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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-04-19
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 AEK-Ionikos-Soccer cup final19/04/2000 21:46:58
AEK Athens and Ionikos Piraeus qualified for the Greek soccer cup final to be played at the Athens Olympic stadium on May 10 after Wednesday's second leg semifinals.
AEK Athens lost away to Panionios Athens 2-1, but its convincing 4-1 victory in the first leg carried it into the final. Ciric gave AEK the lead in the 21st minute, but Kafalis in the 74th and Kricmarevic in injury time gave victory to Panionios.
Ambitious Ionikos Piraeus beat Kalamata 4-2 at home to qualify for the cup final for the fist time in the club's history. Ionikos had also won 2-0 away in the first leg match. Xanthopoulos (9), Mucodrigo (49), Tsaldaris (90) and Afas (92) scored Ionikos' goals, while Simons (57) and Kappos (83) scored for Kalamata.
 Greece-WHO-Smoking-Competition19/04/2000 21:14:39
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched an international competition entitled "Stop Smoking and Win", in Greece the campaign was undertaken by the Anti-Cancer Action society.
According to WHO figures, the number of deaths caused from smoking are not high enough to convince chain smokers to stop the habit.
The president of the Anti-Cancer Action, Professor S. Vasilaros, in a press conference in Athens on Wednesday, said that the fourth international anti-smoking competition "Stop Smoking and Win" will be conducted in May. People from all over the world will try to abstain from smoking, or using tobacco products, for the period May 2-29.
For purely technical reasons, applications for those interested will be accepted only from the Attica region. The deadline for submitting applications expires on May 2.
Those entitled to take part must be at least 18 years old and have smoked on a daily basis for at least one year before the start of the competition. Abstinence from smoking will be certified by a witness of the competitor's choice and following biochemical analysis.
The lottery will be conducted among the registered participants. Those drawn from Greece will win two return tickets to a European destination and at the same time enter the international lottery which offers a prize of 10,000 US dollars.
The competition's award ceremony will take place on August 29, within the framework of "World Health Dialogue and International EXPO Exhibition".
Applications for the competition can be mailed to the offices of Anti-Cancer Action, Semitelou 4, 11528 Athens or sent by FAX to 7788698-7483189.
 Commercial Bank - Turkey - Packaging19/04/2000 18:41:50
ISTANBUL (A. Kourkoulas) State-owned Commercial Bank of Greece has reportedly purchased 12.5 percent of the Turkish packaging company Isiklar Package, according to the board chairman of the group owning the firm.
According to a dispatch by the semi-official Anadolu news agency, Isiklar group chairman Riza Kutluisik said the purchase totaled $10.5 million, with the money earmarked for investment in a paper wrapper plant the group operates in Bulgaria.
The Turkish executive was also quoted as saying the investment will target the manufacturing of cement packaging for the European market as well as for countries of the former Soviet Union.
 Border - Migrant smugglers - Serres19/04/2000 18:40:02
Eighteen women from Moldova, the Ukraine and Romania were detained by a border patrol near the Greek-Bulgarian border on Tuesday, while three suspected migrant smugglers managed to flee.
Authorities said on Wednesday that the women, ranging in age from 19 to 35, had walked for four days with practically no food from inside Bulgaria and across the frontier to the Agistro site in Serres prefecture. According to reports, the three unknown suspects agreed to transport the group to a nearby town for an undetermined amount of money before they were intercepted by a border patrol.
The 18 women are expected to be deported, while the suspects truck was confiscated.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Thursday19/04/2000 18:32:02
Following are indicative foreign exchange rates for commercial banks released by the central bank for the next working day.
Thursday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar 351.267
 Weather Forecast-Thursday19/04/2000 17:53:30
Changeable weather is forecast throughout the country on Thursday, with cloud, showers and storms. Winds westerly, light to moderate.
 National Bank of Greece-interest rates cut19/04/2000 16:55:28
National Bank of Greece, the country's largest financial institution, on Wednesday announced it was cutting its deposit and loans interest rates by up to 75 basis points from Monday, April 24, following a decision by the Bank of Greece to cut its lending rates.
Theodore Karatzas, the bank's governor, has repeatedly said that National Bank would follow suit any interest rate moves by the Bank of Greece.
The bank said it would cut its deposit interest rates by 50 basis points to 6.0 percent and its current accounts rate to 4.50 percent.
