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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-06-25

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] Papandreou to reply today to Cem's proposal for combatting terrorism
  • [02] Turks decide to rename 'Seferis Street'
  • [03] Thrace Moslems' rights issue abates
  • [04] FM Papandreou meets opposition party leaders
  • [05] Spain to host next AMAN General Assembly
  • [06] Archbishop of Tirana calls on all religions to cooperate for peace
  • [07] PM Simitis arrives in Buenos Aires to attend Socialist International conference
  • [08] Greek Ambassador to Yugoslavia visits Kosovo
  • [09] Breaders say Greek pork of high quality
  • [10] Claims that Greek foodstuff is safe are 'assumptions', chemists say
  • [11] OSPA to hold 24-hour strike to protest decision on national carrier
  • [12] Greece may adopt U.K. tax measure
  • [13] Athens bourse outlines record on share manipulation controls
  • [14] Stocks rise, fuelled by blue chips
  • [15] Telesis Securities gets Dorian Bank shares
  • [16] State railways to issue eurobond
  • [17] Egnatia, Bank of Central Greece merger going ahead
  • [18] Cyprus cabinet endorses proposal to liberalise air transport
  • [19] Athens Foreign Exchange
  • [20] Archaeologists voice objections to poetry event on Pnyx Hill

  • [01] Papandreou to reply today to Cem's proposal for combatting terrorism

    Athens, 25/06/1999 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou will send a letter of reply to his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem today, concerning the latter's proposal for bilateral cooperation in combatting terrorism.

    The content of the letter was finalised yesterday during a meeting at the foreign ministry.

    According to diplomatic sources, Mr. Papandreou proposes in his letter the start of a dialogue between Greece and Turkey on economic issues, trade cooperation and tourism as well as on issues relating to combatting terrorism and organised crime in general. This dialogue, according to the letter, could lead to the signing of cooperation agreements, either on a bilateral or a multilateral level.

    Mr. Papandreou reiterates in his letter Greece's desire to handle outstanding issues between the two neighbouring countries, through respect of international law and international treaties.

    Meanwhile, diplomatic sources said NATO Secretary General Javier Solana will not be making a statement on the adoption of a summer moratorium in the Aegean (from June 15 to August 15) since Turkey's permanent representative to NATO, Onur Oymen, has reje cted the relevant proposal in a letter to Mr. Solana.

    However, Mr. Oymen mentions in his letter that his country is committed to the implementation of the moratorium.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Turks decide to rename 'Seferis Street'

    ISTANBUL, 25/06/1999 (ANA- A. Abatzis)

    The new municipal council of the town of Urla, in the Izmir area, decided yesterday to rename a street named after Giorgos Seferis, the Greek Nobel Laureate poet.

    The decision was met with protests by artists and some Turkish media.

    "It's a shame for Turkey, not Seferis," wrote the large circulation Hurriyet, while singer and composer Zulfi Livaneli expressed his indignation for such lack of respect towards a poet of worldwide stature, in an article in Sabah.

    Seferis, honoured with the 1963 Nobel Prize for Literature, was born in Izmir in 1890, and as a boy spent summers with his family in Urla, in a house in the street named after him in August last year, in the presence of a numerous Greek delegation and many intellectuals.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Thrace Moslems' rights issue abates

    STRASBOURG, 25/06/1999 (ANA- N. Roussis)

    Turkey's attempt in the Council of Europe to maintain alive the issue of the supposed violation of human rights of Moslem citizens in Greece's northeastern province of Thrace took a setback yesterday during discussion before the Legal Affairs Committee of the organisation's parliamentary assembly.

    The Committee did not adopt a decision, due to the absence of one of the two rapporteurs. The Moldovan rapporteur present, Mr. Solonari, proposed that he visit, unofficially, with his colleague, the area in order to gain a first-hand experience of the situation.

    The Greek delegation said such a visit would be welcome, with a view to putting a formal end to an issue which is essentially closed since the findings of the organisation's Control Committee on the obligations of member-states, which visited Thrace in January 1998.

