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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-02-06

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

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <grnewsca@sympatico.ca>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1409), February 6, 1998

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [01] Papantoniou in London promotes Greece's investment potential
  • [02] Gov't: Turkey's worsening position behind latest false claim
  • [03] ... Tsohatzopoulos on peaceful coexistence between Greece, Turkey
  • [04] Kaklamanis meets with Russian MPs
  • [05] SAE presidium to meet in Thessaloniki
  • [06] Stoyanov invites Greek president to Bulgaria
  • [07] Bulgarian, Greek, Romanians discuss cross-border co-operation
  • [08] US calls for better protection of Orthodox churches in Turkey
  • [09] Vance on Greece-FYROM dispute
  • [10] Report focuses on decentralization
  • [11] PM meets with PASOK youth group secretary
  • [12] Deliberations continue over ND developments
  • [13] OA flights on schedule today
  • [14] Balkan transport, environmental protection the focus of meeting
  • [15] Simitis, Venizelos meeting
  • [16] IOC to honor Fouras
  • [17] Gov't responds to complaint of trash at archaeological sites
  • [18] Farmers' intensify protests around Greece
  • [19] ... PM refuses meeting with protesting farmers
  • [20] Scuffles as pensioners march for tax, medical benefits
  • [21] Corruption charges against SDOE staff
  • [22] Thessaloniki-Skopje rail connection decided
  • [23] Labor groups criticize alleged shrinkage of certain agencies
  • [24] Black Sea bank to choose board of directors
  • [25] HELEXPO to hold conference on SE European trade, transport
  • [26] Greek stocks end higher on bargain-hunting
  • [27] Most state tourism units post losses in 1997
  • [28] Tax squad finds evasion in video games
  • [29] Greek shipowners blast Gov't measures to aid competitiveness
  • [30] Sigma tops brokerage firm lists
  • [31] Another worker fatality reported at Diana papermill
  • [32] Rain floods more than 200 homes in northern Greece
  • [33] Romania's Iordanescu in Athens to coach Greek team

  • [01] Papantoniou in London promotes Greece's investment potential

    London, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday began his official visit here with a speech at a conference on the topic of "Greece in the next millennium," sponsored by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

    Afterwards, Mr. Papantoniou held talks with his British counterpart Gordon Brown, who told him that the positive course of the Greek economy is expected to attract the interest of British investors.

    According to a statement by Mr. Papantoniou, Mr. Brown expressed his government's intention to play a more active economic role in the Balkans, utilizing possibilities offered by Greece. He also spoke of the possibilities of establishing joint enterprises and developing common initiatives in the wider region.

    Earlier, the Greek minister's speech was attended by several top executives from multinational companies and banking institutions, as well as members of London's Greek Shipping Committee.

    Mr. Papantoniou, heading a group of high-ranking Greek officials and business leaders, spoke on "Business Opportunities in Greece: Rediscovering Southeastern Europe".

    He stressed that the Athens government today enjoyed a broad political consensus for measures aimed to promote Greece's participation in Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

    "Greece is the only stable factor, a member of the EU and NATO and other international organizations in southeastern Europe. It is the only country which combines the advantages of a developed economy, adequate infrastructure, and political stability. It is in an excellent geographical position, and possesses the potential to expand even more its economic access to the Balkans, the Black Sea, CIS countries, the Middle East etc. It is thus a bridge between east and west, ready to accept foreign investment," he added.

    Setting out the Greek economy's present positive picture, Mr. Papantoniou said the country would be ready to meet Maastricht criteria in 1998-99, so as to participate in the third phase of EMU on Jan. 1, 2001.

    He referred to the program for the privatization of public enterprises and the efforts for reducing public expenses, as well as the restructuring and modernization of ailing utilities, particularly in the transport sector.

    "The business community in Greece is showing new dynamism, becoming more extrovert, and is efficiently utilizing the opportunities of the new markets. Business confidence was won through the stability in government and in the implementation of the macro -economic policy," he said.

