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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-06-08

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] Greece confident that peace will break out in the Balkans
  • [02] Organisation for Public Housing close to award for Olympic village
  • [03] 'Chicken-gate' confiscations continue
  • [04] Tsohatzopoulos on shape, scope of int'l force for Kosovo
  • [05] Kranidiotis talks in Lisbon focus on EU expansion, Cyprus
  • [06] Greek ambassador on Athens' positions
  • [07] 'Doctors of the Balkans' unit to be set up
  • [08] ESHEA on Ocalan trial
  • [09] Survey on AIDS unveiled
  • [10] Key figure in brokerage probe to give evidence
  • [11] Greek derivatives market joins European group
  • [12] Stocks end higher in wary trade
  • [13] Goody's to boost share capital
  • [14] Elval to hold bonus issue
  • [15] Athens Foreign Exchange

  • [01] Greece confident that peace will break out in the Balkans

    Athens, 08/06/1999 (ANA)

    There was no impasse and peace was on the way, despite complications in talks between the military representatives of NATO and Yugoslavia, Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday.

    He added that technical matters were the focus of the talks between NATO and the Yugoslavs at a FYROM border post, while the G8 group was discussing the details of a UN resolution on the issue in Bonn. Finally, Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari was hol ding contacts with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

    After attending a meeting chaired by PM Costas Simitis, Mr. Papandreou said he had consultations on the phone over the weekend with his Russian and German counterparts and the US deputy secretary of state.

    Regarding a contingent of US marines aboard three vessels outside Litohoro awaiting permission from the Greek government to disembark in Thessaloniki and then head by coach to FYROM, Mr. Papandreou said that the US troops were forces deployed to help im plement the peace accord.

    "As soon as the technical process is completed and there is a request on the part of the allied forces, then all the peace forces will advance immediately to their destination so that there will not be a gap in the protection and security," Mr. Papandreou said.

    In that context, he added, Greece would come forward in the peace process.

    Asked whether the Kosovo developments would influence next Sunday's European Parliament elections, Mr. Papandreou said this was something that the voters themselves would evaluate.

    He also said Greek voters and other peoples of the region and the international community recognised that the Athens government was advancing a policy of peace in the region.

    Mr. Papandreou further anticipated that the technical process would be completed as soon as possible.

    Gov't on passage of NATO troops : Greece will facilitate the situation so that there will be no vacuum after the withdrawal of the Serb forces from Kosovo, a government spokesman said yesterday, asked whether Greece would grant permission for the passage of NATO forces through Greek terri tory.

    Asked whether the 10-day prohibition on the passage of foreign troops through Greek territory due to the June 13 Euroelections was still in force or had been suspended, spokesman Dimitris Reppas said conditions today were completely different than when the decision was taken, as the peacekeeping process has already been set in motion.

    He described as "irresponsible" and "dangerous" the stance maintained by the opposition, while expressing hope the obstacles that had arisen in the talks between NATO and Yugoslav military representatives in FYROM were only temporary and would be overco me for the sake of peace.

    He added that President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos would receive Mr. Simitis at noon today to be briefed on the latest developments in the Yugoslav crisis and on the results of the EU summit in Cologne.

    Marines stay afloat : According to a later dispatch, most of the trucks which had arrived at Litohoro to transport the first 450 US marines left empty as the troops did not come ashore.

    Earlier yesterday, nine tourist coaches, 14 platform trucks and another 10 lorries had arrived to help in the disembarkment.

    Near the landing dock, peace activists and local residents have gathered to protest the passage of foreign troops through Greek territory to FYROM.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Organisation for Public Housing close to award for Olympic village

    Athens, 08/06/1999 (ANA)

    The Olympic Village for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens will be most likely be constructed by the Organisation for Public Housing (OEK), Culture Minister Elizabeth Papazoi said yesterday.

    Ms Papazoi, speaking at her first news conference regarding the 2004 Games, said she was fully satisfied at the pace of preparations.

    As culture minister, Ms Papazoi is president of the inter-ministerial committee overseeing the Games' preparations.

    Ms Papazoi said the ongoing 'saga' of the location of the Olympic Village - the largest of the Olympic Games construction projects - was nearing an end and that an agreement with OEK to construct the site was near.

