Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-01-05
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 05/01/1999 (ANA)
- Trawler owners to continue strike
- Tsovolas to seek parliament session on S-300 decision
- Arms detained at port of Thessaloniki
- Kaklamanis expresses concern about Kosovo in talks with Markovic
- Stock market powers ahead, welcomes launch of euro
- Stock closes to be quoted in euros
- Bourse likely to rank as developed market in first quarter
- Simitis underlines 'major effort' for Greek economy in 1999
- Thessaly farmers' groups warn of mobilisations
- OA pilots refuse to work overtime, meeting fails to end crisis
- USS Enterprise docks in Crete
- Arsenis cites extensive damages to occupied schools
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Trawler owners to continue strike
Trawler owners on Tuesday decided to continue to strike in protest against
a European Union directive, following a meeting at Nea Michaniona,
The fishermen are protesting EU Directive 1626 which effectively reduces
the distance from the coast in which fishing is permitted and increases the
mesh size of nets.
At today's meeting, members of the Panhellenic Union of Trawler Owners
decided not to go out fishing today and on Thursday to moor their boats in
protest along the Thessaloniki seafront, as they did on Monday.
The feast of the Ephiphany tomorrow is a national holiday.
On Thursday, the leadership of the Agriculture Ministry is expected to meet
with union representatives. The vice-president of the trawler owners' union,
Theodosis Maritsas, told the ANA that if the meeting ended without result,
the members would step up their labour action, possibly using their vessels
to blockade ports around the country.
Trawler owners claim the provision of the directive stipulating a larger
mesh for nets will result in a 50 per cent reduction in catches, since
smaller fish will slip through, while Turkish trawlers will continue to
catch those fish and channel them to the Greek market.
The Panhellenic Union of Trawler Owners numbers over 190 members who own
approximately 150 trawlers that supply all the fishmarkets of the
Tsovolas to seek parliament session on S-300 decision
Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas said on Tuesday
that he intended to "provoke" a special session of the Greek parliament to
discuss the recent decision announced by Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides
not to install Russian S-300 missiles on the divided island, according to
an ANA despatch from Nicosia.
Tsovolas was speaking to reporters after talks in Nicosia with ruling
Democratic Rally (DHSY) leader Nikos Anastasiades. He arrived on Monday for
a two-day working visit and talks with political party leaders.
"My briefing by the (Cypriot political) parties was very useful because I
intend to provoke a special session of parliament so that we can discuss
this change in position," Tsovolas said.
Clerides announced the decision not to install the S-300 missiles after a
meeting of the Cyprus National Council on December 29. Earlier the same day,
he had held talks in Athens with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
Greece and Cyprus entered into a joint defence pact in 1993.
"We believe in the furthering the joint defence doctrine, because it is the
only way to deal with the Turkish threat and Turkish provocativeness, which
unfortunately is supported by the major powers and international organisations,
which are supposed not to serve the interests of specific countries but
rather to protect international legality and human rights, when they are
violated, as they have been violated to the detriment of Cypriot Hellenism,
" Tsovolas said.
Anastasiades meanwhile told reporters that there was no possibility of
reversing the missile decision.
Referring to the decision itself, Anastasiades spoke of "bitterness" and
Arms detained at port of Thessaloniki
A quantity of arms destined for the NATO multinational force being deployed
in FYROM has been detained in the port of Thessaloniki after a customs
check found the cargo was not accompanied by the necessary shipping
documents, port authority sources said on Tuesday.
The sources said the 18 containers, containing rifles and other light
weaponry, were detained by order of Thessaloniki prosecution office
director Haralambos Vourliotis.
They said the containers were unloaded from a Honduras-flag merchant ship
on New Year's eve and were destined for the NATO multinational protection
force being deployed in FYROM to protect international observers in the
neighbouring Yugoslav province of Kosovo if the need arises.