    "Foreign investors also have every reason to invest in Greece, which is the country with some of the largest infrastructure projects in Europe today in the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors," he added.

    He went on to point out the considerable improvements in the Greek banking sector, which now meets international specifications, and that the Athens Stock Exchange is becoming the center of economic activity in the broader region.

    "The Greek government is trying to assist foreign investors to promote their programs without bureaucratic impediments, and has abandoned old habits and practices that caused problems. The economic situation in Greece today is very different from that prevailing a few years ago," he said.

    The conference was also addressed, among others, by the president of the Greek Industries Association (SEB), Iason Stratos, the president of the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) Yiannis Tzen, and Christos Megalou, of the Hellenic-British Commercial Chamber.

    Today, Mr. Papantoniou is being hosted by the "Economist" magazine, and will later give a press conference to Greek and British reporters.

    [02] Gov't: Turkey's worsening position behind latest false claim

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    The foreign ministry yesterday denied a Turkish government claim that a club in Thrace frequented by a predominately Moslem crowd was attacked last Tuesday.

    "The event is entirely non-existent," foreign ministry spokesman Costas Bikas said, attributing the claim to Turkey's difficult position over continuing criminal attacks against the few remaining ethnic Greeks and Greek cultural heritage in the neighboring country.

    Specifically, he was referring to the burglary of an Orthodox church two days ago on the northeastern Aegean island of Imvros, as well as to the inertia and inability of Turkish authorities to apprehend the culprits.

    "Greece is a European country and respects the human rights of all its citizens, in contrast to Turkey," Mr. Bikas said in his statement.

    He provided figures recording the mass violations of ethnic Greeks' rights in Turkey, and the shrinking of their numbers in contrast to the growing Moslem minority in Thrace.

    [03] ... Tsohatzopoulos on peaceful coexistence between Greece, Turkey

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday called on Turkey to co-operate for a peaceful coexistence between Athens and Ankara.

    Speaking at the end of military maneuvers on Rhodes, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that "the co-operation of both sides is necessary..."

    "We hope this fact becomes understood by the other side. It is, by our estimate, a matter of time," he added.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the "continued presence of the armed forces (on the islands) constitutes a barrier (to expansionist designs) and provides security for residents..."

    The defense minister visited military outposts on Rhodes. He canceled visits to the islands of Symi, Tilos and Halki due to poor weather conditions.

    [04] Kaklamanis meets with Russian MPs

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday received the members of the Russian parliament's Russian-Greek Friendship Group, to whom he stressed the need for a security system that would include the whole of Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals.

    The planning and implementation of such a system, he added, was solely up to the governments and peoples of Europe.

    Stressing the "close, friendly relations" between the Russian and Greek peoples, Mr. Kaklamanis also expressed his appreciation for Russia's assurances regarding the recent agreement signed with Cyprus for the purchase of Russian S-300 missiles.

    The Russian delegation conveyed an invitation to Mr. Kaklamanis from his Russian counterpart to pay an official visit to Moscow.

    [05] SAE presidium to meet in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    The first regular meeting of the newly elected presidium resulting from plenum elections at the Hellenes Abroad Council (SAE) last December will take place in Thessaloniki on Feb. 7-8.

    One of the issues to be discussed is organizing the Olympiad of young expatriates and SAE's co-operation for the 2004 Olympiad. To this end, a special meeting between the presidium and Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos has been set for Feb. 7.

    The presidium's works will be attended by Expatriate Hellenism Secretary-General Stavros Lambrinidis and the President of the Parliamentary Inter-Party Committee on Expatriate Hellenism Grigoris Niotis.

    [06] Stoyanov invites Greek president to Bulgaria

    Sofia, 06/02/1998 (BTA/ANA)

    Bulgarian President Peter Stoyanov invited his Greek counterpart Kostis Stephanopoulos to visit Bulgaria, during a meeting with members of the Greek Parliament's Committee on Defense and Foreign Policy on Wednesday.

