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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-06-09

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] Simitis calls for immediate peace in Kosovo
  • [02] Papadimas on dioxin contamination issue, Greek foodstuffs
  • [03] Spanish support for Thessaloniki as headquarters for Balkans aid organisation
  • [04] Simitis cites 'negative front' among opposition during Thessaloniki address
  • [05] Papariga stresses popular front in pre-election address
  • [06] Kusturica turns talent toward direction of NATO's bombings
  • [07] Greece rates first among EU in traffic-related deaths
  • [08] WWF warns of imminent ecological catastrophe over earth's warming
  • [09] EU sports ministers focus on doping issue
  • [10] Greek government on the Internet
  • [11] EFG Eurobank, Deutsche Bank seek control of Ergobank
  • [12] Budget revenue rises in January-May, outpacing target
  • [13] Stocks sink again on new brokerage talk
  • [14] Athens bourse briefly postpones paperless shares
  • [15] ALKI's bourse settlement record looks clear, sources say
  • [16] Gov't repeats pledge to spur defence industry
  • [17] Women's salaries in Greece rank bottom of EU league
  • [18] Athens Foreign Exchange

  • [01] Simitis calls for immediate peace in Kosovo

    Athens, 09/06/1999 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed yesterday that peace in Kosovo should be "immediate" and it should not be obstructed by secondary issues.

    "The central issue is that peace should be immediate, and that it should not be obstructed by procedural issues and matters of secondary importance, " Mr. Simitis told reporters after meeting with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    Mr. Simitis said he had discussed the latest developments in the Kosovo crisis in telephone conversations yesterday morning with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Italian Prime Minister Massimo d'Alema.

    He said he had conveyed the above point of view to both leaders, adding that he also underlined to them that the peace process should move forward as quickly as possible.

    The premier said Mr. Schroeder and Mr. d'Alema had agreed with him, adding that he had discerned a desire on their part for the peace process to continue and be concluded soon.

    He added that the war in Yugoslavia may end before the end of the week.

    Mr. Simitis said Greece would contribute to the implementation of any peace agreement to emerge from ongoing efforts, "because we want peace to prevail in the Balkans, which must become a region of development in which these hostilities are set aside".

    On his part, President Stephanopoulos said it would be a pity if certain details were allowed to obstruct the implementation of peace "which in reality has already been attained".

    Gov't spokesman : The government emphasised that only a few issues remained outstanding in talks between NATO and Yugoslavia over a peace agreement for the troubled Kosovo province.

    "The few steps that are left will be taken by both sides towards the signing of a peace agreement, which the Greek government believes will not be long in coming," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters.

    He said that Greece would be present in developments in the region, as it had been since the beginning of the present crisis.

    Asked about the passage of NATO troops through Greek territory, en route to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to join the peacekeeping force, Mr. Reppas said this passage would occur after the international community had taken a decision on peace in the region and on the presence of a peacekeeping force in Kosovo.

    In a related development, Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis said Greece was not about to create problems in the attempt to establish and develop the peacekeeping force in Kosovo.

    Mr. Kranidiotis was responding to reporters' questions after meeting with Spanish European Affairs Minister Ramon de Miguel in Athens.

    The minister said Greece would not allow any vacuum to develop in the eventuality a military agreement over a Serb pullout of Kosovo was forthcoming.

    "We believe this force is imperative as part of the efforts to resolve the problem," he said.

    About 2,000 US marines are docked off the northern Greek coast waiting for a final agreement on the pull-out before they disembark and begin travelling overland to FYROM.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Papadimas on dioxin contamination issue, Greek foodstuffs

    LUXEMBOURG, 09/06/1999 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Health Minister Lambros Papadimas, who participated in the European Union health ministers' council yesterday, said it was a long-term priority to create both European and national mechanisms capable of monitoring hea lth specifications for foodstuffs and animal feed.

    He emphasised the responsibilities of the Belgian government in the recently surfaced problem with dioxins in the food chain, saying what had emerged from the discussion in the Council is that if a country wished to impose additional measures for consumer protection it could do so.

    In an apparent attempt to dispel concerns of Greek consumers, Mr. Papadimas said the danger was not large, as Greek animal farms used local animal feeds which were harmless. He acknowledged, however, that cetrain amounts may have been imported from Belgium and it would be investigated whether they had been consumed.

    Greek authorities on sale of dairy products : The government yesterday reassured consumers that milk and dairy products from Greece and European Union countries, with the exception of Belgium, were safe for consumption.

