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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-02-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Cyprus issue, oil exploration discussed by Karamanlis, Papadopoulos
  • [02] Site of ancient theatre discovery to be expropriated
  • [03] Central bank urges banks to reduce bad loans

  • [01] Cyprus issue, oil exploration discussed by Karamanlis, Papadopoulos

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos wound up their first official round of talks this week at the premier's office on Wednesday amid the latter's visit to Athens for contacts with Greek leadership. Karamanlis hosted a private dinner for Papadopoulos and his wife at his home in Rafina Tuesday evening.

    According to reports, the timely issue of oil exploration in Cypriot waters in the east Mediterranean -- a development that has generated a bevy of provocative and aggressive statements out of Ankara -- was discussed by the two leaders, as well as the most recent developments concerning the Cyprus issue.

    Karamanlis echoed previous statements by Athens emphasising that the EU member-state Republic of Cyprus will exercise all of its rights as emanating from International Law.

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and her Cypriot counterpart George Lilikas also attended the meeting.

    Caption: Karamanlis, right, and Papadopoulos on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007, during a joint press conference at the premier's office in Athens. ANA-MPA / M. Marogianni.

    [02] Site of ancient theatre discovery to be expropriated

    Culture Minister George Voulgarakis on Wednesday announced the immediate expropriation of a plot of land in the northwest Athens' Menidi district where a section of an ancient theatre was discovered last week during construction of an apartment building.

    The section of an ancient theatre was discovered last Thursday by work crews.

    During the excavations at the intersection of Salamina and Liossia roads, 15 marble stands came to light.

    Voulgarakis visited the site on Wednesday, accompanied by culture ministry antiquities director Vivi Vassilopoulou.

    After a tour of the site, Voulgarakis said it was a major discovery, stressing that the expropriation would be extended to bordering lots if necessary.

    Vassilopoulou, on her part, said it was too early to say whether the discovery was the renowned ancient theatre of Acharnes -- as the district was known during antiquity, the second largest after Classical Athens in Attica -- but added that there were significant indications that it could be.

    Excavations director Maria Platonos, who guided Voulgarakis around the site, said moveable finds indicate that the theatre in Menidi dates to the 4th century BC.

    Caption: A view of the partially excavated ancient theatre in the Menidi (Acharnes) district on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2007. ANA-MPA / S. Pantzartzi.

    [03] Central bank urges banks to reduce bad loans

    The Bank of Greece and the Hellenic Bank Association on Tuesday met to discuss the problem of outstanding loans in the domestic banking sector.

    Nikos Garganas, the Bank of Greece's governor, urged Greek bankers to intensify efforts to cut the current 6 percent rate of delayed loans to around 3-3.5 pct, currently the EU average.

    The problem with delayed loans is a "hot topic" in Greek banking sector, not only because of the high rate recorded by Greek banks, but also because of a new regulatory framework implemented by the Basel II rules. The new framework calls on financial institutions' board to determine the ceiling of accepted delayed loans and to report it to the central bank.

    The central banker also urged Greek banks to adopt a unified system of recording bad debt in their quarterly balance sheets.

    Under International Accounting Standards, banks are not obliged to record interest on loans delayed for more than six months (excluding mortgage loans).

    The Bank of Greece also called on local banks to implement a more efficient control of pricing of services, such as credit transfer payments and commissions.

    Caption: Bank of Greece Governor Nikos Garganas. ANA-MPA / A. Beltes.

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