    Her predecessor at the head of the committee, current Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos, had said that the private sector was most likely to get the lucrative project to build the village.

    Ms Papazoi said preparations were well within the timeframe set by the organising committee and the government, while there was no problem in the field of construction.

    She also said the government and the organising committee shared the view that the cost of preparations and projects not rise and constitute a further burden on the public sector.

    In addition, the minister categorically denied that projects would be awarded directly to contractors to make up for what she termed "alleged delays."

    Athens News Agency

    [03] 'Chicken-gate' confiscations continue

    Athens, 08/06/1999 (ANA)

    The government yesterday announced that up until Sunday the agriculture ministry had confiscated 99 tons of beef, 154 tons of pork, 520 tons of poultry, 77 tons of other meat by-products, 169 tons of milk and by- products, 10 tons of eggs and 63 tons of eg g by-products.

    The confiscations are related to the on-going pan-European issue of dioxin contamination in certain foodstuffs emanating primarily from Belgium.

    McDonald's Hellas, the Greek subsidiary of the US-based fast food chain, announced that it would stop selling dairy products originating from Belgium as a precau-tionary measure and until a new supplier could be found.

    In a statement, the company said it neither imported nor used any other products from Belgium.

    McDonald's announced that the meat it uses in products for Greece is imported from Italy, while bread is produced in Greece.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Tsohatzopoulos on shape, scope of int'l force for Kosovo

    Athens, 08/06/1999 (ANA)

    The hour of peace has arrived and final arrangements regarding implementation of the Kosovo peace agreement will have been ironed out in a matter of a few days at the most, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos stressed yesterday.

    "All arrangements must be operational immediately and comprehensively under UN responsibility. The multinational force must be under a unified command on the basis of particular geographic sections of separate administration. The deployment of the multi national force and the withdawal of Serbian forces must take place simultaneously so as to prevent a vacuum," he said. He also expressed a view that the agreement establishes guarantees for the sovereignty of Yugoslav borders and the safe and unimpeded return of refugees to their homes. The Greek minister said the provisional administration model envisaged in the agreement would promote the conditions for the establishment of the required broad autonomy for the Yugoslav province and it will be the responsibility of the international security force to disarm the so-called "Kosovo Liberation Army" (UCK).

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos called upon the European Union, the US and international organisations to bolster the region's security and provide sizeable amounts of economic aid for its stabilisation, as the fact that there were now four virtual protectorates in the area (Kosovo, Albania, FYROM and Bosnia- Herzegovina) had implications for security. "This necessitates increased vigilance and continuous initiatives on the part of our country. The only threat comes from the east (Turkey) but social upheavals in the north cannot be ruled out," he said.

    The defence minister further said that permission for the transit of allied forces through northern Greece destined for Kosovo will be given in the next two to three days, when technical issues are ironed out for immediate implementation.

    He reiterated that Greece will not allow the transit of Turkish troops, as in the past.

    Greece will send a brigade, about 800 troops, including an engineering and a medical corps battalion. Provision has been made for the cost of this participation for six months to a year. He cautioned that the implementation of the agreement would not be "an easy affair".

    Finallly, he described as important the fact that the European Union is coming to realise that in order to become an internationally competitive factor, it must establish a single economic policy and a common defence and security policy.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Kranidiotis talks in Lisbon focus on EU expansion, Cyprus

    LISBON, 08/06/1999 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis held talks here yesterday on bilateral issues and the Yugoslav crisis with Portuguese European Affairs Minister Seixas da Costa. Both men underlined the need for the European Union to assume it s obligations and play a substantial role in the reconstruction of both Yugoslavia and the wider region.

    EU expansion, Cyprus' bid for full membership and Turkish-EU relations were also on the agenda of talks.

    Mr. Kranidiotis said Cyprus had to become an EU member as soon as accession procedures were completed, independent of progress on resolving the island republic's political problem.

    "Cyprus cannot be held hostage to Turkish policies," he said.

    Mr. Kranidiotis also attended the Bildenberg Club's conference over the weekend, underlining the need for a long-term programme to reconstruct the Balkans after the end of the Yugoslav crisis.

