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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-03-27

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

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>


  • [01] Torrential rains cause power black-outs, severe transport problems
  • [02] Tsovolas accepts invitation to visit Iraq
  • [03] Greece: US proposal not substantial towards Cyprus' demilitarisation
  • [04] ... State Department
  • [05] ... Cyprus' response
  • [06] Mitsotakis interview
  • [07] Polish president to visit Athens
  • [08] CoE chief meets with Papandreou
  • [09] Russia invited to submit S-300 system for assessment
  • [10] Prosecutor orders probe into unilateral village 'curfew'
  • [11] ... Government condemns racism
  • [12] ... Albanian president condemns 'collective punishment'
  • [13] ... Papaioannou
  • [14] ... Former minister dismisses criticism
  • [15] KYSEA to focus on nationwide air defence system
  • [16] False impressions being created by Ankara: Greek diplomatic sources
  • [17] ... Turkish sources on rapid deployment force
  • [18] Action plan for employment unveiled
  • [19] US Congress approves amendment abolishing visas for Greek nationals
  • [20] OTE dividends at 110 per share
  • [21] Petrol prices rise
  • [22] Greece welcomes EU report on economy
  • [23] Greek stocks again hit new record, turnover stays high
  • [24] Greek conference organisers welcome devaluation, warn of profiteering
  • [25] Proposed EU directive would mandate public sector payments to within 21 days
  • [26] New York to host conference on business opportunities in Greece
  • [27] Capital AXE cooperation with two French banks
  • [28] New monitoring system at Parnitha casino

  • [01] Torrential rains cause power black-outs, severe transport problems

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    Public services throughout the country were working non-stop at presstime to alleviate the effects of yesterday's torrential rains, as extensive flooding caused power black-outs in several areas as well as endless traffic jams and even flight cancellations.

    The inclement weather is expected to initially continue today, with more rain and snow even in the lowlands. Rainfall will begin abating in the afternoon.

    Local authorities yesterday ordered schools closed, while the fire department received calls from people trapped in flooded areas, particularly in the western Athens suburb of Ano Liosia, which was flooded since early on Wednesday night.

    One man was killed while trying to moor his boat on the island of Rhodes, while a lighthouse was swept away by gale force winds on the Ionian island of Zakynthos.

    The weather caused serious damage to two high-voltage pylons at the foot of Mount Parnitha, west of the capital, and to other parts of the national grid elsewhere in Greece, causing lengthy black-outs. Trolley buses came to a standstill in Athens and the city's rail network was also affected.

    In the Peloponnese, several villages were cut-off in the prefectures of Achaia, Ilia and Arcadia. More than 300 cars were blocked by snowfall in the Artemision tunnel on the Corinth-Tripoli highway yesterday morning.

    More than 100 people temporarily cut off by a metre and a half of snow near the Artemision tunnel were later evacuated. Snow-chains were required on vehicles within Tripoli proper.

    Some 5,000 trees are estimated to have been uprooted by gale-force winds which whipped through Glyfada, a third of the total in the area. Meanwhile, in Nea Liosia waters covered about 4,000 acres, creating pools of water and mud. Twenty homes and 45 sto res suffered extensive damage from flooding and 75 cars were damaged by falling trees and flood waters.

    Further north, a total of 122 villages were cut off by snow - three in Ioannina, 16 in Grevena, 57 in Trikala, nine in Argolida and 37 in Fthiotida.

    The weather in southern Greece transformed Thessaloniki's Macedonia airport into the main entry point for international flights destined for Athens.

    More than 20 passenger airplanes, including a 747 from New York, were parked on the airport's runways, with some 2,000 passengers staying at the city's hotels, waiting for connections to their final destination of Athens.

    Domestic flights were diverted to Kavala to allow Thessaloniki's airport to receive more international flights.

    Some of the passengers later left for Athens and other destinations by coach.

    Among those delayed by the bad weather in Thessaloniki was Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which is scheduled to perform at the Athens Concert Hall tonight.

    Athens airport, closed to both domestic and international flights since morning, reopened at 5 p.m. and regular flights resumed gradually.

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said after an urgent Cabinet meeting that the damage to the power network would take many days to repair, while she appealed to citizens to save electricity. Certain areas would possibly continue to be affected by black-outs for some days.

    Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said he was satisfied with the prompt response of state services to the emergency brought about by the sudden cold snap.

    "The state responded impressively," Mr. Papadopoulos said after the end of a meeting of Attica prefects and local authorities.

    Mr. Papadopoulos said the southern suburb of Glyfada, Nea Liosia in western Athens and the area of the Artemision tunnel on the Corinth-Tripoli highway were the worst hit. He said it was up to prefects whether schools would reopen today.

    Several high-ranking main opposition New Democracy party members visited the Public Power Corp.'s (DEH) distribution centre and were briefed on the situation.

    ND spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said later the severe weather proved that the Greek state machine was plagued by inefficiencies, lack of prevention measures and unjustified delays.

    ND Euro-MP Manolis Hatzidakis, meanwhile, tabled an urgent draft resolution signed by all his colleagues for the provision of emergency financial assistance to the victims of the disaster.

    [02] Tsovolas accepts invitation to visit Iraq

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas yesterday accepted an invitation by Iraqi ambassador to Athens Issam Saud Khalil to visit Baghdad next June.

    According to press reports, the two men discussed the UN-imposed embargo on Iraq as well as the situation in the Middle East.

    Mr. Tsovolas stated that the embargo, which has threatened the survival of the Iraqi population, must be lifted as soon as possible.

    [03] Greece: US proposal not substantial towards Cyprus' demilitarisation

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greece does not consider a US proposal for a moratorium on military flights over Cyprus to be a substantial step towards the demilitarisation of the island republic, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    By contrast, Mr. Reppas added, both Greece and Cyprus believe the deployment of Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles on the island is a substantial step towards demilitarisation.

    Nicosia plans to purchase and install the anti-aircraft missiles to bolster the island's defenses. Apart from vehement criticism from Turkey, the plan has also been condemned by Washington and several European countries, which cited fears of an increase in the regional tension.

    The spokesman reiterated a Greek and Cypriot position that the missiles would not be installed only if steps were taken towards the full demilitarisation of Cyprus.

    [04] ... State Department

    WASHINGTON (ANA - T. Ellis)

    The US State Department yesterday rejected a recent proposal by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, according to which Cyprus would agree to cancel the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles' deployment if NATO guaranteed a no-fly zon e and that Turkish warplanes be prohibited from flying in Cyprus' airspace.

    The US also called on Turkey to stop threats of military actions against the missiles' installation.

    "The US would welcome the establishment of a permanent moratorium of all combat aircraft overflights of Cyprus by Greece and Turkey as a serious effort to reduce tensions and build confidence. We do not agree, however, that a no-fly enforcement regime that could potentially pit one NATO ally against another is the best way to accomplish this objective," said State Department spokesman James Rubin.

    "Although we do not doubt Cyprus' right to adopt decisions regarding its defence, we believe that the agreement for the S-300s increases the danger of a conflagration on the island and constitutes a serious obstacle to our efforts to achieve a settlement of the dispute on Cyprus. We also urge Turkey to handle the issue of the S-300s through diplomatic means and avoid threats of a military strike against the missiles," he added.

    Mr. Pangalos presented his proposal in meetings with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on March 20 and US Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Pickering on March 23.

    [05] ... Cyprus' response

    NICOSIA (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said yesterday that no satisfactory developments have been made so as to remove the need for Cyprus' anti-aircraft defences.

    Mr. Kasoulides noted that the issue of a permanent flight ban over the island republic is considered closed, after Washington's refusal to guarantee the security of Cyprus.

    Mr. Kasoulides was commenting on the US position that a flight ban with international and NATO guarantees was not practical.

    [06] Mitsotakis interview

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    Former prime minister and honorary New Democracy president Constantine Mitsotakis referred to his long political career yesterday during a television interview with a private television channel.

    In the first part of the interview, Mr. Mitsotakis said that former president Constantine Karamanlis was chosen by the palace in 1955 to become premier despite the fact that his party had voted for another leader.

    [07] Polish president to visit Athens

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    Poland's President Alexander Kwasnievski is to pay an official visit to Greece from April 6 to 8, following an invitation from his Greek counterpart Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    The Polish president is returning an official visit made by Mr. Stephanopoulos to Warsaw and Auschwitz in October 1996.

