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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-03-05

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 1431), March 5, 1998

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] "Approval of EU financial protocol depends on Ankara's behavior"
  • [02] Pangalos' Belgrade visit stresses Greek presence in region
  • [03] ... Pangalos visit
  • [04] ... Tsohatzopoulos warns against 'adventurism' in the Balkans
  • [05] ... ESP on Kosovo
  • [06] Kaklamanis meetings with Turkish, Spanish ambassadors
  • [07] US Jewish group critical over remarks on Turkish-Israeli ties
  • [08] WEU seminar to mark organization's 50th anniversary
  • [09] Greece to promote 'Olympic truce' idea before 2004 Games
  • [10] Voting on Constitution's amended clauses before summer
  • [11] Improvement in Serapheim's condition continues
  • [12] Alia gets clean bill of health
  • [13] KKE's Papariga begins tour of Crete in Hania
  • [14] Greek doctors no advertisement for quitting smoking
  • [15] Bed-wetting physiological, not psychological problem, experts say
  • [16] Greek marine archeologists to join efforts in Alexandria's port
  • [17] Mules bring in major hash haul
  • [18] Simitis defends Florina DEH plant's construction contract
  • [19] Work for land registry painstakingly slow
  • [20] Greece-Cyprus business relations discussed
  • [21] Stephanopoulos briefed on agricultural sector problems
  • [22] GSEE to push for satisfactory collective bargaining agreement
  • [23] Yen jumps against drachma in February
  • [24] Greek stocks stay perky for third straight session
  • [25] Tourist arrivals expected to rise in Crete this year
  • [26] UK trade missions to Athens in March
  • [27] Shipping firm gives cash to maritime schools
  • [28] First train to arrive in May for new Athens metro
  • [29] Greek shipping register falls by six vessels
  • [30] Greek photography exhibition in Stockholm

  • [01] "Approval of EU financial protocol depends on Ankara's behavior"

    Brussels, 05/03/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Greece's stand on the issue of approval of the EU financial protocol for Turkey will depend on Ankara's behavior, Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said in response to the Commission's first operational proposals for a strategy on Turkey, contained in a communication adopted yesterday.

    "The Greek position is that, provided Turkey accepts the principles and conditions set by the EU summit of Luxembourg, there is no objection to progress in Turkey's European prospects and the ratification of the financial protocol," he said.

    "But let me remind that this protocol also envisaged the maintenance of relations of good neighborliness between Turkey and the surrounding countries. It was Turkey's behavior in the case of the (January 1996) Imia crisis that forced Greece to raise objections to its ratification. We are waiting for Turkey to accept that the Imia issue must be referred to the International Court at The Hague, so that its relations with the EU may progress," he said.

    The communication, which will be submitted for approval to the Council of Ministers, was adopted yesterday along with another Commission report "on the development of EU relations with Turkey following the customs union of 1996," which will be submitted to the European Parliament.

    The two texts were released during a press briefing by External Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek, who said that the implementation of the European Strategy for Turkey required the approval by the Council, as soon as possible, of a special action amounting to 375 million ECU and the adoption of the financial protocol.

    "This view," he said, "is shared by a large majority of EU member-states," and expressed optimism that the current impasse, due to Greek reservations, "can be lifted".

    Regarding the development of relations with Turkey after the customs union, the Commissioner said it depended on the application of a healthy macro-economic policy in that country, an improvement in the human rights situation, and the normalization of its relations with its neighbors in the Aegean, as proposed by the Luxembourg summit.

    He said the positions of the EU on this issue were clear, noting that progress on this issue required efforts by all parties involved. "In Luxembourg, we said what our demands from Turkey are, today we clarify our offer to it.

    As on the Cyprus issue, a constructive attitude is also required here. It takes two to tango," the Commissioner said. Regarding Cyprus, where he arrived last night, Mr. van den Broek said the Commission wished "to utilize the Cypriot government's desire to include the Turkish Cypriots in the delegation that will negotiate accession to the EU."

