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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-01-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 07/01/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Bourse slips following profit-taking on Tuesday
  • Gov't presses for schools to open on time tomorrow
  • Gov't dismisses Turkish machination to appropriate Athens FIR
  • Tsovolas calls for Parliament discussion over S-300s
  • Containers filled with NATO force weaponry briefly detained
  • Cyprus interested in mid-range Russian anti-aircraft missiles
  • OA, pilots' talks breakdown
  • Kavala products in Nurnberg
  • Delta to inaugurate Athens-Atlanta route in June
  • 'Amtech' gets underway on Jan. 21
  • Intimidation cited as cause behind attack on SDOE official
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Bourse slips following profit-taking on Tuesday

Greek equities succumbed to a late bout of profit-taking on Tuesday, reversing Monday's spectacular rise on the Athens Stock Exchange.

The general index ended 0.48 percent off to 2,907.14 points, although it recorded gains up to 1.60 percent earlier in the session.

Turnover remained heavy at 97 billion drachmas while volume was 17,197,000 shares.

Sector indices ended lower. Banks fell 0.37 percent, Insurance eased 1.15 percent, Investment dropped 0.48 percent, Construction ended 1.58 percent down, Industrials fell 1.37 percent and Miscellaneous ended 0.14 percent off. Leasing and Holding, however,remained in focus to rise 6.35 and 2.02 percent respectively.

The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.13 percent up.

The FTSE/ASE 20 index fell 0.26 percent to 1,843.21.

Mytilineos, Hellenic Telecoms, Viosol and Hellenic Petroleum were the most heavily traded stocks.

Broadly, decliners led advancers by 159 to 98 with another 17 issues unchanged.

Dimitriadis, Zampa, Fintexport, Kyriakoulis, Kalpinis, Alcar-Aemet, Radio Athina and Britannia scored the biggest percentage gains, hitting the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

Techniki Olympiaki, Sato, Tegopoulos, Athina, Metka, Gnomon, Esha and Macedonian Plastics suffered the heaviest losses.

National Bank of Greece ended at 68,150 drachmas, Ergobank at 35,400, Alpha Credit Bank at 31,600, Ionian Bank at 15,800, Hellenic Telecoms at 7,910, Delta Dairy at 4,100, Intracom at 14,000, Titan Cement at 22,995, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,365 and Minoan Lines at 6,515.

Gov't presses for schools to open on time tomorrow

Prime Minister Costas Simitis has reportedly called for every effort to be made to enable schools to function tomorrow.

Mr. Simitis was speaking at a meeting of PASOK cadres and government officials at a ruling party executive bureau meeting. The meeting included Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis.

Following an assessment of the situation, the view prevailing was that the climate at present is better than what it was before the holidays and reserved optimism was expressed that several schools will open for the new term tomorrow.

However, according to the same reports, it is also believed that the confrontation will probably continue until Jan. 15 when students will be holding a rally.

Cadres attending the meeting said the confrontation does not have motives related to education but solely political ones.

In another development, the board of the Union of Secondary School Teachers (OLME) decided to call two 24-hour strikes on Jan. 21 and 27 during its meeting on Tuesday.

In parallel, the federation has accepted a proposal by Mr. Arsenis for a meeting today to discuss institutional and economic issues.

Gov't dismisses Turkish machination to appropriate Athens FIR

Deputy Defence Minister Dimitris Apostolakis stressed yesterday that another manifestation of Ankara's audacity and exaggeration in the region is evidenced by a recent Turkish foreign ministry announcement regarding flight control within the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) and criticism of Greece's technical ability.

Speaking to a private radio station, Apostolakis, a retired general, said it is "not defined anywhere that the determination of flight information regions (FIR) takes place in accordance with existing means of radars. Entire areas are divided into flight information regions in accordance with existing borders and geographical allocation in general."

Mr. Apostolakis said Turkey always made such efforts because in the Athens FIR there is also, among others, the responsibility for search and rescue in the event of an accident.

Commenting on the issue, he said "supposedly, it can provide information quicker at a time that it is well known that in every air or naval accident in this region, even a Turkish one, Greece has arrived first and has offered its help to save victims."

