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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-11-24
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Mass media-Conference-Thessaloniki24/11/2000 20:03:56
The "New technologies in the mass media for the development of intra-Balkan cooperation" conference organized by the Macedonian News Agency (MNA) in Thessaloniki begun on Friday with the participation of Directors and representatives of Balkan news agencies as well as representatives of Athens based mass media organizations.
MNA General Director Spyros Kouzinopoulos opened the conference in the presence of the Mayor of Thessaloniki Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, Thessaloniki Prefect Konstantinos Papadopoulos, representatives of journalists' unions and the current President of Balkan News Agencies' Association (ABNA) and Athens News Agency General Director Andreas Christodoulides.
In his remarks during the opening ceremony, Christodoulides said that Balkan cooperation will not forge forward if the basic communication levers, the mass media, will not aid the process.
"New technologies are offered to provide continual, speedy and detailed dissemination of information and news, all we need is to know them and use them," Christodoulides said.
In a related development and in light of the "Athens 2004" Olympic Games the ANA will organize a special two-day seminar on Jan. 7, in the framework of ABNA, focusing on the joint coverage of the Games.
 Greece-India-Film festival24/11/2000 17:57:58
The "Greek Film Festival 2000" will begin in New Delhi, India on Nov. 27 to Dec. 2, organised by the Greek Film Centre, the Greek Embassy in New Delhi and the Indian Press and Television Ministry.
Seven Greek movies will be screened during the festival.
 EU - Balkan summit - Zagreb24/11/2000 17:57:52
ZAGREB (ANA - M. Savva) - Development and prosperity cannot exist without democracy, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said here on Friday, following the end of an European Union-western Balkans summit.
The Greek premier was speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the one-day summit, called by the French rotating EU presidency.
The summit will focused on the European prospects of Yugoslavia, Croatia, Bosnia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Albania, as part of the process of introducing stability in the region through partnership agreements.
"Let's be realists, there's need for the better functioning of democracy," Simitis said, emphasizing one of the three main Greek positions regarding the future of the region.
He said that "the processes of economic development should proceed, based on the Stability Pact, which may not have worked very well up to now, but it should be enriched with programmes which will help business activities to develop".
 Silver & Baryte-results24/11/2000 17:08:22
Silver & Baryte, Greece's largest mining group, on Friday announced its consolidated sales totalled 77.3 billion drachmas in the first nine months of the year, up 55 percent from the same period in 1999.
The group's gross profit increased by 47 percent to 22.7 billion drachmas from 15.4 billion drachmas last year, while net profits (after minority rights) rose 40 percent to 7.4 billion.
Fixed assets totalled 58.4 billion drachmas, up 26 percent from the January-September period last year, while net debt - on a consolidated basis - rose to 37 billion drachmas from 25 billion in 1999.
EBITDA totalled 15.3 billion drachmas, up 50 percent from last year, while equity capital return rose to 19 percent in the nine-month period from 15.4 percent last year.
A company statement said nine-month results included IKO-ERVSLOEH's figures following the purchase of a 74.9 percent equity stake in the company with industrial units in Germany and France.
 Sex Form SA-results24/11/2000 16:57:53
Sex Form SA on Friday announced an 11 percent rise in its nine-month sales to 7.87 billion drachmas from 7.09 billion the same period last year.
Profits totalled 516 million drachmas, from 339.8 million in the January-September period in 1999, an increase of 51.6 percent.
 Greece-EU budget24/11/2000 16:55:33
Greece has ensured significant higher funding from a new EU budget, Finance Deputy Minister George Drys told ANA after the completion of marathon talks between EU budget ministers and European Parliament's representatives which ended early Friday morning in Brussels.
"The final package of the adopted proposal ensures significant absorption of funds from a new EU budget," Drys told reporters.
Greece has argued for the need of a significant intervention by the European Union in the Balkan region, "a highly sensitive area".
Next year's EU budget envisages credits totalling 839 million euros to the Balkan states, with 240 million euros earmarked for Serbia.
The Greek delegation urged for the need to use funds from a Special Reserve Fund, covering EU's extraordinary needs.
