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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-11-13

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Gov`t: All necessary measures to be taken for Clinton visit
  • [02] Papantoniou reaffirms euro zone entry goal
  • [03] Lightning visit by Barnier to Athens
  • [04] Pre-fab homes to be delivered to quake victims
  • [05] Greek-Turkish relations, Cyprus top Clinton's agenda in Athens, Ankara
  • [06] Simitis message to Bulgarian PM Kostov to advance bilateral relations
  • [07] Rokofyllos on issue of briefing EU on Cyprus, Greek-Turkish relations
  • [08] EU defence ministers to gather at session centring on Union's defence
  • [09] Greek assistance to Turkey as new major quake hits NW Asia Minor
  • [10] Clinton-Archbishop
  • [11] Greek, Turkish emergency rescue units given Ipekci prize
  • [12] Karamanlis criticises gov't over Clinton visit postponement
  • [13] EU`s immigration, crime-fighting issues presented in Athens by Finnish presidency
  • [14] Employment plan discussed by Diamantopoulou, Protopapas
  • [15] Bill on deregulating Greek power industry tabled
  • [16] Homicide charges expected in conscript`s 1997 death
  • [17] Noted novelist, translator Nikos Bakolas dies
  • [18] Vangelis to compose 2000 Games closing musical score
  • [19] Economic News

  • [01] Gov`t: All necessary measures to be taken for Clinton visit

    Athens, 13/11/1999 (ANA)

    The government yesterday decided to take all necessary measures so that nothing will "cast a shadow" over US President Bill Clinton's upcoming visit to Athens.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters after a four-hour meeting of the inner cabinet P chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis P that "all requisite measures would be taken".

    He said "freedom of speech is a consolidated right in Greece, but it cannot be in conflict with the country's interests or its prestige."

    The government spokesman was referring to planned demonstrations in order to protest the visit.

    Mr. Reppas reiterated that Mr. Clinton's visit is a significant opportunity for Greece, saying "we will be given the opportunity to present him with Greek positions on Cyprus, the Balkans and Greek-Turkish relations."

    The US president's visit, originally scheduled for today and due to last until Monday, was postponed for Nov. 19-20 after a proposal by Athens, which was accepted by the White House on Wednesday.

    Replying to questions over the measures that the government will take, Mr. Reppas said: "We are obliged to provide security guarantees for the visit. What we do though, is our country's internal affair."

    He added that both governments believed strongly that the visit should be held.

    Papandreou, Burns meet: Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Geor-ge Papandreou and US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns also met yesterday for talks on progress regarding several bilateral agreements, expected to be signed during Mr. Clinton's visit to Athens.

    According to sources, agreements on cooperation in tourism, copyright and intellectual rights protection, natural disaster aid and earthquake forecasting have been agreed upon and are ready to be signed.

    Although it has not been confirmed, the agreements will probably be signed by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Mr. Papandreou.

    Regarding Greek-US cooperation in the Balkans, the two men decided that PM Simitis and President Clinton will issue a joint statement promoting bilateral businesses' cooperation toward Balkan reconstruction, the same sources said.

    Two more significant issues, a protocol on law enforcement cooperation and an agreement regarding military facilities in Greece that are used by US forces have not been finalised and will probably not be ready for signing during the US president's first -ever visit to Greece, sources said.

    Stephanopoulos: In addition, President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday said Mr. Clinton would be received in Greece with all honours and the respect deserving of a visiting head of state.

    "President Bill Clinton will be received in Greece with absolute honour. I want to emphasise this hospitable and friendly mark of honour to his person, " Mr. Stephanopoulos said upon his return to Athens yesterday from a three- day official visit to Slove nia.

    "He will be received with all the honours becoming a visiting head of state, more so because he is the president of the United States of America, a country with which Greece has close P old and new P ties," he said.

    Referring to press reports that the government had overlooked informing him promptly of the rescheduling of Mr. Clinton's visit, Mr. Stephanopoulos clarified that he had heard the news of the postponement on CNN one hour after accompanying Deputy FM Gri goris Niotis had informed him that there might be a delay in Mr. Clinton's visit.

    On the same issue, Mr. Reppas said "there is continuous communication maintained between the President of the Republic and Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Any problems that arise are overcome."

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Papantoniou reaffirms euro zone entry goal

    Athens, 13/11/1999 (ANA)

    The economy is moving in line with the government's target of entry into the 11-member euro zone by January 1, 2001, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday.

    The minister told the Athens News Agency in an interview that the newly released budget for 2000 aims to ensure euro zone entry while increasing social benefits.