Turkey claimed the responsibility for air traffic control over the entire Aegean region on Tuesday, criticising Greece for what it called "lacking in its technical responsibility".

In another development, Civil Aviation Service director Dionysis Kalofonos told the private radio station yesterday that as of Feb. 15 the new automated air traffic control system will be fully operational. He said the system will provide fivefold cover age in Greek airspace and its radius will cover Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria from the north, Italy from the west and Crete and the Libyan Sea from the south.

Mr. Kalofonos said that the new automated system is considered the most advanced in Europe, adding that the Turkish system is antiquated and has no relation with automation.

Commenting on delays, he said that for Greece 29 per cent emanate exclusively within August. He added that it is known to all that this is due to the many movements due to the summer period and at the same time to the many crossings of airspace.

"It is noteworthy that real delay reach 17 per cent, considered extremely satisfactory if one considers that France, which has the same system as us, records a delay of 21 per cent and Britain 14 per cent," he said.

Tsovolas calls for Parliament discussion over S-300s

Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas said on Tuesday that he intended to request a special session of Parliament to discuss the recent decision by Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides not to deploy Russian- made S-300 missiles on the divided island.

Mr. Tsovolas was speaking to reporters after talks in Nicosia with ruling Democratic Rally (DHSY) leader Nicos 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," Mr. Tsovolas said.

Mr. Clerides announced his decision not to install the S-300 missiles after a meeting of Cyprus' National Council on Dec. 29. Earlier the same day, he had held talks in Athens with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Greek leadership.

Greece and Cyprus entered into a joint defence doctrine in 1993.

"We believe in promoting further more 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 sup posed 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," Mr, Tsovolas said.

Containers filled with NATO force weaponry briefly detained

Several sea containers filled with weapons and destined for a NATO multinational force being deployed in FYROM were detained in Thessaloniki's port on Tuesd ay after a customs check found that the cargo was not accompanied by the necessary shipping documents.

Port sources said the 18 containers, containing rifles, rockets and other light weaponry, were detained by order of a Thessaloniki prosecutor.

They said the 18 containers were unloaded by a Honduran-flagged merchant ship on New Year's Eve together with other weaponry destined for the NATO multinational "Extraction Force", being deployed in FYROM to conceivably protect OSCE observers in the tro ubled neighbouring Yugoslav province of Kosovo if the need arose.

A customs check revealed that the 18 containers were not accompanied by the required shipping documents, and the merchant marine ministry, which was immediately informed, alerted the Thessaloniki prosecutor's office.

They said the cargo was detained until the sender and recipient were ascertained.

A government official said 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".

Massive quantities of military equipment are being shipped to FYROM via Thessaloniki for the 2,000-man NATO protection force, which is expected to be fully deployed by mid-January.

A ministry announcement later attributed the issue to omission by the shipping company to submit the necessary documentation.

The ministry subsequently set in motion a process for issuing the transit permit, in agreement with the other relevant ministries, and after the company submitted the necessary documentation.

Cyprus interested in mid-range Russian anti-aircraft missiles

Cyprus is reportedly considering the purchase of the Russian-made medium- range "TOR-MI" anti-aircraft missiles, with unofficial talks supposedly already underway.

The report was published in the Russian newspaper "Sivodnia", which cites Cypriot diplomatic sources.

The same press report refers to Cyprus' interest in the Italian-made anti- aircraft system "Aspide", a weapons system rumoured to be on Nicosia's shopping list for the past three years.

An official at the Cypriot embassy in Moscow simply referred to the embassy's standing position of not commenting on defence-related issues for the island republic.

The report comes on the heels of Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides' recent decision to cancel the planned deployment of the Russian-made long-range S- 300 anti-aircraft system on the island republic.

OA, pilots' talks breakdown

Talks on Tuesday between the management of state-run Olympic Airways with the pilots' union failed to end the latest impasse plaguing the debt-ridden national carrier.

OA pilots are refusing to work overtime in order to press their demands, which include the hiring of more flight personnel - a move which has caused cancellations and long delays to domestic and international flights.

An announcement released by OA's management after the talks on Tuesday night said the pilots were now putting forth financial demands that the company could not afford and which, if satisfied, would violate provisions of an ongoing five-year restructuring plan.