A customs check revealed that the containers were not accompanied by the
required shipping documents, and the Merchant Marine Ministry, which was
immediately informed, alerted the Thessaloniki Prosecution Office, the
A government official told the ANA that it was "a purely procedural matter,
since the shipping company had not promptly supplied the shipping documents,
which it has said it will do within the next few hours".
Large quantities of military equipment are being shipped to FYROM via
Thessaloniki for the 2000-strong NATO protection force, which is expected
to be fully deployed by mid-January.
Kaklamanis expresses concern about Kosovo in talks with Markovic
Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis on Tuesday expressed the grave
concern of all the peoples of the region concerning the prolonged crisis in
Kosovo during talks in Athens with Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister Ratko
The solution to the problem, Kaklamanis said, must be sought through
peaceful means, chiefly on the initiative of the countries of the region
rather than powers outside the Balkans.
He also stressed the need for the rights to be recognised of the ethnic
minorities of the Serb province of Kosovo, within the framework of respect
for the borders of the Yugoslav Republic.
Markovic briefed Kaklamanis on the latest developments in Kosovo and his
country's positions regarding a just settlement of the problem.
Stock market powers ahead, welcomes launch of euro
The Athens stock market warmly welcomed the birth of the euro and the start
of a new year yesterday with prices posting new record highs on the first
trading day of 1999.
The general index ended a spectacular 6.71 percent higher at 2,921.28
points, breaking the previous record of 2,825.52 points on July 21,
Turnover was 106.8 billion drachmas reflecting strong buying interest by
foreign institutional investors in blue chip stocks, particu-larly banks
and industrials. Sector indices scored major gains.
Banks soared 7.59 percent to break the 6,000 level for the first time
Leasing rose 4.24 percent, Insurance jumped 5.17 percent, Investment surged
6.45 percent, Construction increased 4.67 percent, Industrials soared 6.10
percent, Miscellaneous ended 4.97 percent up and Holding climbed 6.27
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 3.42 percent higher,
and the FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 7.18 percent up at 1,848.01 points.
Broadly, advancers led decliners at 241 to 22 with another 14 issues
National Bank of Greece ended at 68,040 drachmas, Ergobank at 34,992, Alpha
Credit Bank at 31,557, Ionian Bank at 15,900, Hellenic Telecommunications
Organisation at 7,890, Delta Dairy at 4,245, Intracom at 13,770, Titan
Cement at 23,220, Hellenic Petro leum at 2,425 and Minoan Lines at 6,
Stock closes to be quoted in euros
The Athens Stock Exchange will release a daily bulletin of stock closing
prices in euros, as well as in drachmas, market authorities said.
The euro prices will be calculated on the basis of the central bank's daily
fix in the euro versus the drachma.
Bourse likely to rank as developed market in first quarter
The Athens stock market is expected to be upgraded from an emerging to a
developed market in the first quarter of 1999, Capital International/Morgan
Stanley executives told the Athens News Agency yesterday.
Capital International World Indices, an international stock market ratings
company, was the first of its kind to be established. The US investment
bank, Morgan Stanley, bought the rights to its stock market index in
The MSCI index is considered to be the most important market tool for fund
Morgan Stanley forecast at the end of November that Greece would achieve
all five convergence criteria in 1999 that will allow entry into economic
and monetary union.
Greece's participation in the MSCI world stock market index will greatly
benefit the country's economy as it will lead to bigger foreign capital
The basic criteria for Greece's entry into the index of developed markets
are economic growth, anti-inflation policy, shrinking the state's role in
the economy, creating new investment opportunities through privatisation,
transparency and efficiency in domestic financial markets, growth of
liquidity and capitalisation in the stock market, and confidence in the
economy by foreign investors.
Simitis underlines 'major effort' for Greek economy in 1999
Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed yesterday that Greece was embarking
on a "major effort in 1999" and would succeed, in relation to the newly
established 'euro zone' within the European Union.
