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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-01-29

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, 29/01/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • UNESCO initiative decided for return of Parthenon Marbles
  • Domestic, foreign consultants drawn to Athens Olympics tender
  • Equities again hit record high, boosted by blue chip buying
  • National Bank of Greece (London) issues Dr 8.0 bln bond
  • Morgan Stanley Dean Witter sees Jan inflation at 3.6 pct
  • State telecom changes policy on non-payment of bills
  • Record high unemployment in Dec. '98
  • Pangalos opposed to bombings, military intervention in Kosovo
  • Athens conference on Greece-FYROM relations
  • Premier urged to take action in ending education crisis
  • New information bulletins for farmers by ANA, ELYROS
  • Charges filed in New Jersey woman's killing
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

UNESCO initiative decided for return of Parthenon Marbles

An UNESCO committee responsible for "promoting the return of cultural artifacts to their country of origin" yesterday decided the organisation's future initiatives regarding the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

After three days of deliberations, the committee adopted a special recommendation on the issue, which instructs the UNESCO's director general to assume initiatives in the immediate future with a view to bilateral negotiations between Greece and Britain.

It also calls upon the director general to participate, through the specialised consultative organs of the organisation, in all international scientific discussions to take place on the issue of the maintenance of the Parthenon Marbles.

It notes three such conferences in future, one in Washington next month, in the British Museum in November 1999, and in Athens in December 1999.

The UNESCO director general will have the responsibility for informing the Intergovernmental Committee on the results of the negotiations during its next meeting in two years' time.

It may be noted that the Greek and British delegations agreed on the final text after two days of deliberations. Acccording to sources, the inflexibility of the British side was expressed, among other things, through positions that the British Museum is an independent non-governmental organisation, able of making its own decisions.

Commenting on the content of the recommendation, Greek culture ministry officials expressed satisfaction on "the future activation of UNESCO on the issue, and on the fact that bilateral negotiations will, in some way, come under the organisation's auspices, and that they will take place at both ministers' and specialists' level."

Domestic, foreign consultants drawn to Athens Olympics tender

A tender called to find a technical consultant for the 2004 Olympic Games to be hosted in Athens brought 16 bids from Greece and abroad. Athens 2004, the company handling the Olympics, said yesterday that the bids are to be evaluated by a pre-selection committee, and a winner named by the end of April.

The consortiums and individual firms that submitted bids are as follows:

  • Hochtief
  • Bovi/WS Atkins/SGI/SGI
  • Brown & Root
  • Parsons Brinckerhoff Int./Heery Int.
  • Dames & Moore
  • Assman Beraten & Plannen
  • Gibb/Vipetva/Millet-Biosca & Associats
  • Lahmeyer Int./Europroject
  • Sogelerg Ing./Omec
  • Yamakos Architects/Sizemore Floyd Sports Planning Int.
  • Maunsell/Asprofos
  • Aris Hellas Consulting Engineers
  • Parsons Group Int./Hellenic Technical/Tecnicas Reunidas
  • Chesterton Group
  • Specht and Kalleja & Partner/SMV

Equities again hit record high, boosted by blue chip buying

Equities rallied to a new all-time high yesterday, the sixth this year, helped by strong buying interest in blue chips by foreign institutional investors.

The general index ended 1.59 percent higher at 3,093.81 points, reversing an early drop of 1.0 percent. Turnover was 103.514 billion drachmas and volume 19,753,505 shares.

Sector indices scored gains.

Banks rose 1.84 percent, Leasing jumped 2.62 percent, Insurance soared 4.13 percent, Investment fell 0.48 percent, Construction increased 0.59 percent, Industrials ended 1.52 percent up, Miscellaneous ended 2.29 percent higher, but Holding fell 0.32 per cent.

The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.32 percent higher, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 1.68 percent up at 1,961.92 points.

Broadly, advancers led decliners by 140 to 138 with another 15 issues unchanged.

Aegek, Sanyo, Hellenic Telecoms and Mytilineos were the most heavily traded stocks.

Aspis Invest, Papoutsanis, Ideal, Lanacam, Yalco, Loulis, Elfico, Fanco and Orion hit the daily 8.0 percent limit up.

Viosol, Alcar-Aemet, Xylemporia, Mesohoritis, Daring, Anek Lines, ETEBA and Eskimo suffered the heaviest losses.

National Bank of Greece ended at 75,000 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 32, 400, Ergobank at 37,980, Ionian Bank at 15,800, Titan Cement at 23,195, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,305, Intracom at 14,490, Minoan Lines at 7,400, Panafon at 8,950 and Hellenic Telecoms at 8,350.