    [08] CoE chief meets with Papandreou

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    Council of Europe Secretary-General Daniel Tarschys discussed ways to check the entry of illegal immigrants with foreign ministry secretary-general Stelios Perrakis and Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou in Thessaloniki yesterday.

    The meeting was held to discuss Greece's priorities for its presidency of the Council of Europe, which begins in May and ends in October. The meeting was held in Thessaloniki because Mr. Papandreou's flight from Bonn was unable to land at Athens ai rport due to the bad weather.

    [09] Russia invited to submit S-300 system for assessment

    MOSCOW 27/03/1998 (ANA - D. Konstantakopoulos)

    Russia has been invited to participate with its S-300 missile system in relevant tendering by the Greek defence ministry, with an assurance that its weapons system will be judged on an equal basis as the US-made Patri ot anti-aircraft missiles.

    This was stated by Gen. Leonid Ivasov, the head of the Russian defence ministry's international cooperation department, who expressed certainty that the Russian-made missiles will prevail over the US system, if their assessment is made on equal terms.

    Commenting on the work of the Greek-Russian committee's third session on military and technical cooperation, held in Athens from March 16-20, Gen. Ivasov also expressed optimism over the possibility of the anti-aircraft missile system "Osa" being purcha sed by Greece. He further stressed the coincidence or proximity of views between the two sides concerning problems of European security, the Balkans and other regions in crisis, such as Kosovo.

    [10] Prosecutor orders probe into unilateral village 'curfew'

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    A public prosecutor yesterday laun-ched an inquiry into allega tions that a small northern Greek village has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew for aliens living and working in the region.

    The inquiry was ordered by Vassiliki Theodorou, the prosecutor of Pieria prefecture, under whose jurisdiction the village of Palio Keramidi, which imposed the curfew, falls.

    Ms Theodorou yesterday began questioning the Palio Keramidi community president Vassilis Kourkoutas as well as members of the community council, which also decided to set up so-called "secret security detachments" in the village. The community council, following what they called an upsurge in crime over the past few weeks, announced on Monday that they were implementing "radical measures" with respect to illegal immigrants in their area, including a curfew targetting tansient aliens.

    They also said that the village's stadium would now be the only assembly point in the area for anyone wishing to find work or to be hired, while villagers employing illegal immigrants would be responsible for recording their workers' exact identity info rmation as well as their health coverage and living standards. Villagers employing undocumented workers would also be held responsible for the latters' actions.

    Prefectural and police authorities in Pieria prefecture have called the community council' s decisions "illegal".

    [11] ... Government condemns racism

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas later condemned what he called phenomena of racism and xenophobia which had been "mani-fested in recent days either by citizens or the mass media", while noting that the phenomena were on "a limited scale".

    Mr. Reppas said the government would not allow a "mediaeval" attitude to prevail in Greek society and called on the mass media not to use sensationalist reports "for the sake of audience ratings and unjustifiable profitability".

    Referring specifically to the Palio Keramidi curfew, the spokesman said "they cannot take the law into their own hands", adding that the instances of crime in the region did not justify "that kind of response". Mr. Reppas termed the response "unac ceptable and reproachable", maintaining that it served only selfish objectives.

    The spokesman said Prime Minister Costas Simitis had given instructions for police to increase patrols and for a draft law on the formation of a border guard force to be tabled in Parliament next week. The premier had also asked for the "more vigor ous" deportation of foreign nationals found to be in the country without the necessary legal documents.

    Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos later commented on the "curfew", saying that "the decision is illegal and unconstitutional". "It is not voidable, it is void," said Mr. Papadopoulos, who instructed the regional governor to take the necessary steps.

    [12] ... Albanian president condemns 'collective punishment'

    Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani yesterday condemned what he called the "collective punishment" of Albanian nationals in Greece for a recent upsurge in crime.

    Speaking on arrival in Kastoria, northern Greece, last night and replying to questions, Mr. Mejdani said: "it is not a characteristic of a friendly and democratic country to proceed with collective punishments in our times", adding that each case should be examined separately.

    The Albanian president arrived in Thessaloniki last night where he will be awarded an honourary doctorate by the Aristotelion University's physics faculty.