    He noted that during his visit he would discuss with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides the issue of formulating a Community pre-accession strategy for Cyprus and all aspects of the Cyprus problem, including issues of defense and security, among which the prospect of the installation of Russian S-300 missiles on the island figures prominently.

    Asked if the issue of Turkish Cypriot participation would put at stake the commencement and subsequent course of negotiations which are scheduled for March 31, Mr. van den Broek said that EU decisions on Cyprus were clear, that everyone wished Cypriot membership to prove beneficial to both communities, and that for this to happen Turkey also had to assume its responsibilities.

    Commenting on Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's earlier statement that he was "not in a position to receive him," Mr. van den Broek said "this attitude causes regret rather than anger," stressing that he did not see how problems could be solved if there was no channel for dialogue.

    [02] Pangalos' Belgrade visit stresses Greek presence in region

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns yesterday had an impromptu meeting for talks on developments in Yugoslavia's Kosovo province, following a flare-up of violence in recent days.

    During the meeting, which lasted more than an hour, Mr. Papandreou briefed the US envoy on foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos' visit to Belgrade tomorrow.

    Mr. Papandreou told reporters afterwards that he discussed with Mr. Burns the latest developments in the predominately Albanian-speaking province and stabilization of the situation, since "any negative development in the region will also negatively influence all the neighboring countries, including Greece".

    "I also had the opportunity to refer to the initiatives being taken by the Greek government, and we exchanged our assessments on the latest developments," Mr. Papandreou said, adding: "I further informed the ambassador that Mr. Pangalos will visit Belgrade soon and that we are in close contact with our neighbors and with Albania, as well as with FYROM, in which efforts are being made to confront the problem".

    Mr. Burns said after the meeting that "the United States is very concerned with this situation in Kosovo, and we very much hope that there can be peace and stability in this region".

    Questioned on a letter from US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that he personally delivered to Mr. Pangalos, Mr. Burns replied: "...I would not like to speak about that. I believe the Greek government is the authority to reply. There is good communication between the US Secretary of State and Mr. Pangalos, as it should be among the ministries of two allies, but I would not like to go into the details of the letter. We should have the ability to adequately discuss some things in private."

    [03] ... Pangalos visit

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas said later that Mr. Pangalos' visit to Belgrade tomorrow did not signal an initiative by the foreign minister, but was merely indicative of Greece's presence in the region.

    Clarifying that the visit had been planned some time ago, Mr. Reppas said Mr. Pangalos would be discussing respect for the rights of the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo and Yugoslav sovereignty in the region.

    Replying to questions, the spokesman said there were no plans for Mr. Pangalos to visit Tirana, Pristina or Skopje, since this had not been requested by the respective governments.

    Asked whether the crisis in Kosovo dictated a more flexible relationship with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Mr. Reppas said Greece's relations with Skopje were "very good, are constantly improving while new horizons are opening up".

    He described Greece's relations with the neighboring country as "flexible, based on the prudence of both sides".

    Referring to the visit today of a FYROM government delegation, headed by Foreign Under-secretary Ognuen Malefski, he said talks would focus on bilateral issues, trade, economic relations, while adding that it would be "logical" also to discuss the Kosovo crisis.

    Mr. Reppas, meanwhile, described Ms Albright's letter to Mr. Pangalos as being "usual", in view of the Greek foreign minister's forthcoming visit to the United States. The spokesman denied press reports that the letter raised the issue of Greece reducing the extent of its national air space.

    [04] ... Tsohatzopoulos warns against 'adventurism' in the Balkans

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    The international community must intervene decisively to ensure that certain people will not be able, in the context of any adventurist pursuits, to exploit the situation in which minorities in the Balkans find themselves, Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday in reference to ongoing events in Yugoslavia's Kosovo province.

    "The situation there carries the seed of anomaly if account is taken of the armed clashes in northern Albania and the concern among other sections of the Albanian minority in other parts of the Balkans," said the minister, who participated in the sessions of European Socialist Party (ESP) in Brussels.