    He also said that the stock market's performance continued to reflect the economy's dynamism, paving the way for further tax cuts in the next few years.

    The budget aims to contain the deficit to 1.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2000 from 1.5 percent this year.

    "This means that we are comfortably below the 3.0 percent limit envisaged by the Maastricht Treaty, ensuring our participation in EMU based on the fiscal criterion," Mr. Papantoniou said.

    An ECOFIN meeting on November 29 is expected to abolish Greece's excessive deficit status.

    "The positive thing about the 2000 budget is that it combines deficit cuts with a generous social benefits package. This proves that we are able to create wealth and redistribute it in society, as we should," the minister said.

    Referring to the Maastricht inflation criterion, Mr. Papantoniou said he was not worried about a recent rise in consumer price inflation.

    "The inflation rate showed a slight acceleration from 2.0 to 2.2 percent but this should not worry us, because the harmonised inflation rate is moving below 2.0 percent, fully compatible with the Maastricht Treaty criterion of around 2.1 percent, accord ing to inflation trends in other European Union countries.

    "I don't think we will have any problems finally, and I hope that we will be certain of meeting the criterion soon," he said.

    The minister's evaluation took into account a possible new rise in oil and fruit and vegetables prices.

    Commenting on the privatisation process, he said that the government's programme of privatisation through direct sale or part-flota-tion was progressing rapidly.

    "In the last two years we have completed 10 flotations and privatisations worth 2.5 trillion drachmas.

    "Another 10 are maturing, and due to be completed in the next six months, including a second flotation of Hellenic Petroleum, a flotation of Hellenic Industrial Development Bank and the Athens Water and Drainage Company.

    "We expect to proceed with a flotation of Public Power Corporation late next year or early in 2001, following a pattern used in the privatisation of Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation.

    "The partial privatisation of Public Power Corporation is part of a policy to liberalise the energy sector, in the framework of the EU's energy policy.

    I believe that the corporation could develop into a more competitive company through its privatisation, leading to cuts in energy costs in the medium term," Mr. Papantoniou said.

    He declined to forecast the stock market's outlook.

    "As you know, I avoid making predictions on the stock market. What I can say, however, is that the Greek market has developed a positive dynamism in the last few years which reflects economic growth in the country.

    I believe that this dynamism could continue but this may not preclude short- term or longer-term fluctuations, a natural reaction in the operation of a stock market," the minister said.

    Mr. Papantoniou said that the stock market had helped the Greek economy by establishing transparency in financial transactions and business growth.

    "It has helped business to raise significant capital to fund investments and has supported an effort for fiscal restructuring through increased revenue from the tax on transactions."

    The minister said that the government did not plan further tax increases.

    "On the contrary, we have room for further tax improvements. I believe that through effectively combatting tax evasion, tax revenues will rise significantly in the next few years, paving the way for more tax cuts in the country".

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Lightning visit by Barnier to Athens

    Athens, 13/11/1999 (ANA)

    European Commissioner Michel Barnier paid a brief visit to Greece yesterday.

    Mr. Barnier is responsible for the EU's regional policy and the inter- governmental conference on institutional changes.

    No statements were made after Mr. Barnier's meetings with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Foreign Minister George Papandreou and National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.

    Press reports said the agenda of the talks included the Commission's proposals for the intergovernmental conference and EU aid for Greece in the wake of the devastating September 7 earthquake.

    Sources said that the EU's Structural Funds could cover up to 50 per cent of the fiscal cost of the damage caused by the quake, which is now estimated at 810 billion drachmas. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is prepared to provide loans of some 3 00 billion drachmas.

    However, the Commission is reported to be opposed to providing subsidies to finance spending on repairing homes damaged in the quake, although the loans from the EIB may be used for this purpose.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Pre-fab homes to be delivered to quake victims

    Athens, 13/11/1999 (ANA)

    A total of 3,900 pre-fabricated homes will have been allocated by Monday to earthquake victims of the devastating Sept. 7 tremor in the greater Athens area, the government said yesterday.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas also said that following the delivery of the latest pre-fab houses all quake victims will have been housed, as many individuals have taken advantage of other measures to find new residences.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Greek-Turkish relations, Cyprus top Clinton's agenda in Athens, Ankara

    WASHINGTON, 13/11/1999 (ANA-T.Ellis)

    Stabilising the Balkans, the democratisation of Serbia, reconciliation between Greece and Turkey and the resolution of the Cyprus problem are the issues preoccupying US President Bill Clinton as he is preparing his ten- day visit in southeastern Europe beginning on Sunday, the president's National Security Adviser Sandy Berger told reporters late yesterday.