    He also outlined the role Greece could play in this venture and stressed that Athens' careful and balanced approach to the crisis had illustrated its role as a reliable factor of stability in the area.

    The Greek minister stressed the need for a stability pact for the region which would provide long-term prospects of joining European institutions for the countries of the western Balkans and underlined the need for a substantial economic support of the region.

    Turning to Euro-Turkish relations, he said that Turkey had to reorient itself towards Europe and that it had to apply the same criteria and principles which were valid for other EU candidate countries. "Turkey must shoulder its responsibilities and proc eed with the necessary changes in its interior and change its policy towards Cyprus and Greece," he said.

    Also attending the Bildenberg roundtable were top US diplomat Richard Holbrooke and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Greek ambassador on Athens' positions

    WASHINGTON, 08/06/1999 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    Greece's ambassador in the United States presented Athens' positions on prospects for implementation of a peace agreement and the restructuring of the Balkans during a recent TV interview.

    In an interview with a nationwide US television network, Alexandros Philon explained that Greece took part in the decision taken by NATO but will not participate in military operations against Yugoslavia, while he emphasised diplomatic efforts.

    He added that Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou was in contact with NATO Secretary General Javier Solana and his Yugoslav counterpart, contributing to a speedup of the agreement achieved last week.

    Mr. Philon said indicting Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic for alleged war crimes is a matter for the international war crimes tribunal, adding that it is up to the Yugoslav people to decide on the political future of Mr. Milosevic and not third parties.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] 'Doctors of the Balkans' unit to be set up

    Athens, 08/06/1999 (ANA)

    A mobile emergency unit called "Doctors of the Balkans" will be set up to intervene in emergencies (earthquakes, wars, epidemics, etc) in Balkan countries, to be created through voluntary contribution. This was announced by the director of the Social Insu rances Foundation's (IKA) preventive medicine unit in Alexandroupoli, Dr. Constantinos Papoutselis, who was referring to new activities being planned through the European Union programme Intereg III.

    Mr. Papoutselis said the activation of the mobile unit "Doctors of the Balkans" is expected to start in January and the first departments will be created in Andrianoupoli, Bucharest, Skopje and Alexandroupoli.

    He added that the Preventive Medicine Centre in Alexandroupoli already possesses necessary equipment, while necessary details will be settled at the end of June.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] ESHEA on Ocalan trial

    Athens, 08/06/1999 (ANA)

    The Athens Journalists' Union (ESHEA) was the only journalists' group active at a press centre set up by the Ankara for reporters and foreign correspondents covering the Abdullah Ocalan trial.

    ESHEA members Dimitris Tsalapatis and Sophia Voultepsis who were accredited at the centre. Upon returning to Greece, both said set procedure at the centre did not allow unhindered access of reporters to the trial.

    They also noted that the majority of the Greek press correspondents were forced by conditions to abandon the press centre.

    ESHEA will hold a press conference on Thursday for a full announcement of the delegation's findings.

    Ocalan fate : ANKARA (ANA - A. Abatzis) - Meanwhile, one of the lawyers for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader said a decision on Ocalan's fate will be taken by the United States and NATO.

    Hasip Kaplan, in an interview to the newspaper "Radical", said that this was the opinion of Ocalan himself.

    Mr. Kaplan also referred to Ocalan possibly seeking recourse against Greece, Italy, Russia, the Nertherlands, Germany and Kenya at the European Court.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Survey on AIDS unveiled

    Athens, 08/06/1999 (ANA)

    The government yesterday revealed the findings of a nation-wide survey on the deadly AIDS virus.

    The survey, which focused on 2,000 individuals between the ages of 18-49, revealed that death and fear have been identified with the desease, since at the sound of the word "AIDS" 25 per cent of those surveyed said they "thought of death".

    Among those who had a new sex partner during the past 12 months, 32.7 per cent stated that at the time of their first contact they did know their partners very well and 9.2 per cent said they did not know them at all, while 54.3 per cent did not delay the sexual contact and 72.8 per cent of those who delayed it said that the risk of HIV infection was not at all the deciding factor.

