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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-10-20

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Local gov't elections spell concern for PASOK,satisfaction for ND
  • [02] Schengen Pact-related operation in Greece
  • [03] Four new ambassadors accredited to Athens
  • [04] Gov't election results won't change policy
  • [05] Skandalidis letter to PASOK prefectural committees
  • [06] Military chiefs of WEU member-states to meet in Rome
  • [07] New diplomats sworn-in
  • [08] Ipekci committee proposes Greek couple who sent child to Turkish hospital
  • [09] Piraeus to host oncology conference
  • [10] Faye Dunaway in Athens for 'Maria Callas' film project
  • [11] Bank of France head Trichet: Greece has made 'significant progress'
  • [12] Lalaounis collection at Pushkin State Museum in Moscow
  • [13] Transport ministry tables postal, traffic code bills
  • [14] Papantoniou chairs high-ranking meeting on '99 budget
  • [15] Greek equities end lower
  • [16] 'Economist'-sponsored conference in Athens
  • [17] EIB's Gennimatas: Minor impact of int'l financial crisis on EU states, eastern Europe
  • [18] EIB loans target Greek health sector
  • [19] Lambrakis Press group's bourse listing between Oct. 20-23
  • [20] Ericsson, Intrakom deny end of joint cooperation
  • [21] Greek firm's olives lauded at Paris food exhibition
  • [22] Skippers arrested for marine pollution

  • [01] Local gov't elections spell concern for PASOK,satisfaction for ND

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    The outcome of local government elections has caused concern to PASOK's leadership, as the ruling party lost at least 16 prefectures, including the traditional municipal strongholds of Patra, Larissa and Ioannina.

    In response, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the result "fell short of expectations".

    However, he said the result of the elections was not a defeat for the government, which was not being judged during the poll.

    "The outcome did not presage any change in the government's policies", he said.

    A series of meetings between government and party bodies started yesterday, while various ways will be sought to take the edge off public dissatisfaction expressed during the recent elections.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis is scheduled to chair today's joint meeting between a government commission and the political secretariat of PASOK, the party's Parliament group is scheduled to hold a meeting tomorrow, while a Cabinet meeting will be held on Friday and the party's central committee at the end of the month.

    Conversely, the main opposition New Democracy party appeared satisfied from the outcome, while top party cadres said ND will continue its "constructive opposition" tactics "leaving populism and demagogy aside".

    According to the interior ministry, ND carried 27 of the 54 prefectures throughout the country, while PASOK had carried 25 prefectures, the Coalition of Left and Progress (Synaspismos) took one prefecture in Hania, Crete, and independents one - former PASOK MP and minister Georgios Petsos in Pella prefecture.

    PASOK-backed candidates carried 433 of a total of 900 municipalities throughout the country, ND-backed candidates carried 368, Communist Party of Greece (KKE)-backed candidates 24, Synaspismos-backed candidates 12, Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI)-ba cked candidates five, Political Spring-backed candidates three, and independents carried 55 municipalities.

    The ministry said that candidates backed by ND or ND in cooperation with other opposition parties had carried 45 municipalities that previously had PASOK-backed mayors, while candidates backed by PASOK or PASOK with opposition parties other than New Dem ocracy had carried 33 municipalities that previously had ND-backed mayors. Abstention and blank/invalid votes soared to 42.4 percent in prefectural polls and 38 percent in municipal polls in Sunday's run-off local government elections, the interior ministry said yesterday morning.

    The ministry said that, with 98 per cent of election results in, voter participation for the prefectural authorities stood at 67.1 per cent, while blank and invalid votes accounted for 9.5 per cent.

    In the poll for municipal leaders, voter participation stood at 69.6 per cent while blank and invalid votes accounted for 7.6 per cent.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Schengen Pact-related operation in Greece

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greece said yesterday it had arrested 11 foreign nationals with stolen or bogus travel papers and one in possession of a stolen vehicle, during a Schengen Pact-related operation last week.

    The operation involved the police forces of all Schengen Pact signatories and was held between Oct. 15-18.

    In Greece, the operation involved coordinating border and internal checks on air, sea and land routes between police, harbour and customs services. The operation focused on checks on trucks, trains, coaches entering Greece from countries such as Bulgaria and Romania, as well as ferries.

    The Schengen Pact provides for the free movement of all pact country members within their borders.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Four new ambassadors accredited to Athens

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    Several new ambassadors accredited to Athens presented their credentials to President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos at noon yesterday.

