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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-03-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece tables five-point initiative to EU for peace in the Middle East
  • [02] Greek church leaders meet with Pope John Paul II in the Vatican
  • [03] FM to meet visiting Bosnian premier on Tuesday
  • [04] Greek, Dutch PMs' initiative for SMEs
  • [05] OTE telecom repeats denial of wrongdoing in Bulgarian deal
  • [06] Commercial Bank of Greece launches investment arm
  • [07] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday
  • [08] Weather Forecast: Unsettled weather on Tuesday
  • [09] Greek stocks end lower on Monday

  • [01] Greece tables five-point initiative to EU for peace in the Middle East

    11/03/2002 22:57:20

    BRUSSELS (ANA - Y. Zitouniati) - Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Monday tabled a five-point proposal for a way out of the Middle East crisis to the European Union's General Affairs Council that convened here.

    The proposal - which will be discussed during the Barcelona summit due to begin on Friday - aims at initially establishing a common position for the EU's member-states and also to set the stage for the international community's efforts in the region.

    The Greek proposal calls for an immediate end to violence, to which the EU can contribute, along with the visit of U.S. presidential envoy General Anthony Zinni and the change of stance on the part of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

    It also calls for the immediate initiation of peace talks, after the truce, taking in mind all the bilateral talks held to date and the UN.

    The Greek proposal resubmits the recent French proposal for elections to be held among Palestinians, which could isolate extremists and provide renewed support for Yasser Arafat.

    As for Israel, the proposal calls for the use of the newly formed peace movements established in Israel and for the economic support of groups of the Israeli population that will possibly face a negative impact from the agreements.

    [02] Greek church leaders meet with Pope John Paul II in the Vatican

    11/03/2002 22:55:40

    ROME (ANA - L. Hatzikyriakou) - A delegation of the Greek Orthodox Church of Greece on Monday met with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.

    The meeting was part of a series of contacts of the Vatican with other churches concerning the current developments in the European Union regarding the Christian identity of Europe.

    The Pope received the Greek delegation in his personal office and following the meeting Metropolitan of Attica Panteleimon, who was heading the delegation, said that this was an initial meeting, ''a first stage in the effort to find the common ground of spiritual struggles in Europe''.

    According to a press release issued by the Church of Greece, the Pope noted that ''we have the duty to confront the problems of the world in dynamic and positive way and to look for solutions. We have the duty to communicate the Christian testament we inherited.''

    [03] FM to meet visiting Bosnian premier on Tuesday

    11/03/2002 22:54:27

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou will meet with visiting Bosnian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dr. Zlatko Lagumdzija in Athens on Tuesday at 20:15, a foreign ministry announcement said.

    [04] Greek, Dutch PMs' initiative for SMEs

    11/03/2002 22:53:20

    Greek prime minister Costas Simitis and his Dutch counterpart Wim Kok have undertaken an initiative regarding small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), it was made known on Monday.

    In a joint letter to Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, Simitis and Kok stressed the particular importance of the role of the SMEs, which they noted were the crux of Kosbon's strategy for a more competitive and knowledge-oriented economy, Greece's government spokesman Christos Protopapas said.

    [05] OTE telecom repeats denial of wrongdoing in Bulgarian deal

    11/03/2002 19:59:18

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), a heavily traded stock on the Athens bourse, on Monday repeated its denial of wrongdoing in connection with a Bulgarian state tender, countering a newspaper's allegations to the contrary.

    The Kathimerini newspaper again claimed that OTE had rigged the outcome of a Bulgarian state tender with another bidder, Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), in the wake of a similar report last week.

    In July 2001, OTE launched a mobile phone network in Bulgaria through a local subsidiary after winning the tender two years before.

    The Kathimerini newspaper claimed that OTE and TIM had made a secret agreement that the Greek telecom would get the permit, and that a Greek subsidiary of the Italian firm, Stet Hellas, had played a role in the alleged deal.

    OTE's management said in its second statement since last week that the company had not entered into agreements with third parties in order to secure the Bulgarian mobile phone permit.

    It charged that the aim of the newspaper's reports was to hurt the company by presenting it in a damaging light; and that the method used was to create false links between the tender and irrelevant business involving OTE and Telecom Italia.

