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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-01-13

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, 13/01/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Central bank cuts interest rates
  • Equities sink 6.21 pct
  • Boat sinks after powerful explosion
  • Gov't denies report on false IMF data
  • Tobacco growers block national road
  • Gov't urges students back to school
  • Six arrested in police drug raid
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Central bank cuts interest rates

The Bank of Greece on Wednesday announced a further reduction of its base interest rates. It reduced interest on two-week deposits from credit institutions by 0.25 percentage points to 12 percent, and its overnight rate to 11.50 percent from 11.60 percent for sums up to 300 billion dr. The central bank further reduced its Lombard rate by two percentage points to 13.50 percent, and the overdraft rate for credit institutions by two percentage points to 20 percent.

Equities sink 6.21pct

Greek equities came under heavy pressure to end sharply lower on the Athens Stock Exchange following a similar trend in international markets. The general index ended 185.13 points, or 6.21 percent lower to 2,798.21, halting a rally which started on December 15 without any intervening significant correction. The Bank of Greece's decision to cut its intervention rate was largely ignored by investors who seemed worried over developments in Brazil and fears of a new financial crisis in Latin America which could severely hurt Wall Street. Also, European stock markets reacted negatively to figures showing that major eurozone economies were heading into recession.

Boat sinks after powerful explosion

A Honduran-flag cruiseship sank early today off the port of Avlis where it was docked for repairs after an explosion ripped its side, causing it to take on water, merchant marine sources said. Initial reports said the explosion, possibly due to an explosive device planted by unknown persons on the left side of the ship, caused a crack from which the "Game Boy" took on water. The Game Boy was docked at the Avlis shipyards for repairs. No further details were given.

Gov't denies report on false IMF data

The government on Wednesday rejected a front-page article in an Athens newspaper claiming that it had supplied the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with false data on the country's trade balance. The article, in today's edition of "Athinaiki", also claimed that the government had delayed briefing the IMF about banks' reserves and that the IMF had initiated certain proceedings against the government for providing false data.

Tobacco growers block national road

Tobacco growers and farmers in the Aetoloakarnania region blocked the Antirrio-Ioannina national road on Wednesday to protest low prices for tobacco and the abolition of a popular local variety. Using farm machinery, tobacco growers and farmers began two road blocks at 10 a.m., one at the Aheloo bridge, near Samari, and the other at Ermitsa, near the town of Aigrinio.

Gov't urges students back to school

The government said on Wednesday that the months-long students' protests against education ministry reforms was waning but that the it would still consider it a problem "even if just one school was not working". "Students must return to their lessons and their return will be neither a concession nor a sign of surrender or meekness... rather it will be a victory for consensus and the future," government spokesman Yannis Nikolaou said. It is unclear how many schools have resumed occupations, as teachers and the education ministry on Tuesday gave conflicting figures, the former claiming 380 and the latter 200.

Six arrested in police drug raid

Six Albanians have been arrested following a lengthy police surveillance operation and are expected to be formally charged on Wednesday after being found in possession of over 1 kilo of heroin and a small quantity of hashish. The six were identified as Constantinos Papas, 24, Esmeralda Papa, 23, Donika Kirdikou, 36, Nikolaos Budai, 16, Florian Budai, 26 and Leonard Prifti, 29, all unemployed. According to police sources, the six had organised the smuggling into Greece of large quantities of heroin from neighbouring Albania, which they then sold to addicts in the Athens area.

WEATHER

Cloudy weather with sunny spells will prevail throughout Greece today with rain in the west of the country. Fog in the morning in mainland Greece. Winds, variable, moderate to strong. Overcast from the afternoon in Athens with temperatures between 10-17C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 5-12C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 279.357 Pound sterling 454.733 Japanese yen (100) 248.446 French franc 48.962 German mark 164.212 Italian lira (100) 16.587 Irish Punt 407.802 Belgian franc 7.962 Finnish mark 54.017 Dutch guilder 145.741 Danish kr. 43.138 Austrian sch. 23.340 Spanish peseta 1.930 Swedish kr. 35.331 Norwegian kr. 37.289 Swiss franc 199.883 Port. Escudo 1.602 Aus. dollar 178.143 Can. dollar 185.246 Cyprus pound 552.266

(M.P.)


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