasso Papandreou 100 million drachmas to aid the earthquake victims
    Hellenic Sugar, a state-owned firm also listed on the bourse, has donated 20 million drachmas and 12 tonnes of sugar to the quake victims.

  • Gov't again calls for price cuts The government made a renewed appeal to producers yesterday to reduce their prices as part of a drive to lower inflation and enter the euro zone on target in January, 2001.

    Making the appeal were National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    They were addressing a meeting with producers, workers and consumers.

    Mr. Papantoniou said the government had reached its limit of bringing down inflation through indirect taxes.

    In addition, the central bank was already exercising the tightest monetary policy in the European Union, keeping interest rates about seven percentage points above other countries in the 15-nation bloc.

  • Eurostat reports slip in Greek exports for '98 Eurostat reported that Greek exports decreased by 4 per cent in 1998 compared to 1997, the Federation of Northern Greek Exporters announced.

    The only exception to the decrease came from the agricultural sector, where overall exports rose by 4 per cent, increasing their share of the exports pie to 20 per cent.

    Olive oil, fish, fruits and vegetables led Greece's agricultural exports, with major markets in Italy, Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, France, the United States, Spain, Bulgaria, Romania and Poland.

  • Magriotis discusses Greek aid with Yugoslav consul in Thessaloniki Macedonia-Thrace Minister Yiannis Magriotis yesterday received the Yugoslav consul in Thessaloniki, Goran Kraninovic, who said that Belgrade looks to Athens for support in the allocation of aid, adding that all Greek efforts to date are appreciated.

    He added that Thessaloniki's selection as the centre of the Balkan reconstruction agency will give Greece the ability to influence the mechanisms providing aid for Yugoslavia.

    Mr. Kraninovic said that three months after the end of the war in Kosovo, anarchy still prevails in the region, while 200,000 non-Albanians are still refugees.

    Mr. Magriotis requested that Yugoslav authorities facilitate Greek students in the country. Mr. Kraninovic accepted the request, adding that Belgrade is already doing its best on the issue.

  • Olympiakos-Real tie at 3-3 Olympiakos Piraeus and Real Madrid tied 3-3 yesterday in their first Champions League game of the season, playing before some 82,000 fans at Athens' Olympic stadium.


    Overcast weather will prevail of the country today with showers in the day in the northern Ionian islands and Epirus. Rain is expected to spread to most parts of mainland Greece in the evening. Winds variable, light to moderate. Partly cloudy in Athens with temperatures from 19-30C. Rain in the evening in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 16-27C .


    Thursday's rates (buying)
    U.S. dollar          311.855
    Pound sterling       501.238
    Japanese yen (100)   300.576
    French franc          49.346
    German mark          165.500
    Italian lira (100)    16.717
    Irish Punt           411.001
    Belgian franc          8.024
    Finnish mark          54.441
    Dutch guilder        146.883
    Danish kr.            43.557
    Austrian sch.         23.523
    Spanish peseta         1.945
    Swedish kr.           37.488
    Norwegian kr.         39.303
    Swiss franc          201.837
    Port. Escudo           1.615
    Can. dollar          211.157
    Aus. dollar          203.142
    Cyprus pound         558.893
    Euro                 323.690
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