    Mr. Solonari in his report essentially accepted there was no longer an issue of violation of individual and human rights of Thrace Moslems, in view of the recent abolition of a 1955 legal provision which envisaged the loss of Greek citizenship for any one leaving the country not wishing to return, the economic progress in the area, improved conditions of access of Moslems to education, and the lifting of administrative restrictions regarding the purchase of real estate and the granting of hunting licen ces.

    However, he also noted there was no evidence of an improvement in the participation of members of the minority in the public sector, and there were complaints of obstacles to the circulation of magazines and the reception of television programmes from Turkey.

    The head of the Greek delegation, Sifis Michelogiannis, said the development of the issue was especially discouraging for Turkish diplomacy which aimed to maintain the issue pending, and that Greece had answered all the questions of the Legal Committee and adopted all those measures that rendered such discussions unnecessary.

    "If all minorities in Europe had the rights enjoyed by the Moslems in Thrace, the Council of Europe would have no work to do," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] FM Papandreou meets opposition party leaders

    Athens, 25/06/1999 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday that close cooperation was necessary among all the political parties on issues of foreign policy, adding however that the responsibility lay with the government.

    Mr. Papandreou, who met with Coalition of the Left and Progress (SYN) leader Nicos Constantopoulos in parliament in a round of briefing of opposition party leaders on foreign policy issues, said that the opposition parties could play an important, if not decisive, role in the formulation of foreign policy.

    The minister said he heard Mr. Constantopoulos' positions on regional issues, such as Kosovo, adding that peace was a difficult process while the goal was to stabilise the situation in the Balkans in order to guarantee peace and security in the wider region.

    He said they also discussed Greece's bilateral relations with neighbouring countries, particularly Greek-Turkish relations.

    Mr. Papandreou also said they discussed the reply letter he would send to Turkish Foreign Minister Ismael Cem in which the Turkish FM proposed a bilateral cooperation accord on terrorism.

    According to sources, the reply letter will reject the Turkish proposal.

    Mr. Constantopoulos said the briefing was "positive and useful", adding that he and the foreign minister had a fully informative and substantial discussion on all the issues.

    Mr. Constantopoulos said the region was going through a serious and fragile period, that the environmental architecture was changing rapidly, while there were issues still open, adding that peace in the Balkans was left up in the air since there were el ements of destabilisation, such as the KLA's activity and the issue of the refugees.

    He reiterated SYN's firm position that a foreign policy council should be set up.

    Replying to press questions on a supposed US plan for solving the Cyprus issue reported by Turkish television network MTV, Mr. Papandreou declined comment saying that the Greek government had no official knowledge of such a plan.

    To another question on the prospect of a wave of violence breaking out in Turkey if Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan was sentenced to death, Mr. Papandreou said:

    "I cannot know what the reactions will be inside Turkey on the Kurdish issue. Greece's position, which is that of the European Union, is that a political solution must be advanced for the Kurdish problem and that this is Turkey's opportunity to take advantage of and promote its solution, in a historic manner."

    Meeting with Papariga : Mr. Papandreou yesterday also met with Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Papandreou said there had been a "substan-tial exchange of views" which he described as "useful".

    The focus of the meeting, he added, was the situation in Kosovo, general developments in the Balkans and Greek-Turkish relations.

    Ms. Papariga said the KKE markedly disagreed with the government's policy and criticised the United States for "trying to turn Kosovo into an international protectorate" and "trying to overthrow the government of President Slobodan Milosevic".

    On the issue of terrorism also, Ms. Papariga criticised Washington, charging that the US was trying to interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries.

    "The US or any other country for that matter has no right to judge Greece's internal affairs or whether it has a terrorism problem," Ms. Papariga said.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Spain to host next AMAN General Assembly

    BEIRUT, 25/06/1999 (CNA)

    The Spanish News Agency (EFE) will host the 9th General Assembly of the Alliance of Mediterranean News Agencies (AMAN) in the city of Cordoba in June 2000.