National Bank of Greece (London) issues Dr 8.0 bln bond

National Bank of Greece's UK operation yesterday launched an eight billion drachma bond in London for Abbey National Plc, rated AA/AA2.

The six-year bond expiring in 2004 has a 7.0 percent coupon for the first two years, and then a six-monthly floating rate based on the six-monthly Euribor plus 12.5 percent.

The issue price is 101.50 with a recommended resale price of 99.90.

The main underwriter and bookrunner is the London-based National Bank of Greece.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter sees Jan inflation at 3.6 pct

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter expects Greek inflation to drop to 3.6 percent, Reuters news agency said yesterday.

The figure was likely to prompt the central bank to cut its money market intervention rate, currently at 12.0 percent, rate by 25 basis points on February 10, it said. The company also said it believed the Bank of Greece would continue to pursue a cautious policy of lowering interest rates, seeking to keep the drachma high against the euro.

State telecom changes policy on non-payment of bills

Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation will no longer cut a customer's telephone line for non-payment of bills, instead barring outgoing calls but allowing incoming calls, an official of the National Telecoms and Post Offices Commission said yesterday.

The measure has been applied on a pilot basis in Patras and will soon be introduced to prefecture capitals around the country.

Record high unemployment in Dec. '98

The Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) yesterday announced that recorded unemployment rose to an all-time high in December 1998, reaching the 10.37 per cent mark.

According to OAED, 306,982 individuals were registered with the organisation, while the total number of those employed in December was more than 2.66 million.

Labour ministry officials, commenting on the report, said the new government policies lead most of the unemployed to register, so as to be eligible for health care benefits and training.

OAED director Costas Eustratoglou said more than three out of four unemployed persons are registered with the agency, while in the past only one of every two were registered.

OAED also noted that 65.762 new hirings were recorded in November, outpacing layoffs (62,639).

The labour ministry expects that a new series of government plans, including the "National Action Plan for Employment", will reduce joblessness by next Spring. personality."

Pangalos opposed to bombings, military intervention in Kosovo

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos opposed military intervention, the bombing in Kosovo as well as a "policy of ultimatums", as he noted, during an interview with a Belgrade-based magazine.

He said Athens' position categorically rules out every form of military presence on the territory of Yugoslavia without agreement with the Yugoslav government.

Mr. Pangalos added that the theory of ultimatums is groundless and leads unavoidably to conflict, adding that Kosovo is not Iraq and with bombings and destruction nothing can be achieved.

"It would be a great mistake if it was expected from Greece, Italy or another European country to send land forces of theirs to occupy a specific region with the purpose of implementing some political solution," he said, and added that every symbolic bo mbing will only produce symbolic results and will lead to the taking of extremist positions, a development which would destabilise the entire region immediately.

Speaking to the magazine 'Nin', Mr. Pangalos expressed opposition to Washington's approach to the Kosovo problem and placed priority on the approach of Europe, saying that it is Europe that is interested in the development of the region more than anyone else.

Mr. Pangalos placed responsibilities on the Yugoslav government. Firstly, for not heeding Greek proposals at the start to the crisis, on stabilising the situation, but accepted proposals by Richard Holbrooke who came to Belgrade with bombing arguments. Secondly, because in connection with the problem it is implementing old-fashioned ideological positions on the non- intervention of foreign forces in domestic affairs.

However, he said that human rights are not a domestic issue but international issues and for this reason those who are murdering in Kosovo must be warned that they will be punished.

Athens conference on Greece-FYROM relations

A two-day conference begins in Athens today, aimed at establishing closer cooperation between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in the economic and cultural sectors.

Invitations to attend the conference, to be held at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have been sent to the leaderships of the ministries of foreign affairs, finance, development and culture.

Also expected to attend is Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, who was officially sworn in yesterday for a second term, and members of the diplomatic corps.

Among the speakers at the conference, which has been organised by the International Scientific Forum, will be former foreign minister Michalis Papaconstantinou, FYROM diplomats and entrepreneurs.

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday welcomed a statement by FYROM Prime Minister Ljupco Georgievski on Wednesday as "being in the right direction."

In a statement to state-run FYROM television, Mr. Georgievski distanced himself from references to a "Slavo-macedonian" minority in Greece's northern province of Macedonia, made by FYROM foreign minister Aleksandr Dimitrov.