    The survey revealed that 75.6 per cent of those surveyed used protection with their new partner and 14.5 per cent did not discuss protection at all, while 26.8 per cent were certain their partners were "clean".

    Deputy Health and Welfare Minister Theodoros Kotsonis told reporters yesterday that the survey findings were used in the planning of a campaign to be inaugurated with a special music festival on June 19 in Athens, aimed at informing and alerting the public about AIDS prevention.

    The AIDS prevention campaing will also include a distribution of pamphlets, briefings at schools with as well as the creation of information centres at Greece's entry points.

    Finally, Mr. Kotsonis said Greece was for the first time elected to the United Nations AIDS Coordinating Council for a three-year term, which will begin on Jan. 1, 2000.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Key figure in brokerage probe to give evidence

    Athens, 08/06/1999 (ANA)

    A former senior employee of Alki Securities, which is being investigated in what may be a share trading racket, was taken into custody yesterday after voluntarily reporting to a public prosecutor in Thessaloniki. A warrant was issued for his arrest on Sunday after allegations of trading irregularities in the Thessaloniki branch of Alki Securities appeared in the media at the end of last week.

    Authorities are investigating the allegations that the brokerage has a major shortfall and that some of its customers are owed money.

    The Athens bourse suspended trade by Alki on Friday and sought an explanation.

    Alki's management, which has acknowledged there appear to be anomalies, last week commissioned an external audit of the Thessaloniki branch's books by Ernst & Young. The findings are due within three days.

    The brokerage has indicated that illegal practices appear to have been conducted by individuals in the company's name, but not by the company itself. It said in a statement that a shortfall of 555 million drachmas had so far been found in the branch's books.

    The former head of Alki's Thessaloniki branch, Leonidas Tezapsidis, 39, claimed through his lawyer following his detention yesterday that he was a victim, and not the perpetrator, of financial crimes.

    According to Alki, Mr. Tezapsidis appeared to have issued some post-dated cheques on his own account, using the company's name. The cheques were not linked to stock transactions by the company, it said in a statement.

    Mr. Tezapsidis was awarded a 48-hour extension to prepare his case before an investigating magistrate. His case is due to be heard on Wednesday.

    An Athens public prosecutor is conducting a separate investigation into allegations of foul play linked to the Alki affair that may have helped to bring the share index down 1.45 percent on Friday.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Greek derivatives market joins European group

    Athens, 08/06/1999 (ANA)

    The Athens Derivatives Exchange (ADEX) has become a member of ECOFEX, Europe's derivatives market union.

    The agreement was sealed on Friday at ECOFEX's annual meeting, which was held in Milan, Italy.

    ADEX is already a member of IOMA-IOCA, the international derivatives market trade group.

    Membership of ECOFEX offers the Greek market the chance to monitor markets throughout the continent and take part in discussions on the operation of its European equivalents.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Stocks end higher in wary trade

    Athens, 08/06/1999 (ANA)

    Equity prices ended higher yesterday reversing an early decline but turnover was subdued on worries over the impact of an illegal trading scandal that was revealed at the end of last week.

    The general index ended 0.88 percent higher at 4,098.96 points after falling as much as 1.38 percent early in the session.

    The construction and bank sectors outperformed the market to end 2.15 and 1.04 percent higher, respectively.

    Other sector indices ended as follows: Leasing (+0.79 pct), Insurance (+1.37 pct), Investment (+0.13 pct), Industrials (+0.32 pct), Miscellaneous (-0.86 pct) and Holding (+0.38 pct).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips ended 0.91 percent higher at 2,448.13 points.

    Turnover was 130.433 billion drachmas with 24,031,076 shares changing hands.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 154 to 125 with another 17 issues unchanged. Viosol and Eskimo were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Several issues ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up. Among them were General Bank, Avax, Attikat, Gekat, Proodeftiki, Rocas and Thrace Plastics.

    Papafilis Mills SA jumped 99 percent in its first day of trading on the parallel market for smaller capitalisation stocks.

    Bond prices drop in line with Europe : Bond prices in the secondary market lost around 45 basis points, following European markets that slumped on fears of higher US interest rates.

    Electronic trade was 45 billion drachmas from 60 billion drachmas in the previous session and 120 billion drachmas last Thursday.