    The proposal by EFE was unanimously accepted by AMAN's 8th General Assembly which ended here yesterday.

    The Tunisian News Agency (TAP) announced its preparedness to organise the 10th General Assembly in June 2001. The news agency hosting the General Assembly exercises the Alliance's presidency for a year.

    The Cyprus News Agency (CNA) handed over the presidency to Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA) on Wednesday.

    The two-day General Assembly concluded its work in Beirut with the ratification of a final communique.

    The Athens News Agency (ANA) was represented by its General Director Andreas Christodoulides. The participants were received by the Lebanese president, prime minister and parliament president yesterday.

    AMAN has 17 full members which are ANA, AA from Turkey, AFP from France, AMI from Mauritania, ANSA from Italy, APS from Algeria, ATA from Albania, CNA from Cyprus, EFE from Spain, JANA from Libya, LUSA from Portugal, MAP from Morocco, MENA from Egypt, NNA from Lebanon, SANA from Syria, TAP from Tunisia and WAFA from Palestine.

    The Federation of Arab News Agencies (FANA) and the International Press Service (IPS) also participated as observers.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Archbishop of Tirana calls on all religions to cooperate for peace

    TIRANA, 25/06/1999 (ANA )

    Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios in a release yesterday called on all religions to work together for peace.

    "With sincerity and with pain, by word and by action, the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Albania has repeatedly expressed its full support to the brothers forced out of Kosovo. At the same time it has persistently proclaimed that the oil of religion sh ould not be used by any side to incite conflict, but to heal wounds and quiet the hearts", the release said.

    "Now, after the end of the hostilities, all religions are called to cooperate for peace and conciliation. Particular respect is required toward all religious symbols and monuments ... A basic precondition for peace and justice, that we all desire in our region, is (to have) above all respect toward everything dedicated to the God of peace and justice", it went on.

    "Blessed are those who at this historical hour, offer sincere love with boldness and self-sacrifice, the only antidote to the unhesitating hate that has been sown in our region, posing a threat which is both immediate and long term, like dangerous radio active energy", the release concluded.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] PM Simitis arrives in Buenos Aires to attend Socialist International conference

    BUENOS AIRES, 25/06/1999 (ANA)

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis arrived in the Argentine capital yesterday, to take part in the two-day conference of the Socialist International.

    The conference will focus on the development of relations between Europe and Latin America, as well as economic aid to South America.

    Mr. Simitis, who is a vice-president of the Socialist International, was due to attend a preparatory dinner for the members of the presidium at 3 am Greek time this morning, after meeting President Carlos Menem.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Greek Ambassador to Yugoslavia visits Kosovo

    BELGRADE, 25/06/1999 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)

    Greek Ambassador to Yugoslavia Panayiotis Vlassopoulos visited Kosovo on Wednesday for talks with local officials and the head of the UN's mission.

    Mr. Vlassopoulos met the President of the Serbs' temporary executive council Zoran Angelkovic, the bishop of Raskas and Prizren Artemios, the head of the UN's mission Sergio de Melo, the members of the Greek humanitarian mission in the frameworek of the FOCUS organisation and visited the Greek peacekeeping force in Urosevac.

    Both Mr. Angelkovic and Bishop Artemios called on the Greek ambassador to help in overcoming problems appearing in Kosovo with the uncontrolled entry of gangs of Albanians from Albania which harm the security of all citizens and ethnic communities in the region. Mr. Vlassopoulos briefed Mr. de Melo on the Serbs' requests, while the head of the UN mission briefed the Greek ambassador on his views concerning the normalisation of the situation.

    Mr. Vlassopoulos called on the Greek soldiers to facilitate the safe departure of the few Serbs remaining in Urosevac who are exposed to attacks by the Albanians. He said that the mission of the Greek force is to provide security for all ethnic groups in the area and expressed hope that necessary conditions for the peaceful cohabitation of all ethnic communities will be created soon.