    "Belgian milk produced from Jan. 15 to June 1 is unfit for consumption. Fresh pasteurised local milk, condensed milk and milk from European Union countries is fit for consumption..." an agriculture ministry official said.

    The ministry yesterday issued a ban on the sale and distribution of Belgian milk and by-products for infants and young children, as well as Belgian processed cereals and foods for infants and young children, and finally, Belgian diet products.

    An announcement from the Greek Pharmaceuticals Organisation said the move was a precautionary measure, as the products had not been checked for dioxin.

    On his part, Agriculture Minister George Anomerities reiterated that Greece had an effective system of checking the safety of foodstuffs.

    "We avoided checking individual packages and withdrew from the market all the products which have been imported from Belgium," he said.

    Delta withdraws Actimel brand : Meanwhile, the dairy firm Delta stressed in a statement that its fresh milk was "100 per cent Greek" and fully checked at each stage of production.

    The company said testing for dioxin contamination by a German laboratory indicated that its fresh milk was "completely clean and that the dioxin content was 25-40 times below the levels permissible and applied by any European country."

    Conversely, it added that the production of Actimel, its only dairy product imported from Belgium, was not linked to any of the farms connected to the dioxin issue and was not included on the list issued by the Belgian government.

    Despite this, Delta said it was ceasing distribution of the product until Greek and EU authorities gave the product the all-clear.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Spanish support for Thessaloniki as headquarters for Balkans aid organisation

    Athens, 09/06/1999 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis held talks in Athens yesterday with Spain's European Affairs Minister Ramon de Miguel, ranging from European Union and foreign policy issues to bilateral relations.

    Earlier, Mr. de Miguel had conveyed a message from Spanish FM Abel Matutes to his Greek counterpart, George Papandreou, confirming Madrid's support for Thessaloniki's bid to become headquarters for a Balkan organisation to be set up within the framework of the Stabilisation Pact.

    Mr. de Miguel told reporters that Spain was not supporting Thessaloniki's bid merely because of the close ties between Madrid and Athens, but because it was convinced Thessaloniki was the best-situated EU city for this purpose.

    One of the main reasons for his visit, the Spanish diplomat said, was to sound out Athens' positions on the Stabilisation Pact.

    Replying to questions, Mr. de Miguel said it would not be possible to secure stabilisation in the Balkans if Yugoslavia was not a party to the relevant efforts.

    Commenting in general on the Yugoslav crisis and the situation in the region, Mr. de Miguel said "no one understands Balkan issues better than Greece".

    Turning to Cyprus, he said Spain fully agreed with Greece that ongoing negotiations for the island republic's accession to the EU should proceed with the participation of the divided island's two communities.

    He said also that the EU should send "a positive message" to Turkey, which in exchange should help reduce tension in Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem, as well as to allow the Turkish Cypriot community to participate in accession negotiations.

    Mr. de Miguel said Spain wished to help Greece, Turkey and Cyprus resolve their problems.

    Mr. Kranidiotis said he had exchanged views with Mr. de Miguel on the Kosovo crisis and the Balkans, adding that the two sides had agreed to continue their close cooperation in building the Europe which both countries desired.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Simitis cites 'negative front' among opposition during Thessaloniki address

    Athens, 09/06/1999 (ANA)

    Continuing his party's campaign for Sunday's Euroelection yesterday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis raised the tones by referring to a "negative front" of the entire opposition against the government, accusing their leaderships of slandering its work witho ut proposing any alternatives and seeking only a change in the political scene.

    Accusing main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis of personally cultivating a sense of insecurity among the public by exploiting violence involving illegal immigrants, he appealed to the people of northern Greece to endorse his government's record in safegurding the country's national interests and public security, while promoting development and social justice. "We said a clear 'No' when we were asked to participate in the bombings (of Kosovo). We steadfastly insisted on peace. We a ssumed initiatives in all directions which bore fruit...We succeeded in retaining Greece as an oasis of security and stability in the Balkans. We maintained a credible position within our alliances. We established respect for Greek national interests in all directions with clear positions and relations with everyone. We are the only country in the Balkans which, being a member of NATO and the European Union and maintaining credible relations with all countries in the Balkans, can have a say in the peace and development of the entire region," he said in a rally address in Thessaloniki.

    "Our government achieved the economic buttressing of the country, while at the same time safeguarding the welfare state. Only we, the PASOK government, increased social spending, when it was being reduced throughout Europe. We reduced the distance from the other countries of Europe in both incomes and social provisions," he said.