    Greek-Turkish relations and the resolution of the Cyprus issue will top the president's agenda during talks in Athens and Ankara, Mr. Berger said. Marc Grossman, Assistant Secretary of State, said that the increase of American investments and combatting terrorism will also be high on the agenda of the Athens talks.

    Mr. Berger also announced that President Clinton will attend an official dinner hosted by Greek President Stephanopoulos on Friday, while on Saturday he will meet with Prime Minister Simitis and main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis. Mr . Clinton will also address US-Greek relations in a major speech. Mr. Berger added that the US wanted the start of substantive talks on the Cyprus issue stressing however that he did not know if such an outcome would be possible during Mr. Clinton's visit in the region.

    Regarding possible demonstrations in Athens, Mr. Berger said that the president and his entourage were not worried at all.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Simitis message to Bulgarian PM Kostov to advance bilateral relations

    SOFIA, 13/11/1999 (ANA - B. Borisov)

    Greece is ready to advance bilateral contacts at all levels, Prime Minister Costas Simitis assured Bulgarian counterpart Ivan Kostov in a message released here today.

    "I wish to assure you, in the spirit of our recent fruitful talks in Sofia and the very constructive trilateral summit meeting between Greece, Bulgaria and Romania in Borovets, that my country is ready to promote the contacts at all levels so that are e xcellent bilateral relations will be further consolidated and produce specific results, particularly in the economic sector," Mr. Simitis said in the message, conveyed by Macedonia- Thrace Minister Yiannis Magriotis.

    Bulgarian and Romanian presidents Petar Stoyanov and Emil Constantinescu and Mr. Simitis met earlier this month in the Bulgarian mountain resort of Borovets to discuss practical ways of accelerating the region's recovery, where Bulgaria and Romania welc omed a 500-million-dollar investment plan for Balkan reconstruction.

    "Our continuously developing economic relations have reached a particularly satisfactory level, and I look forward to the consolidation of a stable economic environment in Bulgaria and advancement of privatisations will attract more Greek investors," Mr . Simitis said in the message.

    In the economic sector, the Greek premier reiterated his conviction that completion of the oil pipeline linking the Bulgarian town of Burgas with Alexandroupoli, "under the terms agreed, is necessary as the project will ensure the flow of oil to Europe under the best financial terms and contribute to attracting new developmental investments".

    On the planned opening of three new border crossings, Mr. Simitis said the Greek side was progressing and progress of work on the Bulgarian side was awaited, and also said he shared Mr. Kostov's view on the "decisive importance" of free navigation in th e Danube, adding he intended to take up the issue in the European Union.

    Mr. Simitis reiterated that Greece "unwaveringly supports" Bulgaria's bid for speedy membership in the EU and NATO, and was willing to offer its assistance in that direction both by supporting the bids in the respective fora but also through the provisi on of know-how and economic aid.

    He also said the Stability Pact needed to be set in motion speedily, with the immediate advancement of selected programmes.

    "I wish to stress that a tangible example of my country's preparedness to contribute financially to the general development of the Balkan region is the 500 million dollar Greek plan for Balkan reconstruction" recently unveiled, Mr. Simitis added.

    "In closing, I wish to express my conviction that our common perceptions, which comprise the basis of our excellent bilateral relations, will ensure a better future, through our intensified cooperation, to the benefit of our two peoples and of peace and stability in the wider Balkan region," the Greek premier said.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Magriotis and Deputy National Economy Minister Rodoula Zisi discussed the issue of double taxation between Greece and Bulgaria with Bulgarian Finance Minister Muravei Radev yesterday. The meeting was held at the Bulgarian Finance Ministry in Sofia in the framework of the Greek officials' official visit to the neighbouring country. They are accompanied by a large delegation of Greek entrepreneurs.

    In statements afterwards, all three expressed satisfaction since the issue will be resolved soon, maybe in the next few weeks, since both sides are prepared to agree on amendments requested by Sofia to the initial agreement signed in 1991.

    The amendments issue will be discussed next week at a joint meeting of experts from the two countries and afterwards the resulting finalised text will be forwarded to the two countries' Parliaments for ratification.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Rokofyllos on issue of briefing EU on Cyprus, Greek-Turkish relations

    HELSINKI, 13/11/1999 (ANA - E. Patouhas)

    Alternate Foreign Minister Christos Rokofyllos underlined here yesterday the difficulties in achieving full understanding from Greece's 14 EU partners on the issue of Cyprus' accession and Greek-Turkish relations.

    The Greek minister is participating at a European Union's ministerial session.