Pilots' representatives, meanwhile, described as a "mockery" the proposals put forth by OA management in an effort to resolve the impasse.

National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said in a radio interview on Tuesday that the government was determined to press ahead with plans to find a strategic partner and establish cooperation with the private sector, adding that this was the only solution which could save the national carrier.

Acknowledging that the situation was becoming more difficult, Mr. Papantoniou called for "the active cooperation" of all parties involved and declined to make further statements saying he did not want to "add fuel to the fire."

Kavala products in Nurnberg

Products from Kavala, northern Greece, have made their debut on Nurnberg's market for German consumers and expatriate Greeks living in this major German city.

A trade mission was carried out at the initiative of the Kavala Chamber of Commerce and the Municipal Tourist Development Enterprise, while several of the Kavala products and goods were also given to consumers for advertising reasons.

In addition, a proposal was made to the Kavala Chamber of Commerce to attend the commercial exhibitions taking place in Nurnberg.

Meanwhile, the president of the Greek community in Nurnberg and the president of the "Filos-Protovoulia" society, announced that the twinning of Nurnberg and Kavala is being promoted.

Delta to inaugurate Athens-Atlanta route in June

The US air carrier Delta has announced the commencement of a non-stop route connecting Athens with Atlanta.

The route will begin on June 3 and last until October. Delta already operates a non-stop Athens to New York flight. Four flights weekly to Atlanta are scheduled on MD-11 type passenger jets, featuring 50 'business class' seats and 219 'economy class' se ats.

Both Development Minister Vasso Papandreou and US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns attended the company's press conference on Tuesday announcing the route.

Ms Papandreou said the new route will allow more American tourists to visit Greece. She said the government projected a 10 per cent increase in tourist arrivals from the US in 1999. According to the government, approximately 250,000 American tourists visited Greece in 1998.

Mr. Burns said Delta's initiative exemplified the interest shown by US firms for Greece's economy, adding it was also a "confidence vote" for "the significant steps taken by the Greek government in the economic sector."

'Amtech' gets underway on Jan. 21

The annual US high-tech exhibition "Amtech" will be inaugurated at a downtown Athens hotel on Jan. 21 with the participation of some of the most well-known companies in the informatics and telecoms sector that are active in Greece.

During the exhibition, organised by the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce, events will be held focusing on such issues as modern technological solutions for the financial sector as well as convergence of informatics and telecommunications technologi es in the Greek economy.

The exhibition will last until Jan. 24.

Intimidation cited as cause behind attack on SDOE official

A lone gunman fired four shots into the driver's side door of a vehicle belonging to an economic crimes squad (SDOE) official as he was about to leave his residence in the Agia Paraskevi district early Tuesday morning.

SDOE deputy director Nikos Kokosias, 54, said the assailant was about 25 and had the hood of his raincoat pulled over his head. Police believe the purpose of the attack was intimidation. Mr. Kokosias was unhurt.

Speaking to reporters, SDOE director Panayiotis Stathis said Mr. Kokosias had not dealt with any important case recently but added that the service, which deals primarily with cracking down on smuggling and tax evasion, receives threatening calls freque ntly.

Deputy Finance Minister George Drys visited SDOE's offices later on for a briefing on the attack.

He told SDOE employees that "such actions cannot daunt our spirit nor prevent us from continuing our important work."

WEATHER

Mostly fine weather is forecast throughout the country today, with local cloud in the Cyclades islands and Crete. Athens will be sunny with temperatures between 6-18 C. Fair weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from -1 to 13 C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 272.731 Pound sterling 451.618 Japanese yen (100) 245.580 French franc 49.127 German mark 164.764 Italian lira (100) 16.643 Irish Punt 409.175 Belgian franc 7.988 Finnish mark 54.199 Dutch guilder 146.231 Danish kr. 43.251 Austrian sch. 23.419 Spanish peseta 1.937 Swedish kr. 34.272 Norwegian kr. 36.690 Swiss franc 199.585 Port. Escudo 1.607 Aus. dollar 169.632 Can. dollar 178.560 Cyprus pound 553.536

(C.E.)


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