    Asked by the press to comment on reactions by the Albanians against the Greek military presence in Kosovo, Mr. Vlassopoulos said limited problems will exist at the beginning but the contribution of the Greek force combined with Greek humanitarian aid will eliminate every phenomenon of dispute.

    Mr. Vlassopoulos also visited the town of Nis and inspected work being carried out at the Greek consulate which was seriously damaged by the bombings.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Breaders say Greek pork of high quality

    Athens, 25/06/1999 (ANA)

    The Greek Federation of Pork Breaders Unions yesterday issued a press release noting that Greek pork is of high certified quality, fed in the traditional ways, according to modern scientific standards. The president of the federation noted that soon pork breaders will have their own seal of quality, while he requested of the Greek state to set in place strict controls on the origin of pork meat and consumers to carefully check what they buy.
    Athens News Agency

    [10] Claims that Greek foodstuff is safe are 'assumptions', chemists say

    Athens, 25/06/1999 (ANA)

    Greece should establish a laboratory for the measurement of harmful substances in foodstuffs, members of the country's Chemists' Union (EEX) said yesterday during a press conference. They noted that there are no mechanisms for regular measurements of food stuffs in the country, so as a result the quality of products consumed can not be guaranteed.

    They added that claims characterising Greek products safe, following the discovery of dioxins in Belgian foodstuffs, are "assumptions" and not based on fact.

    The union-members during the press conference requested measurements of toxin levels in foods be made by chemists, possibly with a system now developed in Belgium, if it is proven reliable.

    They noted that the new Belgian system may be able to detect the presence of toxins faster thus allowing the routine sample analysis of all foods, which can contain toxins.

    In a development related to the dioxin contaminated foods, the "New Ecology" movement called the government to make clear its stance against genetically altered agricultural products. The organisation noted that the "Mad Cow" desease, the dioxin contami nated meats and the use of hormones and chemicals in food production and preparation, has shown that food products reaching the consumer are declining in quality and safety.

    The movement also called on consumers not to follow the dietary advice formulated by companies, since dangers to the health of consumers have not yet been quantified.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] OSPA to hold 24-hour strike to protest decision on national carrier

    Athens, 25/06/1999 (ANA)

    The Federation of Civil Aviation Associations (OSPA) said yesterday it would hold a 24-hour strike next Thursday to protest the government's decision to place the management of national carrier Olympic Airways with a foreign firm.

    The decision was taken at an extraordinary general assembly called in the wake of Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mandelis' announcement on Wednesday that British Airways subsidiary Speedwing had been chosen to take over at OA.

    Speedwing is charged with taking the troubled airline into an international alliance in a move to be approved by the government. Under the terms of an agreement in principle, Speedwing has agreed to shape up the airline, which faces chronic financial, operational and labour problems.

    The meeting was held in a tense climate, and accompanied by the walkout of union representatives affiliated with the Communist Party of Greece and the Coalition of the Left and Progress when a Communist proposal for sweeping protests was rejected.

    An OSPA official said that Olympic Airways employees would oppose in every way the "shrinking" or "degradation" of the company and called on the government to guarantee jobs and pay levels for all personnel.

    OSPA said it would seek a meeting with the ministers of transport and national economy, political party leaders, the General Confederation of Workers of Greece to brief them on workers' positions.

    Speedwing, in a statement released yesterday, said that it would provide an experienced team to manage the company, headed by Rod Lynch. The other members of the Speedwing team include Jack Lowe (to date commercial director of British Airways' fleets of Concordes) and Peter White, who has been director of sales at British Airways.

    Government : Acting government spokesman Yiannis Nikolaou said the effort to restructure Olympic Airways is a very serious affair and rejected accusations of lack of transparency in selecting a new manager for the airline.

    "Olympic Airways concerns the employees and the Greek people and its restructuring concerns the government," he said.

