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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-03-07

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 1433), March 7, 1998

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece offers to help in Kosovo crisis
  • [02] Montenegro stopover
  • [03] Tsohatzopoulos
  • [04] Greece's Global Bond Issue at $1.25 billion
  • [05] Greece, Romania, Bulgaria confer on organised crime
  • [06] More than 150,000 undocumented foreigners have filed for legalisation
  • [07] Illegal immigration contributes to crime - Romeos
  • [08] OECD farm ministers' conference ends
  • [09] Macedonia-Thrace mayors' committee want PM to clarify gov't position on FYROM
  • [10] EU Commissioner Papoutsis on US visit
  • [11] Individuals honoured for promoting Greece
  • [12] Only real progress towards solution, demilitarisation will cancel S-300s - Clerides
  • [13] EU opening statements for accession negotiations pending
  • [14] Tsohatzopoulos meets with Shevardnadze in Tbilisi
  • [15] Digital television set to go on air
  • [16] PM calls for accelerated decentralisation
  • [17] Greek-Australian winemaker named `immigrant businessman of the year``
  • [18] Citibank musical night in Thessaloniki
  • [19] Jewish Museum of Greece to open next week
  • [20] Archbishop Serapheim's health improving
  • [21] Mitsotakis meets with British envoy
  • [22] 63 illegal immigrants arrested
  • [23] Three arrested in anti-radar protests
  • [24] No going back on education reforms, Reppas says
  • [25] Economic News
  • [26] US shipyard builds tanker for Greek interest company

  • [01] Greece offers to help in Kosovo crisis

    Belgrade, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    Visiting Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday that Greece was ready to help in re-establishing contacts between the Yugoslav government and the Kosovo province's ethnic Albanian leadership, during an official visit to Belgra de.

    "We are ready to help if the possibilities are found for restoring contacts or developing initiatives which will contribute to the defusing of the tension and the consolidation of peace, which we believe is necessary for all in the Balkans," he said aft er one hour of talks with his Yugoslav counterpart Zivadin Jovanovic.

    "We do not need any new adventures in our region," Mr. Pangalos said, adding:

    "We condemn secessionist tendencies, we support the existence of the present national states in the Balkans and we are opposed to any further change whatsoever of existing borders and, of course, we condemn terrorism and the use of force."

    Mr. Pangalos said Greece was also a country which defended human rights, "and we believe human rights and the freedom of expression must be protected everywhere".

    On the basis of these principles, he added, Greece believes that a solution can be found.

    The Greek minister said Athens encouraged all moderate elements on the political scene in Kosovo and was opposed to extremist tendencies, clarifying that Athens had made no mediation offer. He added that "we are simply talking and looking to see if ther e is ground for us to help the situation in the Balkans".

    Mr. Pangalos, who arrived in Belgrade yesterday morning, held talks with Mr. Jovanovic on a wide range of issues, from bilateral relations to cooperation in the Balkans and southeast Europe.

    He told reporters that Greece believed Yugoslavia should actively participate in international life and the various forms of regional cooperation.

    "We also believe that Yugoslavia should have a place in the OSCE, the Council of Europe and, of course, the United Nations," he said.

    Mr. Pangalos later had separate talks with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Socialist Renewal Movement (SPO) leader Vuk Draskovic. He was later scheduled to travel to Podgorica where he will meet with Montenegro President Milo Djukanovic.

    Meanwhile, asked to comment on an announcement by the US State Department on Thursday concerning the revocation of limited economic concessions to Yugoslavia by the US, Mr. Pangalos referred questions to US diplomatic representatives, considering the is sue "a bilateral issue between Yugoslavia and the US."

    Such limited economic concessions concern the right of Yugoslav airliners to land in the US, an increase in the staff of the Yugoslav mission at the UN in New York, permission for a Yugoslav consulate to open in the US and the country's participation in a regional economic unit.

    "I am not a representative of the US government and I clearly mean not to become one. As I explained to my counterpart, due to certain other initiatives, Greece clearly intends not to represent the US in the region," he said.

