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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-11-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Several bilateral agreements signed by Moldova's Lucinschi
  • [02] Budget for 2000 to parliament tomorrow
  • [03] Gov't may take measures to lower inflation
  • [04] Changes for Athens bourse in the pipeline
  • [05] Stocks rally on sentiment
  • [06] SE Europe reconstruction conference begins today
  • [07] Intralot in Yugoslav deal
  • [08] Greek shipping register edges down
  • [09] Vernicos bids in marina tender
  • [10] Minoan Flying Dolphins acquires new vessels
  • [11] Athens Foreign Exchange
  • [12] G. Papandreou contacts with Canadian officials scheduled
  • [13] Simitis in Sofia on Thursday, France on Sunday
  • [14] Avramopoulos in Montreal
  • [15] Simitis to meet with US ambassador today
  • [16] Gov't: Greece ready for any eventuality at upcoming EU summit
  • [17] New UN special adviser on Cyprus named
  • [18] Gov't denies speculation of deal with ND over presidential election
  • [19] Army denies reports of stolen missiles
  • [20] Vartholomeow in Albania today
  • [21] V. Papandreou receives ENAE presidium
  • [22] Timely detection critical in preventing breast cancer: US group
  • [23] Commission programme to combat workplace discrimination
  • [24] Turkish media interest in Kavala, Thassos as tourist destinations
  • [25] Fire reported aboard Super Fast ferry
  • [26] Gov't promises to remove mines after Parliament ratifies agreement

  • [01] Several bilateral agreements signed by Moldova's Lucinschi

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday met visiting Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi and discussed a wide range of political and economic issues.

    Earlier in the day, the two countries signed two partnership agreements aimed to promote bilateral relations in the economic, science, cattle- breeding and technical sectors, and a protocol of cooperation between the two countries' foreign ministries.

    Mr Simitis said that Greece supported the European Union's expansion through a gradual admittance of all European countries, including Moldova.

    He discussed with Moldovan president issues referring to regional countries, east Mediterranean relations, the Cyprus problem and issues relating to the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) pact.

    Mr. Simitis referred to the very successful presence of Greek businesses in Moldova and noted that the only foreign bank in the country was Greek- owned.

    The prime minister said that the government aimed to promote speedier and closer cooperation between bilateral commerce chambers. He stressed that there were prospects for further cooperation, particularly in the cultural sector.

    Mr. Simitis said that Greece was seeking to strengthen its presence in eastern Europe and the Moldovan president's visit promoted this goal.

    Answering to a Moldovan journalist's question on Greece's stance towards a demand to withdraw all Russian weapons from Moldova's territory, Mr. Simitis said: "We support an EU approach for the withdrawal of weapons and we believe that foreign troops should not be stationed in another country without its consent".

    Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi praised the Greek stance on his country's demand for closer relations with the EU and noted that Greece was the only EU member-state to closely cooperate with Black Sea region states.

    Mr. Lucinschi said that following Moldova's independence in 1991, Greek businesses were the first to enter the country. A total of 41 joint ventures and one Greek-owned bank operate today in Moldova.

    Mr. Lucinschi invited the Greek premier to visit Moldova and said that Mr. Simitis replied that he will do so after next year's general elections.

    President Lucinschi arrived in Athens yesterday on a two-day state visit and talks with the Greek government leadership.

    Mr. Lucinschi, who is heading a delegation of Moldovan businessmen, kicked off talks here with a meeting in the morning with President Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    After Mr. Stephanopoulos and Mr. Lusinschi's meeting, Greece and Moldova signed a protocol of cooperation between the two countries' foreign ministries as well as to cooperation agreements in the agricultural sector, involving economic, technical and technological cooperation in the foodstuffs and animal feed sectors.

    Taking part in the talks were the ministers of telecommunications and transport, labour, agriculture and the deputy ministers of foreign affairs, environment and national economy.