    "On Sunday, we are deciding for Europe. Thanks to our steadfast policy which we secure, Greece will be an equal member of the EU on Jan. 1, 2001. We are entering the EU solely on our own efforts, not with petty bargaining and borrowed money, as the opposition is calling for in ignorance," he stressed.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Papariga stresses popular front in pre-election address

    Athens, 09/06/1999 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga stressed yesterday that voting for KKE counts as a "promise and a contract of solidarity", as well as joint action with the working class, poor farmers, small and mid-size entrepreneurs, you th and the movement against war.

    Addressing the party's main election rally at the Pedion tou Areos Square in Athens last night, Ms Papariga said that voting for KKE also counts as a contract against the options of the EU and NATO, which she claimed generate "poverty, unemployment, war and cultural manipulation."

    "The only realistic reply to the present misery being experienced by our people, all of Europe, heightening with the war of conquest against Yugoslavia, is for us to acquire a modern and large patriotic popular front as soon as possible, one which will defend popular rights, the country's sovereign rights and peace in the region, a front which will claim government and power in its course. We should walk together with the movements and the peoples of Europe and stand at the side of the Balkan peoples wh ich are seeing their countries being turned into dangerous protectorates," she said.

    Ms Papariga said that until ballot boxes close, the party's members should be alert to ensure unadulterated voting and "for the Greek people not to allow Greeks to go to Kosovo."

    The rally was also addressed by the head of KKE's Euroticket, Stratis Korakas, and by the candidate Eurodeputies G. Hourmouziadis, Costas Zouraris, Liana Kanelli, Yiannis Pattakis and G. Manousoyiannakis.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Kusturica turns talent toward direction of NATO's bombings

    Athens, 09/06/1999 (ANA)

    Well-known Yugoslav film director Emir Kusturica yesterday stressed in Athens that "art was the only way to deal with the bombings", in reference to NATO's on-going attacks against Yugoslavia.

    The prize-winning director of "Underground" and "Black Cat, White Cat" arrived in Athens from Canada, where he starred in a new movie.

    "The reason I make movies and play music is to show the positive cultural elements of my country, its energy and its capabilities," Mr. Kusturica said.

    "I believe this war (in Yugoslavia) is pure business. As a matter of fact, it is a business that has dragged along people who in 1968 were singing John Lennon's song 'Give Peace a Chance'."

    "No Smoking Band", the director's 12-member musical group and with Mr. Kusturica at the electric guitar, will perform at the Lycabettus theatre tonight for the victims of the war in Yugoslavia in a show entitled "Collateral Damage".

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Greece rates first among EU in traffic-related deaths

    BRUSSELS, 09/06/1999 (ANA - G. Daratos)

    Greece sports the highest rate of traffic accidents among all EU member- states, according to the European Council for Transportation Safety (ESAM).

    ESAM data showed that Greece holds the woeful distinction of first place among traffic-related deaths at 53.3 per cent for every 100 million kilometres travelled in 1997, followed by Portugal and Spain with 44.2 and 37.5 per cent, respectively, while the average EU rate was 15.8 per cent.

    Traffic accidents were the number two cause of deaths throughout the EU, with cancer in first place and cardiovascular disease third, while the possibility of deaths from vehicle accidents were 10 times lower than accidents involving pedestrians and 10 times higher than bus-travel. Motorcycle riders risk accident-related death by some 20 times more than car passengers.

    The safest transportation is by train, while 82 per cent of airplane accidents happen either at take-off or during landing, but medium distance air travel rates are safer than train travel for the same distance.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] WWF warns of imminent ecological catastrophe over earth's warming

    Athens, 09/06/1999 (ANA)

    An announcement by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), on the occasion of World Oceans Day yesterday, stressed that the increase in the earth's temperature is a considerable threat to marine life.

    Plankton, which constitutes the basis of the aquatic food chain, polar bears, walruses, seals, sea lions, penguins, various sea birds and coral reefs are greatly affected by the change in climate, WWF said, adding that the increase in temperatures world wide might constitute the coup de grace for many species already experiencing great pressures due to extensive fishing and the destruction of their preserves.

    "The repercussions from the increase in temperature worldwide, however, are also felt in the Mediterranean," according to a WWF-Hellas official.

    WWF signalled the alarm to all countries in the world, stressing that the more the finding of a solution is delayed, the closer comes the threat of a change in climate.

    Athens News Agency LONDON 09/06/1999 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    The British Committee for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles yesterday organised a seminar in Glascow entitled "The Meaning of Cultural Heritage".

