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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-07-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Athens-Volleyball-Tournament-Spain
  • [02] Greece - France - Concorde - Condolences
  • [03] Swiss hostages - Freed - Recasts
  • [04] Government spokesman- Greek Turkish Relations
  • [05] Foreign Exchange Rates-Thursday
  • [06] Weather Forecast-Thursday
  • [07] Alpha Bank-results
  • [08] Greece-EU funds
  • [09] Greece-EU Commission-funds
  • [10] ASE-close
  • [11] Heatwave advisory
  • [12] Greece-employment-measures

  • [01] Athens-Volleyball-Tournament-Spain

    26/07/2000 23:16:08

    Spain's men's volleyball team easily qualified on Wednesday for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

    On the thirdand final day of the Olympics qualifying men's volleyball tournament held at the Athens Peace and Friendship Stadium in Athens, Spain beat Greece 3-0 sets (27-25, 25-17, 25-20) and China beat Tunisia 3-2 sets (25-21, 25-21, 23-25, 25-27, 25-12).

    Spain ended the tournament first with six points, followed by China with five points, Greece with four points and Tunisia with three points.

    [02] Greece - France - Concorde - Condolences

    26/07/2000 21:58:19

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday sent a message of condolences to his French counterpart Lionel Jospin over the tragic Concorde accident in the Paris region on Tuesday.

    "Please accept my sincere condolences for the tragic Concorde accident in Paris. Please convey my condolences to the families of the victims," Simitis said.

    [03] Swiss hostages - Freed - Recasts

    26/07/2000 21:14:27

    A special coast guard unit on Wednesday freed five Swiss nationals and the Greek skipper of a small yacht who were held hostage by an armed Czech national.

    The coast guard unit boarded the Erato, shortly after 18:30 p.m. The gunman, identified as Frantizec Vezel, 38, was killed in the fray, while a coastguard officer was injured and hospitalised immediately.

    All six hostages, a Swiss family with their three children and the captain were unharmed.

    The incident took place off the seaside town of Tolo, near Nafplio in the Peloponnese, when the armed abductor boarded the yacht at around 6:00 a.m. He had treatened to shoot the family and the captain unless he was taken to Casablanca, Morocco.

    The Swiss family had hired the small sailboat for a tour of the sea region off Nafplio.

    Officials said earlier that the hijacker appeared unstable. Merchant Marine Ministry officials said that a coastguard sniper shot the gunman before divers stormed the vessel.

    Addressing reporters shortly after the rescue operation, Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis congratulated the coast guard unit.

    "Greece is not a free-for-all country. Democracy prevails here and we are a country which guarantees freedom and is friendly towards foreign visitors," Papoutsis said.

    [04] Government spokesman- Greek Turkish Relations

    26/07/2000 19:40:41

    There is only one issue between Greece and Turkey and it is the legal issue of the contintental shelf in the Aegean, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told journalists on Wednesday with regards to Turkish politicians' references to the issue of the Greek-Turkish dialogue on the Aegean.

    The spokesman said that Greek-Turkish relations were "developing positively", but added that this was not enough "to proceed in the smoothing of Greek-Turkish relations."

    Reppas said that the thorn in the smoothing of bilaterl relations was Turkey's stance on the Cyprus issue, which he described as totally negative, as well as Turkey's claims on the Aegean which he said "cannot constitute a subject for any discussion."

    [05] Foreign Exchange Rates-Thursday

    26/07/2000 19:24:08

    Following are indicative rates released by the central bank for the next working day.

    Thursdays rates (buying)

    Euro 334.403

    U.S. dollar 355.949

    German mark 170.977

    [06] Weather Forecast-Thursday

    26/07/2000 19:01:21

    A heatwave is forecast in much of mainland Greece on Thursday, with temperatures expected to hit a high of 43C. Winds will be northerly, light to moderate.

    [07] Alpha Bank-results

    26/07/2000 17:07:23

    Alpha Bank on Wednesday reported a fall in its consolidated profits for the 1st half of the year, the first results since completing a merger with Ionian Bank.

    The Group's consolidated profits totalled 84 billion drachmas, down frm 85.8 billion in the same period last year, but up from 43.2 billion in the January-June period in 1998.