    Mr. Lucinschi invited Greek businesses to become more actively involved in his country and said the Greek presence in the Moldovan market could be strengthened.

    President Stephanopoulos, underlining that Moldova and Greece had no political differences, said that Athens would support the country in its efforts to join European bodies.

    There was agreement on a range of European issues, Mr. Lucinschi said after his talks with the Greek president.

    Mr. Lucinschi called on Greek businessmen to invest in Moldova, during an address at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA).

    He said that the economy of his country has already begun to recover, adding that the country's turn toward a free market system through privatisations and deregulations on price controls was a proof of Moldova's course in line with international economic models.

    Mr. Lucinschi said that the sectors of technology, tourism, agriculture, telecommunications, transport, construction, pharmaceuticals and banking present opportunities to businessmen wanting to enter the Moldovan economy.

    On their part, EBEA officials said that the 1998 trade between Greece and Moldova totalled 17 million dollars, adding that despite the fact that this amount was considerable for the size of that country, there was still room for growth.

    Later in the day Mr. Lucinschi met with Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos and Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas and discussed bilateral relations.

    Stephanopoulos : President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos referred, among others, to Greek-Turkish relations and the situation in the Balkans in an address to his Moldovan counterpart Mr. Lucinschi, during a dinner he gave in his honour yesterday.

    Commenting on the war in Kosovo, Mr. Stephanopoulos said it was a "particularly harsh moment for all countries in the region, it cost all of us materially and morally injured our convictions which should be consolidated again on stable foundations. However, at the same time it promoted feelings, abilities and possibilities which, through the crisis, I believe strengthened the role of Greece in the region."

    Mr. Stephanopoulos thanked Mr. Lucinschi for his understanding and his position regarding the Cyprus issue and reiterated that Athens desires sincere relations of friendship and good neighbourliness with Ankara with the "immediate, mass and substantial aid" Greece offered to Turkey after the killer earthquake which struck the neighbouring country being an irrefutable witness. He also said Greece attributes particular importance on respect for the human rights of the Greek minority in Albania and added t hat "we look forward to an improvement in our relations with the Republic of Skopje, without this meaning that we are prepared to accept the distortion of our history and the questioning of our cultural heritage."

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Budget for 2000 to parliament tomorrow

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    The government is to submit its budget for 2000 to parliament tomorrow, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou announced.

    The minister also told reporters yesterday that he rejected weekend press reports of changes in the government's fiscal and foreign exchange policies, repeating that Greece was moving steadily towards euro zone entry. He was speaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis on the budget and progress made towards convergence targets.

    Mr. Papantoniou repeated that in March the government would submit to the European Commission its application for euro zone entry.

    An EU summit in Lisbon on June 19 is to decide whether or not the country will qualify to join the euro.

    The minister urged all businesses to take part in a concerted effort to lower inflation, adding that the country's EU harmonised consumer price index was moving at 1.5-1.7 percent, which was in line with the euro zone target.

    "I want to deny weekend press reports of the possibility of further fiscal action to contain inflation. We are not going to take any new fiscal or tax measures," he said. At the same time, steps were likely to be taken to increase the supply of fruit and vegetables in order to contain rising prices that have placed pressure on the national consumer price index.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Gov't may take measures to lower inflation

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos said yesterday that the government was ready to take new measures if inflationary pressures grew.

    Although inflation was declining year-on-year, Mr. Venizelos said that contingency measures had been prepared to ensure that euro zone entry targets were met.

    If applied, the measures would benefit the public by increasing purchasing power and incomes, he added.

    Mr. Venizelos said that price volatility in fruit and vegetables and liquid fuel, excluded from core inflation, were causing the most problems in the government's anti-inflation drive.

    Earlier in the day, the minister had chaired a meeting with officials of the National Statistics Service and national economy and development ministries.