    On the question of the European Union's position on Kosovo, Mr. Pangalos invoked the EU's emphasis on the implementation of the cultural agreement which "will be a good start for greater confidence to be achieved between the two sides. Of course, we are encouraging all the moderate elements on the political scene in Kosovo and we are opposed to extreme trends."

    Summing up his talks in Belgrade, Mr. Pangalos told Greek reporters that three prospects currently exist which might be in a position to succeed in the coming days and defuse the situation somewhat.

    Mr. Pangalos said the first prospect is the implementation of an agreement which has already been more or less concluded, very few points are still undefined, for the educational system to function again in Kosovo.

    He added that the second point is that Yugoslavia anticipates a status of autonomy for Vojvodina, which is being applied. In this direction a similar status for Kosovo could be pursued. He further said he had the conviction that efforts will be made to facilitate proposals to be made to the leaders, at least the moderate leaders, of the Albanian community in Kosovo for a solution similar to that applied in Vojvodina.

    The third prospect, he said, is a meeting between the leaders of Albania and Yugoslavia at some level, or between the foreign ministers, if not the heads of state. It could take place either here or in Tirana or in places in between and, of course, we a re ready to offer in connection with all these solutions and prospects opening up and we are already offering our good offices.

    Asked whether his Serb interlocutors expressed the desire to meet representatives of the Albanians from Kosovo, Mr. Pangalos said such a meeting is absolutely feasible on the Yugoslav side. He said they did not express this desire directly, adding that if such a meeting is possible there will be no difficulties from the Yugoslav side.

    Mr. Pangalos expressed opposition to sanctions being imposed on Yugoslavia, saying that "the system of extortions and threats will not work" and that Greece will not agree to sanctions.

    "Apart from the economic consequences, refugees exist and we are watching these developments with great concern and we are trying to avoid them. We are not taking a position in favour of the one or the other. We are making a policy of principles and not opportunities and we are defending our well-meant interest which is to have peace, stability and good relations in our region," he said.

    [02] Montenegro stopover

    Podgorica, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    After leaving Belgrade Mr. Pangalos had a meeting in Montenegro with President Djukanovic, which lasted for more than an hour.

    The two sides ascertained that bilateral relations are developing satisfactorily and there is ground for their further improvement. In this context, a Greek consulate will open in Montenegro soon.

    [03] Tsohatzopoulos

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    The current crisis in Kosovo is due to the activity of opportunist nationalist circles, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos told reporters yesterday evening during a debate at Thessaloniki's Macedonia University, organised by the Movement for Peace, Hum an Rights and National Independence (KEADEA).

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos added that those circles were promoting their own opportunist designs by undermining stability in Serbia.

    The defence minister underlined the Greek government's concern over developments in the region. He described Kosovo's ethnic Albanians' demands as rightful, both in relation to human rights and education in their own language, stressing however, that vi olent acts were destined to be ineffective.

    [04] Greece's Global Bond Issue at $1.25 billion

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's Global Bond Issue on international markets will finally be worth a total of US$1.25 billion, due to higher demand by foreign investors, according to an announcement by the finance ministry last night.

    The issue is an international bond loan which, as agreed last week, will be launched by 17 banks in US and European markets.

    The initial agreement between Greece envisages that the total of the loan would amount to one billion dollars.

    However, according to the ministry's announcement, it was ultimately decided that the initial amount will be increased by 250 million, since foreign investors are seeking greater participation in the issue, and indeed, with more favourable terms for Greece.

    The announcement stresses that the interest rate for the additional $250 million will be less than the rate agreed for the initial amount of one billion dollars.

    The interest rate agreed for the one billion dollars section is 1.32 percentage units higher that the interest rate for US bonds.

    The finance ministry underlined that the greater demand for the state bonds and the more favourable terms being shaped in the market for the additional amount of 250 million "prove the confidence of international capital markets in Greek state issues.