    Mr. Nikolaou said international tendering took place for the hiring of a manager and processes were very transparent to avoid any disputing from anyone, adding that the government is interested in the restructuring effort. He called on all involved in the issue to help as best as they can.

    Tourist enterprises : In an announcement, the Federation of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) said the awarding of management to a private (British) company, which has restructured the biggest airline company in the world, probably constitutes the last chance to save Olympic Airways.

    SETE said the problematic state of the national carrier is creating a negative image for the country, underlining that Olympic has failed to support Greek tourism and the national economy.

    SETE called on all parties involved (evidently the employees and opposition parties primarily) to realise the crucial nature of the present situation and contribute to the restructuring effort, brushing aside whatever expediencies.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Greece may adopt U.K. tax measure

    LONDON, 25/06/1999 (ANA/L.Tsirigotakis)

    Deputy Finance Minister George Drys said yesterday that the Greek government may introduce a system of self-assessment by taxpayers, based on a British model.

    Mr. Drys was speaking at the end of an official visit to the U.K to study its tax methods.

    "The system of tax calculation by individuals for their tax returns, a self- clearance system, is highly significant as it will allow us to make the tax system more efficient and transfer to tax control services currently wasted on collecting tax return s," Mr. Drys said.

    "The British made this deep reform two years ago. This is the main chapter of the UK tax system, which we will study with a view to implementation in Greece," Mr. Drys said.

    In October, a team of experts from the British inland revenue department will visit Greece for consultations on adoption of the system by the finance ministry.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Athens bourse outlines record on share manipulation controls

    Athens, 25/06/1999 (ANA)

    The president of the Athens Stock Exchange, Spyros Kouniakis, yesterday outlined the bourse's track record in rooting out share manipulation and insider trading, following the start of a judicial probe this week into allegations that the phenomena were wi despread.

    Mr. Kouniakis told a shareholders' meeting that controls on transactions were instituted for the first time early in 1998.

    Since then, the bourse had investigated 3,674 instances of suspicious movements in share price or volume, including both heavily and lightly traded stocks, and all sectors of the market.

    The figure produced an average of 10 stocks investigated per day, Mr. Kouniakis said.

    The outcome so far was that 62 of the cases appeared to involve share manipulation.

    Of that total, 41 showed signs of a planned attempt to influence the price of stocks, in 12 cases likely short-selling, and in nine, there were signs of insider trading.

    The cases were referred to the capital markets commission, the market's supervisory body, for further investigation and the imposition of fines, Mr. Kouniakis said.

    Fines have been imposed in 15 cases, he added.

    The Athens bourse's net pre-tax profits in 1998 were 10 billion drachmas, tripling earnings in 1997.

    Results in January to April were 6.4 billion drachmas, roughly double the same period last year.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Stocks rise, fuelled by blue chips

    Athens, 25/06/1999 (ANA)

    Equity prices rebounded moderately yesterday, recovering from a two-day decline which pushed the market 2.61 percent down.

    The general index ended 0.73 percent higher at 3,925.95 points. Turnover was 159.103 billion drachmas with 28,466,039 shares changing hands.

    Traders said a wave of orders for blue chips in the banking, leasing and investment sectors lifted the market in the last half hour of trading.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (+0.76 pct), Leasing (+4.17 pct), Insurance (+2.19 pct), Investment (+2.57 pct), Construction (+0.36 pct), Industrials (+0.91 pct), Miscellaneous (-0.64 pct) and Holding (+1.20 pct).

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended 0.12 percent lower while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips rose 0.71 percent to 2,298.81 points.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 146 to 141 with another eight issues unchanged.

    Dorian Bank, Thessaliki and Ergo Invest were the most heavily traded stocks.

    A total of 37 issues ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up, and another six at the day's limit down.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 20,240 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 19, 750, Ergobank at 31,290, Ionian Bank at 16,020, Titan Cement at 27,310, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,735, Intracom at 19,100, Minoan Lines at 5,050, Panafon at 7,255 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,875.