    "The ESP conference in Thessaloniki in June, with the participation of all Balkan parties, acquires particular timeliness and will further the possibility of communication, co-operation and approach to our efforts for the future of Balkan peoples," he said.

    [05] ... ESP on Kosovo

    Brussels, 05/03/1998 (ANA - G. Daratos)

    After meeting here yesterday, the presidium of the European Socialist Party (ESP) issued an announcement on the situation prevailing in Kosovo, in which it expressed serious concern over the escalation of violence in the region.

    The ruling PASOK party was represented by National Defense Minister and ESP vice-president Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis and several PASOK Eurodeputies. The ESP announcement also stressed that a deterioration of the situation in Kosovo could be of an immediate threat to stability in the broader region, while it expressed regret at the use of violence by some extremist groups in the region's mostly ethnic Albanian population to achieve political goals. At the same time, however, it condemned what it called the massive and violent police operations to suppress peaceful demonstrations.

    A settlement of the Kosovo crisis, the ESP announcement maintains, should be based on respect for basic human rights, as well as on safeguarding cultural and political autonomy and avoiding changes in existing European borders. For this reason, it called on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and representatives of Kosovo's Albanian-speaking population to urgently open talks for the region's future.

    In another development, the ESP presidium endorsed a proposal by the Greek delegation for a meeting of Europe's socialist defense ministers on the island of Rhodes on May 9 and 10, prior to a Western European Union ministerial meeting, as well as the holding of a ESP conference on security and stability in the Balkans between June 25-27 in Thessaloniki.

    The ESP presidium further more accepted a PASOK invitation for the holding of the ESP's spring open university at the end of August.

    [06] Kaklamanis meetings with Turkish, Spanish ambassadors

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday impressed upon the Turkish ambassador to Athens, Ali Tinaz Tuygan, the concerns generated in Greece by Ankara's aggressiveness in the Aegean and Cyprus.

    Mr. Kaklamanis told Mr. Tuygan at a meeting yesterday that Athens was dedicated to the principles of peaceful co-existence and respect for borders.

    He reminded the envoy that Greece's Parliament had put two proposals to the Turkish national assembly. The first concerns the formation of a joint parliamentary committee to help in efforts to combat drug trafficking, while a second was the appointment by the Turkish assembly of an expert to participate in a group set up under a Greek initiative regarding a meeting of the presidents of parliament of the countries of southeast Europe, following the first such meeting in Athens last November.

    Mr. Kaklamanis also invited his "moderate" counterpart Hikmet Cetin to visit Greece.

    Mr. Tuygan told Mr. Kaklamanis that Turkey did not harbor hostile feelings towards Greece or its people.

    In an unrelated development, Mr. Kaklamanis also met with Spanish ambassador Javier Jimenez Ugarte.

    [07] US Jewish group critical over remarks on Turkish-Israeli ties

    New York, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    The American Jewish Committee expressed concern over what it called "critical comments" made recently regarding Turkish-Israeli ties by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    In a letter sent to the Greek ambassador to Washington Loucas Tsilas, AJC Executive Director David A. Harris cited remarks concerning Turkish-Israeli ties, which the Greek foreign minister referred to as "an alliance of wrongdoers," during his official visit to Egypt last week.

    Mr. Harris also criticized Mr. Pangalos' allegation of a "double standard" at the United Nations, referring to Iraq and Israel. "These comments," wrote Mr. Harris, "are contrary to the spirit of Greek-Israeli friendship that many of us, on both sides of the ocean, have worked hard to advance in the last decade."

    [08] WEU seminar to mark organization's 50th anniversary

    Brussels, 05/03/1998 (ANA - G. Daratos)

    The Western European Union (WEU) will organize a major seminar on March 17 to mark the organization's 50th anniversary, instead of a summit by member-states, as had been proposed by Greece, which currently holds the WEU's rotating presidency.

    Invited speakers include National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, WEU Secretary Jose Cutilheiro, NATO Secretary General Javier Solana as well as the Belgian and Polish defense ministers. EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek and WEU parliamentary assembly President Luis Maria de Puig will also to attend the seminar.

