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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-11-05

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Balkan stability and security at centre of talks at tripartite meeting in Bulgaria
  • [02] FM winds up Canada visit, moves on to US
  • [03] Official announcement of Clinton's visit to Greece on Nov. 13
  • [04] Sweden's Bofors announces contract for supply of anti-tank missiles to Greece
  • [05] Simitis extends invitation to new Albanian PM to visit Greece
  • [06] Turkish ambassador to pay courtesy call on Simitis
  • [07] President Stephanopoulos to open exhibition in Munich
  • [08] Death toll from Superfast III ferry fire reaches 14
  • [09] Patriarch to visit Thessaloniki early next year
  • [10] Rokofyllos, Cem meet, agree on need for substantial upgrading of Greek- Turkish relations
  • [11] Tsohatzopoulos proposes 'third road to socialism'
  • [12] Police detonate explosive device found at office of former public order minister
  • [13] Three parties to cooperate for establishment of proportional representation electoral system
  • [14] Nobel Prize-winning economist Lawrence Klein gives lecture at Greece's central bank
  • [15] Karamanlis outlines ND's programme for health sector
  • [16] Athens bourse ends mixed in subdued trade
  • [17] Greece liberalises domestic gold market
  • [18] HOPE launches first Electronic Trade Centre
  • [19] Ergobank's nine-month profits soar 74%
  • [20] Ergo Investments announces capital increase
  • [21] Papantoniou's meeting with pensioners ends in deadlock
  • [22] Filoxenia international tourism trade fair opens
  • [23] Athens Foreign Exchange
  • [24] Greenpeace, locals protest continued storage of toxic wastes
  • [25] Group claims responsibility for bomb attack on car dealership
  • [26] Moderate quake shakes southwest Peloponnese
  • [27] Two tremors linked to '97 Zakynthos quake

  • [01] Balkan stability and security at centre of talks at tripartite meeting in Bulgaria

    BOROVETS, 05/11/1999 (ANA - V. Mourtis/B. Borisov)

    The problem of stability and security is the most important one in the Balkans, according to the Presidents of Bulgaria and Romania, Petar Stoyanov and Emil Constantinescu, and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis who met during the second tripartite meeting here yesterday and which Mr. Simitis termed "very fruitful."

    In a statement during a joint press conference, Mr. Simitis said the criterion for a solution to problems in the region should be the observance of rules set by international law and international treaties.

    Regarding the Kosovo issue, the three leaders agreed that a status of wide autonomy should be granted and, as Mr. Simitis underlined, processes should be speeded up to allow for a political entity in the region to tackle problems. On the other hand, the solution should be provided within the borders of Yugoslavia.

    The Bulgarian president said any change of borders in the region could create new reactions and new misery.

    The implementation of the Stability Pact also preoccupied the leaders, while the Presidents of Bulgaria and Romania showed distrust over the intentions of the West on the issue. President Stoyanov said it has no specific content to justify its existence and the Romanian President agreed with him.

    Both expressed satisfaction over the fact that Greece has provided the sole aid plan so far for the region's reconstruction which, as they said, has a timetable and concerns specific countries.

    The Greek plan was presented at the economic forum in Thessaloniki and, as Mr. Simitis said, amounts to 500 million dollars.

    Likewise, both presidents expressed satisfaction for support given to the two countries by Greece in their efforts to join the European Union and NATO.

    Mr. Simitis reiterated that Greece will continue to support these two claims and will also support the two countries' exclusion from the obligation of having visas given to their citizens wishing to visit countries belonging to the Schengen area.

    The two presidents also accepted a proposal by Mr. Simitis not to request aid in general and from everywhere but to propose specific plans for specific sectors.

    Mr. Simitis underlined that economic hardship and underdevelopment should be overcome to allow for stability and security in the region. He expressed hope that the first programmes will appear soon in the framework of the Stability Pact.

    An important issue of interest to Romania and Bulgaria is the problem of the River Danube in the area of Novi Sad where a bridge was destroyed by NATO bombings and obstructs shipping.

    The two presidents requested Greece's assistance on this issue as well, while Mr. Simitis said unimpeded shipping should be restored on the Danube and the issue should not be subject to political pressures and extortions from whatever side.

    Referring to the issue of crime, Mr. Simitis said Greece maintained, at the Tampere summit as well, that these problems will not be overcome unless the economic development of the region is promoted.