    Sell orders again dominate bond trade : Bond prices in the domestic market fell in the wake of a mass sell-off of bunds in the German market with US institutional investors apparently pulling out of European paper and into US 30-year bonds.

    The effect was milder in Greece as investors abroad had already closed many of their positions.

    Electronic trade totalled 79 billion drachmas from 91 billion drachmas in the previous session and 136 billion drachmas on Tuesday.

    Of yesterday's total, 70 billion drachmas accounted for sell orders. The ten-year bond was trading at 99.95, showing a yield of 6.30 percent, up from 6.21-6.22 percent.

    The yield spread over German bunds was around 174 basis points at the end of the session, down from 180 basis points at the opening.

    At the central bank's daily fix, the euro slipped against the drachma. It was set at 324.400 drachmas from 324.580 drachmas in the previous session.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Telesis Securities gets Dorian Bank shares

    Athens, 25/06/1999 (ANA)

    Telesis Securities yesterday acquired through the Athens Stock Exchange a block of shares in Dorian Bank as part of the acquisition of a majority stake in the bank.

    Telesis bought 2.0 million shares, representing 22.57 percent of Dorian Bank's share capital.

    The brokerage with a consortium of investors plans to gain a controlling majority in the bank through a share capital increase in Dorian to be voted by shareholders on June 30.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] State railways to issue eurobond

    Athens, 25/06/1999 (ANA)

    Hellenic Railways Organisation is to issue a 10-year eurobond worth 254 million euros on June 30 carrying a coupon of 6.30 percent.

    The eurobond's manager is Salomon Smith Barney, a member of Citigroup. It is OSE's first state-guaranteed eurobond.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Egnatia, Bank of Central Greece merger going ahead

    Athens, 25/06/1999 (ANA)

    A merger between Egnatia Bank and Bank of Central Greece is going ahead as planned, Egnatia's chairman, Vasilis Theoharakis told a shareholders' meeting yesterday.

    Under the plan, Egnatia will be absorbed by Bank of Central Greece, with the new bank to emerge to be called Egnatia, headquartered in Thessaloniki.

    Egnatia Bank's earnings in January-May rose by 208.13 percent to 2.7 billion drachmas.

    The Egnatia Group's consolidated profits totalled more than 5.5 billion drachmas in the same period.

    Egnatia focuses on retail banking, consumer credit and transactions via Internet.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Cyprus cabinet endorses proposal to liberalise air transport

    NICOSIA, 25/06/1999 (CNA /ANA)

    The Cypriot cabinet has endorsed a proposal by the Communications and Works Minister to liberalise air transport, Minister Leontios Ierodiakonou announced here yesterday.

    The development comes as a pilots' union of the national carrier, Cyprus Airways, began at midnight on Wednesday a 48-hour strike affecting around 10 thousand passengers and 32 flights.

    The union has also staged a 24-hour strike on Tuesday.

    Mr. Ierodiakonou was speaking after a meeting at the presidential palace with Finance Minister Takis Klerides and President of the Cyprus Airways board, Takis Kyriakides.

    The minister said the cabinet firmly believed that the strike by the Pancyprian Airline Pilots Union (PALPU) was "illegal, contrary to regulations and shows indifference towards the interest of the people."

    Mr. Ierodiakonou said the cabinet had also taken other decisions on the matter and drafted a policy framework, but he refrained from disclosing any details and he explained that "flights were liberalised and this decision will be revoked depending on de velopments", and the pilots' attitude.

    The most profitable Cyprus Airways destinations which the government has stepped in to protect are those to London, Athens and Tel Aviv, Mr. Ierodiakonou said.

    The government's policy "was and will continue to be, if the situation improves, to protect Cyprus Airways. However, if we ascertain that this irresponsible attitude continues, then the decision to go ahead with liberalisation of air transport will be f inalised."