    Athens Newss Agency

    [04] Changes for Athens bourse in the pipeline

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday chaired a meeting with the chairman of the Athens Stock Exchange, Spyros Kouniakis, and the Capital Markets Commission chairman, Stavros Thomadakis, to discuss changes in the ASE's operation, including extending trading hours and daily price fluctuation limits, and the transformation of stocks into paperless form. Mr. Kouniakis told reporters that the officials discussed the issues in general with no decisions taken, and that another meeting was required to arrive at final decisions.
    Athens News Agency

    [05] Stocks rally on sentiment

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    Equity prices rebounded strongly yesterday helped by major rises in international markets and confidence in the domestic economy.

    The general index ended 3.46 percent higher at 5,630.27 points, near the day's highs. Turnover was a moderate 258 billion drachmas.

    Traders said the market moved steadily higher during the session in contrast with the previous week's wide fluctuations.

    Shares in the Industrials and Banking sectors attracted heavy demand pushing the two indices 5.55 and 3.70 percent higher respectively.

    Other sector indices ended as follows: Leasing (+1.21 pct), Insurance (+1.54 pct), Investment (+0.10 pct), Construction (+2.49 pct), Miscellaneous (+2.42 pct) and Holding (+0.46 pct).

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks jumped 5.48 percent higher, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks soared 3.17 percent to 2,868.04 points.

    Broadly, advances led declines by 257 to 41 with another 22 issues unchanged.

    A total of 50 shares ended at the day's limit up, while Macedonian Spinning Mills (common), Hellatex and Vis (pref) ended at the day's limit down.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 22,980 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 24, 990, Commercial Bank at 24,390, Titan Cement (common) at 37,584, Hellenic Petroleum at 5,135, Intracom at 14,900, Minoan Lines at 9,950, Panafon at 4, 090 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,775.

    Bonds nose down, drachma jumps : Secondary market bond prices edged down, shedding 20-30 basis points in light trade.

    The benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.93 percent from 6.97 percent in the previous session, taking the yield spread over German bunds to 181 basis points from 178 basis points a session earlier.

    Electronic trade was slim at 34 billion drachmas from 30 billion drachmas on Friday.

    In the foreign exchange market, demand for drachmas was heavy on rumours of an impending adjustment of the currency's central parity in the European Union's exchange rate mechanism II.

    The demand drove up the drachma against both the euro and the US dollar.

    At the central bank's daily fix, the euro was set at 329.620 drachmas from 330.050 drachmas in the previous session. The US dollar was set at 311.590 drachmas from 316.040 drachmas a session earlier.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] SE Europe reconstruction conference begins today

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    A two-day international conference on the reconstruction of southeastern Europe starts in Thessaloniki today at the Ioannis Vellidis conference centre.

    Bodo Hombach, the Stability Pact coordinator, will address the conference with politicians and businessmen expecting to hear concrete pledges on the reconstruction of Balkan countries, many of which urgently need financial help in the aftermath of civil clashes, NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia, and difficulties in adapting to a free market economy.

    US ambassador to Greece Nicolas Burns will address the conference, highlighting the American role in promoting financial help towards the region, which US President Bill Clinton is due to visit shortly.

    Also to attend the conference is a Turkish business delegation, led by ENKA Group chairman Sarik Tara. Turkish businessmen had failed to attend an annual business forum held by the Northern Greek Industrialists Association, co-organisers of the curre nt conference, earlier in the year due to tension in Greek-Turkish relations as a result of the Ocalan affair.

    Montenegran President Milo Djuganovic and Albanian Socialist Party chairman Fatos Nano will also address the conference.

    Finally, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou is to detail a Greek plan for reconstruction of the Balkans.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Intralot in Yugoslav deal

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    Intralot, a member of the Intracom Group, yesterday announced that it had formed an alliance with Lutrija Beograde, a games of chance company.

    Intralot will help the Belgrade based firm to upgrade its operations and expand throughout Serbia.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Greek shipping register edges down

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    The Greek merchant marine fleet fell slightly in October, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday.