    The ceremony will be held at the faculty of philosophy's hall of honour at noon today. Later, he will meet representatives of the business world and in the evening he will be the guest of honour at a dinner hosted by Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos.

    [13] ... Papaioannou

    Meanwhile, Labour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou said yesterday that the government will insist on the policy of legalising illegal immigrants.

    Mr. Papaioannou said the legalisation constitutes a humanitarian measure and will contribute towards restructuring the labour market and will support the social security system. Additionally, legalisation through registration will contribute towards the struggle against crime. He called on the undocumented workers to respond and register.

    On his part, General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) President Christos Polyzogopoulos said ground should not be given for a "lurking racist mentality", and strongly condemned acts such as the recent one in Pieria. He said trade unions want pr otection for Albanian immigrants and their incorporation into the labour market, while asking at the same time for measures against crime.

    An announcement by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said an "anti-Albanian hysteria" observed in past days is an extremely dangerous phenomenon. KKE also cited what it called a racist proclamation by the Metropolitan of Thessaloniki and the decision in Palio Keramidi, Pierias to forbid Albanian illegal immigrants from circulating in the region after sunset.

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) said in a similar announcement that a need to combat increasing crime must not lead to a general pogrom against foreigners. It said that acts such as that in the village and statements such as those by the Metropolitan of Thessaloniki deal a direct blow at the democratic form of government.

    [14] ... Former minister dismisses criticism

    Conversely, former PASOK justice minister George Alexander Mangakis yesteday dismissed criticism of the night curfew for Albanians imposed by the community council of the Palio Keramidi village.

    "The self-protection measures adopted by the villagers against the raids of gangs of illegal immigrants from Albania constitute a clear case of a state of emergency, provided for in our penal code, which rules out injustice in this action...residents of a reas near Albania are undoubtedly facing a dangerous situation, threatening their life, health and freedom as well as their property," he said.

    Mr. Mangakis also dismissed claims that such measures constitute an expression of racism.

    [15] KYSEA to focus on nationwide air defence system

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos announced yesterday after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis that the main policy points concerning the country's air defence would be approved by the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA).

    He said that the air defence system will cover the entire country and, for the first time, will involve all three service braches.

    At subsequent KYSEA meetings, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos added, decisions will be taken on the weapons systems which will form the links of the system, as well as the new fighter aircraft to be purchased by Greece.

    The entire process will have been completed by the end of June, he said.

    On Monday, KYSEA will also discuss a draft law paving the way for the formation of a civil defence force and the setting up of an "armaments fund" which will allow Greeks at home and abroad "to express their interest in the country's defence," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    [16] False impressions being created by Ankara: Greek diplomatic sources

    ISTANBUL 27/03/1998 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Greek diplomatic sources were describing as "irresponsible" and "dangerous" efforts by Ankara to create false impressions rega rding the aims and methods of Athens' policy in the Balkans.

    Sources pointed to a "Turkish Daily News" report on Wednesday, alleging a Greek intention to establish a "security zone" on the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) if the crisis in Kosovo spills southwards.

    "The report is so far from the truth that we feel obliged to treat it as deliberate misinformation and undermining of Greek policy," a top Greek diplomat said, warning that this tactic was in full contradiction to efforts for the creation of relations of confidence in the Balkans.

    Referring to Turkish sources, the paper said that Greek officials were examining whether the security zone would be on Greek or on FYROM soil.

    [17] ... Turkish sources on rapid deployment force

    Meanwhile, Turkish sources expressed a view that Washington will ultimately favour the stationing of a "Balkan rapid deployment force" in FYROM.

    Sources based their estimation on their desire to by-pass the Greek-Turkish dispute on whether the force should be stationed in Thessaloniki or Edirne, and the need to have the base near the areas of conflict.

    The US already has a military base and a few hundred marines stationed near Skopje's airport.

    [18] Action plan for employment unveiled

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    Labour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou yesterday presented a "National Employment Action Plan" to social partners.

    At the end of dialogue between the government and social partners, the plan will be sent to the European Commission. According to decisions taken at the Amsterdam and Luxembourg summits, employment will in essence be a convergence criterion.

    The action plan includes subsidies for the creation of jobs, transfer of funds from passive employment support to job creation subsidies and changes in work relations.