    Mr. Stoyanov said that he highly valued relations with Greece and that bilateral relations would improve with the prompt realization of the infrastructure projects in the region.

    Meanwhile, in an interview in the Sofia newspaper "Continent" yesterday, Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov emphasized his country's smooth relations and co-operation with Greece, particularly regarding the construction and operation of three new customs posts at the Greek-Bulgarian border.

    He said Bulgaria had resolved problems regarding restrictions and trade, as well as those related to the reunification of families split up during the emigration of ethnic Turks to Turkey.

    Mr. Kostov hoped that the normalization of relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia would proceed rapidly, considering Skopje's declared willingness to discuss the issue of language differences with Bulgaria.

    [07] Bulgarian, Greek, Romanians discuss cross-border co-operation

    Sofia, 06/02/1998 (BTA/ANA)

    Government delegations from Bulgaria, Greece and Romania will discuss the construction of new transport corridors and border crossings at a meeting in Thessaloniki soon.

    The Bulgarian delegation includes Deputy Prime Minister Evgenii Bakurdjiev, Minister of Environment and Waters Evdokia Maneva and Transport Minister Vilhelm Kraus. Possible easing of customs regulations of the three countries will also be on the agenda of the talks.

    The meeting is a continuation of earlier talks on these problems.

    [08] US calls for better protection of Orthodox churches in Turkey

    Washington, 06/02/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    The US yesterday called on Turkey to improve security for Orthodox Christian churches in that country - and religious institutions in general - also urging Ankara to fully probe the causes of recent attacks and to apprehend the culprits.

    Replying to a question by ANA, US State Department spokesman James Rubin referred to "criminal actions" which were to be condemned.

    "We regard attacks of this kind as cowardly and we condemn them in the most categorical way. The most recent attack against the Church of Agios Therapon in Istanbul is criminal," he stressed.

    He acknowledged that Turkish officials had condemned these attacks and had adopted measures improving security for such sites.

    [09] Vance on Greece-FYROM dispute

    United Nations, 06/02/1998 (ANA- M. Georgiadou)

    Special UN mediator on the Greece-FYROM dispute, Cyrus Vance, yesterday said he was satisfied with the progress of discussions on the only remaining difference between the two countries, that of FYROM's name.

    "I met again last week with the representatives of Greece and FYROM. We had a good meeting and I can say that, generally, I believe things are going satisfactorily," he said.

    Asked to comment on the fact that talks have already been going on for more than two years, he replied:

    "One must proceed carefully and slowly to do a proper job."

    [10] Report focuses on decentralization

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    A series of responsibilities held today by ministries will be transferred to regional authorities, prefectural administration bodies and municipalities.

    A report by the interior, public administration and decentralization ministry's relevant committee, unveiled yesterday, calls for the transfer of the measurement of air pollution, taking extraordinary measures, controlling parking and opening hours for clubs.

    Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said the decentralization of responsibilities to first and second stage regional and local administration bodies is an important reform and attributed delays by certain ministries to "resistance" by civil service establishments which have nothing to do with the ministries' leaderships.

    According to the report, regional services will be entrusted with duties concerning documentation for those requesting Greek citizenship and the measurement of air pollution.

    Prefectural services will be responsible for taking measures on activities polluting the environment and the granting of licenses for storing liquid fuel in quantities of up to 50,000 cubic meters.

    Municipalities will be responsible for controlling parking and defining working hours for department stores and clubs.

    [11] PM meets with PASOK youth group secretary

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis held 40-minute talks with the secretary of the PASOK party's youth group last night at the latter's request.

    Tonia Antoniou briefed Mr. Simitis on the situation currently prevailing in the organization and on the results of negotiations carried out between the three major trends emerging in the youth group.

    According to reports, Mr. Simitis listened to what Ms Antoniou had to say, without however, showing any inclination to intervene in the processes already underway in the run-up to the youth organization's congress.