    Six new ships totalling 165,866 dwt entered the Greek shipping register last month, while 10 ships totalling 415,421 dwt departed.

    In the first 10 months of the year, 84 ships left and 76 joined the country's shipping register.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Vernicos bids in marina tender

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    Vernicos Yachts SA, which is listed on the Athens bourse, is jointly bidding in tenders for the construction and operation of three marinas in Pylos, Chios and Samos. The company has also shown interest in building a marina on the island of Lefkada, and has contracts for the construction marinas in Port Rafti (Attica) and the island of Skiathos.
    Athens News Agency

    [10] Minoan Flying Dolphins acquires new vessels

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    Minoan Flying Dolphins yesterday announced the purchase, for an undisclosed sum, of five ferries to ply the Saronic Gulf from Piraeus to Aegina, Methana, Hydra, Poros and Spetses.

    The new ships - the Nepheli, Georgios, Saronikos, Eftihia and Express Danae - can carry around 800,000 passengers and 100,000 vehicles annually and are expected to show a combined turnover of two billion drachmas.

    Minoan Flying Dolphins expects to raise its annual passenger traffic to two million through the purchase.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: November 1, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             309.097 316.264
    Can.Dollar            210.185 215.058
    Australian Dlr        197.289 201.863
    Pound Sterling        509.531 521.345
    Irish Punt            415.183 424.809
    Pound Cyprus          566.432 579.565
    Pound Malta           733.643 764.211
    Turkish pound (100)     0.061   0.064
    French franc           49.848  51.004
    Swiss franc           203.796 208.522
    Belgian franc           8.106   8.294
    German Mark           167.184 171.060
    Finnish Mark           54.994  56.270
    Dutch Guilder         148.378 151.819
    Danish Kr.             43.989  45.009
    Swedish Kr.            37.638  38.511
    Norwegian Kr.          39.561  40.478
    Austrian Sh.           23.762  24.313
    Italian lira (100)     16.887  17.278
    Yen (100)             296.043 302.906
    Spanish Peseta          1.965   2.011
    Port. Escudo            1.631   1.669
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              309.097 316.264
    Montreal              210.185 215.058
    Sydney                197.289 201.863
    London                509.531 521.345
    Dublin                415.183 424.809
    Nicosia               566.432 579.565
    Paris                  49.848  51.004
    Zurich                203.796 208.522
    Brussels                8.106   8.294
    Frankfurt             167.184 171.060
    Helsinki               54.994  56.270
    Amsterdam             148.378 151.819
    Copenhagen             43.989  45.009
    Stockholm              37.638  38.511
    Oslo                   39.561  40.478
    Vienna                 23.762  24.313
    Milan                  16.887  17.278
    Tokyo                 296.043 302.906
    Madrid                  1.965   2.011
    Lisbon                  1.631   1.669
    Athens News Agency

    [12] G. Papandreou contacts with Canadian officials scheduled

    TORONTO, 02/11/1999 (ANA/G. Angelopoulos)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou meets today in Ottawa with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and tomorrow with Canadian FM Lloyd Axworthy.

    During an official four-day visit to the North American country, Mr. Papandreou will brief Canadian officials on the Cyprus issue and the latest developments in Greek-Turkish relations.

    He will also exchange views with Canadian officials on developments in the Balkans, particularly Kosovo and Bosnia, given that Canada has sent military contingents to the UN-led international peace-keeping forces in the region.

    They will also discuss relations between Greece and Canada, as well as the two countries' cooperation in international peace-keeping missions.

    Mr. Papandreou will wind up the visit tomorrow with the signing of a bilateral agreement on the mutual extradition of outlaws, and a memorandum of cooperation on sports issues. Mr. Axworthy will sign the accords on behalf of the Canadian government.

    Mr. Papandreou kicked off his Canadian visit on Sunday in Toronto. The Greek foreign minister was warmly received in Toronto by the Greek-Canadian community, whom he briefed on Greece's initiatives aimed at regional and world-wide stability.