    Alpha Bank's total assets amounted to 10.145 trillion drachmas, up from 7.441 trillion in 1999. Loans increased by 42 percent.

    Parent profits totalled 70.7 billion drachmas in the first six months of 2000, from 79.2 billion last year and 39.5 billion in 1998.

    Assets totalled 9.002 trillion drachmas, up from 5.050 trillion in 1999 and 3.483 trillion in 1998.

    Deposits totalled 6.190 trillion drachmas, from 3.548 trillion last year, while loans rose to 3.503 trillion drachmas from 1.864 trillion in 1999.

    [08] Greece-EU funds

    26/07/2000 16:57:25

    Entrepreneurship, promoting new technologies and hiring more employees are the three binding conditions set by Greece's development ministry for businesses and agencies seeking to participate in EU's Third Community Support Framework programmes.

    Development Minister, Nikos Christodoulakis, presenting the government's competitiveness operational programme, worth 2.2 trillion drachmas, on Wednesday, said the three conditions would be noted on project contracts and that all businesses participating in the programme would have to adhere to them without deviation in order to continue receiving EU funds.

    "Our aim is to boost employment, strengthen competitiveness and promoting technological skills," Christodoulakis said.

    The ministry estimates that by the end of the programme a total of 100,000 new jobs and 15,000 new busineses could be created, along with the support of 35,000 existing enterprises.

    [09] Greece-EU Commission-funds

    26/07/2000 16:34:49

    The European Commission on Wednesday approved a new Community Support Framework for Greece for the period 2000-2006, totalling 15 trillion drachmas (44.29 billion euros).

    Half of this sum will be covered by community funds (22.71 billion euros) while the remaining spending will be covered equally by the state and private sectors of Greece (11.20 bln and 10.38 bln, respectively).

    A Commission announcement in Brussels said the Third Community Support Framework envisaged the following big interventions:

    a) improving the skills of human resources through training and education to promote a "knowledge society",

    b)completing infrastructure projects in transport,

    c) improving competitiveness in industry and services, mainly in small- and medium-sized enterprises, the backbone of production in Greece,

    d) improving competitiveness and quality in agriculture and fisheries,

    e) improving the quality of living of Greek citizens (environment, natural resources, waste process, culture and health),

    f) promoting an information society for the benefit of the citizen, in education, public administration, economy and employment, and

    g) promoting a balanced regional growth and national cohesion.

    [10] ASE-close

    26/07/2000 16:13:49

    Equity prices continued moving lower on Wednesday unable to resist pressure while investors remained on the sidelines worried over the market's short-term outlook.

    The general index ended at 3,950.41 points, off 0.94 percent with turnover a low 62.6 billion drachmas.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.92 percent to 2,211.87 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 1.30 percent to 556.09 points.

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended 1.32 percent lower at 711.66 points.

    [11] Heatwave advisory

    26/07/2000 16:00:25

    The environment ministry again issued a heatwave advisory on Wednesday, as temperatures topped the 40C mark throughout Greece. Authorities advised against unnecessary travel using automobiles.

    In addition, the ministry warned producers of concrete and consumers that it should be poured only when temperatures do not exceed 32C.

    [12] Greece-employment-measures

    26/07/2000 15:37:19

    The Greek government expects to create thousands of new jobs in the next few years through changes in its employment policy, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Wednesday.

    The crucial question is if Greece will be able to reduce unemployment in the next four years, he noted.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Labour and Social Security Minister Tassos Yiannitsis, Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and other officials, Papantoniou acknowledged that unemployment was at very high levels in Greece compared with the other EU member-states and in relation to the country's growth rates. "We should not rely on this fact," Papantoniou said while expressing his belief that the government would deal successfully with this issue as it did with the economic course towards EMU participation.

    The meeting agreed the procedure to be followed, in coordination with other government ministries, in a social dialogue sponsored by the government and aimed to agree in the necessary changes in employment and unemployment policies.

    The dialogue between ministries, employees and employers will begin August 24.

    The agenda of the talks include employers' and workers' contributions to the social security system, distribution of funds from a Third Community Support Framework, incomes and anti-inflationary policy, business-supportive policies, special measures for highly-unemployed regions, and measures to combat unemployment.

    Talks would also include social exclusion, inequality and poverty.

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