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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-11-30
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Human skeletons - Church - Serres30/11/2000 19:07:42
Two human skeletons, both dated to the mid-18th century, were discovered inside a village churchs roof in northern Greece during the course of repair works.
A coroner later announced that one of the skeletons was that of a male aged about 60, while the other was a female not more than 25 years old. More tests are scheduled in order to determine a cause of death, Serres prefecture coroner Minas Georgiadis said, adding that foul play has not been ruled.
Workers in the community of Rodolivous found one of the skeletons between two old beams supporting the cathedrals roof, lying in a more-or-less fetal position. The other skeleton was found further towards buildings interior, located just above the altar and lying a sitting position.
Records show that the church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was built in 1811, when modern-day Serres prefecture was part of the Ottoman empire. Interestingly enough, no clothing, footwear or any other object was found, adding to the mystery surrounding the two individuals identity.
According to local legends, the churchs construction was financed by the areas Turkish ?aga? (a local ruler in the Ottoman empire) as thanks for the miraculous cure of his deaf mute son.
 Athens conference - Albanians - Balkans30/11/2000 17:19:39
An unprecedented conference focusing on the issue of ?Albanians as minorities in the Balkans? will bring together here on Friday representatives from neighbouring countries, Greek envoys stationed in the area and the Tirana governments leadership.
The conference, set to take place at a seaside resort near Athens, takes place under the auspices of Princeton University.
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis is expected to receive his visiting Albanian counterpart Ilir Meta, who will also be accompanied by Tirana's foreign minister.
Additionally, members of Serbias transitional government and a representative of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonias (FYROM) government will participate, whereas Kosovar political leader Ibrahim Rugova as well as ethnic Albanians from Kosovo may also arrive for the conference.
Athens ambassadors in all the other Balkan countries will attend the conference as well, set to focus on issues related to the recent developments in the region and within the Yugoslav province of Kosovo; relations between Serbia and Montenegro, as well as the situation in Albania.
 Alpha Bank-Alpha Finance-merger30/11/2000 16:59:10
A deal for the merger of Alpha Bank and Alpha Finance was approved by the two companies' boards on Thursday.
The deal envisages the absorption of Alpha Finance by Alpha Bank through a 1-to-1.35 stock swap following a share capital increase plan.
The deal is part of a wider restructuring plan implemented by Alpha Bank Group following its merger with Ionian Bank earlier this year.
 Spider-results30/11/2000 16:40:05
Spider-Metal N.Petsios & Sons SA, on Thursday reported a spectacular 100 percent jump in its consolidated nine-month profits to 1.05 billion drachmas, from 523 million drachmas the same period last year.
The group's turnover totalled 6.65 billion, up 42 percent from 1999.
The parent company reported a 26 percent rise in turnover to 4.23 billion drachmas in the first nine months of 2000, and profits of 817 million drachmas, up 97 percent.
Consolidated results did not include results from recently acquired Italian company Trim Box SRL.
A total of 25 percent of Spider's turnover accounted for exports in international markets.
 Paperpack-results30/11/2000 16:31:10
Paperpack Tsoukaridis ABEE, a listed packaging firm, on Thursday reported better-than-expected results for the first nine months of 2000.
Turnover totalled 4.0 billion drachmas and pre-tax profits reached 370 million drachmas in the January-September period, exceeding the company's initial forecasts.
Paperpack expects this year's turnover to reach 6.0 billion drachmas, from an initial forecast of 4.25 billion.
A company statement attributed the improved results to an increase in sales, domestic and abroad, and to the purchase of a 35 percent equity stake in food packaging firm Fokas Brothers.
 Hellenic Bank-network30/11/2000 16:15:57
Hellenic Bank launched its new branch in an Athens suburb on Thursday, raising its total network to five around the country.
The bank, based in Cyprus, aims to further expand its network to a total 25 branches in the next three years.
Hellenic Bank is one of the biggest financial groups in Cyprus with 14 subsidiaries and a network of 110 branches. It recently absorbed Barclays Bank's operations in Cyprus, in the largest takeover deal in the island's banking sector.
 Benroubi-results30/11/2000 16:05:26
Benroubi SA on Thursday announced a 8.5 percent increase in its nine-month profits to 983 million drachmas, from 906 million last year, and a 27.2 percent rise in turnover to 12.2 billion drachmas from 9.6 billion, over the same period.
This year, the company began its expansion in the security systems and the mobile and fixed-telephony market, through Benroubi Protect and Benroubi NET, respectively.
Benroubi has already launched a network of 20 shops, with another 10 planned by the end of the year, and 100 new shops in 2001.
 Greece-Bulgaria-capital markets30/11/2000 15:57:19
Greece and Bulgaria will sign on Friday a bilateral agreement on capital markets' regulatory cooperation.
The cooperation protocol is expected to be signed in Sofia by Greece's Capital Markets' Commission president Stavros Thomadakis and Bulgaria's National Securities' Commission, Radoslav Tsonchev.
The cooperation protocol aims to establish and implement a procedure for mutual help between the two countries' regulatory authorities, such as to exchange confidential information to ensure implementation of existing laws.
The protocol agreement is the first step in an effort to establish and enhance bilateral cooperation in capital markets' operations.
 Greece-foreign exchange30/11/2000 15:46:34
The drachma continued recovering against the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market following a rebound in the euro/dollar rate to 86.81 cents in international markets on Thursday.
The Greek currency rose to 392.430 drachmas per dollar at the day's fixing, up from 394.590 on Wednesday.
The drachma also moved closer to its central parity against the euro currency at 340.550 drachmas per euro.
 ASE-close30/11/2000 15:40:44
Equity prices continued moving cautiously higher for the second consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday to end off their day's highs as profit-taking selling limited earlier gains.
The general index ended 0.46 percent up at 3,245.77 points, off the day's highs of 3,292 points. Turnover was 111.87 billion drachmas, of which 70 billion were pre-agreed block trades.
Traders said the market needed a significant increase in capital inflows to resume its upward trend.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.55 percent higher at 1,855.55 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index ended at 394.15 points, up 0.50 percent.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 329.53 points, up 1.29 percent.
 Health ministry - Ioannina - Creutzfeldt-Jakob case30/11/2000 15:13:39
Deputy Health Minister Christina Spyraki reassured the public on Thursday that the latest reported incident of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in Greece was not related to meat consumption or "mad cow" disease (BSE).
According to Spyraki, doctors believe that a 55-year-old woman diagnosed with the disease at Ioannina hospital is one of the rare cases of hereditary spongiform encephalopathy that occasionally occur in Greece and is not related to BSE.
According to the minister, doctors have sent a sample of the woman's cerebral-spinal fluid to the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Report Centre at Aiginiteo Hospital in Athens for tests, the results of which should be out in 10 days.
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