Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-01-19
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 19/01/1999 (ANA)
- Finnish PM Lipponen touts Athens' efforts towards EMU
- Stocks jump aided by markets abroad
- Athens Chamber launches pilot database on Balkans
- HEPO participation at Yugoslav int'l farm exhibition
- Less bankruptcies reported in 1998 than '97
- Athens: More Aegean tension invented by Turkey
- Greece condemns massacre of unarmed Albanian civilians in Kosovo
- Pangalos begins visit to Bulgaria, Romania
- Greek MPs hopeful of repatriation of Parthenon Marbles
- Gov't says most schools back to normal, pupils'roadblocks persist
- Dimitra Liani-Papandreou charged with felony fraud
- GSEE Internet site
- Albanians given life sentence for British couple's murder
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Finnish PM Lipponen touts Athens' efforts towards EMU
Finland has been impressed by Athens' efforts towards projected Economic
and Monetary Union accession, Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen said in
Mr. Lipponen arrived in Greece on Sunday evening for a two-day visit
expected to focus on European Union issues, developments in the Balkan and
eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus and the course of Turkey's relations with the
Mr. Lipponen was speaking after meeting with his Greek counterpart Costas
Simitis, who said the meeting was constructive and particularly important
in light of Finland's presidency of the European Union in the second half
Greece's progress towards EMU, the allocation of EU funds, 'Agenda 2000'
and continuing talks on EU expansion are all items on the agenda for
Mr. Simitis said Helsinki and Athens were in agreement on the EU funds
He added that Finland faced problems similar to Greece in having many
poorer regions and hoped for Community solidarity for a just distribution
of funds, in line with the economic ability of each country.
He added that Helsinki was supportive of Cyprus's accession efforts and
that expansion was a leading priority for Finland.
Both men also underlined the need for an effective EU presence in foreign
The Finnish prime minister also said problems in relations between Greece
and Turkey should be referred to the International Court of Justice at The
Bilateral relations were at a good level and Mr. Simitis said that distance
was no obstacle to developing trade.
Mr. Lipponen met earlier with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos at midday.
He later met Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos. According to reports, Mr.
Pangalos exchanged views with Mr. Lipponen on developments in the European
Union, since Finland will be assuming the EU's rotating presidency in the
second half of 1999.
C& Athens bourse drafts plan to allow entry by foreign firmsC
The Athens Stock Exchange has drafted proposals on allowing foreign
companies from Europe and the Balkans to enter the market, according to a
report recently given to the national economy ministry.
A bourse committee has proposed that a foreign company seeking listing must
have a sponsor who would be responsible for the company's liabilities in
the domestic market.
The law currently contains no provisions for sponsorship, as in other
European markets, and the committee has suggested that an amendment should
be forwarded to parliament soon.
The report also recommended that the entry prospectus of foreign applicants
should be checked by a domestic lawyer in order to ensure compatability
with the law.
Balance sheets should comply with international accounting standards. At
the same time, checks by domestic certified accountants would act as a
deterrent, the report said.
Stocks jump aided by markets abroad
Equities rallied yesterday helped by a recovery in international markets
following Brazil's decision to devalue its currency last week.
The general index ended 3.61 percent up at 2,987.36 points, off the day's
highs. Turnover was heavy at 117.5 billion drachmas, a record so far in the
new year, on volume of 22,237,000 shares.
Sector indices ended sharply higher.
Banks rose 4.42 percent, Leasing increased 4.20 percent, Insurance ended
4.48 percent up, Investment jumped 5.22 percent, Construction soared 6.81
percent, Industrials ended 1.95 percent higher, Miscellaneous surged 6.38
percent and Holding rose 2.64 pe rcent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 6.62 percent up
while the FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 4.07 percent higher at 1,882.70
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 270 to 10 with another 5 issues
A spectacular 122 shares hit the day's 8.0 percent limit up. Among them
were Attica Bank, Dorian Bank, Bank of Central Greece, Teletypos, Hellenic
Sugar, Aktor, Terna, Dimitriadis, Britannia and Sanyo.
National Bank of Greece ended at 66,850 drachmas, Ergobank at 36,400, Alpha
Credit Bank at 32,000, Ionian Bank at 16,200, Titan Cement at 21,520,
Hellenic Petroleum at 2,360, Intracom at 14,390, Minoan Lines at 7,340,
Panafon at 8,710 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 8,255
Athens Chamber launches pilot database on Balkans
The Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry has launched a computerised
databank on the Balkans on a pilot basis.
In the first phase, the databank will cover Albania, Bulgaria and Romania,
available on the Chamber's Internet address, which is http://pixis.acci.gr.