    The WEU includes 10 full members and three associate members. Another five countries hold observer status.

    [09] Greece to promote 'Olympic truce' idea before 2004 Games

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    The Olympic flame will travel around the world before the opening of the 2004 Athens Olympics, a move which according to Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou is aimed at promoting the idea of an 'Olympic Truce'.

    The Olympic truce will take on a more official form in May, during a visit to Greece by the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Juan Antonio Samaranch.

    The idea was presented by Mr. Papandreou during the recent Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, while Mr. Samaranch has already endorsed the Olympic truce concept.

    [10] Voting on Constitution's amended clauses before summer

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos announced yesterday that voting on amended clauses of the country's Constitution will be completed before summer. The minister was speaking after a voting by the Parliamentary constitutional reform committee, which voted in favor of a government-sponsored constitutional reform.

    According to Mr. Yiannopoulos, the debate in the Parliament's plenum could begin after Easter and be completed in one week, and if everything goes according to schedule, procedures will end before Parliament's summer vacation.

    Taking the floor, the honorary president of the main opposition New Democracy party, Constantine Mitsotakis, said the voting process should be completed soon, as no-one could exclude the likelihood of early elections, which will in turn obstruct the constitutional reforms.

    Replying to ND criticism, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, a constitutional law expert, said the opposition should not seek an early election as it was currently going through a critical period.

    [11] Improvement in Serapheim's condition continues

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    An improvement noted recently in the health of Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Serapheim continued yesterday, while doctors treating him at the Laiko Hospital in Athens did not issue a latest medical bulletin yesterday.

    A hospital official said the Archbishop will remain in the hospital until his therapy has been concluded and in order to monitor possible complications. He said Serapheim's exit from the hospital cannot be given because doctors are waiting to see whether the improvement will continue in the next few days.

    Archbishop Serapheim underwent a scheduled four-hour blood dialysis at 10 a.m.

    He was visited at noon by the Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios, who said he saw Archbishop Serapheim while he was undergoing dialysis. The Archbishop was also visited by members of the Holy Synod and other clergymen. A visitors' book has already been opened on the third floor of the hospital.

    [12] Alia gets clean bill of health

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Former Albanian president Ramiz Aliais to return home at the end of this week after his recovery from quadruple by-pass surgery performed last month at Thessaloniki's Papanikolaou Hospital.

    Mr. Alia, who was recently discharged from hospital, was seen eating out in Thessaloniki on Tuesday with two young relatives and his surgeon Dr. Panayotis Spyrou.

    The former Albanian leader suffered his first heart attack six years ago while serving an eight-year prison sentence for abuse of power and violation of the people's rights after assuming power following the death of dictator Enver Hoxha in 1985.

    He was later freed after an appeals court ruling only to be rearrested and charged with killing or ordering the deportation of dissidents who tried to flee the country illegally.

    He escaped from jail along with hundreds of others during an armed uprising in March last year and was finally cleared of all charges in October.

    [13] KKE's Papariga begins tour of Crete in Hania

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, beginning a four-day tour of Crete, stressed the need for a change on the country's political scene, adding that there is the feeling that the political scene is changing and something new will appear soon.

    Speaking in Hania, on the first stop in her tour, Ms Papariga said the agricultural problem is the most important currently being faced in Crete.

    Criticizing the government over its agricultural policy, she said farmers in Crete are also on the borderline of poverty.

    Referring to the operation of the US base in Souda, she said that Crete cannot be turned into an "American territory". Ms Papariga predicted that the agreement concluded between the UN Secretary General and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, which is already being questioned, must not lead to complacency, since the US has different plans.

    She also claimed that the Souda Base constitutes a stronghold in Washington's plans. She further said that investments by private individuals on the island of Gavdopoula serve military and political purposes and expressed her party's opposition to such developments.

    Ms. Papariga visited the Mayor of Hania Georgios Tzanakakis yesterday morning for talks on issues concerning local administration. Mr. Tzanakakis also briefed Ms Papariga on problems currently being faced by the city of Hania.