    Greece, he said, had evolved into a substantial and efficient force of friendship, peace and cooperation in the region of the Balkans and Europe in general.

    Mr. Papandreou will travel to Montreal today for talks with the local Greek community before heading for Ottawa.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Simitis in Sofia on Thursday, France on Sunday

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will chair a Cabinet meeting tomorrow, expected to focus on the 2000 budget, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    On Thursday, Mr. Simitis will leave for Bulgaria, where he is to attend a meeting with the Bulgarian and Romanian prime ministers, the spokesman added.

    Finally, the Greek PM leaves for France on Sunday to attend a summit meeting of the Socialist International.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Avramopoulos in Montreal

    MONTREAL, 02/11/1999 (ANA - I. Frangouli)

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos spoke at the Greek community centre here on the occasion of the October 28 national holiday.

    Mr. Avramopoulos visited Montreal at the invitation of the ethnic Greek community.

    "We should establish a Greece of the third millennium with responsibility, credibility and dignity," he said.

    On Saturday, Mr. Avramopoulos inaugurated the Park of the Athenians in the city.

    Postal savings banks of SE Europe yesterday signed an agreement to form a union.

    Representatives of such institutions from Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and Romania signed the agreement, aimed at promoting a more dynamic presence in the International Postal Savings Banks Institute.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Simitis to meet with US ambassador today

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will receive US ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns at 10 a.m. today at his office, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

    Mr. Reppas said the meeting was being held on the request of the US ambassador and would discuss issues related to preparations for the Nov. 13- 15 visit to Greece by US President Bill Clinton.

    He also told reporters that the programme for Mr. Clinton's visit had yet to be finalised.

    Opposition to visit : Meanwhile, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga yesterday claimed that Mr. Clinton "is coming to Greece to demand that classified agreements with the Greek government become official."

    In an interview with the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia", she said agreements regard "the consolidation of US sovereignty in the Aegean and the perpetuation of the dispute of Greek borders."

    In addition, US policy in the Balkans is expected to draw a variety of protests and demonstrations before and during Mr. Clinton's visit. According to a statement from several groups, including the Greek Committee for International Detente and Peace , the Actors Guild, the Greek Writers' Society and the Union of National Resistance Fighters, a "people's court" will be held to "try" Mr. Clinton and US policy in the Balkans at a demonstration scheduled for Nov. 8 in central Syntagma Square.

    A rally and protest march will also be held on Nov. 13, the day Mr. Clinton and his entourage arrive.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Gov't: Greece ready for any eventuality at upcoming EU summit

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greece is ready for all eventualities at the upcoming EU summit in Helsinki, the government stressed yesterday in response to the latest criticism from a former FM Theodoros Pangalos.

    Mr. Pangalos was quoted in a press article over the weekend as saying that Athens would find itself unprepared for the summit due to the foreign policy direction it had taken of late. "With national interest as the standard, Greece is ready for the EU summit at Helsinki for a yes or for a no," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

    He added that the government's policy had already brought positive results, such as an improvement in the climate governing Greek-Turkish relations.

    On his part, Mr. Pangalos cited "a nasty surprise" in Helsinki in regard to whether Turkey would be placed on a list of European Union candidate countries.

    He has also been publicly critical of the choices made by his successor, George Papandreou, in the field of the country's foreign policy and relations with Turkey.

    "We stand by our positions," Mr. Reppas said, denying that the Helsinki summit would be a surprise for the government.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] New UN special adviser on Cyprus named

    NEW YORK, 02/11/1999 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan yesterday informed the Security Council of his intention to designate Alvaro de Soto as his special adviser on the Cyprus problem. Mr. de Soto will hold the rank of under-secretary general, while early next year Mr. Annan intends to appoint him as his special representative and chief of the UN mission in Cyprus.