    Documents used by the newspaper to support its case of wrongdoing in the tender in reality derived from attempts by the two firms to resolve financial differences dating back to 1996, including a wrangle with Stet Hellas over connection charges to OTE's network, which has recently been resolved.

    An audit commissioned by OTE's management that was conducted by Ernst & Young and Arther Andersen showed that no payments had been made to Telecom Italia between January 1, 2000 and January 31, 2002, beyond regular two-monthly clearances of mobile phone bills to Stet Hellas.

    ''This verification demonstrates in the most official manner that the (newspaper) reports against OTE are baseless and inaccurate, in order to put to an end to the promotion of these slanderous and unfounded assertions, which, unfortunately, the newspaper in question is continuing to make,'' the statatement said.

    Last week, OTE said it had forged other alliances and commercial links with the Italia Telecom Group in Greece and abroad due to the operation of Stet Hellas in Greece, which is a customer of OTE through the mobile connection charges it pays.

    ''The newspaper's bid to distort reality and link past pacts with the Bulgarian mobile phone tender - agreements that were legal and irrelevant to the issue - and the ensuing adverse impression created over legality and transparency, have hurt the OTE group's prestige and its shareholders' interests,'' the first statement said.

    OTE's mobile phone network in Bulgaria is run by Globul, a local subsidiary. The system covered 20 percent of the population in the first phase of operations under the terms of the Bulgarian government licence.

    The country's main cities have since received the service, raising the total to 40 percent of the population.

    [06] Commercial Bank of Greece launches investment arm

    11/03/2002 19:00:00

    Commercial Bank of Greece, which is quoted on the Athens bourse, on Monday launched an investment bank that formerly existed but whose operations were taken over by the parent operation in the 1980s.

    Originally founded in 1962, Investment Bank will now resume its function as Commercial's investment arm, the parent bank's president, Yiannis Stournaras, told a news conference.

    Stournaras said the bank was revived for reasons of cost effectiveness and flexibility, as well as to create new products and services.

    Investment Bank will incorporate the Commercial Bank of Greece Group's stockbroking operations by absorbing two subsidiaries.

    It will also absorb insurer Metrolife, the bank's private and corporate banking operations, as well as treasury and project finance, Stournaras said.

    Investment Bank's president is George Mihelis and its managing director George Christopoulos.

    Playing a major part in the revived bank's operations will be Credit Agricole, a strategic ally of Commercial, the two officials told the same news conference.

    The French bank, which owns 2.0 percent of Investment, will offer Investment's customers access tomarkets and clients abroad, they said.

    The recreated bank expects to cover its operational expenses from the first year of operation before becoming profitable.

    [07] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday

    11/03/2002 18:05:27

    Indicative tourist buying rates per euro

    U.S. dollar 0.881

    Pound sterling 0.620

    Danish kroner 7.491

    Swedish kroner 9.156

    Japanese yen 113.42

    Swiss franc 1.483

    Norwegian kroner 7.787

    Cyprus pound 0.579

    Canadian dollar 1.398

    Australian dollar 1.691

    [08] Weather Forecast: Unsettled weather on Tuesday

    11/03/2002 17:46:27

    Changeable weather is forecast in all parts of the country, including rain or storms that will ease off during the day except in the eastern islands. Snow will fall on high ground on the mainland. Winds variable, very strong, turning gale force in many areas. In the north, temperatures will range from 5C to 11C; on the rest of the mainland and in the Ionian from 8C to 16C; and in the Aegean islands from 11C to 18C. Showers likely in the morning in Athens with temperatures between 10C and 15C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 7C to 10C.

    [09] Greek stocks end lower on Monday

    11/03/2002 16:29:19

    Equity prices ended Monday's session lower on the Athens Stock Exchange, succumbing to mild profit taking as investors preferred to cash in last week's gains.

    The general index ended 0.48 percent down at 2,436.25 points, with turnover a low 104.8 million euros.

    The Insurance, IT and Textile sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (1.97 percent, 1.40 percent and 0.90 percent, respectively), while the Retail, Investment and Holding sectors scored the biggest gains (0.50 percent, 0.29 percent and 0.02 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.52 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.67 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.50 percent lower.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 202 to 104 with another 51 issues unchanged.

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