    Meanwhile, Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday met with 20 students of a Piraeus evening school, discussing several issues of concern to them.

    [12] Deliberations continue over ND developments

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    Intense deliberations were reported yesterday in the aftermath of dramatic developments in the main opposition New Democracy party, which witnessed the expulsion of three senior ND members and the suspension of three others earlier this week.

    Former minister George Souflias held successive contacts with the other expelled or suspended deputies, while his political office was inundated with messages of support for the idea of establishing a new political party.

    Sources said, however, that Mr. Souflias has not reached any final decisions and will not make any hasty moves.

    Replying to a question on reports claiming contacts with the Political Spring party, Mr. Souflias said: "they are (political) parties, so anything is possible," although he refused further comment.

    Meanwhile, ND leader Costas Karamanlis is reported to have told aides that a period of introversion in ND is definitely at an end. Party headquarters sources were saying the situation was developing normally, and believed the expelled deputies would not create a new party or co-operate with the Political Spring party.

    Spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos commented: "Parties emerge through social needs and are not vehicles of personal political survival".

    Former foreign minister Michalis Papaconstantinou said he believed that former PM Constantine Mitsotakis was being squeezed out of the party, and expressed support for the idea of a new political formation.

    Former minister Stephanos Manos was said to be rather negative on the idea of a new party, expressing reluctance to cut off ties with his constituents.

    [13] OA flights on schedule today

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    All flights scheduled by Olympic Airways, Greece's national carrier, will be carried out according to schedule as of today.

    According to the state-run company's board, yesterday's inconveniences for passengers (a total of seven flights were canceled) were due to actions by the Union of Flight Stewards' (EISF) administration and not to the departure of 64 OA seasonal members .

    Olympic's board accused EISF of circumventing an agreement concluded in 1994, anticipating that the flight program over the 1994-1997 period would be carried out without problems with the existing staff (1,000 people) and corresponding overtime work.

    The administration of EISF, with peculiar moves and in one night created needs which even surpassed the 45 per cent of staff potential, namely from 1,000 to 1,450 people.

    These practices bring the company back to loss-making times which created a 600 billion-drachma deficit.

    It is noteworthy that over the past two years when the 210 seasonal flight stewards were maintained, they burdened the country with 1.2 billion drachmas a year, OA's board said.

    [14] Balkan transport, environmental protection the focus of meeting

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    Significant decisions over the future of transport, infrastructure and environmental protection in the Balkan region were taken at a meeting yesterday in Thessaloniki by relevant ministers from three Balkan nations.

    Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis and Environmental, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis represented Greece, while several high-ranking ministers from Bulgaria and Romania attended.

    A call for a unified transport system - including port facilities, roadways and rail connections - in the Balkans connected with all major European Union networks and corridors was the primary focus of the meeting.

    [15] Simitis, Venizelos meeting

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday met and discussed plans for the "Cultural Olympics" as well as the ministry's financial problems. They also discussed policies, actions and priorities of the ministry.

    [16] IOC to honor Fouras

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch yesterday announced that the organization will honor Sports Under-secretary Andreas Fouras during a special ceremony in Athens this May for his contribution to the Olympic movement.

    Mr. . Samaranch made the announcement after meeting with Mr. Fouras and the 2004 Olympic Games' organizing committee. Mr. Fouras and the committee will today visit the Olympic village in Nagano, Japan and will meet with the Greek delegation.

    [17] Gov't responds to complaint of trash at archaeological sites

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    An announcement by the Society of Tour Guide Graduates regarding trash-filled archaeological sites in the country prompted a response yesterday by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    "Cleanliness, decency and the good operation of archaeological sites and museums is the top priority and primary directive of the culture ministry to the Central Archaeological Service," Mr. Venizelos' letter read.

    He also called on tour guides to specifically report on the state of archaeological sites.