    [14] Greek doctors no advertisement for quitting smoking

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greeks have often been cited as the heaviest smokers in Europe, and according to findings announced at the second Mediterranean conference on chest disease in Athens yesterday, more than half of the country's doctors are addicted to smoking.

    Apart from the effects of smoking such as emphysema, which also affects passive smokers, the conference focused on genetic research into why some people find it easier to stop smoking than others, and on new non-invasive methods of examining the chest cavity.

    Athens Pharmacology Professor N. Houlis quoted recent research giving credence to a biological basis for nicotine addiction.

    [15] Bed-wetting physiological, not psychological problem, experts say

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Bed-wetting continues to plague up to 100,000 Greek children between the ages of 5 and 15 and another 60,000-100,000 adult Greeks and experts now say that labeling the condition a psychological problem is wrong.

    Recent studies at Thessaloniki's Aristotelian University have shown that the condition is of a purely physiological nature which must be dealt with by doctors trained in the condition.

    Bed-wetting can, however, prompt psychological side-effects such as low self-esteem, social marginalization and, in extreme cases, sexual disorders post-puberty.

    The issue of childhood bed-wetting will be the focus of the 5th Urological Seminar to be held in Thessaloniki on Saturday.

    The seminar is to be attended by Greek, German, US and Danish experts.

    [16] Greek marine archeologists to join efforts in Alexandria's port

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Four Greek marine archaeologists from the culture ministry will join four Egyptian counterparts in searching the unexplored eastern sector off the port of Alexandria, it was announced at a press conference yesterday.

    The team will be looking for architectural remains dating to the Ptolemaic and Roman periods described in the writings of Strabo. "We need Greece's 30 years of experience in marine archaeology, as our own service was founded only two years ago," said the director of Egypt's Marine Archaeology Service, Ibrahim Darwish.

    He said a French team is continuing its exploration of the western sector of the harbor for the ancient Pharos - Alexandria's lighthouse, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, built in 270 BC. The remains of the Pharos finally sunk in the city 's harbor after an earthquake on Aug. 8, 1303.

    [17] Mules bring in major hash haul

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Kastoria police yesterday seized more than two tons of hashish loaded on mules, the biggest haul to date on the Greek-Albanian frontier, but the mule drivers managed to escape over the border into Albania.

    A police spokesman told the ANA that 2.17 tons of hashish was loaded on 15 mules driven by unidentified persons who fled across the border when they spotted the police. The spokesman said police had set up an ambush, acting on a tip-off, adding that the narcotic was destined for an area in central Greece, citing police sources.

    [18] Simitis defends Florina DEH plant's construction contract

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis underlined that construction of a Public Power Corp. (DEH) plant in Florina will go ahead as planned. Mr. Simitis was replying to questions by the leaders of the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) Nikos Constantopoulos and Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) Demetris Tsovolas.

    The Synaspismos leader asked for explanations as to why the construction cost had risen to 215 billion drachmas from the initial 125 billion drachmas. Mr. Simitis maintained that the cost was competitive, and stressed that Parliament was not the appropriate state body to ratify private contracts as requested by the two opposition leaders.

    He said neither the government, nor DEH could unilaterally alter any part of the contract with the Russian contractor.

    [19] Work for land registry painstakingly slow

    Brussels, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Work to create a national land registry have started only over 2.58 per cent of Greece and is developing at a particularly slow rate, since the undertaking is estimated to be concluded in 15 years' time, according to European Union Commissioner Monika Wulf-Mathies.

    She was replying to a question by New Democracy party Eurodeputy Costas Hatzidakis. Ms Mathies said that work carried out so far concerns, firstly, 52 per cent of the registration of 66 local administration bodies (OTAs) in the framework of the first awarding of contracts (budgeted at 27.3 million ECU for an expanse of 230,000 hectares.

