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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-04-14
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Olympiakos-Basketball-championship-playoffs14/04/2000 22:37:01
Olympiakos Piraeus advanced to the final four of the play-offs of the Greek first division basketball championship after trouncing Aris Thessaloniki 83-68 (halftime: 51-22) at the Alexandrio stadium in Thessaloniki on Friday. Panathinaikos Athens has already advanced to the final four.
 Papandreou-NGOs-Conference14/04/2000 20:27:16
Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Friday inaugurated a two-day international conference on the role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and their role in supporting the societies of citizens in the Balkans.
The conference was organised within the framework of the Royaumont process of the European Union, while the Greek foreign ministry and the Institute of International Relations of Pantion University are participants and co-organisers.
Representatives of NGOs, diplomats, academics and Union officials were participating in the conference.
Papandreou, in his address, noted the importance of NGOs and the society of citizens as part of the accession of Balkan countries to the European Union.
 Athens-Kurd-Suicide14/04/2000 19:50:08
An unidentified Kurd set fire to himself on Friday afternoon in the Athens district of Kolonos and died on the way to hospital.
The incident took place in the compound of Aghios Aimilianos church. The man had drenched himself with fuel and then set himself ablaze. An ambulance rushed to the scene but it was too late to save his life.
According to reports, the man was carrying a photograph of Kurd rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Monday14/04/2000 18:52:55
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 347.894
 BTC - Kostov - Sale14/04/2000 18:36:27
SOFIA (ANA B. Borisov) A successful conclusion to the long-delayed sale of Bulgarias state-owned telecom to a Greek-Dutch consortium is apparently at hand, press reports here stated on Friday.
Bulgarian PM Ivan Kostov was quoted by the Sofia daily ?24 Hours? as saying negotiations over the sale of BTC to the OTE/KPN consortium were almost finalised. He also detailed the procedures governing the lengthy negotiations.
Bulgaria's cabinet this week approved recommendations made by a working group on the terms of a long-delayed BTC privatisation, the transport and communications minister said on Thursday.
The recommendations cover proposals made in the latest stages of negotiations with BTC's prospective buyer -- the consortium comprising Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation with KPN telecom of the Netherlands.
The two firms were the sole bidder in an international privatisation tender whose resolution has been severely delayed by disagreements with Sofia over terms of the sale contract.
Talks began in March 1999.
Endorsement of the working group's recommendations effectively gives the green light to officials of both sides to finalise the main sale agreement and accompanying documents, the head of the governments working group told reporters.
 OTEnet - Internet rates14/04/2000 18:34:08
OTEnet, a subsidiary of the state-run telecom, on Friday announced reduced Internet access rates for new subscriptions and renewals made by May 8.
Monthly subscription rates will fall to 25,540 drachmas from 31,800 drachmas, VAT included. (One US dollar equals around 350 drachmas)
The yearly subscription rate drops to 48,000 drachmas from 60,000. New rates also apply to clients renewing their contracts before May 8.
The move will undoubtedly be welcomed by ?Net surfers? and ?cyber-active? businesses in Greece, as the country sports some of the highest costs for Internet-related services in the European Union. Besides OTEnet, private sector Forthnet, Hellas-on-Line and Compulink are among the biggest Internet access providers in Greece.
Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, OTEnet's parent, is a heavily traded stock on the Athens bourse.
 Weather Forecast-Saturday14/04/2000 18:31:18
Sunny weather is forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, possibly turning to spring showers in the southern Peloponnese and Crete.
 FYROM - Yugoslavia - EU - Sanctions14/04/2000 17:37:09
SKOPJE (ANA M. Vihou) FYROMs business community this week condemned recent European Union sanctions against several major Yugoslav firms, saying the sanctions will drastically affect them as well.
The EU slapped sanctions against certain large Yugoslav companies considered as having close ties with the embattled Milosevic regime. However, several entrepreneurs in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) have petitioned the Skopje government to either seek compensation from the 15-member bloc due to damages emanating from the sanctions, or simply not implement Brussels edict. In any case, circles in the FYROM capital estimate that a ?black market trade? will mushroom between the two neighbouring states if sanctions are, indeed, implemented.
A Yugoslav automaker along with other industries, including a pharmaceutical manufacturer, have co-production agreements with related FYROM companies, while two Yugoslav banks also operate in the landlocked state to Greeces immediate north.
FYROM Commerce Minister Miliana Danevska recently emphasized, in fact, that the economies of both countries are ?complementary?.