Information supplied includes financial data on the countries concerned,
updates on the result of privatisation attempts, tenders called in the
private and public sectors, and details of European Union programmes.
HEPO participation at Yugoslav int'l farm exhibition
The Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) will undertake to organise Greece's
participation in the international exhibition "International Agricultural
Fair" to be held in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, on May 17-25.
The products to be displayed at the exhibition are, among others,
foodstuffs, spices, honey, alcoholic drinks, tobacco, cigarettes, tinned
food, seeds and cultivation materials, flowers, packaging and materials for
agricultural products, pesticides and fertilizers, agricultural machinery,
animal fodder and animal medicines.
Applications for participation must be sent to HEPO by Jan. 25.
Less bankruptcies reported in 1998 than '97
The market's image improved in 1998 compared to 1997 since, according to
data by the Union of Greek Banks and publicised yesterday.
Specifically, unpaid bills of exchange decreased by 7.5 per cent in volume
and 2 per cent in value; bounced cheques by 1.5 per cent in volume and 3.9
per cent in value; payment orders by 11 per cent, bankruptcy applications
by 36.3 per cent and declared bankruptcies by 33 per cent.
In 1998 unpaid bills of exchange amounted to 357,155 pieces amounting to
98.6 billion drachmas compared to 385,978 pieces amounting to 100.7 billion
drachmas in 1997. Bouncing cheques were 129,197 pieces worth 263 billion
drachmas last year as against 131,232 pieces worth 253.2 billion drachmas
in 1997. Payment orders totalled 86,504 in 1998 as against 97,182 in 1997.
Bankruptcy applications were 2,212 last year as against 3,477 in 1997.
Declared bankruptcies decreased from 1,299 in 1997 to 871 in 1998.
Athens: More Aegean tension invented by Turkey
The government yesterday accused Turkey of creating tension and seeking a
confrontation, in response to recent criticism by Turkish officials on
Greece's ability to manage and control in the Athens Flight Information
Greece also centred its criticism and pointed to statements by a Turkish
foreign ministry, who more-or-less disputed Greece's sovereignty of rock
islets in the Aegean.
"Turkey is creating escalation and seeking a confrontation," government
spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.
He again suggested that Turkey take recourse in the International Court of
Justice at The Hague, since "Turkey has the problem, let it undertake its
resolution. The roads for its resolution are very specific. Unless it
(Ankara) desires war..."
Asked to comment on opposition criticism of "delay" on the part of the
PASOK government in responding to the latest Turkish provocations, Mr.
Reppas said that "Greece cannot possibly be expected to dance to the tune
of the Turkish government".
Greece condemns massacre of unarmed Albanian civilians in Kosovo
Athens yesterday expressed its disgust and condemnation of a massacre of 45
ethnic Albanian civilians in the troubled Yugoslav province of Kosovo,
saying such acts were detrimental to a defusion of the crisis.
"We hope that those responsible will be arrested and held to account,"
government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.
He said blame for the killings should be laid on both sides and reiterated
that UN Security Council resolutions provided the only framework for a way
out of the crisis.
Pangalos begins visit to Bulgaria, Romania
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, on an official visit to Bulgaria and
Romania today and tomorrow, will hold talks with officials from both
countries on bilateral relations as well as on peace initiatives in SE
Mr. Pangalos is scheduled to meet with his Bulgarian counterpart Mihailova
today to discuss implementation of existing cross-border agreements as well
as bilateral issues such as the situtation in Kosovo and tri-party
cooperation between Greece-Bulgaria and Romania (SECI).
The Greek foreign minister will also meet with Bulgarian President Petar
Stoyanov, Prime Minister Ivan Kostov and the president of the Bulgarian
Parliament Jordan Sokolov.
In Romania, discussions are expected to focus on economic cooperation, as
several Greece-based firms have already made significant investments in the
Greek MPs hopeful of repatriation of Parthenon Marbles
Greek Eurodeputies lobbying for a return of the priceless 5th century BC
Parthenon friezes from Britain said yesterday they were hopeful the issue
could be taken up on a European level.
"The issue of a return of the Parthenon Marbles is no longer a bilateral
issue between Britain and Greece but is now one for the Community and
leaves the Greek government larger possibilities to bring up the issue in
the framework of the European Union, " Left Coalition Eurodeputy Alekos
Alavanos told a news conference on Monday.
On Friday, 339 of 626 European Parliament deputies, or more than half of
the assembly, signed a petition in favour of a return of the Parthenon
The petition says "it would be a timely act which would contribute to our
common European cultural heritage."
It was the third, and first successful, attempt by Greek Eurodeputies to
gather enough signatures for a formal resolution. The other two attempts
occurred in 1994 and 1996.