    The time of completion is slated at the end of 1998. Secondly, it concerns 20 per cent of the registration of 54 OTAs in the framework of the second awarding of contracts (budgeted at 14 million ECU for an expanse of 110,000 hectares, with a completion time at the end of 1999.

    Mr. Hatzidakis deduced from the above that work underway concerns expanses totaling 340,000 hectares, namely, 40 per cent of the 850,000 hectares anticipated by the second Community Support Framework.

    It must be pointed out that Greece's total area is 13.2 million hectares, as well as that completion of the undertaking will require about 15 years, while the government had anticipated that work would have been completed in 2009.

    [20] Greece-Cyprus business relations discussed

    Nicosia, 05/03/1998 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    Cyprus and Greece are focusing on ways of expanding to the Middle East with joint commercial activities.

    Bilateral relations between the two countries were examined during a meeting between Cypriot Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou and Greek ambassador to Nicosia Kyriakos Rodousakis.

    Mr. Rodousakis visited Mr. Christodoulou to congratulate him on his reappointment to the post.

    Reference was made during the meeting to a plan by the Development Bank of Cyprus regarding business activities in Greece, while the two countries are jointly examining plans to expand to Europe and the Middle East.

    [21] Stephanopoulos briefed on agricultural sector problems

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday met with the boards of the country's leading farm trade unions, who briefed him on problems in the agricultural sector.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos was briefed on current developments in the farm sector, the crucial period in view of developments with regard to the EU's "Agenda 2000" program and the next round of talks at the World Trade Organization.

    President Stephanopoulos requested more regular meetings, while he promised farmers' representatives that he will bring up relevant issues in meetings with his foreign counterparts.

    [22] GSEE to push for satisfactory collective bargaining agreement

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Trade unions are expected to intensify activities with a view to concluding a satisfactory national collective bargaining agreement with employers after next week's General Confederation of Greek Workers' (GSEE) 29th congress in the northern city of Kavala.

    During yesterday's board meeting, GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos did not rule out strike mobilizations, describing negotiations so far as unproductive and the tactics of employers as leading to deadlock.

    He added that the unions would insist on pay rises of between 6 and 7 per cent, specifying that the negotiable margin was not more than 1 per cent.

    [23] Yen jumps against drachma in February

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    A sharp appreciation of the Japanese yen against the drachma and stable average fixing rates for most foreign currencies were the main features of Greece's foreign exchange market in February.

    Most European currencies showed minor changes against the drachma compared with January. The ECU was 0.03 percent higher against the Greek currency. The DMark rose slightly by 0.05 percent against the drachma while the British pound was 0.17 percent higher.

    The US dollar fell 0.08 percent against the drachma in February, while the Japanese yen soared 2.71 percent against the Greek currency. The Japanese currency was 5.6 percent higher against the drachma in December 1997-February 1998.

    [24] Greek stocks stay perky for third straight session

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities held their upward momentum for the third consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday, reflecting positive developments in the domestic money markets.

    A rebound in the domestic bond market, a new drop in interbank rates and an expected fall in the inflation rate to 4.2 percent in February all spurred trading in shares. The general index closed 1.45 percent higher at 1,466.57 points.

    Sector indices were mixed. Banks rose 1.70 percent, Insurance fell 0.02 percent, Leasing dropped 0.18 percent, Investment was 1.77 percent off, Construction soared 3.35 percent, Industrials increased 1.35 percent, Miscellaneous shot up 4.06 percent and Holding was 0.47 percent up.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.05 percent higher. The FTSE/ASE blue chip index rose 1.68 percent to end at 819.53 points. Trading was heavy with turnover at 18.4 billion drachmas. Hellenic Telecommunications Organization jumped to 5,940 drachmas in heavy volume of 333,140 issues.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 129 to 89 with another 16 issues unchanged. Keranis, Karelias, Ridenco, Viochalco, Rilken and Sarandopoulos scored the biggest percentage gains at the daily 8.0 percent upper volatility limit, while Atemke, Parnassos, Lanakam, Mouriades and Alpha Invest suffered the heaviest losses. National Bank of Greece ended at 21,150 drachmas, Ergobank at 15,200, Alpha Credit Bank at 15,995, Delta Dairy at 2,950, Titan Cement at 14,290 and Intracom at 14,805.