    Mr. Simitis expressed support for regional cooperation and said the mentality of trenches and camps should be overcome.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] FM winds up Canada visit, moves on to US

    OTTAWA, 05/11/1999 (ANA/G.Angelopoulos)

    Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday wound up a four- day visit to Canada with the signing of an agreement for the mutual extradition of criminals and a memorandum of cooperation between the two countries in the field of athletics.

    Mr. Papandreou and Canadian counterpart Lloyd Axworthy signed the accords in Ottawa, on the last leg of the Greek minister's visit before he headed for a US visit beginning with Boston, where he was due to deliver an address at Harvard University yesterday evening.

    After the signing ceremony, the two ministers told reporters that Greece and Canada had close cooperation on a number of international issues, and Kosovo in particular, "in order to win peace and create a multi-cultural Balkans," Mr. Papandreou said.

    The Greek foreign minister welcomed Canada's donation of 100 million dollars for the reconstruction of the Balkans, which he called an action worth copying.

    Mr. Axworthy described as "very interesting" Mr. Papandreou's initiative aiming at reviving the ancient tradition of the 'Olympic Ekechiria', calling for a world-wide truce for the duration of the Olympic Games in order to bring a message of peace to the world.

    Mr. Papandreou said he would take up this initiative with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Juan Antonio Samaranch during the latter's visit to Athens next month. The foreign minister also said he outlined to Mr. Axworthy Greece's concerns over the proposed construction of nuclear plants in Turkey and Romania with Canadian nuclear reactors.

    He explained that the fears were prompted by the fact that the designated area was highly seismic, adding that Greece's general policy was to convince its neighbours that such a method of energy production was not suitable for the region precisely because of its intense seismic activity.

    The two foreign ministers further discussed the Cyprus issue.

    Canada is a member of the Group of Eight -- comprising the world's seven most industrialised nations plus Russia -- which launched an initiative calling on the UN secretary general to invite the two communities on the island for talks without preconditi ons for a political solution to the protracted Cyprus problem.

    Mr. Papandreou also briefed Mr. Axworthy on developments in Greek-Turkish relations and European Union affairs, particularly the planned enlargement that will bring in countries of southeastern Europe.

    Addressing the national union of Canadian journalists earlier in the day, during a brunch in his honour, Mr. Papandreou said Greece was advancing in the region stability founded in democracy, growth and security.

    Greece had undertaken a number of initiatives in that direction, he said, adding that if the people of the Balkans were given alternative choices, it was certain that they would prefer those over nationalism and confrontation.

    Replying to questions on Greek-Turkish relations, Mr. Papandreou oultined the new Greek-Turkish rapprochement commenced after the two countries rushed to each other's aid following devastating earthquakes in both. Mr. Papandreou said the discussion on low-impact issues was continuing.

    He said the response by the citizens in both countries after the earthquakes had been "spontaneous".

    Regarding Turkey's bid to join the European Union, Mr. Papandreou said this would be a long and intense process with many aspects, and expressed hope that this would help Turkey become more democratic, as he said was the case with other countries that were now EU member states.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Official announcement of Clinton's visit to Greece on Nov. 13

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    The Presidency of the Republic yesterday officially announced that US President Bill Clinton will visit Greece on Nov. 13.

    "It is announced that, following an invitation by the President of the Republic, Kostis Stephanopoulos, the President of the US, William Jefferson Clinton, will conduct an official visit to Greece with his wife from the 13th to the 14th of November of the current year," a presidency statement said.

    Terrorism on Clinton-Simitis agenda : The issue of combatting terrorism will be one of the issues discussed at talks between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and President Bill Clinton, the government said yesterday. Government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis told reporters that talks were cu rrently under way on how exactly this issue would be discussed by the two delegations.

    He stressed however that there was presently no draft agreement or cooperation protocol on the issue being considered.

    "There are various proposals being examined," Mr. Athanassakis said.

    The spokesman was harsh in his criticism of a Washington Post article on Wednesday alleging a lack of desire among some in Greece to catch members of the elusive November 17 terrorist group.

    The report, he said, was characterised by "ludicrousness... and regurgitated nonsense of spy-talk".

    "I regret that these found a place in a newspaper of international standing, " he said.