    According to the plan, the government will present a bill by May, which will allow work-hour flexibility and measures to discourage retirees from seeking employment, among other changes.

    General Confederation of Workers of Greece ( GSEE) President Christos Polyzogopoulos said that any work schedule changes must be discussed and approved in the form of a national agreement, modelled after Italy's agreement on the 35-hour work week.

    Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) president Iason Stratos asked for market deregulation, while he rejected the 35-hour work week proposal.

    [19] US Congress approves amendment abolishing visas for Greek nationals

    WASHINGTON 27/03/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    The US House of Representatives approved an amendment on Wednesday providing for the abolition of visa requirements for Greek citizens wishing to visit the United States for longer than 90 days.

    The amendment was passed by a vote of 360 in favour to 46 against.

    The amendment, tabled by Democrats Patrick Kennedy and Barney Frank, and Republicans Mike Papas and Richard Pombo, raised the ceiling for the rejection of visa applications, used as a qualification for abolition of the requirement, from 2 to 3 per cent.

    Up to now, Greece and Portugal, with rejection rates of 2.7 and 2.81 per cent, were the only EU countries whose citizens still required visas to enter the US.

    The US Senate has already approved a similar amendment. The procedure requires approval of the two amendments in a joint session of Congress, that will then adopt the final form of the amendment to be sent to US President Bill Clinton for signing.

    "In light of our victory today in the US House of Representatives, the people of Greece will soon no longer need a visa to visit the United States," said Andrew A. Athens, the national chairman of the United Hellenic American Congress (UHAC). He added that "today's vote will end this mistreatment of one of the United States' best allies."

    [20] OTE dividends at 110 per share

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    According to the balance sheet ratified by the Hellenic Telecommunication Organisation's (OTE) board yesterday, the utility's turnover amounted to 811 billion drachmas in 1997, while profits reached 301 billion drachmas.

    As of April 24, OTE will distribute dividends of 110 drachmas per share to shareholders.

    [21] Petrol prices rise

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    The development ministry and Public Petroleum Corp. (DEP) yesterday announced increases in fuel prices.

    The price of regular gasoline increased by 2.5 drachmas per litre, unleaded by 2.6 drachmas per litre, heating oil by 1.6 drachmas and diesel by 1.5 drachmas.

    [22] Greece welcomes EU report on economy

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greece yesterday welcomed a report by the Union that saw progress in the country's economy but rejected entry of the drachma into the 15-nation bloc's single currency on January 1, 1999.

    The EU Commission's forecasts,released in Brussels on Wednesday,fell close to the government's targets and confirmed the credibility of its policy,National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told reporters.

    He was speaking after a two-hour meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Bank of Greece governor Lucas Papademos on the economy after the drachma's entry into the EU's exchange rate mechanism and accompanying 14 percent devaluation of the national currency.

    Financial markets had welcomed ERM entry on March 14 and the devaluation, Mr. Papantoniou said.

    The officials also discussed another EU report on convergence of the economy with other member states.

    Mr. Papantoniou said the report "in essence" took as a foregone conclusion Greece's entry into economic and monetary union on January 1, 2001.

    Replying to reporters' questions, Mr. Papantoniou forecast that inflation would fall to 1.5-2.0 per cent at the end of 1999, or record an average annual rate of 3.0 per cent against the EU's forecast of 3.5 percent.

    "(With such a rate) we can join EMU," he said.

    Replying to Mr. Papantoniou's statements on the course of the economy, main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos termed them "unjustifiably optimistic."

    Mr. Spiliotopoulos said the substantive problem currently faced by Greek society and the national economy is that the government cannot and doesn't want to touch the huge and counter-productive state, adding that "no announcement of intentions whatsoever can replace the lack of political volition and boldness."

    [23] Greek stocks again hit new record, turnover stays high

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities yesterday hit a new record on the Athens Stock Exchange and the general index flirted with new resistance at 2,000 points.

    The index ended 3.64 percent higher at 1,992.81 points while turnover remained high at 86.9 billion drachmas.

    Traders said the market was euphoric, boosted by a massive influx of foreign capital following the drachma's entry into the European Union's exchange rate mechanism on March 14.