    The yield spread with German bunds was 163 basis points from 159 basis points on Friday.

    The ten-year bond was trading at 103.10 to show a yield of 5.86 percent.

    In the foreign currency market, players sold euro for drachmas but the cash was not ploughed into the bond or stock markets.

    At the central bank's daily fix, the euro was set at 324.130 drachmas from 324.000 drachmas in the previous session.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Goody's to boost share capital

    Athens, 08/06/1999 (ANA)

    Goody's, which is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, will seek to raise its share capital by 4.2 billion drachmas.

    An annual shareholders' meeting yesterday approved plans to issue 1,064,406 new shares at 4,000 drachmas each to strengthen the company's capital base and support expansion projects.

    Goody's will offer one new share for every two old, raising its total number of shares to 16,280,501.

    Its shareholders also approved a 72 drachma dividend per share, up from 65 drachmas in the previous year.

    The group's first quarter consolidated pre-tax profits increased 34 percent to 1.116 billion drachmas from 833 million in the same period last year.

    Consolidated turnover rose by 15.9 percent to 7.77 billion drachmas.

    The parent company's turnover rose to 832 million drachmas in the first quarter of 1999, up from 724 million last year, while first quarter net pre- tax profits jumped from 121 million drachmas in 1998 to 232 million drachmas this year.

    The Goody's Group spent 5.9 billion drachmas in investments last year.

    It plans to launch 25 new stores in 1999.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Elval to hold bonus issue

    Athens, 08/06/1999 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Aluminium Industry (ELVAL), a member of the Viohalco group, yesterday announced a one-for-one rights issue and dividend payment of 45 drachmas per share.

    A general shareholders' meeting approved plans to reduce the company's nominal share value to 100 drachmas to boost the stock's turnover on the Athens bourse.

    ELVAL's share price has risen by 70 percent this year. The company's domestic market share totalled 94 percent, while 80 percent of sales, both in turnover and volume, were exports to the European Union, the US, Japan and China, management officials said.

    The firm's net profits increased by 13.5 percent in the first quarter of 1999.

    The board expects a further improvement in results in the following two quarters.

    ELVAL is currently implementing a 33 billion drachma investment programme.

    The government yesterday unveiled plans to subsidise home-purchases for repatriated Greeks.

    Speaking at a political rally in Alexandroupoli, northern Greece, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said subsidisation programmes will especially target the Thrace region. The minister said the relative bill has been completed and it will be tabled in Parliament over the summer.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 08/06/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: June 7, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             312.262 319.502
    Can.Dollar            212.288 217.210
    Australian Dlr        206.162 210.942
    Pound Sterling        501.773 513.407
    Irish Punt            408.268 417.733
    Pound Cyprus          557.444 570.369
    Pound Malta           734.527 765.132
    Turkish pound (100)     0.069   0.072
    French franc           49.018  50.154
    Swiss franc           202.790 207.491
    Belgian franc           7.971   8.156
    German Mark           164.399 168.211
    Finnish Mark           54.079  55.333
    Dutch Guilder         145.907 149.290
    Danish Kr.             43.281  44.284
    Swedish Kr.            36.152  36.991
    Norwegian Kr.          39.119  40.026
    Austrian Sh.           23.367  23.908
    Italian lira (100)     16.606  16.991
    Yen (100)             257.999 263.981
    Spanish Peseta          1.932   1.977
    Port. Escudo            1.604   1.641
    
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              312.262 319.502
    Montreal              212.288 217.210
    Sydney                206.162 210.942
    London                501.773 513.407
    Dublin                408.268 417.733
    Nicosia               557.444 570.369
    Paris                  49.018  50.154
    Zurich                202.790 207.491
    Brussels                7.971   8.156
    Frankfurt             164.399 168.211
    Helsinki               54.079  55.333
    Amsterdam             145.907 149.290
    Copenhagen             43.281  44.284
    Stockholm              36.152  36.991
    Oslo                   39.119  40.026
    Vienna                 23.367  23.908
    Milan                  16.606  16.991
    Tokyo                 257.999 263.981
    Madrid                  1.932   1.977
    Lisbon                  1.604   1.641
    
    Athens News Agency

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