    Meanwhile, James Holger remains in Nicosia as the acting special representative and chief of the UN mission in Cyprus.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Gov't denies speculation of deal with ND over presidential election

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    The government yesterday denied rumours that it was considering a deal with main opposition New Democracy party (ND) which would avert early elections in March, when Parliament votes on a president.

    "The government wants this Parliament to elect a president of the republic and believes this is possible," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

    "The prime minister himself has said it repeatedly. The government's mandate will be completed in September 2000."

    He also categorically denied that early elections or a change in the electoral law were being considered.

    Mr. Reppas was responding to reporters' questions in relation to comments by Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, in an interview published over the weekend, in which there could be a party compromise over the re-election of President Kostis Stephanopo ulos and the holding of elections in June. Ruling PASOK has said that it will support Mr. Stephanopoulos for a second term in office but main opposition New Democracy has yet to reveal whether it will throw its support behind Mr. Stephanopoulos.

    Under the Constitution, if Parliament cannot elect a president, the assembly is dissolved and national elections held. The ruling party falls short of the number of votes in Parliament needed to re-elect Mr. Stephanopoulos.

    Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos, speaking on Sunday, also rejected the scenarios vis-a-vis a compromise, saying the ruling party "could not play with the (political) institutions".

    "PASOK is not bartering over the election of a president of the republic because it does not barter over institutions," he said.

    In a response yesterday, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said if "some people attempt to obstruct the expression of views, dialogue and proposals to aid in the re- election by the current Parliament of President Stephanopoulos they are left exposed; unfortunately, th ey are in danger of ridiculing PASOK as supposedly not preferring early elections over the election of the president of the republic."

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Army denies reports of stolen missiles

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Army general staff yesterday issued a statement categorically denying a press report that five light anti-tank missiles had been stolen from an army base on the island of Kos.

    "Today's press report is completely untrue," the statement read. Following a probe, the allegedly stolen missiles were, in fact, used in a training exercise and had not been processed as used.

    A representative of the general staff clarified to reporters that the particular missile type was able to be used only once and that the cyclinder used to launch the rocket, identified as 'LAW' missiles, could not be used or adapted for other purposes.

    The Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) yesterday announced that it will organise the Greek participation in next year's "Prowein 2000" internatinal wine exhibition in Dčsseldorf.

    The March exhibition is considered the largest of its kind in Germany, featuring more than 2,000 exhibitors from 30 countries.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Vartholomeow in Albania today

    ISTANBUL, 02/11/1999 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos will commence an official visit to the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Albania today.

    According to an announcement by the Patriachate, Vartholomeos will hold talks with the Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios on issues of mutual interest and issues concerning all the Orthodox Church. Apart from Tirana, the Patriarch will also be visiting Berati, Korce and Gjirokaster.

    Accompanied by Anastasios, Patriarch Vartholomeos will meet Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani, Parliament President Skeder Ginusi and the leaders of Christian denominations and other official religions of Albania.

    US ambassador to Ankara : In an unrelated development, Vartholomeos yesterday received the US ambassador to Ankara Mark Paris immediately after the former's return from an official visit to Romania.

    An announcement issued at the Patriarchate did not mention the reason of the US ambassador's visit. During the Patriarch's tour of countries along the Danube, the Turkish press referred to "ideas" which could secure the reopening of the Academy of Theology at Halki.

    The issue of Halki had also been raised with the Turkish leadership by US President Bill Clinton, who will visit Istanbul to participate in the OSCE summit and will make an official visit to Ankara.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] V. Papandreou receives ENAE presidium

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday received Union of Prefectural Administrations of Greece (ENAE) president Theodoros Katrivanos as well as members of the organisation's presidium.

    Ms Papandreou told prefects that the government will allocate an additional nine billion drachmas to prefectural administrations, while regular government funding will increase to 23 billion drachmas, compared to 20 billion last year.

    ENAE members requested that the government return to prefectures all responsibilities for public works projects within their limits, which were taken away by a 1994 law.