    [05] Greece, Romania, Bulgaria confer on organised crime

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    The public order ministers of Greece, Romania and Bulgaria meet in Thessaloniki this weekend to confer on the fight against drugs and arms smuggling and organised crime, the public order ministry said yesterday.

    The tripartite talks will also focus on terrorism, money laundering and illegal migration, a ministry source told the ANA.

    Greece's George Romeos and his Romanian counterpart Gavril Dejeu and Bogomil Bonev of Bulgaria, both at the head of delegations, plan to "lay the foundations for stepped up cooperation and coordinated and efficient measures to combat organised crime, te rrorism, drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and illegal migration", the source said.

    The talks will open at the Mediterranean Palace Hotel in Thessaloniki tomorrow morning, and will be followed by a press conference.

    The Bulgarian and Romanian ministers will be taken on a tour of Greek archaeological sites later in the day and on Sunday they will be flown by helicopter to the all-male monastic community of Mt. Athos.

    [06] More than 150,000 undocumented foreigners have filed for legalisation

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    Undocumented foreigners are showing up in large numbers at Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) branches in order to register for legal residency status, according to Labour Minister Miltiadis Papaioannou.

    Mr. Papaioannou was speaking during the launching of a special guide for illegal immigrants, to be circulated by tomorrow's edition of the "Kyriakatiki Elefterotypia".

    So far, 151,800 illegal immigrants have registered at OAED offices, of whom 87,800 registered in Attica.

    Mr. Papaioannou described the relevant presidential decrees as model in dealing with the illegal immigration problem, saying that many foreign governments were carefully monitoring Greece's experiment in this massive legalisation project.

    The minister said the main criterion for leglisation of an undocumented foreigner was the "work factor", adding that was the reason why all relevant procedures fall under OAED's auspices, instead of law enforcement authorities.

    Meanwhile, OAED has carried out an analysis on a sample of 10,000 registered illegal immigrants, arriving at the following conclusions: – 78.5 per cent are males and 21.5 per cent are females. At least half of the female applicants are Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Russian nationals. – 70 per cent of the applicants are aged between 18 and 37. This factor is regarded as especially important, as people in the above age groups are considered the most productive and do not require high degrees of medical care. – As far as national origin is concerned, ethnic Albanians have the lead with 36 per cent of all applicants, followed by Egyptians with 11 per cent, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis etc. – An interesting factor concerns the level of education, which appears to dash the stereotype citing uneducated and arrogant illegal immigrants, as 51 per cent say they hold a secondary or technical education diploma, while 14 per cent stated that they ha ve a university-level education.

    On his part, Labour Undersecretary Christos Protopapas, who also attended the launching of the special guide, said that legalisation is expected to have a beneficial impact on normalising the Greek job market.

    He underlined that illegal immigrants have taken up 47,000 jobs for which no demand by Greek workers had been recorded, a fact which appear to dismiss the notion that immigration was the main reason for an increase in Greece's unemployment rate.

    [07] Illegal immigration contributes to crime - Romeos

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    Public Order Minister George Romeos said yesterday that the thousands of illegal immigrants entering the country were contributing considerably to the increase in Greece's crime rate.

    Speaking at a conference on foreigners in Europe at the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Hania, Mr. Romeos referred to the measures being taken by the Greek government concerning illegal immigrants, but stressed that in order to make the problem less acute, initiatives would have to be taken at a European level. Mr. Romeos attributed the large increase in the influx of illegal immigrants to the "games" of the major powers, citing as an example the sanctions imposed on Iraq and the Kurdish problem. He fore cast that the problem would in the future take on explosive dimensions. The UN High Commission's representative in Greece, Janvier de Riednmateten, who is attending the conference, described as positive the measures being taken by the government to facil iate the reception of immigrants.

    According to public order ministry figures released at the end of February, murders rose by 37 per cent to 251 in 1997, compared to the previous year, while the percentage of unsolved crimes rose by 45 per cent over the same period.