    New ambassadors to Athens hailed from the Netherlands, Paul Brauer; Norway, Jan Vesel Hegg; Cameroon, Pascale Bilboa Tag; Gambia, D'jogu Saer Bach, and Liberia, James Scott.

    The ceremony was attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis and the Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic, Ambassador Emmanuel Gikas.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Gov't election results won't change policy

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    The government reiterated yesterday that municipal and prefectural elections around the country over the past two Sundays had disappointed the ruling party.

    Echoing PM Costas Simitis' comments on Sunday, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the result "fell short of expectations".

    He added that the result of the elections was not a defeat for the government, which was not being judged during the poll, Mr. Reppas said.

    Main opposition New Democracy is "a check waiting to bounce" if it thought it had the confidence of voters, Mr. Reppas offered.

    Mr. Simitis admitted on Sunday that aspects of the government's policies had affected the results of the elections, Mr. Reppas said. The results show that the government must place more emphasis on the resolution of citizens' daily problems and improving the quality of life, he said.

    A message of protest was to be expected halfway through the government's four-year mandate, he added.

    Nevertheless, ruling PASOK remains the central force in the country, holds the reins of power and the results of the first round of voting indicate that it has not lost such standing as to warrant talk of a "countdown", he said.

    PASOK's political secretariat and the inner cabinet will hold a joint meeting on the elections today while Mr. Simitis will preside over a meeting of PASOK MPs tomorrow on the same issue.

    New Democracy : Main opposition New Democracy (ND) decidedly benefitted from Sunday's results, which topped even the most optimistic expectations at both the municipal and prefectural levels.

    The party's target of winning 24 prefectures was surpassed by three, while ND's success with municipalities was also high, winning the majority in the Central Union of Greek Municipalities and Communities (KEDKE).

    ND cadres stressed that the election results proved that no separating lines - "that PASOK attempted to draw" - existed any more in the Greek society, which in turn allowed ND, by the appropriate handlings, to succeed in striking a new social alliance.

    ND officials said PASOK was losing voters both from the left and right, a fact which they believe gives ND the air of a potentially ruling party, under condition that a large part of voters will stabilise their prefences.

    Michalis Liapis, in charge of the party's political planning, said ND will continue its constructive opposition tactics leaving populism and demagogy aside. He added the party's primary target was the country's entry in EU Economic and Monetary Union (E MU).

    KKE : The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) also appeared content with election results, as a further 47 KKE-backed mayors were elected, plus 30 in the first round.

    After studying the election results, the party's central committee will make a final evaluation of the political scene following the elections, mapping out the party's policy accordingly.

    According to senior KKE officials, the party's target will be widespread discontent with the government's policy, primarily in the economy.

    Synaspismos : In spite of almost doubling its power in terms of municipalities, as compared to 1994, the Coalition of the Left (Synaspimos) appeared puzzled over the benefits it enjoyed from alliances with ruling PASOK in dozens of municipalities. The issue is expected to be the focus of discussions at party committees.

    Synaspismos' 'left faction' believes that the party should have dumped PASOK candidates in the run-off in order to reveal an intense popular displeasure with the Simitis government.

    However, Synaspismos leader Nikos Constantopoulos believes the central committee's decision to prescribe a vote according to conscience was an appropriate one.

    Synaspismos cadres siding with Mr. Constantopoulos said the elections did not signal the end of important developments, but the start. In light of this rationale, Mr. Constantopoulos is determined to open deliberations within the party on the Euro-elect ions, which he regards as an indication for the country's national elections.

    DHKKI : The Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) will also analyse the election results in the next few days, although party leader Dimitris Tsovolas appeared generally satisfied.

    Mr. Tsovolas believes his DHKKI's power across the country was doubled.

    Other party members, however, believe the local elections are not a safe source to draw conclusions on the party's course towards Euroelections and general elections. Nevertheless, DHKKI's upward trend is acknowledged by all.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Skandalidis letter to PASOK prefectural committees

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    Ruling PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis is to address a letter to all PASOK prefectural committees to urge them to cooperate with ruling party deputies in proceeding with a political evaluation of last Sunday's local government election results.

    The decision was taken during yesterday's meeting between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Mr. Skandalidis, which focused on elections results as well as decisions to be taken for party's planning.

    Conclusions to be drawn will be presented by Mr. Skandalidis at an executive bureau meeting on Oct. 29, in preparation for a PASOK central committee meeting, postponed for Nov. 5-6.

    The PASOK secretary said the party was pushing ahead with its planning, adding that the evaluation of election results and "messages" will be made before PASOK's spring congress.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Military chiefs of WEU member-states to meet in Rome

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    The heads of the West European Union's (WEU) national defence general staffs will convene in Rome this weekend to examine the restructuring of the organisation's military staff and the creation of a special planning group to facilitate participation of WEU observer nations in operations and exercises.