    Laliotis rejects Washington Post allegations as 'despicable' : Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis yesterday rejected as "unacceptable, despicable, provocative and irrational" an article in Wednesday's edition of the Washington Post newspaper alleging links between the shadowy "Novemb er 17" terrorist organisation and Greek officials.

    Mr. Laliotis said the article, which "clearly serves expediencies", had "no relationship to reality".

    The ruling PASOK party "never had, nor has, any relation whatsoever with the November 17 terrorist organisation", which emerged 24 years ago with the killing of CIA station chief in Athens Richard Welch in 1975, and has since claimed responsibility for the assassination of 20 other Greeks and foreigners and scores of rocket attacks against foreign concerns in Greece.

    Mr. Laliotis said that in the terrorist organisation's nearly 25 years of action, Greece had been also under New Democracy governments, and they, too, had failed to break up the group.

    "The writers of the article should not make selective ties between terrorism and PASOK," Mr. Laliotis said, adding that "violence and crime are rife in the United States, we cannot forget that".

    He said such articles "do not serve the good relations between the two countries".

    Main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said the problem of terrorism does exist. However, he added that this did not mean "we don't understand the expediency of certain reports and, indeed, at this specific conjuncture, namely prior to US President Bill Clinton's visit".

    "We as a party have more legitimacy than anyone else to touch the issue of terrorism because the victims were unilaterally from our side," Mr. Spiliotopoulos said, adding that these reports should have been substantiated with specific evidence.

    Asked by reporters to comment on the Washington Post's report, former ND Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis said "I do not think the discussion on terrorism is timely and beneficial at this time."

    Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos termed the Washington Post's report "provocative" and added that "it constitutes political methodisation being developed in the framework of the Clinton visit."

    State department : In Washington, US State Department spokesman James P. Rubin made the following statement on Wednesday:

    "Statements attributed to unnamed U.S. officials that terrorist suspects are linked to the Greek Government do not represent U.S. policy. The U.S. Government is working closely with the government of Greece to counter terrorism. As ambassador Burns has said, we are confident that Prime Minister Simitis and Minister of Public Order Chrysochoidis share our concerns, and we are working well together."

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Sweden's Bofors announces contract for supply of anti-tank missiles to Greece

    STOCKHOLM, 05/11/1999 (AFP/ANA)

    Sweden-based Bofors company yesterday announced an 6.8 billion drachma contract for the supply of short range anti-tank missiles to Greece.

    The Celsius Company weapons manufacturing subsidiary's press release noted that it will provide munitions both ready for use and for assembly regarding the Carl Gustaf anti-tank missile system.

    Bofors will deliver the munitions to the Hellenic Arms Industry (EBO), which will also be responsible for assembly in Greece.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Simitis extends invitation to new Albanian PM to visit Greece

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis spoke with new Albanian premier Ilir Meta by phone on Wednesday evening and extended an invitation for him to visit Greece soon, the government said yesterday.

    Spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said that Mr. Simitis wished Mr. Meta well in his new post and that the Albanian premier accepted the invitation to visit Athens. No date has yet been announced for the visit.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Turkish ambassador to pay courtesy call on Simitis

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will receive Turkish ambassador to Greece Ali Tuygan today, government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said yesterday.

    The meeting is in return for the courtesy call paid by Greece's ambassador Ioannis Korantis on Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit recently, he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] President Stephanopoulos to open exhibition in Munich

    BERLIN, 05/11/1999 (ANA-P.Stangos)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos is due to arrive in Munich on Sunday to officially open an exhibition at the National Bavarian Museum. President Stephanopoulos will open the exhibition at a ceremony on Monday. The exhibition - 'Modern Greece - Greeks and Bavarians in the era of Ludwig I' - will run through to February next year.

    The Greek president is expected to return to Athens on Monday evening.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Death toll from Superfast III ferry fire reaches 14

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    Three more bodies were found aboard a Greek ferry that caught fire en route from Patras to Italy's Ancona port, bringing the death toll to 14, harbour authorities said yesterday.

    The three bodies were found in the cabin of a truck in the garage level of the Superfast III ferry, which caught fire Monday shortly after setting sail from the northwestern Greek port of Patras.

    Although all 306 registered passengers and 107 crew were safe and accounted for and successfully evacuated from the blazing ferry, a search later turned up the bodies of 11 stowaways without identification or travel documents but all believed to be Kurdish illegal immigrants, in various levels of the ferry's garage, which is automatically sealed off in such emergencies.