    [08] OECD farm ministers' conference ends

    Paris, 7/3/1998 (ANA - O. Tsipira)

    The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) two-day agricultural ministers' conference yesterday issued a joint communique recognising the need for added measures in the agricultural sector.

    The communique noted the need for restructuring agricultural production and markets, but avoided any specific commitments on the methods, rate and the extent of such reforms.

    Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas, Greece's representative, said "we spoke more as trade and industry ministers and less as agriculture ministers."

    Another subject of dissention was "multifunctional agriculture".

    Mr. Tzoumakas said "multifunctional agriculture is connected with health, quality, security, retaining of a rural lifestyle and protection of the environment, while other secondary activities follow, such as handicrafts, manufacturing and trade."

    He admitted that farm ministers against multifunctional agriculture subsidies were correct to point out that "20 per cent of farmers receive 80 per cent of the Union's subsidies."

    [09] Macedonia-Thrace mayors' committee want PM to clarify gov't position on FYROM

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    The coordinating committee of Macedonia-Thrace mayors yesterday requested that Prime Minister Costas Simitis clarify his position regarding the issue of the internationally recognised name for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    Thessaloniki Mayor Constantinos Kosmopoulos called the meeting of the 11-mayor committee to discuss the issue.

    The mayors declared that they will not budge "from the national decisions that no terms or derivities of the name 'Macedonia' exist in the Skopje's name", calling any differentiation a "national aberration".

    [10] EU Commissioner Papoutsis on US visit

    United Nations, 7/3/1998 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    The European Union's representation at the UN yesterday announced the itinerary of a two-day visit by EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis, who arrives here tomorrow.

    On Monday, Mr. Papoutsis will attend a seminar organised by the state of New Jersey's commerce and economic development department. On the same evening he will attend a dinner hosted in his honour by Greece's Consul General in the US, Haralambos Manesis .

    The following day, the EU Commissioner will give a press conference to Greek correspondents and Greek-American jounalists, while in the afternoon he will meet with representatives of several small- and medium-sized enterprises' organisations.

    A meeting is also scheduled on Tuesday between Mr. Papoutsis and the president of New York's NASDAQ stock exchange, John Wall. Later, he will attend a dinner hosted in his honour by Luigi Bosseli, the EU's representative at the UN.

    [11] Individuals honoured for promoting Greece

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    The prefectural council of Athens yesterday honoured three individuals and a group of five women residing in Zambia for their work in promoting Greece and Greek values abroad.

    The 1998 "Ambassadors of Hellenism" awards were bestowed during a ceremony at the Old Parliament Building.

    Athens Prefect Dimitris Efstratiadis said that this is the second year the awards were given to outstanding Greeks, whose work around the world promotes Hellenism.

    Archaeologist Victor Sariyiannidis was honoured for his work, especially for his excavation of the ancient Hellenistic settlement of "Mariani" in Turkmenistan's Kara Kum Desert.

    Noted composer Odysseas Dimitriadis was honoured for the promotion of his Pontic Greek heritage and the use of Greek in international settings.

    Anouso Kousathana-Roe was honoured for the writing of several books about Greece and her work in the promotion of Greek folk art in Norway.

    Finally, the women's association of the Greek Union of Zambia – Maria Antoniou, Rola Lostromou, Eleni Haralambous, Eleni Mandekaki and Senaz Desay – were honoured for their work in upgrading equipment in the pediatrics wing of the only hospital in the Z ambian capital.

    [12] Only real progress towards solution, demilitarisation will cancel S-300s - Clerides

    Nicosia, 7/3/1998 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    A reason for any possible abandonment of the installation of Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles on Cyprus would have to be a very substantial, Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides told ANA in an exclusive interview yesterday.

    "…I suggest that such essential reasons should have to be, for example, achievement of progress in the Cyprus problem that would irrevocably lead towards a solution, or an agreement for the demilitarisation (of Cyprus), which will be realised within a s pecific timetable", he said.