The premier spoke last night during the annual reception hosted by the
Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) at a downtown Athens
"The new year started impressively, the euro is the single currency of the
countries participating in Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). This is a
historic change," Mr. Simitis said.
He added that for Greece this meant a major change in economic policy, as
well as more investments, more employment and new conditions for development.
Thessaly farmers' groups warn of mobilisations
Farmers` groups in Thessaly, central Greece, yesterday decided to begin a
series of protests in early February.
Protests will begin on Jan. 15 with local rallies at prefectural offices
and Agricultural Bank branches, while some local roads will be blockaded.
Later in the month the groups said they will organise local events to rally
Union leaders also discussed details over an upcoming meeting with
Argiculture Minister George Anomeritis.
OA pilots refuse to work overtime, meeting fails to end crisis
State-owned Olympic Airways' management yesterday announced that it will
begin a new round of meetings with the pilots' union, following the latest
crisis in management-employee relations.
According to reports, both sides met last night at 7 p.m. for the
preliminaries, with Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis present, although
nothing was announced.
Leaders of OA pilots' union want more pilot appointments and are against an
increase of their income tax rate. After the meeting, pilots' representatives
reiterated their refusal to work overtime.
According to sources, the representatives did not put any of their demands
to Mr. Mantelis, instead they listened to the minister's review of the debt-
ridden national carrier's dire financial state.
The pilots' work to rule has created problems for OA services, the most
notable occurring on Saturday night when an OA flight from London,
originally scheduled for landing in Thessaloniki and then Athens, skipped
Thessaloniki and landed directly in the Greek capital.
A delay at London's Heathrow airport led the pilot to decide to fly
directly to Athens so as not to work overtime.
This resulted in a two-hour occupation of the aircraft at Athens airport by
86 passengers who had paid to travel to Thessaloniki.
The passengers were eventually persuaded to leave the aircraft by Civil
Aviation representatives at around 3 a.m. and were taken to a Glyfada
hotel. They flew for Thessaloniki at 7 a.m.
USS Enterprise docks in Crete
The battle group carrier USS Enterprise, one of the biggest warships in the
US navy, arrived at the Souda Bay military base on Crete on Monday.
The Enterprise sailed to Crete after participating in US and British Gulf-
based operations against Iraq last month.
The nuclear-powered attack vessel has an overall length of 370 metres and a
crew of 5,500.
Its four main engines and 8 reactors enable speeds of up to 30 knots.
Arsenis cites extensive damages to occupied schools
Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis yesterday said extensive damages had
been caused in dozens of schools around the country, and especially in
Athens, Thessaloniki and Patra, during occupations by protesting students.
He said that every effort will be made to restore damages before Friday so
as to allow for classes to begin on Monday as scheduled.
Furthermore, he announced that he sent a letter to Union of (public)
Secondary School Teachers (OLME) proposing a meeting on Thursday to discuss
the upgrading of teachers' role.
He added that his office sent copies of a letter to parents through their
Prime Minister Costas Simitis also requested of officials and PASOK cadres
to support the effort to re-open schools, as well as the proposed
Mainly overcast with scattered showers in most parts of Greece today.
Snowfall in the mountainous regions. Winds, variable, moderate to strong,
turning gale force in the Aegean Sea. Athens overcast with temperatures
between 8-13C. Possibility of intermittent rain in Thessaloniki with
temperatures from 4-8C.
Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 275.032
Pound sterling 455.824 Japanese yen (100) 242.455
French franc 49.475 German mark 165.931
Italian lira (100) 16.761 Irish Punt 412.072
Belgian franc 8.045 Finnish mark 54.582
Dutch guilder 147.267 Danish kr. 43.565
Austrian sch. 23.585 Spanish peseta 1.950
Swedish kr. 34.232 Norwegian kr. 36.496
Swiss franc 200.835 Port. Escudo 1.619
Aus. dollar 169.954 Can. dollar 179.512
Cyprus pound 557.504