    The victims - nine men and two women - were found to have died of smoke inhalation.

    The three new bodies, the identities of which were not yet known but believed to be Kurdish illegal immigrants, were found by an 11-member team of port authority and judicial investigators probing the causes of the fire, as the 11,245-ton vessel was sailing on its power to Skaramangas Shipyards near Piraeus. The ferry headed for Skaramangas to unload scores of private cars and trucks abandoned in the vessel's five-storey garage during evacuation of the passengers.

    The bodies of the other 11 stowaways will be turned over to the Kurdish immigrants's community here for burial after completion of post-mortem examinations. Superfast Ferries S.A., the owner company, has said it will pay for the cost of the funerals.

    Patras port authority officials said yesterday they had found and arrested 13 Kurdish illegal immigrants in a Bulgarian-registered truck at the port. They said the truck was due to travel to Italy via the port. The driver of the Bulgarian vehicle was not near the truck at the time of the search and is being sought.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Patriarch to visit Thessaloniki early next year

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos will visit Thessaloniki early next year, according to reports. The Patriarch will arrive in Thessaloniki in the framework of events concerning the inauguration of the city's Concert Hall, which are also expected to be att ended by Prime Minister Costas Simitis. According to the reports, the Ecumenical Patriarch and Mr. Simitis will meet on the sidelines of the events.
    Athens News Agency

    [10] Rokofyllos, Cem meet, agree on need for substantial upgrading of Greek- Turkish relations

    STRASBOURG, 05/11/1999 (ANA - A. Makridis)

    A meeting on Wednesday night between Alternate Foreign Minister Christos Rokofyllos and Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem during a dinner given in the framework of the Council of Europe's Foreign Affairs Ministers Commit tee meeting here was a harbinger of further improvement in the climate governing Greek-Turkish relations, diplomatic sources said.

    The two men agreed to the need for a substantial upgrading of the two countries' relations. According to the same diplomatic assessments, it might become specific by the Helsinki summit in December with moves on the part of Turkey on the front of "Greek -Turkish differences", as well as on the Cyprus issue with the possible return of the Turkish Cypriot side to the negotiating table.

    Mr. Rokofyllos also held talks with the Foreign Minister of Cyprus Yiannakis Kasoulides, the head of Albanian diplomacy Paskal Milo and French Cooperations Minister Mr. Joslan.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Tsohatzopoulos proposes 'third road to socialism'

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday proposed socialist practices different to both the Soviet and the neo-liberal models.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' proposal was tabled in an international symposium in Tunis, where he participated as the vice-president of the European Socialist Party (ESP).

    "The policy and practices of the 'third road to socialism' aim at leading societies to the next century, in conditions different from those of the Soviet system, which collapsed, and different from the with out limit harsh neo-liberal proposal. Thus the 'third road' is a way to reach modern socialism," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    The Greek defence minister also addressed the issue of globalisation and underlined the modern problems which demand solutions the socialists and social-democracts should provide in a national and international level. Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that the so cialists should not disregard or misinterpret the free market, adding that the socialist models, which did so, paid the price through failure or collapse. However, he added, the overestimation of the free market leads to an uneven disbursement of wealth both on an international and national level.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Police detonate explosive device found at office of former public order minister

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    Bomb disposal experts yesterday detonated an explosive device found at the downtown Athens office of a former public order minister.

    Police said the makeshift device was made up of four gas cannisters, three firecrackers, a bottle of acetone and a fuse. The fuse had not been lit. The device was found by a guard at former public order minister Theodoros Anagnostopoulos's Athens office, at 1 Voukourestiou St, on the fourth floor. The device was found in a nylon bag placed outside the door to the office. There was no warning call about the device, and no group has as yet claimed responsibility.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Three parties to cooperate for establishment of proportional representation electoral system

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    Following a decision for cooperation between the Coalition of the Left and Progress and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Wednesday aimed at the establishment of the proportional representation electoral system, the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) announced its participation in the movement yesterday.

    The representatives of the Coalition and DHKKI, Mr. Kouvelis and Mr. Intzes, met yesterday and decided that the three parties will start cooperation between them on Monday to promote a draft law on the establishment of the proportional representation system.