    In his first exclusive interview after his recent re-election and assumption of his official duties, Mr. Clerides added that the joint defence doctrine between Athens and Nicosia should be strengthened, both for reasons related to Cyprus' security and b ecause it lends a more favourable dimension to the Cyprus issue to the benefit of the Greek Cypriots and the Cyprus Republic.

    The Cypriot president disclosed that an initiative for the Cyprus problem was expected to reach its peak in the coming weeks, and that it will take the form of direct talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities in montly meetings in Switzerland.

    However, he said details about the contents of the initiative had not been made known as yet.

    Asked about his forthcoming visit to Athens, President Clerides said his talks with the Greek government will centre on issues concerning cooperation, as well as the opening of accession talks with the EU and the joint defence doctrine.

    [13] EU opening statements for accession negotiations pending

    Brussels, 7/3/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Approval by the ``15`` European Union member-states over opening statements regarding accession negotiations with central and eastern European nations and Cyprus on March 30-31 remains pending, diplomatic sources said here yesterday.

    Greece considers that the proposed opening statement for Cyprus is not satisfactory, while Athens has expressed reservations on the signing of all opening statements.

    According to sources, on the case of Cyprus, particularly, three documents are currently on the negotiating table: one from the British presidency, one from France and one from Greece.

    Athens proposes that the opening statement by the EU on Cyprus must not be outside the framework of decisions taken at the Luxembourg summit. Greece also believes that the proposal by the British presidency is vague and questionable, since it mentions, among others, that the purpose of the EU is the accession of a bicommunal and bizonal federation.

    Regarding the French proposal, Greece rejects absolutely the proposed ratification by the 15 of a mandate for the Commission to prepare a report in the near future concerning the development of negotiations with Cyprus in conjunction with the developmen t of negotiations on the participation of the Turkish Cypriots in accession negotiations.

    These pending issues will be discussed at a diplomatic level next week. However, according to all indications it will be among the problems which will preoccupy the informal Council of EU foreign ministers scheduled to take place in Edinburgh next weeke nd.

    On the question of the ratification of a financial protocol for Turkey, worth 375 million Ecu, and contained in Thursday's announcement by the Commission, diplomatic sources said that Greece is insisting on its position, as Turkey has not responded posi tively to any of the decisions taken by the EU to date.

    [14] Tsohatzopoulos meets with Shevardnadze in Tbilisi

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    Visiting National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday arrived in the Georgian port of Poti, where the Hellenic Navy search and rescue boat "Lindos" was delivered the naval forces of that country. Mr. Tsohatzopoulos attended the ceremony after a meeting with Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze in Tbilisi.

    In addressing Mr. Shevardnadze, he said that the peaceful role which Greece and Georgia were promoting in the region was reaffirmed during their meeting.

    [15] Digital television set to go on air

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    A company bringing digital television and other multimedia services to Greece, NOVA, established by Multichoice Hellas and the Teletypos company, offered details during a press confernece yesterday.

    The presentation was made one day after an official announcement on plans for digital television and a statement by Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas, that "no-one will relay TV programmes without permission of ERT (the state-run Greek radio-tele vision concern), which holds the exclussive rights to transmit scrambled (encoded) signals".

    Eutelsat, Europe's largest satellite communications provider, was chosen by Multichoice to bring the new package of digital TV technology to Greece.

    This new technology will enter Greek homes under the name NOVA via the "Hot Bird" satellites, which will fully cover the Greek mainland and the islands by direct reception through a 60-cm aerial.

    As soon as a licence is granted by the government, 16 Greek television channels will reportedly enter the system, whose total budget amounts to 14.14 billion drachmas.

    Digital television advantages are that viewers will able to select from a large number of channels, with CD sound quality and interactive services, such as shopping and banking from home.

    [16] PM calls for accelerated decentralisation

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday called for the acceleration of procedures aimed at the decentralisation of services and duties to local and prefectural authorities. The premier, speaking at a Cabinet meeting, said it was necessary for decen tralisation to proceed at a faster pace in order for the government to complete its administrative reforms, contained in several institutional bills such as the "Kapodistrias" bill, which reorganises the structure of local government.

