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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-04-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Secondary Bond Market-Close
  • [02] Foreign Exchange Rates-Wednesday
  • [03] Rau - Visit - Massacre site (recasts)
  • [04] Weather Forecast-Wednesday
  • [05] Bond auction-results
  • [06] Olympic Airways-Airbus
  • [07] ASE-close

  • [01] Secondary Bond Market-Close

    04/04/2000 19:40:10

    Bond prices crept up on Tuesday for the second straight session in light buy-oriented trade with sentiment still subdued due to national elections on April 9.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.16 percent, the same as the previous day, from 6.21 percent in the two trading days before that.

    The paper's yield spread over German bunds was 96 basis points from 98 basis points a day earlier and between 95 and 99 basis points on Friday.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 48.5 billion drachmas from 48 billion drachmas in the previous session and 69 billion drachmas on Friday.

    Of Tuesday's total, buy orders accounted for 38.5 billion drachmas and sell orders the remaining 10 billion drachmas.

    According to the final opinion polls allowed under electoral law, the ruling socialist PASOK party and main opposition conservative New Democracy party are likely to run neck-and-neck in voting.

    [02] Foreign Exchange Rates-Wednesday

    04/04/2000 18:38:55

    Following are indicative foreign exchange rates for commercial banks released by the central bank for the next working day

    Wednesday's rates (buying)

    Euro 332.191

    U.S. dollar 348.281

    [03] Rau - Visit - Massacre site (recasts)

    04/04/2000 18:00:42

    German President Johannes Rau on Tuesday paid homage to the victims of one of the most heinous crimes committed by Axis occupation forces in Greece during World War II, expressing what he called ?grief and shame? over the Kalavryta massacre.

    More than 1,300 males were executed by Nazi occupation troops in December 1943 as a reprisal against resistance activity in the Kalavryta region, northwest Peloponnese.

    As the highest-ranking German leader to ever officially visit Kalavryta, Rau was accompanied by his Greek counterpart Kostis Stephanopoulos to the exact hill where the executions took place · laying a wreath during a brief ceremony followed by a memorial service. Both men had arrived in the mountainous town by helicopter in the morning.

    The German president landed in Athens on Monday afternoon for a three-day state visit at the invitation of his Greek counterpart.

    ?The church clock of Kalavryta still shows the tragic minutes of 13 December, 1943, which heralded the beginning of this suffering for the residents of this town. Here, where the Greeks˘ struggle for freedom once began, the atrocities and destruction wrought by German soldiers dominated; when the Wehrmacht murdered all the male residents, including children and teens, for reasons of revenge,? Rau said in a brief address.

    ?I came here to keep the memory of this event alive in Germany. Here, at this place, I feel immense grief and shame. Only one who knows and accepts his past can find the path to a better future.

    ?A half century after the end of the war Greeks and Germans are proceeding together towards a common European future. Together we have the opportunity to shape a European future of peace, democracy and respect for human rights. In such a Europe atrocities and destruction have no place,? he stressed, adding:

    ?Young people have a particular interest in resisting all forms of hatred, intolerance, violations of human rights, barbarity and war,? Rau said.

    The German president also mentioned his support for an exchange programme between a northern German city and Kalavryta, whereby a group of local youths would visit the Federal Republic of Germany.

    ?Maybe then it can be proven that even from Kalavryta, this place of memory, a road towards the future begins.?

    Stephanopoulos

    In his response, Greek President Stephanopoulos called the visit ?emotionally charged?, adding however, that although it cannot reverse the events of 13th of December, 1943, on this day ?Greeks and Germans met with totally different feelings than on that terrible day and time.?

    At one point in his comments, the Greek president also emphasised that the German state can do more to alleviate the consequences of the occupation massacres, as part of efforts to ?lessen the repercussions? as well as the (negative) feelings, which no amount of compensation can assuage.?

    Stephanopoulos was referring to a rising crescendo of demands over the past few years that a now united Germany pay war reparations to the victims and communities brutalised during the 1941-44 occupation.

    ?Your visit to Kalavryta and your expression of emotions over the tragic events during the occupation acquire an important symbolism and a heightened moral significance not only for Kalavryta, not only for the other martyred cities that are so numerous in Greece, but for all Greeks,? Stephanopoulos, a native of the nearby port city of Patra, said.

    ?As president of the German republic you˘ve done what your conscience has dictated, and as much as you could as the highest official of your great country?? he added.

    Both Stephanopoulos and Rau later toured the Agia Lavra Monastery, the site where the Greek War of Independence was declared in March 1821.

    On Wednesday, Rau will visit the northern port city of Thessaloniki, where local officials will greet him before visiting the German School of Thessaloniki, the archaeological museum and the city˘s Protestant parish.

    [04] Weather Forecast-Wednesday

    04/04/2000 17:33:03

    Cloud and scattered showers are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with the northwest likely to see storms. Temperatures will remain high for the time of year.

    [05] Bond auction-results

    04/04/2000 16:35:47

    Bond yields fell substantially during Tuesday's regular auction of state securities by the finance ministry.

    The average weighed yield of a three-year bond, worth 200 billion drachmas, was 5.99 percent, down from 6.37 percent in the previous auction of same bonds.

    Bids submitted by the market's primary dealers totalled 955 billion drachmas, 4.78 times more the asked sum, evidence of continued strong interest in Greek securities.

    The auction was a re-opening of a bond auctioned in February 11, 2000, paying a fixed coupon of 5.90 percent.

    Its average weighed price was 99.719 points with a minimum accepted price of 99.705 points. Settlement date is Friday, 7 April 2000.

    [06] Olympic Airways-Airbus

    04/04/2000 16:19:18

    Olympic Airways, Greece's national carrier, on Tuesday inaugurated flights with its third Airbus 300-600 aircraft, named "Crete", with a flight from Athens to Thessaloniki.

    The new aircraft, sister to "Macedonia" and "Athina", has a capacity of 269 passengers and can carry 34 tonnes of cargo with a flight range of 4,600 km.

    The new aircraft, along with the other two currently servicing European and Middle East destinations, will service the Athens-Boston flight via Manchester from June 2000.

    [07] ASE-close

    04/04/2000 16:09:53

    Equity prices ended with minor changes on Tuesday as the Athens Stock Exchange froze ahead of Sunday's general elections.

    Traders said investors were awaiting the outcome of the elections to decide their next move in the market.

    The general index ended 0.12 percent higher at 4,813.37 points, after moving within a narrow range of 4,751-4,823 points throughout the session. Turnover was a low 138.05 billion drachmas.

    News that US credit rating agency Standard & Poor's upgraded three Greek banks' (National Bank, Alpha Credit, Eurobank) ratings were largely ignored by the market.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.21 percent higher at 2,728.99 points, while the FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 0.82 percent to 672.12 points.

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 805.43 points, off 1.36 percent.


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