    [18] Farmers' intensify protests around Greece

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    Farmers protesting the government's agricultural policy yesterday blockaded the airport at Irakleio, Crete, forcing airport autho-rities to cancel all flights until 6 a.m. today.

    Farmers from the prefectures of Irakleio, Rethymno and Lasithi participated in the protest.

    A few hours before blocking roads leading to the airport, farmers waving black flags gathered outside the offices of the Federation of Agricultural Associations.

    A march followed through the center of Irakleio to the airport, causing serious traffic problems.

    The farmers are using their cars, rather than tractors, to block access to the airport.

    Also, farmers in Hania held a rally outside the prefecture's administration offices, calling for specific measures for the two primary local products, oranges and olive oil.

    Meanwhile, farmers in northern Greece blockaded the Athens to Thessaloniki highway for two hours at the Malgara toll station. In many other parts of central Macedonia, their colleagues kept hundreds of tractors parked alongside main road arteries.

    A symbolic blockade of the road leading to the Evzonoi customs border post has been planned for today.

    [19] ... PM refuses meeting with protesting farmers

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas yesterday urged protesting farmers to discuss their problems with the agriculture ministry, rejecting their demand to meet with the prime minister.

    Mr. Reppas stressed that farmers should seek a solution to their problems after talks with the ministers involved, and avoid confrontation.

    He acknowledged, however, that olive and citrus producers were facing a crisis.

    [20] Scuffles as pensioners march for tax, medical benefits

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    Minor scuffles broke out yesterday as demonstrating pensioners were prevented from marching towards the prime minister's office to press their demands for taxation and medical benefits.

    Marchers who had set off from Kaningos Square, after holding a rally in the pouring rain, were stopped by a police cordon at the corner of Irodou Attikou St. , where several demonstrators clashed with police officers.

    A delegation representing all pension funds was received instead by Minister to the Prime Minister George Paschalidis, who decided to hold an inter-ministerial meeting this coming Wednesday to discuss the issues.

    Mr. Christos Triantis, president of the pension fund for the self-employed (TEBE) warned that the protests would continue if the government did not find solutions to the chronic problems faced by 1,350,000 pensioners around the country.

    The minister said the prime minister would be briefed on all aspects of the pensioners' demands prior to meeting with their representatives.

    [21] Corruption charges against SDOE staff

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    The finance ministry yesterday decided to dismiss three members of its "untouchables" Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) for... corruption.

    Following an investigation carried out by an Athens public prosecutor, the ministry is alleging that the three are guilty of accepting bribes.

    In an announcement, the ministry said it was determined to impose the stiffest possible penalties on any employees found to be guilty of corruption.

    [22] Thessaloniki-Skopje rail connection decided

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek Railways Organization (OSE) and its Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) counterpart yesterday decided to inaugurate a Thessaloniki to Skopje route with high-speed trains.

    The decision was announced during the 12th conference of Balkan railroad organizations' managing directors, taking place in Thessaloniki.

    The rail connection is expected to commence sometime in 1998, while the possibility of an express rail connection from Thessaloniki to Istanbul was also examined.

    OSE Managing Director Yiannis Mourmouris said that while these connections can begin immediately as far as necessary equipment and technical ability goes, there are problems with European Union regulations and customs controls, which must first be ironed out.

    He added that Greece is interested in reopening the land corridor to the north connecting Greece with central Europe.

    [23] Labor groups criticize alleged shrinkage of certain agencies

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    Representatives of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Athens Labor Center (EKA) told a press conference yesterday that the government is shrinking certain public agencies to the point of disappearance.

    They pointed to agencies such as the Greek Tourist Organization (EOT), the Hellenic Organization of Small and Medium-Size Enterprises and Craftsmen (EOMMEX), the Hellenic Productivity Center (ELKEPA) and the Institute of Geological and Metallurgical Research (IGME).

    GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos admitted that some public organizations exist which have been overcome by developments and can be abolished, but added that the above organizations are not included among them.