    Greece will be represented by National Defence General Staff chief Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis.

    It will be the first session at which the chiefs of the WEU's national defence general staffs will convene as a military committee after its creation was ratified during the ministerial session in Rhodes. The three NATO candidate countries Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic will attend the session for the first time as associate WEU members.

    Their accession to the WEU will take place in April 1999.

    The WEU's national defence general staff chiefs will also discuss issues concerning the personnel of the WEU's military staff, as well as current military issues.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] New diplomats sworn-in

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    Eighteen new foreign ministry diplomats were sworn-in yesterday during a ceremony attended by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos as well as Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    In a short address, President Stephanopoulos wished the new diplomats good luck in their careers.

    Mr. Pangalos said working for the foreign ministry entailed hard work and a wide range of responsibilities, stressing however, that the ministry was undergoing restructuring in order to efficiently respond to demands in a changing world.

    He added that improvements in the quality of diplomatic services has led more women to join, with the current percentage of female diplomats reaching 17.5 per cent.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Ipekci committee proposes Greek couple who sent child to Turkish hospital

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    The Athens section of the Greek-Turkish friendship group 'Ipekci Prize' said yesterday that they would nominate the parents of a seriously ill child transported to a Turkish hospital after the Greek ambulance service failed to provide a helicopter for transfer to a Greek hospital.

    The Athens Ipekci branch unanimously proposed Themistocles and Christina Zamayias, residents of the far-flung Greek island of Kastellorizo, for the "Communications Award 1998-1999" for not "being swayed by the efforts of some not to send their daughter to the neighbouring Turkish coast for treatment."

    Eight-year-old Calliope Zamayia was admitted to the local hospital on the island with severe abdominal pains last week. An attending doctor said he suspected acute appendicitis and called for a helicopter to take her to the island of Rhodes for treatment.

    But four hours of talks involving the mayor of the island and the island's doctor failed to convince the Greek ambulance service to send a helicopter to the island, who in turn blamed the military for not approving a flight due to whether conditions.

    Calliope's parents and doctor agreed that they should send the girl to a Turkish hospital on the Asia Minor coast, two nautical miles from the island, and contacted the authorities in Kas. Turkish authorities dispatched a speedboat to the island which t ook the girl to the Turkish coast, where an ambulance was waiting to transfer her to hospital.

    The incident caused an uproar in the Greek press and public opinion. The director of the Turkish hospital has also been nominated for responding promptly to the call for assistance.

    The bi-annual Ipekci Awards, alternately hosted in Athens and Istanbul, were established following a Greek initiative in February 1979, shortly after the assassination of Abdi Ipekci, an editor who worked for the Turkish daily "Milliyet".

    The awards are given to Greeks and Turks in recognition of efforts to promote Greek-Turkish friendship and co-operation.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Piraeus to host oncology conference

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) will be holding its 23rd Congress in Piraeus from November 6 to 10, bringing together oncologists from 30 countries.

    The discussions will include such topics as new developments in the treatment of breast cancer, stem cell transplantation, new targets for cancer treatment, supportive care, melanoma, sarcoma, leukaemia, cancer genetics, molecular oncology, novel therap eutics and pharmacology.

    The ESMO general assembly will also be held on November 9, while the ESMO Award and the Hamilton Fairley Award for Clinical Research for 1998 will also be presented during the conference.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Faye Dunaway in Athens for 'Maria Callas' film project

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    Noted Hollywood actress Faye Dunaway arrived in Athens yesterday to secure the rights for the soundtrack of a new feature film production centred on the life of legendary opera diva Maria Callas.

    Ms Dunaway, who is producing and starring in the film, visited the Plaka district yesterday.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Bank of France head Trichet: Greece has made 'significant progress'

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    The visiting governor of the Bank of France, Jean-Claude Trichet, yesterday noted that Greece has made "significant progress" over the past few years that this "has been acknowledged by all."

    Mr. Trichet was speaking at a reception held in his honour by the Greek- French Chamber of Commerce in Athens.

    The top French banking official also said there is no issue of a "Europe of two tiers," saying that the four countries currently not part of the 'euro zone' - Britain, Sweden, Denmark and Greece - will soon join.

    Mr. Trichet, who in four years is set to succeed Wim Duisenburg as the head of the European Central Bank, also defended the implementation of the euro and Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Lalaounis collection at Pushkin State Museum in Moscow

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greek jeweller Ilias Lalaounis takes his famous collection to the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow next week for display during the museum's centennial celebrations.