    Mr. Kouvelis said it is possible for the three parties to seek other common political targets. On his part, Mr. Intzes said the meeting of the three parties of the wider left on a common target constitutes a step of progress which can, if this cooperati on goes ahead, be extended to other sectors.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Nobel Prize-winning economist Lawrence Klein gives lecture at Greece's central bank

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    Nobel Prize-winning economist Lawrence Klein outlined his views of an ongoing international economic recovery during a lecture early Thursday evening at Greece's central bank.

    The eminent University of Pennsylvania professor emeritus, who was introduced and accompanied by central bank Governor Lukas Papademos, told an audience of mostly banking executives and economic scholars that he sensed an excitement and optimism in Gree ce over the prospects of the country entering Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), adding that he "has never seen so much economic enthusiasm" as he has seen recently in Greece. "It's an exciting time for Greece to be making its step ahead."

    With Mr. Papademos standing next to him, Mr. Klein also answered a question on US FED chief Alan Greenspan's relationship vis-a-vis Wall Street by saying that he doesn't believe a country's central bank governor should directly affect the bourse.

    In terms of globalisation, he said the major problems that have arisen deal with the rapid liberalisation of markets devoid of proper institutional controls. "A lot has to do with transparency...what the hedge funds did was unforgivable...they took adva ntage of globalisation".

    Mr. Papademos, in turn, called for "transparency to be applied symmetrically, including private sector actors", as he said.

    In fact, Mr. Klein noted that the LINK project's semi-annual meeting will be held in Athens this week.

    Mr. Klein initially forwarded his view that the econonic crisis throughout the 1990s dashed hopes of an economic boom following the end of the Cold War and the conclusion of the 1990-91 Gulf War. He also pointed to the Mexican crisis in December 1994, Brazil's economic instability, the 'defanging' of East Asia's 'economic tigers' during the crisis in July 1997 as well as the interest rate-fuelled crisis in Russia during August 1998.

    Mexico and Brazil, however, according to Mr. Klein, are today at the forefront of economic recovery in their perspective regions, sporting satisfactory growth rates to match. "They look very solid", he said.

    Mr. Klein was chosen as the Nobel Laureate in Economics in 1980 for his global econometric 'LINK Model', which combined models from around the world for studying international trade, payments and global economic activity. In 1976 the 79-year-old Nebrask a native -- the holder of honorary degrees from 25 universities -- coordinated the econometric task force for Jimmy Carter's US presidential candidacy, while he also later founded the Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Karamanlis outlines ND's programme for health sector

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    The conditions of health services in Greece and the proposed programme of main opposition New Democracy (ND) for the sector were the focus ND leader Costas Karamanlis' press conference yesterday in Athens.

    Mr. Karamanlis called conditions in the health sector unacceptable, adding that services offered were not good, especially to those citizens at the lower income bracket.

    He also said that the Greek family ranks first in expeditures for private health care in the European Union, adding that there were instances of corruption and long delays.

    Mr. Karamanlis said that there were personnel shortages in the health centres in both medical and para-medical personnel.

    The proposals of ND for the health sector centred on a programme of total population health care and education provision, in conjuction with the educational system of the country, Mr. Karamanlis said.

    He also said that his party proposes the establishment of a "family doctor" who will be selected freely and without state intervention.

    According to the ND proposal the current health care centre system will be amended as more urban type centres will be created and rural health services will be upgraded with a series of measures including the establishment of mobile medical units.

    Mr. Karamanlis also addressed issues concering the allocation of medical drugs, hospital capacity and administrative functions.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Athens bourse ends mixed in subdued trade

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    Equity prices ended yesterday's session mixed to lower in subdued trade on the Athens Stock Exchange, reflecting lack of fresh incentives and directions.

    The general index fell 0.31 percent to 5,530.85 points. Turnover was low at 261 billion drachmas.

    Shares in the Banks sector came under pressure pushing the relative index 1.50 percent lower. Ergobank was the only sector's issue to move higher.

    Other sector indices ended as follows: Leasing (+2.24 pct), Insurance (- 1.50 pct), Investment (+1.04 pct), Construction (+0.82 pct), Industrials (+0.19 pct), Miscellaneous (+1.55 pct) and Holding (+0.61 pct).

