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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-04-07
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Simitis - Election rally07/04/2000 22:17:26
Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday wound up the campaign for Sunday's election with an appeal for trust in his government's record and experience at a crucial turn in the country's progress, and against what he called the adventurist policies of the main opposition New Democracy.
He reiterated his vision of a strong Greece and set out seven specific personal commitments that will make it a reality.
"I have a vision for Greece, the vision of a strong Greece, the vision of the proud Greek ... This election is the first of the 21st century, with a long-term impact on the country and future generations," he said.
The first commitment was the fight against unemployment.
"I do not compromise on unemployment. I know what unemployment means for a family's life, I know what dignity for the unemployed means," he said.
The second commitment referred to the development of the country, which meant higher incomes, more prosperity and more social justice, whiel the third was for balance in that development through the allocation of 80 percent of investment funds to the regions.
The fourth commitment concerned the revitalisation of rural areas and the fifth the upgrading of the country's standing on the international scene.
The sixth commitment was in regard to the continuation of the reforms in all sectors that affected the daily life of citizens, with particular emphasis on health and public administration.
The seventh commitment concerned the future of education and culture.
"The future of Greece is education and culture. This is our identity," he said.
"Greece must not enter into adventures. It must not miss the opportunity," he urged.
 Elections-Parties-Leaders-final hours07/04/2000 22:01:22
Less than 48 hours before the general elections, Prime Minister and PASOK President Costas Simitis closed the election campaigning with his final address at a party rally in central Athens.
Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis accused main opposition New Democracy (ND) of mindlessly leaking to the press ?like parrots? opinion poll results.
He also noted that PASOK achieved the largest ever transport of voters to the towns and cities where they are registered so they might vote.
On his part, ND spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos appeared certain of his party¢s victory in the election.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga visited the Haftia district of down town Athens.
Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos was on an election tour of northern Peloponnese.
Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas cancelled his election campaigning for the day, in mourning over the death of his mother-in-law. In a statement, however, Friday evening, Tsovolas harshly criticised Simitis' speech in a central Athens party rally.
 Greece-Music composer-Panou-Obituary07/04/2000 20:12:32
Akis Panou, composer of some of the most popular songs in Greece, convicted of murder, father of four, died in Athens on Friday, succumbing to cancer, which he battled the last few years.
Panou was born in Athens in 1933 and grew up in the city, where he wrote most of his songs and lyrics, which first appeared in 1960 and were sung by some of Greece¢s most renowned singers.
He left Athens 15 years ago and moved to Xanthi prefecture, northern Greece. His last three-years were spent in prison as he was convicted for the murder of his daughter¢s boyfriend, whom he killed ?on grounds of honour? as she became pregnant of the murdered man, who was at the time married with children.
 ND-elections-final message07/04/2000 20:12:25
Greeks will decide on their future and that of their children as well as the country¢s course within the Economic Monetary Union (EMU), main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis said in his final election message, in light of this Sunday polls.
?We are deciding for our future and that of our children, for the course of the country in the post-EMU era, for real economic development, which means prosperity for the majority of the citizens,? Karamanlis said.
?They are proposing that we remain in the past, that we remain at the same stage. We are asking to move forward, while at the same time taking care of those around us. With new ideas, new faces who are eager to offer,? he added.
 Weather Forecast-Saturday07/04/2000 19:14:48
Sunshine and scattered cloud are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with showers likely in the northeast. Temperatures will remain fairly high for the time of year.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Monday07/04/2000 18:52:19
Following are indicative foreign exchange rates for commercial banks released by the central bank for the next working day.
Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar 346.248
 Migrant smuggler - Prison term07/04/2000 18:02:22
A 45-year-old local man was sentenced to almost eight years in prison on Friday after his conviction on charges of transporting illegal immigrants into Greece.
Thirty-five illegals, from Bangladesh and India, were discovered hidden behind a load of firewood in a truck driven by Nikolaos A. Geroyiannis.
According to testimony, the illegals had crossed the Evros River separating Greece and Turkey in a boat, ferried over by an Iranian migrant smuggler identified only as ?Ali?.
