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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-03-23
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Athens-Burns-baseball23/03/2000 21:32:03
At a "baseball summit" held on Thursday in Athens with representatives of the Greek government and private individuals, U.S. Ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns announced the formation of a non-profit orgainsation called "Friends of Greek Baseball & Softball."
The group, which will be co-chaired by Ambassador Burns and Peter Angelos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team, will encourage the development of baseball and softball in Greece and provide assistance to the Hellenic Baseball Federation and the Hellenic Amateur Softball Federation.
 Agricultural Bank-Privatisation Bonds23/03/2000 20:31:22
The government said on Thursday that it may sell to farmers more than 70 percent of convertible privatisation bonds that it plans to issue as part of an Athens bourse listing for Agricultural Bank of Greece, expected in November.
Deputy Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis told a news conference that the amount would be determined by market research now underway among farmers, agricultural cooperatives and country dwellers, and the amount of paper destined for farmers could top 70 percent.
 Think Tank-Economy-Elections23/03/2000 19:59:41
The new government to emerge from national elections on April 9 must work to help the economy stabilise within the euro zone and make the most of opportunities accruing from membership, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said on Thursday.
In its latest report on the economy, IOBE confirmed that the short-term outlook was healthy but a priority should now be set on boosting competitiveness in order to ensure viability after entry into the euro zone, expected on January 1, 2001.
 Black Sea Bank-Shareholders' Assembly23/03/2000 19:35:24
Shareholders of the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, which is owned by 11 countries, are to meet in Vouliagmeni, near Athens, on April 15 for an annual general meeting.
The bank's share capital of 1.2 billion US dollars is distributed among Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.
 Exhibition - Russian - Archives - Greece23/03/2000 18:40:44
An unprecedented exhibition of Russian archives dealing with Hellenism in Czarist Russia between the 16th and 19th centuries was inaugurated on Thursday at the Athens Municipality¢s Museum.
Entitled ?Greeks in Moscow?, the exhibition will feature centuries-old portraits, books and state documents collected by the Czarist bureaucracy, all dealing with Hellenism and the ethnic Greek community in the empire.
According to the exhibition¢s organisers, the exhibits on display underline the fact that Moscow served as a significant centre of pre-Revolutionary activities by Greek expatriates -- including clerics, scholars and philosophers · as well as highlight Czarist Russia¢s mission to liberate Greece and the Christian nations of the Balkans from Ottoman yoke. The ties between then Orthodox champion Russia and the last vestiges of Byzantium are depicted with the 1472 marriage of Ivan III, Grand Duke of Moscow, with Zoe (Sophia) Palaeologos, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor.
Part of Zoe¢s dowry included hundreds of invaluable Greek-language tomes later translated into Russian by scholar and theologian Maximos Graikos (Mihail Trivolis) in 1518. Both portraits of Graikos are on display at the exhibition.
The Athens Municipality Museum is located on 7, Paparigopoulos St.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Friday23/03/2000 18:22:40
Following are indicative foreign exchange buying rates for commercial banks, released by the central bank for the next working day.
Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar 344.502
German mark 169.481
 Weather Forecast-Friday23/03/2000 17:07:40
Sunshine is forecast throughout the country on Friday.
Winds will be north-northwesterly, light to moderate, turning strong in the southern Aegean.
 Passenger shipping-fares increase23/03/2000 16:55:59
A decision on this year's fare increases in the domestic passenger shipping sector will be taken after the April 9 general elections, Merchant Marine officials said on Thursday.
Greece's Passenger Shipping Owners Union recently demanded a 9.71 percent increase in shipping fares this year because of higher oil prices, although this week's oil price drop restored some confidence back in the passenger shipping market.
Passenger shipping fares have frozen in the last two years and ship owners seek an increase citing a 28 percent rise in fuels, a 10.9 percent increase in maintenance and repairing costs, a 5.0 percent rise in sailors' wages and a 16 percent increase in other operating expenses.
The Passenger Shipping Union agreed a 4.0 percent rise with the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation for the year 2000, a fortnight ago.
 Simitis-stock market-integration23/03/2000 16:26:44
LISBON (ANA - V. Mourtis) -- The Athens Stock Exchange is following moves aimed at creating a pan-European bourse, Prime Minister Costas Simitis told reporters here on Thursday.
The Greek prime minister, attending a special EU summit organised by the Portuguese presidency, said the Athens bourse was already in contact with other European stock exchanges, and that it was following the road of integration, especially after a merger deal announced a few days ago between the Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels stock markets.
National Economy and Finance Minister, Yiannos Papantoniou, last week discussed with the chairman of the London Stock Exchange ways to accelerate procedures for the Athens stock market's participation in a pan-European market.
Papantoniou expects the integration procedure to be completed in 2001 with the single stock market having three pylons, London, Frankfurt and Paris.
He said that a pan-European stock market would offer Greek investors an expanded investment product range, while Greek businesses could be listed in this market and raise capital in other European countries.
Papantoniou said listing terms would be unified across the European Union and the listing would be made simultaneously in all European bourses.
 ADEX-close23/03/2000 16:18:35
Derivatives prices came under pressure to end lower on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday following declines in the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40, which ended 1.10 and 3.22 percent lower, respectively.
A total of 1,263 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index with a turnover of 6.6 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 2,623 points, the May at 2,650 and the June contract at 2,660 points.
A total of 1,272 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, with a turnover of 3.4 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 688.50 points and the May contract at 694.75 points.
 ASE-close23/03/2000 15:44:40
Equity prices remained under pressure on Thursday to end sharply lower on the Athens Stock Exchange with turnover falling to its lowest levels so far this year.
Dealers said lack of buying interest was leaving share prices vulnerable to selling pressures.
The general index ended 1.53 percent lower at 4,650.77 points, off the day's lows of 4,587.11 points. A wave of buying by institutional investors during the last half hour of trading managed to cut early sharp losses in the market. Turnover was a low 142 billion drachmas.
Smaller capitalisation stocks were particularly hit while Leasing and Information Technology shares ended higher.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.10 percent down at 2,620.09 points, while the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 3.22 percent to 686.60 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 844.49 points, off 6.99 percent.
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