    [24] Black Sea bank to choose board of directors

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    The governors of the Black Sea Commerce and Development Bank, which was set up by the Black Sea Economic Co-operation (BSEC) organization, was to meet for the first time in Thessaloniki last night to choose a board of directors.

    The governors from Greece, Russia, Turkey (each country participating with 16.5 per cent), Romania, Ukraine, Bulgaria (13.5 per cent each) and Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Albania (each contributing 2 per cent of share capital) are expected to work out an agreement of principles for the bank's administrative structure.

    It has already been decided that the president of the Thessaloniki-based bank for the first four-year term will be Ersoy Volkan from Turkey.

    The official inauguration of the bank is scheduled for June.

    National Bank of Greece deputy governor Nikos Karamouzis, who represents Greece on the board of governors, said one of the principal objectives of the bank would be to finance commerce and small- and medium-sized infrastructure works.

    [25] HELEXPO to hold conference on SE European trade, transport

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    HELEXPO, organizer of the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, will for the second consecutive year hold a conference on multimodal transport and transit trade in southeastern Europe.

    The June 4-6 conference, being organized with Thessaloniki University's Department of Communications Technology, will focus on legal and administrative issues arising from crossing borders, methods and practices associated with multimodal transport in the light of new technology and the use of logistics, multimodal transport corridors and infrastructure (terminals and junctions), networks, services and international co-operation.

    Participating in the conference in the northern Greek port city will be representatives of European Union directorates, universities, transport organizations and the ministries of transport, communications, environment, town planning, public works, finance and merchant marine of countries including Austria, Bulgaria and Germany.

    [26] Greek stocks end higher on bargain-hunting

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities changed direction yesterday for the fourth consecutive session this week to end substantially higher helped by bargain-hunting and other speculative buying.

    The general index ended 1.10 percent up at 1,429.07 points reflecting a 3.74 percent surge in the Miscellaneous index.

    Other sector indices were mixed. Banks rose 0.85 percent, Insurance increased 1.82 percent, Leasing fell 0.99 percent, Investment ended 0.07 percent up, Construction eased 0.66 percent, Industrials rose 1.17 percent and Holding ended 1.08 percent higher .

    The parallel market index soared 3.08 percent extending January's rally. The FTSE/ASE index rose 0.96 percent to end at 789.41 points.

    Trading was subdued with turnover at 11.4 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 141 to 82 with another 22 issues unchanged.

    Eskimo, Faliro Medical, Viokarpet, Singular, Nireas and Agrinion Metalplastic scored the biggest percentage gains at the day's 8.0 percent upper limit.

    Mouriades, Klaoudatos, Ionian Investments and Elfico suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 20,105 drachmas, Ergobank at 14,310, Alpha Credit Bank at 15,150, Delta Dairy at 2,980, Titan Cement at 13,450, Intracom at 14,770 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 5,640.

    [27] Most state tourism units post losses in 1997

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) yesterday reported that sixty nine units it owns around the country posted profits of 1.074 billion drachmas in 1997 against an estimated 688 million drachmas a year earlier.

    Of the sixty nine units, which include the Xenia hotel chain, spas, casinos, marinas, skiing centers and caves, only nine posted profits, EOT said in a statement.

    The profitable units were five marinas, two casinos and two spas.

    The highest profits were posted by the casinos at Rhodes and Parnitha, which reported gains of 2.38 billion drachmas between them.

    The government is implementing a policy of selling off EOT's assets.

    Nudging up profits were sharp cutbacks in seasonal staff effected in the last few months of 1997, tighter procurements and better control systems, EOT said.

    Also aiding profits were a policy of collecting long-term debts, worth billions of drachmas overall, it said.

    This is the first year EOT has published a comprehensive balance sheet.

    EOT Secretary-General Nikos Skoulas has ordered the organization's units to produce their 1998 cost-cutting budgets as soon as possible. They are being worked out on a zero basis.

    [28] Tax squad finds evasion in video games

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greek tax squad officers have found a barrage of tax offenses in raids conducted on shops, clubs, cafeterias and ships housing video games.