 Bounced checks-March figures14/04/2000 16:54:03
Bouncing checks and bills fell in March, both in volume and value, compared with the same months last year, Hellenic Banks Association said on Friday.
Bouncing bills totalled 27,149 in March, worth 7.95 billion drachmas, for a drop of 13.52 percent and 4.29 percent respectively compared with March 1999.
Bouncing checks totalled 7,919 worth 22.51 billion drachmas, down 32.12 and 5.80 percent, respectively.
Payment orders totalled 7,633 in March, down 28.06 percent, while bankruptcy applications eased to 204 from 267 over the same period. Bankruptcies also fell to 43 in March from 126 the same month last year.
The volume of bouncing checks and bills fell 12.80 percent in the first quarter of 2000, worth 105.113 billion drachmas, down 11.25 percent of the same period in 1999.
 ASE-weekly review14/04/2000 16:47:52
Greek stocks lost almost 10 percent of their value in the week after Sunday's general elections, disappointing hopes of a recovery in the market in the post-election period.
The market plunged in the last two sessions of the week as confidence in the market deteriorated dramatically following a decision by foreign institutional investors to liquidate positions in the Greek bourse, a move that badly hit blue chip stocks.
Analysts said the market suffered from a serious lack of confidence and that they were trying to find the necessary moves to change the current negative climate.
A rapid fall in interest rates could change the climate, some analysts argued.
Market sentiment was hit by forecasts of a slowdown in banks' profitability and foreign investors' comments that the Greek market was overpriced despite its sharp correction in the first three months of the year.
The general index ended the week 9.32 percent lower. Turnover totalled 748.446 billion drachmas in the week, for a daily average of 149.689 billion, down from 154.4 billion the previous week.
The week in numbers April 14 April 7 Change General 4,475.10 4,934.81 -9.32%
FTSE/ASE 20 2,532.99 2,774.57 -8.70%
FTSE/ASE 40 604.90 698.95 -13.45%
Banks 8,653.50 9,581.64 -9.68%
Leasing 939.47 1,087.08 -13.57%
Insurance 3,059.24 3,367.69 -9.15%
Investment 1,870.12 2,111.25 -11.42%
Construction 2,207.84 2,488.31 -11.27%
Industrials 2,675.42 2,913.36 -8.16%
Miscellaneous 4,428.10 5,182.51 -14.55%
Holding 5,130.32 5,614.77 -8.62%
Parallel 800.91 873.81 -8.34%
 Peres - Athens - Visit14/04/2000 16:36:34
Former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres will visit Athens this month to participate in a round-table discussion focusing on SE Europe and the eastern Mediterranean.
The current minister of regional cooperation in the Barak government will be in Greece from April 17 to 19 for the event, organised by the ?Economist? magazine and entitled ?Reconstruction, Development and Security in SE Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean?.
According to a press release issued by the Israeli embassy in Athens, Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos, FM George Papandreou and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, among others, will receive Peres.
The visit marks the veteran Israeli leaders third to Greece over the last year and a half.
 ADEX-close14/04/2000 16:26:57
Derivatives prices plunged in brisk turnover on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday following sharp losses in the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40.
A total of 4,113 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, with a turnover of 15.9 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 2,480 points, the May at 2,500 and the June contract at 2,505 points.
A total of 1,812 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, with a turnover of 4.4 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 596 points, the May at 593.50, the June at 596 and the September contract at 630 points.
 Govt spokesman-stock market14/04/2000 15:51:26
The stock market has its own rules and operates autonomously, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Friday commenting on a sharp drop in equity prices on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Reppas noted, however, that the economy was steadily growing, its prospects were positive and stressed that the country would certainly participate in EMU.
 ASE-close14/04/2000 15:45:01
Equity prices nearly collapsed on the last trading session of the week on the Athens Stock Exchange, hit by massive selling by foreign and domestic institutional investors.
Dealers said the market has lost all technical support, following several rounds of institutional interventions in the pre-election period, and predicted further substantial falls in the short-term.
Analysts, however, believe that the Greek market is hit by the cost of its transition from a developing market to a mature one as foreign capital - directed towards developing markets - was leaving the Greek bourse in search of higher yields elsewhere.
The general index ended at 4,475.10 points, down 5.29 percent, but off the day's lows of 4,368.84 points. Smaller capitalisation stocks were badly hit.
Turnover was an improved 196 billion drachmas. The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended at 2,532.99 points, off 4.68 percent and the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 7.32 percent to 604.90 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 800.91 points, off 9.26 percent.
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