The new budget also envisages higher spending for small- and medium-sized enterprises, with 450 million euros earmarked for Greece in the period 2001-2005.
EU budget ministers decided to spend 60 million euros for extra hygiene inspections in 2001 in view of a resurgence of the "mad cow" disease in several European countries.
The new budget also envisages higher credits for Greek production of olive oil, cotton and wine.
The final package is expected to be finalised at an European Parliament's session in December along with an approval of the EU's 2001 budget.
 ASE-Alexakis-prospects24/11/2000 16:49:34
"Greek stocks are cheap and offer many investment opportunities," Panagiotis Alexakis, the chairman of the Athens Stock Exchange said in Thessaloniki on Friday.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on farming economy and the future of Greek agriculture, Alexakis urged investors to benefit from current opportunities in the stock market by making the right choices and to adopt long-term investment strategies.
"This combination cannot, but to lead to positive returns," he said.
"The stock market is a long-term investment and the experience from the domestic and foreign markets shows that such returns outperformed fixed-income returns in the long-term," Alexakis noted.
He dismissed talk that the Greek bourses' current heavy falls were partly due to over-regulating measures and said that "these measures were contributing to establish a mature sense in the Greek market".
"The stock market is a very lively and dynamic market, obeying to the law of offer and demand more than any other market, that's why it has to move on its own," Alexakis said.
He declined to predict a time for the recovery of the market. "It is not in my position, as chairman of ASE, to comment on this issue. What I can say is that we work for a strong, safe and reliable market," he said.
 Cosmote-syndicated loan24/11/2000 16:15:35
Cosmote, Greece's second largest mobile operator, on Friday announced the signing of a syndicated loan, worth 350 million euros, with a group of 12 Greek and foreign banks. Citibank and National Bank were the organisers of the deal.
The new corporate loan will be used to refinance an older loan (a project finance deal), worth 225 million euros, and to finance new investments, products and services.
The terms of the syndicated loan were significantly improved and will lead to a significant cut in the company's financing expenses.
The loan was signed in November 20 and it is included in the framework of a wider financial planning by Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation Group, Cosmote's parent company.
A company statement said that increased demand for the issue was a vote of confidence for the group's and Cosmote's growth prospects.
 ASE-close24/11/2000 16:07:09
Equity prices rebounded on the last trading session of the week, after several days of sharp declines, with the help of a buying intervention by domestic institutional investors that started little before the end of Thursday's session.
Dealers, however, remained cautious over the market's prospects and doubted that Friday's recovery could be maintained next week.
The general index ended 1.87 percent higher at 3,321.49 points, to show a net loss of 2.65 percent in the week. Turnover was a low 45.93 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.76 percent higher at 1,896.51 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index rose 2.36 percent to 402.48 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks jumped 3.09 percent to 353.96 points.
 Greece-foreign exchange24/11/2000 15:26:33
The drachma fell against the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market on Friday, despite a recovery in the euro/dollar rate above the 84 cents level in international markets.
The Greek currency eased to 403.900 drachmas per dollar at the day's fixing, from 403.400 on Thursday. The euro/drachma rate rose to 340.320 drachmas.
 Olympics - Athens - IOC delegation24/11/2000 15:20:41
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday effectively took back its 'yellow card' by saying that preparations for the 2004 Games in Athens are on track, as top IOC executive Jacques Rogge emphasised that there is absolutely no issue of the next Olympics not being hosted by the Greek capital.
"I'm glad to note that these changes have been put in place," Rogge, vice-president of the IOC and head of the IOC Commission overseeing the Athens Games, said in reference to the changes the organisation had demanded from the Greek government and organisers.
"There is a new spirit, a new dynamism, a new flexibility...the key to the success of the 2004 Games is in the Greek government," he told reporters at the end of a three-day inspection visit and consultations with the Athens organising committee (ATHOC) and government officials.
He praised Athens 2004 Olympics organisers' (ATHOC) progress, nearly seven months after outgoing IOC chief Juan Antonio Samaranch issued an unprecedented warning to Greece that it was falling dangerously behind in preparations, were a welcome relief for the government and ATHOC.
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