    The seminar, chaired by noted economist and educator Sir Kenneth Alexander, was also addressed by noted journalist and writer Richard Cott, who pointed to what he called the "greed of colonialists, and especially the British". The exquisite Parthenon friezes, dating back to the 5th century BC, were removed from the main temple atop the Acropolis by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] EU sports ministers focus on doping issue

    Athens, 09/06/1999 (ANA)

    European Union sports ministers unanimously accepted a proposal by the Greek delegation for an "Olympic Youth Festival" to be held in Olympia before the Olympic Games.

    The proposal was ratified at an informal conference held in Germany from May 31 to June 2.

    Representatives of governments agreed that a list of forbidden substances and methods should be enacted for all sports everywhere. The existence of a system of relevant penalties which will be valid at international level, the minimum being a two-year expulsion for the first offence, was also considered essential.

    FIFA President Sepp Blatter and UEFA Secretary General Gerard Aigner had an important meeting with the EU's relevant ministers.

    The issues they discussed were the consequences of the Bosman case, relations between UEFA-FIFA and political institutions, and the sale of television and marketing rights, among others.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Greek government on the Internet

    Athens, 09/06/1999 (ANA)

    The Greek government unveiled an Internet site late last week.

    The electronic addresses of the site are: www.kyvernisi.gr www.greece.gov.gr www.hellas.gr www.government.gr

    Information on laws, decrees and services of the Greek state are available.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] EFG Eurobank, Deutsche Bank seek control of Ergobank

    Athens, 09/06/1999 (ANA)

    EFG Eurobank, a member of the Latsis Group, and Deutsche Bank of Germany are jointly seeking a maximum 50.1 percent stake in Ergobank, or a minimum 33.4 percent.

    Deutsche Bank is already a shareholder in EFG Eurobank.

    As part of a series of moves to accomplish the purchase, EFG Eurobank's parent, Consolidated Eurofinance Holdings, yesterday raised its existing 9.41 stake in Ergobank to 15.57 percent through block trades on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The purchase was effected through the acquisition of 2.16 percent of Ergobank's shares through the stock market, and the acquisition of a 4.01 stake by EFG Eurobank.

    Consolidated Eurofinance Holdings and Deutsche Bank own 20.57 percent of Ergobank.

    The EFG Bank Group is offering shareholders of Ergobank 110 shares in EFG Eurobank for 50 held in Ergobank, plus a cash sum of 4,000 drachmas per share.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Budget revenue rises in January-May, outpacing target

    Athens, 09/06/1999 (ANA)

    Budgetary revenue in January-May showed a gain of 213.3 billion drachmas beyond the target, the finance ministry said in a statement yesterday.

    In May, budgetary revenue rose by 12.6 percent against the same month of last year, taking the January-May increase to 12.3 percent, well above the budgetary target of 5.83 percent.

    Revenue from tax offices rose by 13.7 percent in May, and by 14.29 percent in January-May.

    Customs revenue rose by 8.5 percent in May, and by 1.44 percent in the five- month period.

    Value Added Tax revenue lagged by 4.4 percent but rose by 9.21 percent in January-May against the same period of 1998.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Stocks sink again on new brokerage talk

    Athens, 09/06/1999 (ANA)

    Equity prices ended lower yesterday hit by rumours of more securities firms facing liquidity problems.

    The general index ended 1.10 percent lower at 4,053.95 points, off the day's lows of 4,033 points. It started the day 0.78 percent higher.

    Turnover was 335.918 billion drachmas reflecting block trades in Ergobank and Eurobank. A total of 44,026,564 shares changed hands. Ergobank and Ergo Invest were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (-1.09 pct), Leasing (-0.72 pct), Insurance (-0.17 pct), Investment (-0.37 pct), Construction (-2.31 pct), Industrials (-1.28 pct), Miscellaneous (-1.70 pct) and Holding (-0.95 pct). The parallel market index fo r smaller capitalisation stocks ended 0.66 percent lower.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 190 to 96 with another 10 issues unchanged.

    A total of 30 issues ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up, while another four ended at the day's limit down.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 22,000 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 21, 125, Ergobank at 28,700, Ionian Bank at 16,690, Titan Cement at 29,100, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,930, Intracom at 21,800, Minoan Lines at 8,995, Panafon at 8,400 and Hellenic Telecoms at 7,495.

    Bond prices pick up steam in line with Europe : Bond prices in the secondary market gained 15-20 basis points, following other markets in Europe Fuelling bond trade abroad was a recovery by the euro against the dollar, taking institutional investors back into securities.

