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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-06-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Archbishop - IDs
  • [02] Foreign Exchange Rates-Thursday
  • [03] Weather Forecast-Thursday
  • [04] Alpha Bank-Hilton International-deal
  • [05] Greece-petrol prices
  • [06] Greece-2001 budget
  • [07] Greece-labour market
  • [08] ASE-close

  • [01] Archbishop - IDs

    21/06/2000 21:50:14

    Archbishop of Athens Christodoulos said on Wednesday the Church would collect signatures in support of the optional reference of citizens' religious peruasion on identity cards, which it would present to the President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Parliament.

    "Who can ignore this voice of the people? For our part we respect both the will and the power of the people," he said in an Athens address to the second mass Church rally on the issue -after Thessaloniki last week.

    The head of Greece's Orthodox Church appealed to the government for dialogue.

    "We are asking for the channels of communication and dialogue to open. Do not ignore the will of the people and do not disregard Christians, relegating them to second- or third-class citizens ... Do not persist with a decision which harms the entire nation. We plead with you to revise your decisions which aim to distance Mother Church from its children and to cease seeing us as opponents whom you must neutralise," he said.

    Christodoulos also took care to dispel suggestions that the Church aimed to win political influence or meddle in public affairs.

    "We have no political designs. We are not against the State or the government, rather with a specific administrative act," he declared.

    He added that the Church was in favor the nation's progress in a united Europe.

    "We do not hold backward or fanatic views, but we refuse to give up our holiest beliefs. Our people have no need of reforms that negate their spiritual idendity ... We congratulate the government on its successes, such as entry to the Economic and Monetary Union and believe that our faith and traditions are fully compatible with all this... The Church says 'yes' to Europe, but a double 'yes' to Greece," he said.

    [02] Foreign Exchange Rates-Thursday

    21/06/2000 18:42:01

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

    Thursdays rates (buying)

    Euro 333.848

    U.S. dollar 351.942

    [03] Weather Forecast-Thursday

    21/06/2000 18:30:42

    Sunny weather is forecast throughout the country on Thursday. Winds will be northerly, light, turning moderate in parts of the Aegean.

    [04] Alpha Bank-Hilton International-deal

    21/06/2000 17:01:36

    Alpha Bank and Hilton International on Wednesday signed a management deal for the two hotels owned by Ionian Hotels, a member of Alpha Bank.

    The deal envisages the 10-year management of Hilton Athens and the Rhodes Imperial Hotel, to be renamed to Hilton Rhodes Hotel from January 1, 2001.

    Yiannis Costopoulos, Alpha Bank's chairman, speaking at a press conference announced a renovation of the Athens Hilton hotel, expected to start in six months and to be completed by the end of 2002, at a total cost of 20 billion drachmas.

    The Athens Hilton was inaugurated in April 1963 signalling the start of a new era for the hotel and tourism sector in Greece.

    The investment will be covered through a share capital increase in Ionian Hotels, worth 10 billion drachmas, and through bank lending.

    Alpha Bank owns 86 percent of Ionian Hotels.

    Jurgen Fischer, Hilton International Europe, the Middle East and Africa chairman, said the company was interested in expanding activities in Greece, in the Balkans and southeast Europe.

    He said that Hilton International was interested in equity participation in Ionian Hotels, although the current deal did not envisaged such an option.

    [05] Greece-petrol prices

    21/06/2000 16:32:22

    Indicative fuel prices for the coming week were raised by the government on Wednesday, as the price of crude oil continued its upward spiral on international markets.

    Specifically, super and unleaded oi prices increased by 1.7 drachmas per litre and diesel rose by 2.3 drachmas per litre.

    Out-of-season heating oil fell by 0.1 drachmas per litre.

    As of Wednesday and for one week the retail sales price for super stands at 279.6 drachmas per litre in the greater Athens area and Thessaloniki prefecture. Unleaded will sell for 263.3 drachmas per litre.

    [06] Greece-2001 budget

    21/06/2000 16:24:34

    Greece's 2001 budget will be drafted both in drachmas and in euros, Finance Undersecretary George Drys said on Wednesday.

    Speaking to reporters from Thessaloniki, on a visit to brief tax and customs agencies over changes in the fiscal policy procedures following the country's entry in the eurozone on January 1, 2001, Drys said government ministries should speed-up procedures to submit their proposals to the State Accounting Office.

    He said that the deadline for submitting spending proposals was July 10, instead of July 25 as initially planned.

    "It is a fact that the convergence programme has now been replaced by the stability and growth programme, which cannot differ in its quality characteristics," Drys said.

    He reminded that the replacement of the Greek currency with the euro would be definitely take place in the second half of 2002.

    [07] Greece-labour market

    21/06/2000 16:10:34

    Labour and Social Security Minister Tassos Yiannitsis on Wednesday unveiled sweeping reforms in the state Workforce Employment Organisation (OAED) and announced the appointment of KPMG-Kyriakou Consultants SA to draft an operational plan for the organisation's restructuring and modernisation, worth 111.6 million drachmas.

    Tilemahos Palaeologos, general manager in National Leasing, was appointed as governor of OAED. Yiannitsis said Palaeologos is a man "from the management business, from the market area".

    Evi Hadziandreou, a lecturer at the Harvard's Health Management and Policy Department and the London School of Economics, was appointed vice-governor at the Social Security Foundation.

    Yiannitsis reaffirmed the government's intention to offer a 10,000-drachma pay increase to lower incomes this year and said that the labour and national economy ministries were working on the details of the programme.

    He said the ministry was positive on a proposal by the Coalition of the Left party, Maria Damanaki, to offer pension schemes to divorced women.

    Yiannitsis left the door open to a plan to raise the limit of group lay-offs in businesses employing more than 50 workers. "We shall see," he said.

    Workers' unions have repeatedly said they would not discuss this demand by employers' unions.

    [08] ASE-close

    21/06/2000 15:49:54

    Equity prices ended lower on Wednesday remaining under pressure for the third consecutive session as the market seems to be testing the 4,300-4,270 support level once again.

    Analysts said that the next support level of the market was 4,100-4,020.

    The general index ended at 4,254.80 points, down 1.15 percent, but off the day's lows of 4,205.21 points. Turnover was a low 100 billion drachmas.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.74 percent lower at 2,363.91 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 2.43 percent to 606.94 points.

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 834.82 points, off 3.40 percent.

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