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks rose 1.56 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks eased 1.05 percent to 2,784.50 points.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 169 to 155 with another 12 issues unchanged. Intralot share price jumped 99 percent. A total of 40 issues ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up while another five ended at the day's limit down. Panafon and Selonda were the most heavily traded stocks. National Bank of Greece ended at 22,000 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 24, 300, Commercial Bank at 23,250, Titan Cement (common) at 39,400, Hellenic Petroleum at 5,000, Intracom at 14,250, Minoan Lines at 9,615, Panafon at 3, 850 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,750.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Greece liberalises domestic gold market

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greece's finance ministry yesterday tabled an amendment to parliament offering domestic financial institutions, authorised on foreign exchange transactions, to buy and sell gold. The Bank of Greece, the country's central bank, has a monopoly on gold trans actions.

    The same amendment certifies an equity restructuring of Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELBO) and writes-off taxes for the period 1988-1998.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] HOPE launches first Electronic Trade Centre

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Export Promotion Organisation (HOPE) yesterday announced the creation of the first Electronic Trade Centre in the country aimed at offering business-members access to an international business information network.

    Singular, a Greek software group, signed an agreement with HOPE for the implementation of the project after an international tender.

    Theodore Vlassopoulos, HOPE's chairman and chief executive, said that the whole system was under the surveillance of the United Nations which was setting international standards and was monitoring their establishments.

    A total of 135 Electronic Trade Centres are currently operating in 125 countries worldwide.

    HOPE is in a process of implementing a new strategy focusing on supporting growth in regional Greece, through setting-up External Trade Offices in every prefecture and every local chamber in the country.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Ergobank's nine-month profits soar 74%

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    Ergobank yesterday announced a spectacular 74 percent jump in its net pre- tax profits in the first nine months of the year to 69 billion drachmas compared with the same period in 1998.

    Deposits rose 27.6 percent to 1.553 trillion drachmas and loans totalled 895 billion drachmas for a 35 percent increase. The bank's assets exceeded two trillion drachmas, up 39 percent compared with the same period last year. The Latsis Group acquired a 50.1 percent stake in Ergobank through the stock market in August in a move aimed at merging its two banking groups, Eurobank and Ergobank.

    The merger plan is expected to be completed in the next two years.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Ergo Investments announces capital increase

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    Ergo Investments group announced yesterday a capital increase to the tune of 80 million shares at 1,500 drachmas each and at the rate of 15 new shares for 10 old, while the deadline is to be set for the beginning of next January. The company's press relea se also announced earnings to the tune of 40.2 billion drachmas for the first ten months of the year.

    The investment firm's portfolio achieved a 91-billion-drachma added value for an increase of 855.57 per cent compared to the same period in 1998 and a total value of 173 billion drachmas.

    Finally, the company announced that 1999 dividends will be paid to shareholders within next March.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Papantoniou's meeting with pensioners ends in deadlock

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    A meeting yesterday between National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and the Pensioners Organisations' Coordinating Committee ended in complete deadlock. Earlier, the pensioners had gathered in Kaningos Square and had marched to the National Economy Ministry.

    The pensioners are demanding an increase in pensions to equal 20 wages of an unskilled worker, or 80 per cent of the salary of employees in active service, and full medical and pharmaceutical treatment.

    Mr. Papantoniou told the pensioners that in past years pensions have been increased at prices which are higher than inflation and, combined with the social solidarity bonus (EKAS), this has led to the strengthening of the real income of pensioners in ge neral and of low pension earners in particular.

    Trade unionists said that when the pensioners claimed that in past years they had lost billions of drachmas in money due to them, Mr. Papantoniou said such views were outrageous, while the claims were populistic. No rapprochement was reached during the meeting and pensioners organisations announced a new rally for November 25. They also called on pensioners to participate in protest mobilisations on US President Bill Clinton's visit to Greece.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Filoxenia international tourism trade fair opens

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    The 15th annual Filoxenia international tourism trade fair opened yesterday in the northern Greek capital of Thessaloniki, with the participation of a record 449 tourism industry exhibitors from Greece and abroad.