    The raids were conducted in Attica on 15 enterprises. Offenses included the illegal installation and use of games or non-payment of dues on the machines.

    [29] Greek shipowners blast Gov't measures to aid competitiveness

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek Shipowners Union criticized the merchant marine ministry's measures to help improve the Greek flag's competitiveness as timid and inefficient, despite the government's good intentions.

    The union's chairman Yiannis Lyras said that the merchant marine under Greek ownership was facing problems in maintaining its current status due to negative domestic and international factors.

    As a result the Greek shipping register suffered a loss of more than 120 ships in 1997, he said.

    Greek shipowners had warned the government and the merchant marine ministry of hardships facing the industry, but the response was the announcement of inefficient measures likely to hurt rather than benefit Greece's maritime sector.

    The government should have taken into account the fact that the Greek maritime operates in one of the world's most liberalized and globalized sectors.

    Any state intervention or protection measures were destined to fail, and to inflict damage, Mr. Lyras said.

    [30] Sigma tops brokerage firm lists

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    Changes have taken place at the top of the list of brokerage firms, according to their transactions last month.

    Sigma Chrimatistiriaki moved into first place with a total turnover of 49.4 billion drachmas, obtaining a 7.75 per cent share of the market.

    According to an announcement by the Federation of Athens Stock Exchange Members (SMEXA), Alpha Chrimatistiriaki comes next with 33 billion drachmas and 5.27 per cent.

    Ethniki AXE is in third place with 28.7 billion drachmas and 4.51 per cent, followed by Devletoglou AXE with 4.26 per cent and Telesis with 4.06 per cent.

    Genesis AXE, which started operation recently, is in last place.

    [31] Another worker fatality reported at Diana papermill

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    A fatal workplace accident occurred at the Diana papermill in Xanthi prefecture yesterday morning when a 40-year-old electrician fell to his death.

    According to reports, Mihalis Kasapidis had mounted a crane to repair an electric generator at the papermill when he slipped and fell as he was trying to get down, falling onto several lathes that were in operation. The man was declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital.

    In a related development, the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) denounced what it called the "criminal indifference of the employers and the great responsibilities of the state", less than two months after the previous fatal accident in the same papermill.

    GSEE said that according to information by trade unionists, the worker killed yesterday was working overtime to fill in a slot left open by a victim in the previous accident.

    An announcement by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) called the new accident a "new crime due to employers' lack of control."

    KKE spoke of medieval working conditions, adding that the Diana company can intensify work because state services "turn a blind eye." It called for "a systematic struggle and the creation of conditions for the overturning of this policy and its agents."

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) said in an announcement that "a fatal accident at the Xanthi paper industry is taking place for the second time in the same year."

    [32] Rain floods more than 200 homes in northern Greece

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    More than 200 homes have been flooded in the northern Greek towns of Kavala, Drama, Nea Peramos, Nea Iraklitsa and surrounding areas, where torrential rain also caused landslides yesterday on the old Kavala to Thessaloniki road.

    Gale-force winds are sweeping the northeastern Aegean, bringing a halt to coastal shipping in the area.

    Agricultural land has been flooded by waters from the Angitis and Drama rivers around Megalokambos, Drama.

    [33] Romania's Iordanescu in Athens to coach Greek team

    Athens, 06/02/1998 (ANA)

    Romanian football coach Anghel Iordanescu said upon arrival in Athens yesterday that he had come to sign an agreement to take over the Greek national team during qualifying rounds for the Euro 2000 championship.

    "I have been Romanian national coach for the past five years and I think it's long enough. The time has come for a change in my career. The national Greek team is the most ideal solution for me. I have spoken with my family and the Greek soccer federation and I believe all will go well," Mr. Iordanescu told reporters.

    According to sources, Mr. Iordanescu and the Greek soccer federation have already reached a verbal agreement about a contract.

    End of English language section.


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