    According to sources, Mr. Simitis also urged the speeding up of infrastructure works underway in the provinces.

    [17] Greek-Australian winemaker named `immigrant businessman of the year``

    Melbourne, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    Australia's largest bank, the National Australian Bank, declared a Greek-Australian wine producer as the country's top immigrant businessman, as part of its annual awards to Australia's best immigrant entrepreneurs.

    Mr. Mouralantellis' "Kingston Estate Wines" produce high quality vintages, winning several awards both in Australia and overseas.

    [18] Citibank musical night in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    Citibank will organise a musical night featuring Greek songs on March 19. The event will take place at a major downtown hotel in Thessaloniki at 8:30 p.m.

    The event is a review of the history and development of Greek songs from the First World War until the present day. The exhibition, entitled "Thessaloniki: Cultural Capital for One Century" will also be inaugurated, while artist Viki Dra-kou, in coopera tion with 40 artists, will present work produced for the exhibition. The exhibition will last until April 30.

    [19] Jewish Museum of Greece to open next week

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    The Jewish Museum of Greece, whose collections chronicle the relatively unknown and insufficiently documented 2,300-year history of the Greek Jews, opens to the public next week in its newly-acquired own premises.

    Housed in a neoclassical building on 39 Nikis Street in Plaka, the 800 sq.m. museum will be inaugurated Tuesday night in a formal ceremony attended by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis and Athens Mayor Dimitris A vramopoulos.

    Now the third-largest Jewish museum in Europe, the museum's 7,000 artefacts, documents and photographs are divided into nine thematic entities exhibited on the nine levels of the building surrounding an octagonal atrium with a clear glass dome at the to p letting ample natural light into the building's interior.

    Most of the exhibits in the museum's collection have been acquired from the 28 Jewish communities that thrived in various parts of Greece prior to World War II.

    The museum documents the history of the early Greek-speaking Jews, or "Romaniote", from the first Jewish immigration in Phoenician times -- when Jewish communities flourished in much of the Mediterranean -- to the arrival of the Sephardim, or Spanish Je ws, after their expulsion from Spain by the Holy Inquisition in 1492, to the Holocaust and the present, tracing the historical, religious and social history of the Greek Jewish community.

    A gallery of related exhibits has been set up in memory of the 70,000 Greek Jews who perished in the Holocaust and in honor of the numerous Christian Greeks who helped many others to survive.

    The first written evidence of the establishment of Jews in Greece comes from an inscription discovered in Oropos, Attica, dating to circa 300-250 B.C., which refers to a Jew from Beotia named Moschos Moschionos.

    It is believed that the first Jews arriving in Greece came as slaves sold by the various conquerors of Judaea to neighbouring nations.

    [20] Archbishop Serapheim's health improving

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    The health of Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Serapheim is gradually improving, according to the latest medical bulletin yesterday.

    "We are not thinking of when the Archbishop will leave the hospital because he is an 85-year-old patient and his recuperation is slow and long," the president of the Laiko Hospital, Ioannis Papadopoulos, told reporters.

    Mr. Papadopoulos said "the infection is under full control and the situation is no longer critical. However, it can sustain some complications…The Archbishop is worn out but his heart is in good condition."

    Archbishop Serapheim underwent scheduled kidney dialysis yesterday morning.

    [21] Mitsotakis meets with British envoy

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    Honorary president of the main opposition New Democracy party and former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis yesterday met with British Ambassador in Athens Sir Michael Llewellyn Smith and discussed the situation in the Balkans and the Cyprus issue.

    No statements were made after the meeting.

    [22] 63 illegal immigrants arrested

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    Greek police yesterday arrested 63 Albanian illegal immigrants found inside a refrigerated truck as it crossed into Greece from neighbouring Albania.

    Police said they arrested the 41-year-old Greek driver from Athens on the national highway from Kozani to Ioannina as the lorry was heading for the Greek capital.