    The collection, housed in Athens at the Ilias Lalaounis Jewellery Museum, will be on display at the Pushkin Museum for the duration of a two-month cultural programme celebrating the latter's centennial.

    Lalounis' contribution to contemporary goldsmithery will be represented with a selection of 400 pieces of jewellery and micro-sculptures from 16 collections chosen from the museum's permanent collection.

    The creations are grouped in six sections by source of inspiration: pre- historic art, history of Greek art, the art of four civilisations, nature, modern technology, and a few special commissions.

    The exhibits are gold, silver and gold-plated with precious and semi- precious stones. They will be displayed together with original designs, plaster casts, photos of jewelry techniques and of goldsmiths at work.

    On the sidelines of the exhibition there will be several lectures, educational programmes and audio-visual presentations.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Transport ministry tables postal, traffic code bills

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    The transport ministry tabled two bills in Parliament yesterday, one concerning the "organisation of postal services" and the other ratifying a new traffic code.

    The first bill concerns the establishment of fair competition and market rules, as well as the arrangement of issues in relation to attaining targets set out by the Greek Post Office's (ELTA) strategic and business plan.

    The second bill involves a revised traffic code adjusted to EU and international regulations. According to an accompanying report, the new traffic code focuses on the improvement in road traffic conditions, installation of new control traffic equipment, among others.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Papantoniou chairs high-ranking meeting on '99 budget

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday chaired a meeting of deputy ministers on the 1999 budget.

    According to reports, the meeting focused on procedural matters relating to the presentation of the budget, both at the inner cabinet meeting on Friday and to Parliament.

    The budget, and related proposals to reduce special consumer charges on vehicles and on Value Added Tax (VAT), will be brought to the inner cabinet for approval on Friday.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Greek equities end lower

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities ended fractionally lower on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday in what traders described as a normal correction following the market's 17.3 percent jump last week.

    The general index ended 0.62 percent lower to 2,027.80 points in thin turnover of 38.7 billion drachmas. Volume was 9,491,000 shares.

    Sector indices were mixed. Banks rose 0.23 percent, Insurance ended 1.35 percent higher, Investment fell 1.23 percent, Leasing soared 8.0 percent Industrials fell 1.78 percent, Construction ended 0.39 percent up, Miscellaneous gained 1.79 percent and Ho lding eased by 1.69 per cent. The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 0.30 percent. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 155 to 81 with another 16 issues unchanged. Thessaliki, Strintzis, Teletypos and Mytilineos were the most heavily tra ded stocks.

    Alpha Leasing, Mosholios Chemicals, Attica Bank, Ergas, Piraeus Leasing, ETBA Leasing, Ionian Invest, Alkar-Aemet and Ridenco scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the daily 8.0 percent limit up.

    Bitros, Levenderis, Elfico, Intertek, General Warehouses, Lampsa, Radio Athina, Hadzioannou and Gnomon suffered the heaviest losses. National Bank of Greece ended at 36,300 drachmas, Ergobank at 23,700, Alpha Credit Bank at 20,320, Ionian Bank at 10,085 , Hellenic Telecoms at 6,395, Delta Dairy at 3,135, Intracom at 9,800, Titan Cement at 17,000, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,400 and Minoan Lines at 5,410.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] 'Economist'-sponsored conference in Athens

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    The "Economist" is organising a two-day conference in Athens on tax information in the European Union and Greece's tax policy, on Oct. 29- 30.

    Finance Undersecretary George Drys, main opposition New Democracy shadow minister Georgios Alogoskoufis, Germany's Finance ministry secretary- general Hans-Georg Hauser, and the EU's tax director Maria Rehbinder will address the conference.The two-day conference will discuss European Commission's proposals on corporate taxes, restructuring Greece's tax system ahead of next year's budget and accounting reforms.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] EIB's Gennimatas: Minor impact of int'l financial crisis on EU states, eastern Europe

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    An ongoing international financial crisis has had a limited impact on European Union's member-states and eastern European countries, Panayiotis Gennimatas, the European Investment Bank (EIB) vice-chairman, told a press conference yesterday.

    Mr. Gennimatas was presenting a new book "European Economies at the Dawn of the New Millennium", by economist and journalist Mary Taioglou-French.

    Mr. Gennimatas noted that east European countries have shown remarkable resistance to the Russian crisis in their drive towards economic restructuring as they benefitted from a "European economic umbrella".

