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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-01-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 04/01/1999 (ANA)


  • Greek stocks surge on euro optimism
  • Ministry: sharp fall in inflation in first half '99
  • Fishermen protest EU directives
  • Papantoniou to speak to foreign press
  • Desecrations, thefts at two cemeteries
  • Tsovolas in Cyprus today
  • Group claims American College explosion
  • OA pilots' work-to-rule strike
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Greek stocks surge on euro optimism

The Greek stock market warmly welcomed the birth of the euro and the start of a new year with equity prices hitting new record highs on the first trading day of 1999. The general index ended a spectacular 6.71 percent higher to 2,921.28 points, surpassing the previous record of 2,825.52 of July 21, 1998. Turnover was 106.8 billion drachmas reflecting strong buying interest by foreign institutional investors for blue chip stocks, particularly banks and industrials.

Ministry: sharp fall in inflation in first half '99

Greek inflation is expected to fall rapidly in the first half of 1999 pushing interest rates substantially lower in the last six months of the year, a national economy ministry report forecast. The report, published on Monday, notes that although significant progress has been made on lowering public deficits in recent years, insurance funds' deficits were holding back fiscal restructuring in the public sector. The report recommended urgent measures to restructure the country's social insurance system.

Fishermen protest EU directives

Fishermen kept their trawlers docked in Greece's second largest port city of Thessaloniki, as part of a natiowide protest against a European Union directive which they claim is detrimental to their interests. The fishermen are protesting Community Directive 1626 limiting the fishing zone and increasing the size of the meshing of fishing nets used by fishermen. Panhellenic Trawler Owners Union vice-president Theodosis Maritsas told the ANA that the Directive prohibits fishing in a zone of three miles from the coasts. The trawler owners are seeking postponement of implementation of the Directive until May 31, when the fishing season ends for trawlers, and immediate commencement of procedures for its amendment or indefinite postponement.

Papantoniou to speak to foreign press

National economy and finance minister Yannos Papantoniou will be the first guest speaker of the Foreign Press Association's 1999 series of luncheons. Papantoniou will address the January 27 event, to be held at the Divani Caravel hotel in Athens, focussing on the Greek economy and recent European developments. He will also answer questions from the floor. The luncheon begins at 1:00, and reservations are on a first come-first served basis.

Desecrations, thefts at two cemeteries

Workers at two cemeteries in the Lagada district of Thessaloniki reported damage to about 200 graves on Monday. Items worth 850,000 drachmas and including bronze crosses, vases, candles and railings were stolen from the Lagada cemetery, they said. Damage to about 200 marble tombstones were noted. At the Lagadikon cemetery, workers said items worth 300,000 drachmas were stolen and about 20 graves damaged.

Tsovolas in Cyprus today

Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas is visiting Cyprus today, in the wake of recent developments over the issue relating to the deployment of Russian S-300 missiles in Crete. Mr. Tsovolas, to be accompanied by his party's press spokesman and Political Secretariat member Manolis Bakopoulos, will hold successive meetings with Cyprus political party leaders and other officials. He will return to Athens tomorrow afternoon.

Group claims American College explosion

An makeshift explosive device exploded at the American College, on Amalias Ave., Syntagma Square, last night causing damage to the building's door, but no injuries. The "Anti-Power Struggle" group claimed responsibility for the incident by phoning radio and television station Sky and daily Athinaiki. An anonymous caller said the act was to protest the government's education reforms programme.

OA pilots' work-to-rule strike

Transport Minister Tassos Mandelis was due to meet with representatives of Olympic Airways pilots on Monday to lift a work-to-rule strike by the pilots which caused problems in flight schedules over the weekend. On Saturday an OA flight from London originally scheduled for Athens via Thessaloniki skipped Thessaloniki, resulting in a two-hour occupation of the aircraft at Hellinikon airport by the 86 passengers who were destined for Thessaloniki. The passengers were eventually talked into leaving the plane by Civil Aviation representatives and were taken to a Glyfada hotel to stay for the night. They flew for Thessaloniki Sunday morning.


The weather today will be overcast with scattered showers likely to turn to snow in the mountainous regions. Athens will be partly cloudy with rain, abating later in the day, and temperatures from 9-13C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 5-8C.


Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 280.309 Pound sterling 464.137 Japanese yen (100) 245.907 French franc 49.866 German mark 167.152 Italian lira (100) 16.895 Irish Punt 415.747 Belgian franc 8.107 Finnish mark 55.006 Dutch guilder 148.418 Danish kr. 43.928 Austrian sch. 23.776 Spanish peseta 1.967 Swedish kr. 34.522 Norwegian kr. 36.831 Swiss franc 203.320 Port. Escudo 1.634 Aus. dollar 171.616 Can. dollar 179.850 Cyprus pound 561.770


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