    On her part, Ms Papandreou requested of prefects to upgrade services rendered to citizens.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Timely detection critical in preventing breast cancer: US group

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    Representatives of a US breast cancer prevention group said yesterday that timely detection of breast cancer were critical factors in stopping the growing incidence of the disease.

    Speaking in Athens, representatives of the newly established Greek branch of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation said it would begin funding an information campaign targeted towards Greek women, where breast cancer deaths were second only to lung cancer deaths.

    Breast cancer affects about 4,500 women in Greece each year, although only 15 per cent of breast cancer cases in Greece are detected in the initial stage, compared to 50 per cent in the United States. Self-examination for tumours can significantly bring down the incidence of breast cancer.

    Founded in 1980 by Nancy Brinker, who lost her sister Susan Komen to the disease, the foundation has been working to inform women in the US about the disease for the past 17 years.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Commission programme to combat workplace discrimination

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    The European Commission is already scheduling an interesting European Union initiative, known as 'Equal', concerning cooperation among 15 EU member- states on combatting discrimination in the workplace, following a proposal by Greek Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou.

    According to reports, funding for the initiative is secured by the European Social Fund with 2,847 million euro for the 2000-2006 period. The Commission will have the initiative finally ratified in early 2000 to enable the first invitation for plans to be submitted at the end of 2000.

    The Equal initiative is parallel to the EU initiatives Employment and Adapt. However, it is more integrated with a new dimension: it is structured with partnership relations of development on a geographical or sectoral basis and functions with a structu re based on the four pylons of European strategy for employment.

    These partnership relations, in which public, private partners and organisations participate, will be the agencies of this common dynamism of member-states for the benefit of employment through increased transparency on local level, the guidelines set out evey year, interstate activities and exchanges, the systematic pursuit of utilising appropriate practices located and the creation of networks at national and interstate level.

    Thanks to its interstate nature, the Equal initiative will contribute towards promoting a labour market open to all, it will shape appropriate practices and will safeguard the good dissemination of results.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Turkish media interest in Kavala, Thassos as tourist destinations

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    Some of Turkey's largest media outlets announced intentions to promote tourist destinations in NE Greece, especially Kavala prefecture and the island of Thassos.

    Some 30 Turkish writers specialising on tourism reporting are currently touring the Kavala region and nearby Thassos, along with related visits to archaeological sites, hotels, airports etc.

    Athens News Agency

    [25] Fire reported aboard Super Fast ferry

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    A fire broke out yesterday evening on board a Greek-flagged ferry boat serving the Patra-Ancona route and as it sailed off western Greece.

    The 307 passengers and 106 crew-members of the "Super Fast III" were reported to be safe and off the vessel.

    According to initial reports, the fire broke out in the vessel's vehicle hold, as four trucks were engulfed in flames. The vessel's master reported to authorities that conditions on the vessel were under control.

    Following a distress call, another ferry boat approached and began taking on Super Fast III's passengers, while further assistance by port authorities was reportedly on the way.

    Athens News Agency

    [26] Gov't promises to remove mines after Parliament ratifies agreement

    Athens, 02/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greece has a standing policy on removing land mines and will forge ahead with this policy, the government stressed yesterday, one day after six illegal immigrants were killed in a minefield while trying to enter the country.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters that minefields would be cleared as soon as a relevant pact was ratified by Parliament.

    Six Iraqi Kurds were killed on Sunday and 15 injured when they strayed into a marked and fenced-off minefield near the Evros River after illegally crossing the border from Turkey.

    Survivors said they had paid two Iraqi smugglers $3,600 to transport them from Turkey into Greece.

    Authorities said they have still not determined whether the group unwittingly walked into the minefield or were deliberately led to the site.

    According to reports, a survivor told authorities one of the traffickers had pointed to the barbed wire fence surrounding the minefield as the group's entry point into Greece.

    In a statement, the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) said it was "imperative that Greece and Turkey agree to abide by the international agreement against the use of land mines``.

    Athens News Agency

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