    The PALPU pilots said the strike was inevitable as the company had renaged on an agreement on the way captain vacancies in Eurocypria, the charter subsidiary of Cyprus Airways, should be filled.

    The company said collective agreements signed with unions clearly stated that Eurocypria pilots had priority.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 25/06/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: June 24, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             311.002 318.213
    Can.Dollar            211.276 216.175
    Australian Dlr        204.660 209.405
    Pound Sterling        491.258 502.648
    Irish Punt            408.608 418.082
    Pound Cyprus          556.730 569.638
    Pound Malta           731.561 762.043
    Turkish pound (100)     0.068   0.071
    French franc           49.058  50.196
    Swiss franc           201.431 206.101
    Belgian franc           7.977   8.162
    German Mark           164.536 168.351
    Finnish Mark           54.124  55.378
    Dutch Guilder         146.028 149.414
    Danish Kr.             43.348  44.353
    Swedish Kr.            36.817  37.671
    Norwegian Kr.          39.630  40.549
    Austrian Sh.           23.386  23.929
    Italian lira (100)     16.620  17.005
    Yen (100)             254.865 260.774
    Spanish Peseta          1.934   1.979
    Port. Escudo            1.605   1.642
    
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              311.002 318.213
    Montreal              211.276 216.175
    Sydney                204.660 209.405
    London                491.258 502.648
    Dublin                408.608 418.082
    Nicosia               556.730 569.638
    Paris                  49.058  50.196
    Zurich                201.431 206.101
    Brussels                7.977   8.162
    Frankfurt             164.536 168.351
    Helsinki               54.124  55.378
    Amsterdam             146.028 149.414
    Copenhagen             43.348  44.353
    Stockholm              36.817  37.671
    Oslo                   39.630  40.549
    Vienna                 23.386  23.929
    Milan                  16.620  17.005
    Yen (100)             254.865 260.774
    Madrid                  1.934   1.979
    Lisbon                  1.605   1.642
    
    Athens News Agency

    [20] Archaeologists voice objections to poetry event on Pnyx Hill

    Athens, 25/06/1999 (ANA)

    Archaeologists yesterday voiced objections to a midnight poetry event to be held today on the Pnyx Hill, near the Acropolis, but held off on calling for its cancellation.

    At a late-night meeting on Wednesday of the Central Archaeological Council (KAS), the body which manages the country's archaeological sites and museums, members said that the Pnyx should be reserved only for events related to the celebration of democracy.

    The Pnyx Hill is a rocky outcrop overlooking Athens where assemblies were held in the 5th century BC for oratory and for discussion of political affairs of the city of Athens. It is closely associated with the birth of Athenian democracy.

    Archaelogists have in the past expressed their concern about the wear and tear on ancient monuments and sites caused by a growing number of diverse cultural events held at them. The Pnyx has over the past few years been the site of events ranging from a kite festival to concerts. This year is the first time, however, that the Pnyx Hill is being used for events organised by the Athens summer festival.

    Today's midnight reading of works by Greek poets, which will last to the rising of the sun on Saturday, will be the first of the events planned for the site.

    In past KAS meetings, members have raised concerns about the litter left behind by concert-goers and minor acts of vandalism to sites and monuments.

    KAS approved the use of the Pnyx Hill in early March, on examining the festival programme of events planned for the site but again expressed reservations about possible damage.

    On Wednesday, archaeologist Peppi Lazaridou called for the events at the Pnyx to be stopped. "The situation has reached its limits," she said.

    The culture ministry's director of Pre-historic and Classical Antiquities department Liana Parlama blamed pressure from the Athens Festival organisers and said authorities faced the same situation with allowing the use of other archaeological sites, suc has Epidaurus and the Herod Atticus theatres. Although the council did not take a decision to cancel the events that have already been scheduled, the general feeling at the council was that there was not much of a future for cultural events being held at the site.

    The discussion, however, gave KAS members an opportunity to tackle issues related to the Pnyx Hill, such as the fact that no guard is assigned to the site.

    Athens News Agency

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