    The four-day exhibition, which boasts a 30 percent increase in exhibitors from the previous Filoxenia last year, was officially inaugurated yesterday evening by Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    The fair will be open only to commercial visitors and branch professionals for two days (yesterday and today), before opening its doors to the public for the weekend.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: November 4, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             310.972 318.182
    Can.Dollar            211.574 216.479
    Australian Dlr        197.606 202.188
    Pound Sterling        510.602 522.441
    Irish Punt            413.961 423.559
    Pound Cyprus          563.516 576.581
    Pound Malta           735.094 765.723
    Turkish pound (100)     0.060   0.062
    French franc           49.701  50.854
    Swiss franc           202.790 207.491
    Belgian franc           8.082   8.269
    German Mark           166.692 170.557
    Finnish Mark           54.833  56.104
    Dutch Guilder         147.942 151.372
    Danish Kr.             43.852  44.869
    Swedish Kr.            37.502  38.371
    Norwegian Kr.          39.505  40.421
    Austrian Sh.           23.693  24.242
    Italian lira (100)     16.837  17.228
    Yen (100)             296.033 302.896
    Spanish Peseta          1.959   2.005
    Port. Escudo            1.626   1.664
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              310.972 318.182
    Montreal              211.574 216.479
    Sydney                197.606 202.188
    London                510.602 522.441
    Dublin                413.961 423.559
    Nicosia               563.516 576.581
    Paris                  49.701  50.854
    Zurich                202.790 207.491
    Brussels                8.082   8.269
    Frankfurt             166.692 170.557
    Helsinki               54.833  56.104
    Amsterdam             147.942 151.372
    Copenhagen             43.852  44.869
    Stockholm              37.502  38.371
    Oslo                   39.505  40.421
    Vienna                 23.693  24.242
    Milan                  16.837  17.228
    Tokyo                 296.033 302.896
    Madrid                  1.959   2.005
    Lisbon                  1.626   1.664
    Athens News Agency

    [24] Greenpeace, locals protest continued storage of toxic wastes

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greenpeace activists, joined by a local mayor, demonstrated at the premises of a local paper mill yesterday, against what they say is the storage of thousands of tonnes of pesticides considered a health risk to residents in western Thessaloniki.

    Protesters entered the NOVA (formerly Diana paper mills) plant wearing masks and protective suits. On leaving the factory, they said they had found the pesticides stored in cracked barrels and in cardboard boxes.

    Mayor of the Stavroupolis municipality, Spyros Baroutas, and Greenpeace director Stelios Psomas called on the agriculture, development and environment ministries to provide funds to the Thessaloniki municipality to carry out its plans to remove toxic wa stes, when these cannot be destroyed without environmental repercussions.

    This plan is budgeted at some one billion drachmas.

    The plant is about 100 metres from Stavroupolis apartment buildings and only 10 metres from other residences, including makeshift homes built by expatriate Greeks from the former Soviet Union.

    More than 1,000 tonnes of various types of pesticides are stored at the plant awaiting processing or removal. A 1996 environmental study by NOVA referred to the risk of a toxic cloud created in the event of a fire, resulting in health problems for nearby residents.

    Athens News Agency

    [25] Group claims responsibility for bomb attack on car dealership

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    A group calling itself "Anti-State Action" yesterday claimed responsibility for an early morning bomb attack against an automobile dealership in the Athens residential district of Ambelokipi, police said.

    An unidentified caller called private "Flash" radio station and claimed responsibility for the home-made bomb on behalf of the group, saying the action was in protest of US President Bill Clinton's forthcoming visit to Athens November 13-15.

    Six cars were damaged in a fire that broke out when one of the four gas cannisters comprising the bomb exploded under one of the cars early yesterday, but there were no injuries.

    The dealership specialised in Renault cars, but also sold several other makes.

    Athens News Agency

    [26] Moderate quake shakes southwest Peloponnese

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    A moderate earthquake measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale shook southwest Peloponnese early yesterday and police said that although it caused concern among local inhabitants no damage or casualties were reported.

    The Athens observatory said the tremor recorded at 04.08 local time came from a distance of 225 kilometres southwest of Athens and its epicentre was the gulf of Kiparissia. It was strongly felt in Zacharo, ancient Olympia, Pyrgos and Amaliada.

    Athens News Agency

    [27] Two tremors linked to '97 Zakynthos quake

    Athens, 05/11/1999 (ANA)

    Thessaloniki University seismologists yesterday linked two tremors this week to the 6.6 Richter earthquake that shook the Ionian island of Zakynthos on November 18, 1997.

    "Minor and moderate aftershocks may continue for ten years in an area where a major earthquake took place," seismology professor Vasilis Karacostas told the ANA.

    A moderate earthquake measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale shook southwest Peloponnese early yesterday, while another measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale jolted northwest Greece Tuesday morning.

    Athens News Agency

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