    Banks were 3.72 percent up, Insurance rose 0.21 percent, Investment ended 1.07 percent higher, Leasing jumped 3.28 percent, Industrials rose 4.65 percent, Construction fell 0.69 percent, Miscellaneous ended 1.08 percent up and Holding rose 1.46 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies eased 0.47 percent.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 141 to 95 with another 18 issues unchanged.

    Epiphania, European Credit, Maillis and Klonatex scored the biggest percentage gains at the day's 8.0 percent limit up, while Sato, Demetriadis, Sportsam and Hellenic Cables suffered the heaviest losses.

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation's share price rose 300 drachmas to end at 8,100 in heavy volume of 1,595,000 shares.

    In the domestic money market, bankers reported renewed capital inflows. The Bank of Greece intervened by draining liquidity, pushing interbank rates up to 15 percent.

    [24] Greek conference organisers welcome devaluation, warn of profiteering

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greek conference tourism will benefit from the drachma's recent devaluation but profiteering could wipe out the gains, the Association of Professional Conference Organisers (SEPOS) said yesterday in a statement.

    The trade group urged its members to show price restraint in order to retain their competitive edge following the drachma's 14 percent devaluation this month, which eased entry into the European Union's exchange rate mechanism.

    "A barrage of price adjustments is already underway in all sectors that affect tourism in Greece. If this continues unchecked and turns into profiteering, then the devaluation will boomerang," SEPOS said in a statement.

    It called on the development ministry and Hellenic Tourism Organisation to curb factors that were pushing up tourism prices.

    "It would be a fatal error to destroy our own arguments after despairingly begging the state to depreciate the drachma in order to tone up the tourist industry," the statement said.

    "All those involved in tourism should avoid short-term speculative moves and think of the mid- and long-term benefits for themselves and for the country's economy," it said.

    [25] Proposed EU directive would mandate public sector payments to within 21 days

    BRUSSELS 27/03/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Commission yesterday adopted a proposed directive by European Commissioner Christos Papoutsis to restrict payment delays in transactions between the private and public sectors of EU member-states.

    The proposed directive must be adopted by the EU Council of Ministers during the first six months of 1999, so as to be adopted by member-states by the end of the year 2000.

    According to the proposal, payments must be made within 21 days from the date a check is issued to a private sector entity.

    For the public sector the proposed directive allows 60 days for payment, while in cases where there is no agreement the time limit is set at 21 days.

    The penalty for late payment is set at the lowest Central European Bank interest rate plus 8 per cent.

    [26] New York to host conference on business opportunities in Greece

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    A conference to brief American investors on business opportunities provided by Greece will be held at The Pierre Hotel in New York on April 6. The event is even more important considering it is the first international conference taking place after the drachma joined the Exchange Rate Mechanism.

    Speakers at the conference will include Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) President Iason Stratos, the managing director of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) George Chrysolouris and the President of the Athens Stock Exchange Manolis Xanthakis.

    National Economy Undersecretary Alexandros Baltas will be a speaker at the official dinner, while on the part of the US addresses will be made by former US Ambassador to Greece Thomas Niles and the present commercial adviser at the US Embassy in Greece Patrick Santilo.

    The event is titled "Greece: The strategic European partner in southeastern Europe" and is organised by Nikolas Bornozis' Capital Link company and by Symeon Tsomokos.

    [27] Capital AXE cooperation with two French banks

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek brokerage firm "Capital AXE", the French bank Groupe Banques Populaires and the French bank Bred, which specialises in stock exchange activities, will sign a cooperation agreement in Athens today.

    Cooperation will primarily concern investments by French institutional investors in the Greek capital market, as well as underwriting for their entry to the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The brokerage company Capital AXE has been fully reorganised recently, increasing its share capital to one billion drachmas and also opening offices in Thessaloniki and Trikala. The two French banks are expected to widen their cooperation with the Greek company soon by participating in its share capital.

    [28] New monitoring system at Parnitha casino

    Athens 27/03/1998 (ANA)

    A monitoring and control system employing closed-circuit cameras will soon be installed at the state-run Parnitha casino.

    The relevant contract was signed by Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) Secretary General Nikos Skoulas and a representative of the Wackenhut Security Hellas company, which has undertaken to install the system.

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