    Electronic trade was 75 billion drachmas from 45 billion drachmas in the previous session and 60 billion drachmas on Friday.

    The yield spread with German bunds was 164 basis points from 163 basis points in the previous session.

    The ten-year bond was trading at 103.20 to show a yield of 5.85 percent.

    In the foreign currency market, the euro slid against the drachma. At the central bank's daily fix, the euro was set at 323.960 drachmas from 324.130 drachmas in the previous session.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Athens bourse briefly postpones paperless shares

    Athens, 09/06/1999 (ANA)

    The capital markets commission yesterday announced postponement until the end of June of a phased switch to paperless shares of firms listed on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE).

    The commission said the decision was taken to remove complications arising from the switch from paper shares at a time when many companies were holding their annual general shareholders' meetings.

    But market sources said that the underlying reason behind the decision was to halt a phenomenon occurring in the last few days of a number of major brokerages being suspended from trade due to clearing problems in paperless shares.

    The ASE yesterday suspended three brokerages from trading for the same reason - Ergo Securities, P Kontalexis, and K Kontalexis - after the suspension of another five on Monday.

    Sources said that the moves had rekindled talk of shortfalls among brokerages and undermined sentiment in the market.

    Officials of the capital markets commission rejected the rumours. So far, around 90 listed companies' shares have switched to paperless shares. Eight are high capitalisation stocks.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] ALKI's bourse settlement record looks clear, sources say

    Athens, 09/06/1999 (ANA)

    ALKI Securities, a brokerage being investigated for alleged malpractice by a trader in its Thessaloniki branch, has no outstanding business with the Athens bourse's settlement system, monetary authorities said yesterday.

    The sources were speaking off the record before settlement procedures are completed today of ALKI's transactions last Friday, when the alleged malpractice was reported in the media.

    The apparent lack of irregularities in settlement confirms initial enquiries, the sources said.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Gov't repeats pledge to spur defence industry

    Athens, 09/06/1999 (ANA)

    Deputy National Defence Minister Dimitris Apostolakis yesterday repeated the government's promise to boost the domestic defence industry, enabling it to survive amid global competition.

    Mr. Apostolakis was visiting the state-owned PYRKAL arms industry at Hymettus.

    He said that in coming months the government would submit a bill to parliament allowing the transfer of any surplus personnel at PYRKAL to other positions in the public sector.

    Rights stemming from existing jobs would remain intact, he added.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Women's salaries in Greece rank bottom of EU league

    Athens, 09/06/1999 (ANA)

    Salaries for women workers in Greece came rock bottom of a European Union ranking, Eurostat, the EU's statistics service, said yesterday.

    The country's salaries for women in industry totalled 68 percent of the equivalent for men carrying out the same work.

    The average differential was 32 percent in Greece against the EU average of a 14 percent differential.

    The data from Greece covered women in industry. Data for remaining countries was across the board.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 09/06/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: June 8, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             309.514 316.690
    Can.Dollar            210.562 215.444
    Australian Dlr        204.253 208.988
    Pound Sterling        496.595 508.109
    Irish Punt            408.053 417.514
    Pound Cyprus          557.187 570.105
    Pound Malta           728.062 758.398
    Turkish pound (100)     0.068   0.071
    French franc           48.992  50.128
    Swiss franc           202.036 206.720
    Belgian franc           7.967   8.151
    German Mark           164.313 168.123
    Finnish Mark           54.050  55.303
    Dutch Guilder         145.831 149.212
    Danish Kr.             43.247  44.250
    Swedish Kr.            36.085  36.922
    Norwegian Kr.          39.214  40.123
    Austrian Sh.           23.355  23.896
    Italian lira (100)     16.597  16.982
    Yen (100)             254.795 260.703
    Spanish Peseta          1.931   1.976
    Port. Escudo            1.603   1.640
    
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              309.514 316.690
    Montreal              210.562 215.444
    Sydney                204.253 208.988
    London                496.595 508.109
    Dublin                408.053 417.514
    Nicosia               557.187 570.105
    Paris                  48.992  50.128
    Zurich                202.036 206.720
    Brussels                7.967  8.151
    Frankfurt             164.313 168.123
    Helsinki               54.050  55.303
    Amsterdam             145.831 149.212
    Copenhagen             43.247  44.250
    Stockholm              36.085  36.922
    Oslo                   39.214  40.123
    Vienna                 23.355  23.896
    Milan                  16.597  16.982
    Tokyo                 254.795 260.703
    Madrid                  1.931   1.976
    Lisbon                  1.603   1.640
    
    Athens News Agency

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