Its lending rates to businesses would be cut by up to one percentage point to 10.0 percent, consumer loan rates would fall to 14.50 percent, personal loans to 15.0 percent and credit card rates to 17.0 percent, for a cut of 25 basis points.
Car purchase loan rates are cut to 15.0 percent (floating) and 14.0 percent (fixed). Securities purchase loan rates fall to 15.75 percent.
Housing loan interest rates are cut to 10.25 percent (floating).
 ADEX-close19/04/2000 16:49:43
Derivatives prices ended sharply up on Wednesday in heavy volume, following a spectacular rebound in the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40.
A total of 6,064 futures contracts were traded, worth 20.5 billion drachmas.
Turnover on the FTSE/ASE 20 futures contracts totalled 3,038 contracts, worth 14 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 2,400 points, the May at 2,398.25 and the June contract at 2,390 points.
A total of 3,026 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, worth 6.5 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 564.50 points, the May at 564.50 and the June contract at 563.75 points.
 Karamanlis - Congress - Sioufas19/04/2000 16:07:38
Main opposition New Democracy president Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday announced the holding of a special party congress in early June, while at the same time reiterating his intention to shift the party more towards Greeces political ?middle ground?.
Karamanlis announced the June 3-4 congress during the first session of NDs new Parliamentary group following the April 9 general elections, noting however, that a regular party congress will be convened later, as foreseen by NDs charter.
Ruling PASOK and incumbent prime minister Costas Simitis were re-elected by a one-point margin in the recent poll, as both major parties earned near 87 percent of the general vote.
In criticizing the PASOK government, the ND leader charged that the ruling party has ?politicized the state? and turned the ?party into the state?, while he also referred to what he called fanaticism on the part of PASOK during the campaign period.
Additionally, in citing what he said was an ?electoral tie? between PASOK and New Democracy, Karamanlis emphasised that ?the government may have earned a few thousand votes more, but ND ensured its future prospects while the government (ensured) its own impasse.?
??were one step behind them. Were their shadow, they cannot bypass us, they dont have the ability any more to exploit office with an establishment-like mentality.?
New ND Parliamentary group secretary
Meanwhile, during the same session on Wednesday, the main oppositions deputies elected a new Parliamentary group secretary, with Dimitris Sioufas assuming the post with a majority of 91 votes.
Corinth prefecture deputy Stavros Dimas, the previous secretary, declined to vie for the position.
Sioufas, who was proposed by Karamanlis himself, faced only one challenger, Apostolos Andreoulakos, who gained the votes of 23 deputies. Six blank ballots were also cast in the secret vote.
Finally, former premier and ND honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis did not attend the session.
 Intracom-Thomson CSF Airsys-defence contract19/04/2000 16:07:01
Intracom signed a five-year contract worth 3.5 billion drahcmas with Thomson-CSF Airsys for the production and supply of electronic sub-systems in the (Shorads) Crotale NG anti-aircraft short-range system, to be used by the Greek armed forces.
Intracom's production of the electronic systems will be exported.
 ASE-close19/04/2000 15:58:32
Equity prices rebounded spectacularily on the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday as a wave of buying reversed a six-day drop which pushed the market 20 percent lower.
Dealers said a decision by the Bank of Greece to cut its interest rates by 50 to 75 basis points combined with an improved climate in international market, boosted sentiment in the Greek bourse.
The general index ended at 4,257.85 points, up 7.74 percent, reflecting gains in blue chip stocks in the banks and industrials sectors.
Turnover was an improved 179.34 billion drachmas. The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks jumped 7.85 percent to 2,427.48 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index ended at 567.18 points, up 7.70 percent.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 740.23 points, up 9.47 percent.
 "Agrometoha"-public offering19/04/2000 14:56:23
Greece's Finance ministry on Wednesday announced a public offering of a new convertible securities issue, called "agrometoha" to farmers, small investors and domestic and foreign institutional investors, May 9-12.
Investors will be able to exchange, in a preferential way, the "agrometoha" securities to Agricultural Bank of Greece's shares at the time of the bank's listing in the Athens Stock Exchange.
A finance ministry statement said that issue date was May 22, 2000 and maturity date May 22, 2003.
"Agrometoha" are offering high yields to investors because of their attractive fixed interest rate, and they are tax-free. Minimum investment was set at a nominal value of 100,000 drachmas.
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