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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-04-18
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Pinter-Honorary Degree18/04/2000 23:07:16
British playwright Harold Pinter was awarded an honorary Ph.D. by the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki on Tuesday night.
Pinter was awarded the honorary degreee by the university's English Literature department.
Addressing an audience at the university, Pinter said the danger of nuclear disaster will not arise from ?dangerous states? as America claims, but rather from America itself.
 Thessaloniki-European-Basketball-Panathinaikos18/04/2000 22:47:52
Panathinaikos Athens beat Efes Pilsen of Turkey 81-71 (41-33) in a European Basketball Championship semifinal in Thessaloniki on Tuesday night.
Panathinaikos will play with Maccabi Tel Aviv, which beat Barcelona 65-51 earlier in the evening, in the final on Thursday.
 Greek President-Canada-visit18/04/2000 21:06:32
MONTREAL (ANA - I. Frangouli) - Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos, along with Foreign Minister George Papandreou, will visit Canada at the invitation of the countrys General Governor Adrienne Clarkson, from May 27 to June 2.
Stephanopoulos is scheduled to meet with the country's Greek ex-patriate community leaders, at the sidelines of his official meetings with Canadas state leadership.
He is expected to arrive in Ottawa on May 27 and participate in a Greek Orthodox Liturgy in the citys catherdal on May 28, while on May 29 he is to meet with Clarkson.
The Greek president, accompanied also by 30 Greek businessmen, will also visit Toronto and Montreal.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Wednesday18/04/2000 19:27:04
Following are indicative foreign exchange rates for commercial banks released by the central bank for the next working day.
Wednesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar 350.047
German mark 170.060
 Alpha Credit-Ionian-Merger-Name Change18/04/2000 19:20:04
Shareholders of Ionian Bank on Tuesday endorsed its merger with Alpha Credit Bank, also approving a name change for the new unit to Alpha Bank.
Alpha Credit had bought Ionian a year ago in a government privatisation tender. Both banks are listed on the Athens bourse.
 Weather Forecast-Wednesday18/04/2000 17:57:32
Changeable weather is forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, moving between sunshine, cloud, showers and storms.
 ADEX-close18/04/2000 17:10:10
Derivatives prices ended sharply lower in heavy volume on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday following a decline in the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40.
A total of 5,528 futures contracts were traded with a turnover of 18.2 billion drachmas.
A total of 2,722 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, worth 12.3 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 2,205 points, the May at 2,219 and the June contract at 2,232 points.
Another 2,806 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, worth 5.9 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 511.50 points, the May at 512.50 and the June contract at 510 points.
 Black Sea-regional conference18/04/2000 17:09:08
The governments of Bulgaria and Romania have decided to use the new commercial port of Kavala, Northern Greece, as their export route to the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, bypassing the Bosporus Straits, Romanian Transport Minister Traian Bazesku, told a first inter-regional Black Sea conference with the participation of former Soviet Union states in Costanza, Romania on Monday.
Bulgarian and Romanian officials urged for the completion of road projects in Northern Greece citing the substantial cut in distances offered and the opportunity for the two Balkan countries to enter the wider European Union road network system.
The conference was attended by delegations from Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Russia and Turkey. The EU was represented by Portugal's ambassador in Romania.
The EU ambassador stressed the importance given by the EU in efforts to rapidly strengthen economies in the Black Sea region with the aim to participate in a single Europe at its next expansion round.
Greece has been chosen as EU's link with the region with an upgraded economic and political role, he said.
 Hyatt Regency-Lampsa SA-participation18/04/2000 16:42:09
Hyatt Regency SA on Tuesday announced it had acquired a 15 percent equity stake in Lampsa SA, owners of central Athens historic hotel Grande Bretagne, through a share transactions in the stock exchange.
Hyatt Regency said that the purchase was covered by cash surplus and limited borrowing. The company stressed that the acquisition was a timely decision and at a good price for its shareholders.
Hyatt said it would seek to increase its stake in Lampsa and that it would submit its business plan for the Grande Bretagne hotel to Lampsa's shareholders soon.
Hyatt Regency reported that its operating profits increased 12 percent in the first quarter of 2000 despite adverse conditions in the stock market and it reflected profits from its casino and hotel operations.
 National Bank-1st quarter results18/04/2000 16:29:46
National Bank of Greece, the country's largest financial institution, on Tuesday reported a 22.9 percent rise in its first quarter net profit to 75.1 billion drachmas from 61.1 billion the same period in 1999.
Theodore Karatzas, the bank's governor, said that profit outlook was satisfactory for the current year.
A general shareholders' meeting approved a plan for a share capital increase, worth 94.4 billion drachmas, and a four-to-10 share offer to shareholders. The meeting also approved plans to issue a new series of bond issues.
Karatzas expressed his optimism over a positive outcome in a bid to acquire Bulgarian bank UBB.
Referring to the stock market, Karatzas reiterated his position that since the stock market reflected the country's real economy, any downward correction in stock prices would be temporary.
Karatzas told television stations on Tuesday that several share prices were currently trading at very attractive levels on the Athens bourse.
 Capital Markets' Committee-new measures18/04/2000 16:17:50
Greece's Capital Markets' Committee is expected this week to outline a package of measures, to be implemented gradually, aimed to support the Athens Stock Exchange by improving its function and promote transparency in stock share dealing.
Final decisions have already been taken following talks with national economy officials and the independent Capital Markets' Committee.
A question, however, remains whether the measures should be announced by the committee or the prime minister in his policy statement in parliament.
 ASE-close18/04/2000 15:59:32
Equity prices ended sharply lower on Tuesday as investors on the Athens Stock Exchange ignored a recovery trend in international market pushing the general index below the 4,000 level for the first time since June 28, 1999.
Trade was nervous with share prices extremely volatile. The general index jumped 4.92 percent at 4,269.98 points initially but succumbed to profit taking later in the session to end at 3,951.85 points, down 2.78 percent, but off the day's lows of 3,894.75.
Turnover was an improved 196.5 billion drachmas. The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 2.19 percent to 2,250.73 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index ended at 526,64, off 4.01 percent.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 676.21 points, off 6.33 percent.
 Bond auction-results18/04/2000 15:45:22
The spread in the Greek/German bond yields fell to 82 basis points on Tuesday following a successful auction of a 10-year bond issue by the Public Debt Management Organisation on Tuesday.
The average weighed price of a 10-year bond, worth 300 billion drachmas paying an annual coupon of 6.0 percent, was set at 6.06 percent.
Bids submitted totalled 782 billion drachmas, more than double the asked sum. The organisation finally accepted bids totalling 360 billion drachmas.
Analysts said that foreing demand for Greek bonds remained strong and said that the 10-year bond issue would serve as a benchmark for the Greek securities market.
The average weighed price of the bond was 99.555 points with a minimum accepted price of 99.450 points.
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