Greece has been trying for years to secure the return of the marbles,
lifted from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin before Greek independence from
Ottoman rule. Elgin sold them to the British Museum in 1816.
Britain has repeatedly refused Greece's requests, saying they were safer at
the British Museum than in the smog of Athens, despite recently acknowledging
that some damage was caused by cleaning in 1937.
The petition will be sent to the prime ministers of Britain and Greece, the
president of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Leni Fischer and
the president of the European Commission Jacques Santer on Feb. 8.
Gov't says most schools back to normal, pupils'roadblocks persist
The government yesterday claimed that most secondary schools were operating
normally, particularly those in the provinces, underlining the need for a
greater show of responsibility from both teachers and students over the
ongoing nationwide protests.
"...(This would) lead to a start of dialogue on the adjustments and details
which relate to the implementation of the education reforms," government
spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.
Protests and sit-ins have meant many schools around the country have not
opened for classes for weeks. Snap road blocks at various points around
cities and on national roads have caused traffic chaos and drawn the ire of
motorists, leading at times to fisticuffs between protestors and drivers.
Meanwhile, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos reiterated
that students should return to classes and offered to act as an independent
intermediary between the protestors and the government.
He said that the students would one day realise that others were playing
games with them, to their detriment.
However, despite the popular Archbishop's offer, students continued their
tactics of surprise road blocks on major arterials, again causing havoc for
hours on city roads.
A young high school student was hit by a car and injured yesterday during a
road block set up by pupils protesting education ministry reforms.
The accident occurred outside a school that is being occupied in the
northern Athens suburb of Paleo Psyhiko. Police said some 50 students had
blocked the road outside the school and were milling around when the car,
driven by a 47-year-old man, hit the 16-year-old girl.
The driver was arrested. The girl was reported to be in a satisfactory
The day began with a road block by students on central Alexandras Avenue.
Students clashed with passersby and drivers. Another group of students
closed off Vouliagmenis Avenue in the Ilioupolis area.
Dimitra Liani-Papandreou charged with felony fraud
An Athens prosecutor yesterday filed felony fraud charges against Dimitra
Liani-Papandreou, the widow of PASOK founder and former premier Andreas
Papandreou, as well as three other people.
The charges are related to income tax irregularities over the acquisition
of a plot in the posh northern Athens suburb of Ekali. The land was used by
Ms Papandreou and Andreas Papandreou to build a luxury home.
Ms Papandreou's co-defendants are the brothers Aristidis and Sotiris
Loumidis and businessman Yiannis Alexiou.
The prosecutor also filed charges of breach of duty against the head of the
Kifissia tax bureau in the period 1993-1998.
The charges were brought after a lengthy preliminary investigation started
on orders of former Supreme Court chief justice Vassilis Kokkinos, who
acted on the basis of press reports.
GSEE Internet site
The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) as of yesterday has
its own Internet site at www.gsee.gr
Internet users can look up the GSEE page to find information on the history
of the confederation and the labour movement and views of labour unions on
current issues, among others.
Albanians given life sentence for British couple's murder
Two Albanians arrested for the murder of a British couple last year on the
Ionian island of Cephallonia were ea ch sentenced to two life sentences
Lambro Papas and Eduard Elmazai, both 27, also received 11-year sentences,
to run concurrently, for possession and use of weapons.
The two confessed to murdering Judith and Roy Eccles during a break-in on
March 12, 1998. Police arrested them two days after the discovery of the
Roy Eccles, 53, an electrical engineer and his wife Judith, 49, an
accountant, had recently retired to the village of Kaminarata.
According to court records, they told police they stabbed the Britons
repeatedly when the couple woke up and discovered them, before combing the
house for money and credit cards.
Both men told the court they had been under the influence of drugs at the
time of the break-in and murders.
Mostly fair weather will prevail throughout Greece today with low
temperatures and the possibility of light rain in the east and south, the
Cycladic islands and northern Crete. Winds, variable, moderate to strong,
turning gale force in the Aegean Sea. Overcast in Athens with temperatures
between 5-13C. Mostly fair in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 1-
Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 277.125
Pound sterling 458.304 Japanese yen (100) 241.423
French franc 48.921 German mark 164.075
Italian lira (100) 16.573 Irish Punt 407.462
Belgian franc 7.955 Finnish mark 53.972
Dutch guilder 145.619 Danish kr. 43.102
Austrian sch. 23.321 Spanish peseta 1.929
Swedish kr. 35.323 Norwegian kr. 37.152
Swiss franc 199.918 Port. Escudo 1.601
Aus. dollar 175.981 Can. dollar 181.536
Cyprus pound 557.988