    Athens News Agency

    [18] EIB loans target Greek health sector

    BRUSSELS 20/10/1998 (ANA - G.Daratos)

    The European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved a loan-framework of 70 million Ecus (23.7 billion drachmas) to finance projects in Greece's health sector.

    The loan, the first ever earmarked by EIB for Greece's health sector, aims to implement small and medium-sized investments in programmes already adopted by a Second Community Support Framework in the period 1994- 99.

    These programmes are included in a wider project aimed to combat imbalances and improve efficiency in health services in Athens and Thessaloniki, as well as other Greek cities suffering from lack of quality medical services.

    EIB's involvement in the health sector was decided in a European summit in Amsterdam in June 1997.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Lambrakis Press group's bourse listing between Oct. 20-23

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    Public registration for an increase in the Lambrakis Press group's share capital and its listing with the Athens Stock Exchange will be held between Oct. 20-23.

    A total of 5,250,000 new shares of a face value of 200 drachmas each and a sale price of 3,500 drachmas per share will be issued. Of those, 250,000 shares are reserved for the group's staff and close associates. The total number of shares, after the inc rease in share capital, will amount to 25 million - 79 per cent of which will belong to the Lambrakis family.

    Receipts from the issue are expected to amount to 18.4 billion drachmas the greatest part of which will fund coverage of the 1998-2000 investment programme and the balance the company's short-term loaning.

    Information on the group's activities in general, the increase in share capital and listing with the Athens bourse was presented at a downtown Athens hotel yesterday by the group's president, Christos Lambrakis, National Bank Governor Theodoros Karatzas , and Alpha Credit Bank director Yiannis Kostopoulos, among others.

    Mr. Lambrakis offered assurances that the "share majority will not sell shares at the stock exchange" but did not rule out the possibility of the sale of a package of shares to a possible future investor and associate.

    The Lambrakis group owns 17 publications and possesses five printing units. Apart from the publishing sector, it is also active in the industrial- printing and tourist sector.

    Out of a total turnover for 1997, the publishing sector (receipts from circulation, advertising and products offered) participated with a 64 per cent stake (27.3 billion drachmas); the printing sector with 24 per cent (10.2 billion drachmas) and the tou rist sector with 12 per cent (five billion drachmas).

    The first investment programme amounting to 13 billion drachmas was carried out over the 1993-1997 period, while the investment programme for the 1998- 2000 period anticipates investments totalling 16.5 billion drachmas.

    The group forecasts a turnover amounting to 49.7 billion drachmas in the 1998 fiscal year and pre-tax profits of 4.1 billion drachmas - already covered according to the group's economic director.

    The National Bank is the underwriter and main sponsor of the issue, the main sponsor is Alpha Credit Bank, ETEBA is the issue adviser, while the remaining sponsors are Commercial Bank, Bank of Piraeus, Ergobank, EFG Eurobank, Agricultural Bank, and General Bank, among others.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Ericsson, Intrakom deny end of joint cooperation

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    An agreement between Ericsson and Intrakom is fully valid, a joint communique by the two companies reiterated yesterday following an article in the Sunday edition of the Athens daily "Kathimerini", entitled "Divorce between Intrakom and Ericsson."

    "There was no thought and, even more, the possibility of a change in the position of Ericsson as one of Intrakom's major shareholders was never discussed," it was added.

    Intrakom stated that the article "is misleading and false in its entirety and its target can only be the prestige and the name of Intrakom..."

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Greek firm's olives lauded at Paris food exhibition

    PARIS 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    The Greece-based Olympia firm was awarded a gold medal yesterday for its "Xenia-heros" brand olives during a Paris food exhibition.

    This year's participation boasts 4,715 exhibitioners from 87 countries. Greece is represented by 112 pavilions covering a total of 1,800 square metres, an increase of 11 per cent since 1996, seventh place on a "significant presence" list headed by Italy and Spain.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Skippers arrested for marine pollution

    Athens 20/10/1998 (ANA)

    The Norwegian captain of a Bahamas-flagged cruiseship was detained and fined for marine pollution south of the island of Delos, according to reports.

    Erik Bjurstedt, captain of the cruiseship "Marco Polo", was detained on Sunday and was served with an administrative fine of two million drachmas for polluting the sea with a detergent.

    In addition, the captain and first engineer of the Cyprus-flagged tanker "Sea Sun" were detained on Sunday for causing a 2.5 nautical mile long oil slick northeast of Cape Kafirea.

    Captain Nikos Fivgas and first engineer Yiannis Stamatelis were to appear before a public prosecutor yesterday.

    Athens News Agency

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