Mr. Pangalos, who was speaking to reporters after meeting the newly elected members of the presidium of the ethnic Greek organisation in Albania 'Omonoia' and its President Evangelos Doules, said that both he and the Greek government would be the last to question the right of anyone to self- deter-mination. He said that anyone has the right to speak whichever language he desires and follow whatever religion he wants.

Mr. Pangalos said that there is a Moslem minority of Thrace in Greece just as a Greek minority exists in Albania. But he emphasised that a Slav minority in Greece did not exist, does not exist "and will not exist".

After his talks with the leadership of the ethnic Greek organisation of Albania, Mr. Pangalos stressed the common intention of both sides to work together for the creation of the political, economic and social preconditions which will enable Greeks in Albania to improve their living conditions in the place belonging to them historically and at the same time to contribute towards the democratisation and economic prosperity of the country they live in.

Premier urged to take action in ending education crisis

The National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) has urged the prime minister in a letter to take action to end the crisis in the education sector and, consequently, increasingly frequent student and teachers' protest marches.

ESEE called on students "to stop mimicking sick practices" and return to their "natural environment, which is school".

High school students have held several marches since the beginning of their protests in late November. The marches effectively prevent commuters and shoppers from entering the city centre and are often marked by violence between protesters and police.

"It is unacceptable that the market should freeze, the economy be undermined, traffic be stopped, workers prevented from working....and for Greece to be ridiculed internationally because there is nobody in this country who will accept the responsibility and say 'mea culpa'," the letter said.

ESEE also called on teachers - who declared a 48-hour strike beginning on Thursday to protest the education ministry law - to "play their important role in defusing the tension" and called for a return to normality through "well-intentioned and construc tive dialogue".

Shopkeepers in the city centre said they were exasperated with the marches called by students to protest the education ministry's reforms, saying they were keeping customers away.

Meanwhile, a statement from the "Initiative from Students of Occupied Schools" said that the government and ministry's refusal to back down on revoking the law served only to fan the fires of the protests and make the students more determined to continue.

Marches in Patra and Irakleio were also reported to be fairly peaceful. Reports from Irakleio said the turnout was lower than for previous marches.

New information bulletins for farmers by ANA, ELYROS

New specialised advance information bulletins for farmers were unveiled yesterday at the 15th annual 'Agrotica' exhibition in Thessaloniki.

Agricutlure Minister George Anomeritis and Macedonia-Thrace Minister Yiannis Magriotis attended the event.

The information bulletins are produced by the Athens News Agency (ANA) and the Brussels-based ELYROS firm. They aim at briefing farmers and various farm-related agencies and organisations on European Union and international developments concerning the agriculture sector.

ANA General Director Andreas Christodoulides said the news agency, just as other international and national news agencies, is developing multifaceted activities in areas not covered to date through the utilisation of new technologies.

He added that the ANA is utilising not only news but statistics, specialised information and in-depth analyses.

The ANA bulletins can be sent by regular mail electronic mail (e-mail).

Charges filed in New Jersey woman's killing

A 24-year-old cruiseship junior officer was charged with first degree murder yesterday in the death of his girlfriend, a 31-year-old New Jersey resident reported missing since Jan. 10.

A Kavala prosecutor formally charged Georgios Skiadopoulos with the premeditated murder of Julie Marie Scully, along with charges of desecrating a corpse and false statements to authorities.

According to reports, the American one-time model was murdered by the man, who confessed that he cut up her body into pieces and threw them into a lake near Kavala.

A police source said Skiadopoulos confessed on Tuesday night to the murder. He was taken early Wednesday by police to Kavala, where he took authorities to the site where he buried pieces of the woman's body.

WEATHER

Cloudy weather, rain and storms will prevail throughout Greece today. Snow in the mountainous regions. Winds variable, moderate to strong, turning gale force in the east and south. Rain from the afternoon in Athens with temperatures ranging between 8-14C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 3-8C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 279.308 Pound sterling 460.526 Japanese yen (100) 241.721 French franc 48.663 German mark 163.208 Italian lira (100) 16.486 Irish Punt 405.308 Belgian franc 7.913 Finnish mark 53.687 Dutch guilder 144.849 Danish kr. 42.928 Austrian sch. 23.198 Spanish peseta 1.918 Swedish kr. 35.950 Norwegian kr. 37.349 Swiss franc 197.740 Port. Escudo 1.592 Aus. dollar 174.394 Can. dollar 183.222 Cyprus pound 550.560

(C.E.)


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