    Bankers reported capital inflows of 40 million ECU's and 55 million US dollars at the drachma's daily fixing. The Greek currency was slightly higher against most foreign currencies. In the interbank market, interest rates fell after the Bank of Greece lowered the overnight rate to 16.75 percent from 17 percent in its weekly intervention.

    [25] Tourist arrivals expected to rise in Crete this year

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Cretan hoteliers expect higher tourist arrivals for 1998, a prediction coinciding with that of the Greek tourism authorities. Mary Daskalantonaki, president of the Hoteliers Association of Crete, yesterday forecast a 10 percent increase in tourist arrivals to lower category hotels and a 5.0 percent rise in higher category hotels in the island.

    Ms. Daskalantonaki acknowledged that Greece's image abroad had improved resulting in higher tourist demand for the country. She predicted higher tourism growth in 1999.

    In addition, a freeze in hotel prices over the last four years had given a competitive edge to Greek tourism.

    A German was paying 145-150 DMarks for a five-star hotel in Spain while in Greece the price was only 100 marks. National Tourism Organization of Greece secretary general Nikos Skoulas urged Greek hoteliers to show restraint and avoid overbooking during the summer months.

    [26] UK trade missions to Athens in March

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Two trade missions from the United Kingdom will visit Athens on March 17-18.

    One delegation of over 26 companies plans to demonstrate specialist equipment for airport services and equipment produced in the UK. The second will arrive from Iraklion, Crete, bringing a mini-exhibition of products and services in contract furnishings for hotels and tourist resorts.

    [27] Shipping firm gives cash to maritime schools

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    Ceres of Greece, a hydrofoil operator, has donated 200,000 dollars to help finance schools belonging to the Training Center for Merchant Marine Personnel. The announcement was made by Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis.

    [28] First train to arrive in May for new Athens metro

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    The Athens metro project is moving rapidly towards completion, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis told reporters yesterday.

    Mr. Laliotis took journalists on a five-km journey on the underground line from the Pentagon to Evangelismos.

    He said that the first metro train would arrive in Athens in May followed by a second in June. By the end of the year 15 out of a total of 17 trains were expected with 112 coaches. Each train will carry six coaches.

    Mr. Laliotis said that the first test run of the trains would be along the Sepolia-Attica Square line. He said that the Athens metro project would include installation of a fiber optics system to facilitate the use of mobile telephones in the underground.

    [29] Greek shipping register falls by six vessels

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek-flagged merchant fleet decreased by six vessels and 191,311 DWTs last month. During February, six vessels with a total capacity of 87,840 DWTs joined the national register, while 12 ships with a total capacity of 209,151 DWT's were removed.

    Out of the registered ships, four had an average age of 17.5 years and the other two an average of one year, while out of those written off one was 32 years old and the remaining 11 had an average age of 22 years.

    [30] Greek photography exhibition in Stockholm

    Athens, 05/03/1998 (ANA)

    An exhibition of photographs by veteran Greek foreign correspondent and photographer Stathis Yannakopoulos opens in Stockholm on Saturday as part of events marking the Swedish city's term as Cultural Capital of Europe for 1998.

    The exhibition, titled "Dream Sequences", was recently on display at the Foreign Press Association of Greece.

    Mr. Yannakopoulos, who studied photography, cinema and television, has been a long-time contributor to Fox Movieton News, Visnews, RAI, and permanent correspondent for the German magazine Bunte and the French magazine Marie Claire. He has been awarded the Silver Cross of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Gold Cross of the High Council of Belgium, the Silver Cross of the Federation of Union Resistance, and the Gold Medal of the Public Encouragement Council.

    The exhibition, after closing in Stockholm on March 23, will return to Greece for a tour of provincial towns throughout the country. The works will then be auctioned, and the proceeds will be donated to aid battered children.

    End of English language section.


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