    [23] Three arrested in anti-radar protests

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    Three people were arrested yesterday when residents of areas near Thessaloniki airport clashed with riot police who had blocked a road leading to a site designated for radar installations.

    The residents of Perea and adjoining areas have for the past four days been protesting the installation of the landing radar by the Civil Aviation Authority, believing it will pose a serious health hazard.

    Scuffles broke out when the protestors tried to break through the police cordon set up early this morning.

    Representatives of the protesters in a statement yesterday rejected all forms of violence but warned that the residents' reactions "cannot be controlled".

    After the three arrests yesterday morning, the protesters moved a short distance away from the police cordon and continued to demonstrate peacefully.

    Local residents have sought the intervention of the public works ministry to halt construction at least until their appeal to the Council of State is heard on May 8.

    [24] No going back on education reforms, Reppas says

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    There will be no back-tracking on reforms under way to the Greek education system and teachers must contribute to making them a success, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday. Mr. Reppas was responding to questions at a news briefing shortly after unemployed and substitute teachers held a protest march in the city center.

    In Kavala, teachers held a three-hour work stoppage at junior and senior high schools to allow substitute teachers to participate in the Athens march. Teachers' union OLME called a four-hour work stoppage in Athens to allow teachers to attend the rally.

    The teachers are demanding that they be exempted from a competition to grade and appoint them to public service positions, part of new measures introduced by Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis designed to restructure and streamline the education syste m. The measures include the abolition of a waiting list for teachers to public school appointments.

    "The educational reforms are given and all are obliged to contribute to their success," Mr. Reppas told reporters.

    High school teachers early last year held an eight-week walk-out to protest the reforms.

    [25] Economic News

    Athens, 7/3/1998 (ANA)

    Consumer price inflation edges down to 4.3 pct Feb: Greek consumer price inflation fell to 4.3 percent year-on-year in February from 4.4 percent in January, the National Statistics Service of Greece (ESYE) said yesterday.

    ESYE secretary-general Nikos Karavitis predicted that the March year-on-year figure would drop below 4.3 percent, and that a downward trend in inflation would continue in coming months.

    Average inflation in February 1997-1998 was 5.2 percent compared to 7.9 percent in February 1996-1997.

    The decline in inflation was attributed to reduced prices in clothing and footwear due to the winter sales, and to lower petrol prices.

    Stocks sprint 2.5 pct on brighter drachma, money market: Greek equities yesterday surged in the last trading session of a favourable week for the Athens Stock Exchange helped by a healthier drachma and money market.

    The general index flirted with resistance at 1,500 points, jumping 2.5 percent to end just below the key barrier at 1,499.74 points. It showed a net gain of 5.67 percent on the week.

    Traders said the market welcomed news of lower inflation in February to record levels and a government decision to implement a radical restructuring of public utilities ahead of their part-flotation on the market. Hellenic Telecommunications Organis ation was the focus of attention throughout the week after news of a third part-flotation for the utility, this time of an 8.0 percent stake. Its price ended at 6,500 drachmas in heavy volume of 2,091,110 shares.

    Investors also showed increased interest in banking shares, particularly National Bank of Greece.

    Sector indices ended higher. Banks soared 3.56 percent for a gain of 6.50 percent on the week, Insurance was 0.96 percent up, Leasing rose 0.87 percent, Investment was 0.39 percent higher, Construction surged 1.30 percent, Industrials were 0.81 percent up, Miscellaneous ended 0.03 percent up and Holding rose 0.78 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.36 percent up. The FTSE/ASE blue chip index soared 3.18 percent to end at 843.15 points.

    Trading was heavy with turnover at 28.6 billion drachmas. The week's turnover totalled 83.5 billion drachmas to hit a daily average of 20.9 billion, up from 19.9 billion the previous week.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 152 to 61 with another 27 issues unchanged.

    Atemke, General Bank and Ergas scored the biggest percentage gains at the daily 8.0 percent upper volatility limit, while Halyps Cement, Daring, Xylemporia and Constantinidis suffered the heaviest losses. National Bank of Greece ended at 22,090 drachmas , Ergobank at 15,270, Alpha Credit Bank at 16,545, Delta Dairy at 2,920, Titan Cement at 14,300 and Intracom at 15,260.