A court in the border town of Alexandroupoli also ordered the confiscation of the suspect¢s truck and a fine of close to $9,000.
 Body - Discovered - Samothrace07/04/2000 17:50:20
The body of a man was found on the northwest Aegean island of Samothrace on Friday, with authorities examining the possibility that the decomposed corpse is that of a missing Spanish hiker.
Cura Guillem Folc disappeared more than a month ago after he had ostensibly set out to trek from one area on the picturesque volcanic isle to another site. According to reports, the body, belonging to a male in his early ¡20s, was discovered some 20 metres from the coastline at the Kipoi site.
Three compatriots had declared Folc¢s disappearance at the time, while a hiking sack and jacket had been found near the coast.
An autopsy and skeletal examination is expected to shed light on the identity of the body.
 BTC - Approval - Pending07/04/2000 16:36:03
SOFIA (ANA · B. Borisov) · The Sofia government¢s cabinet will give its approval for the sale of Bulgaria¢s state-owned telecoms utility by Thursday, while the purchase contract with a Greek-Dutch consortium will be signed in the first half of the year, the country¢s transport minister announced here.
Bulgarian minister Anton Slavinski noted that ?significant progress? has been achieved in talks between Sofia and the consortium composed of Greece¢s state-run telephony utility (OTE) and KPN of the Netherlands, thereby increasing possibilities that a deal will be struck soon.
Slavinski made the televised comments during an interview focusing on the biggest deal envisioned in an ambitious privatisation programme announced by the government.
The Greek-Dutch consortium was the sole bidder in a tender announced by Sofia although a final sale agreement has been severely delayed by repeated disagreements over terms.
 ADEX-close07/04/2000 16:29:20
Derivatives prices ended sharply up on Friday reflecting a strong recovery in the two benchmarket indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40, in the Athens Derivatives Exchange.
Turnover was significantly improved at 10.2 billion drachmas.
A total of 1,304 future contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, with a turnover of 6.9 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 2,750 points, the May at 2,752 and the June contract at 2,758 points.
A total of 1,357 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, with a turnover of 3.3 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 705 points, the May at 708 and the June contract at 708 points.
 ASE-review07/04/2000 16:25:38
The Greek stock market moved on the sidelines during the week under review, cautiously awaiting the outcome of Sunday's general elections with the exception of Friday when investors returned in the market discounting a positive result.
Analysts said that a strong government coming from the polls would directly and favourably affect climate in the market. Others, however, believe that the impact from Sunday's elections would be gradually felt in the market which is expected to set its sights again on economic fundamentals (lower interest rates and the Greek market's upgrading to a mature market).
The general index ended the week 141.34 points, or 2.95 percent higher. Turnover was thin, however, to a weekly total of 775.274 billion drachmas, or a daily average of 155 billion, up from 152.6 billion the previous week.
Shares in the Holding and the Parallel Market for smaller capitalisation stocks scored the biggest percentage of the week (up 6.38 and 5.73 percent respectively).
 ASE-close07/04/2000 16:05:19
Equity prices rebounded spectacularly in heavy volume on the last trading session ahead of Sunday's general elections, a sign that the Athens bourse was beginning to discount a positive outcome in the April 9 polls.
The general index ended at 4,934.81 points, up 2.56 percent, off the day's highs of 4,965.03 points. Turnover was an improved 230 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.83 percent higher at 2,774.57 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index jumped 4.51 percent to 698.95 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks soared 7.28 percent to end at 873.81.
 Inflation-March figures07/04/2000 15:18:34
Greece's consumer price inflation jumped to 3.1 percent in March compared with the same month last year, up from 2.4 percent in February, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.
The rise in the March consumer price index is attributed to a 4.0 percent increase in durable goods-household items and services, a 13.9 percent jump in clothing-footwear and a 2.5 percent rise in transport prices.
NSS's secretary-general Nikos Karavitis said he expected the harmonised consumer price index (used to compare Greek inflation with other European Union members') to remain at 2.0 percent in March.
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