    Greece backs Romania's bid to join Euro-Atlantic groups: Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday told Romania's Ambassador in Athens, Tan Retulescu, that Greece supported Bucharest's efforts to join Euro-Atlantic structures.

    During the talks, both sides expressed a desire to develop bilateral relations across the board.

    The officials also underlined the importance of exchange visits by parliamentary delegations of the two countries and bilateral cooperation with international organisations.

    Mr. Kaklamanis said he believed he would be able by the end of the year to pay an official visit to Romania.

    Israel to give Greek businessmen awards: The government of Israel will present awards to 19 Greek businessmen for their contribution in developing Greek-Israeli trade relations.

    Israel's ambassador to Greece Ran Curiel will present the awards at a ceremony on March 16.

    Hellenic Export Promotion Organisation chairman Yiannis Tzen will address the ceremony.

    Israel is celebrating its 50th birthday in May, marking an equivalent period of bilateral trade relations with Greece.

    Bilateral trade totals 300 million US dollar annually, while Israel has developed as the second best export market for Greece in the Middle East.

    Dispute over new Greek power plant rages on: Development Minister Vasso Papandreou and eight managers of Public Power Corporation (DEH) were summoned by the Production and Commerce Committee yesterday to explain a project for construction of a controversial new power plant.

    The officials, including DEH's president, will speak before the committee on Tuesday and Wednesday to give details of the lignite-powered plant for Florina, northern Greece.

    Twenty-two opposition conservative and leftist deputies had sought a special meeting of the committee to look into the project.

    No deputies of the ruling socialist PASOK party signed the request, but several last year had objected to the terms of the deal, which fell under agreements between the Greek and Russian governments.

    Consultants hired by the government have endorsed the price agreed for construction but opposition to the scheme remains.

    Wall Street Journal article on OTE expansion: According to a report in yesterday's edition of the "Wall Street Journal", getting a phone line in Greece only a few years ago could take years. However, the paper says that "in an indication of how times have changed, the vastly improved Greek state tel ecommunications company has struck a US$142.5-million deal to acquire nearly all of Armenia's debt-burdened phone system. As part of the agreement, in which the Armenian government will retain a 10 per cent stake in the company, Hellenic Telecommunication s Organisation (OTE) has promised to invest $300 million to do what it has done at home-take an outdated phone system and begin to bring it up to modern standards.

    "The acquisition is all part of the Greek phone company's ambitions to expand further into the Balkans and the Black sea region. It already has a 20 per cent stake in Telekom Serbia and is a partner in projects in Ukraine and Georgia," the article concluded.

    Mytilineos says no problems at Trepca mines: The Greece-based Mytilineos mining company yesterday announced that there are no production problems at the Trepca mines, located in Yugoslavia's Kosovo province.

    The general manager of the Trepca mines sent a message reporting increased productivity levels, at the request of Mytilineos' president, in answer to rising investors' concerns from the situation in Kosovo.

    Greek packaging companies to participate at British exhibition: A delegation of Greek packaging firms will attend the 21st pakcaging show "PAKEX '98", taking place in Birmingham from March 30 to April 3. Organisation of the Greek delegation is being prepared by the British embassy in Athens along with the firm EuroPar tners.

    PAKEX '98 is staged every three years and is regarded as the top exhibition in the international packaging sector. Products on exhibition include packaging materials, machinery, packaging materials, processing equipment and services.

    [26] US shipyard builds tanker for Greek interest company

    New York, 7/3/1998 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    The first vessel constructed in the United States in the last 40 years for a foreign company is the 48,000-ton tanker "Agathonissos," the Journal of Commerce reported.

    The tanker was built for the Greek interests Eletson Holdings Inc. by the Newport News Shipbuilding Co. in Virginia, a shipyard subsidised by the US administration for all private shipbuilding contracts.


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