    Mr. Rokofyllos ascertained positive intentions for Greek positions in his bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the session with European Council President and Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, the Council's Secretary General Javier Solana, the EU 's Foreign Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten and counterparts of his from member-states.

    He said he can be neither optimistic nor pessimistic over the course of developments and over decisions to be taken at the Helsinki summit on Dec. 11. Mr. Rokofyllos said it is not certain that Greece will agree to Turkey being given candidacy status.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] EU defence ministers to gather at session centring on Union's defence

    BRUSSELS, 13/11/1999 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Union's Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, to be held here on Monday, will focus primarily on the EU's defence dimension.

    Consequently, defence ministers of the 15 member-states will participate in the session for the first time in the EU's history.

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou and National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will participate on behalf of Greece.

    The purpose of the session, which will also be attended by the head of the EU's Common Foreign Affairs and Defence Policy Javier Solana, is to clarify the following three issues:

    P What are the development limits for the EU's military capabilities?

    P What institutional reforms should have to take place in the EU to include defence issues in its activities?

    P How the EU's defence dimension should be harmonised with the NATO alliance's structures and activities?

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Greek assistance to Turkey as new major quake hits NW Asia Minor

    Athens, 13/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greece yesterday evening again offered aid to neighbouring Turkey in the wake of a 7.2 on the Richter scale quake that struck the northwest region of that country earlier in the afternoon.

    "I want to express our solidarity to the people and government of Turkey, over this new destructive earthquake," Foreign Minister George Papandreou said.

    "The Greek people and government will once again stand by the Turkish people. We are ready to help the Turkish government in any way possible to confront this difficult situation," he added.

    "Following discussions with the General Secretary of Civil Defence of the Ministry of Interior Dimitris Katrivanos, EMAK (emergency rescue unit) personnel and EKAB (the national ambulance service) will be sent to aid rescue efforts of Turkish authoritie s," he said.

    EMAK members participated in rescue efforts following an Aug. 17 earthquake that struck densely populated and industrialised NW Turkey.

    Meanwhile, Greek seismologists concluded that yesterday's earthquake in NW Turkey will probably not affect faults under Greek territory, as the latest tremor was 150 kilometres east of the Aug. 17 earthquake that hit Turkey.

    They also stated that such continuous seismic activity may last "several months to several years."

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Clinton-Archbishop

    Montreal, 13/11/1999 (ANA - I. Frangouli)

    US President Bill Clinton yesterday thanked former Archbishop of America Spyridon for his efforts toward cooperation during the three-year leadership of the latter.

    In the letter to Spyridon, Mr. Clinton wrote "during your inspired service you enriched the lives of a multitude of Christians, as you have been an example of faith in our nation."

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Greek, Turkish emergency rescue units given Ipekci prize

    Athens, 13/11/1999 (ANA)

    The Greek and Turkish emergency rescue teams took the spotlight again yesterday, receiving this year's Abdi Ipekci prize for furthering Greek- Turkish friendship following their titanic efforts during the twin quakes that struck NW Turkey and the greater A thens area in August and September, respectively.

    The guest of honour, former Turkish foreign minister Hikmet Cetin, said the immediate outpouring of support from both countries in the wake of the quakes had surprised him and others by its force.

    "This must be pursued by all means," he said, admitting that there were, however, problems in relations, such as to be expected between two neighbouring countries. "But these can be resolved with dialogue," he said, adding that mutual friendship would offer nothing but good to the two countries and the wider region.

    The Ipekci prize is awarded at regular intervals to those who have made a contribution to Greek-Turkish rapprochement. It is named after a pacifist Turkish editor and journalist who sought friendship with Greece, Abdi Ipekci. He was murdered shortly aft er his return from a trip to Greece. Also receiving awards were the Greek branch of Doctors without Borders and students of a Turkish school who held an essay competition on Greek-Turkish friendship. Other prize winners included former ND minister and Lib eral Party founder Stephanos Manos, European Euro MPs-Anna Karamanos (PASOK) and Costas Hatzidakis (New Democracy), Greek deputy Mustafa Mustafa (Coalition of the Left), the Greek and Turkish presidents of the two countries' technical chambers and the dir ectors of the Turkish and Greek national theatre houses.

    Yesterday's awards ceremony was the 8th consecutive year awards have been presented since the inauguration of the awards 20 years ago.

    Papandreou receives ex-Turkish FM Cetin: Foreign Minister George Papandreou met yesterday with ex-Turkish FM Hikmet Cetin in Athens, who arrived in the Greek capital for the Ipekci awards ceremony.

    During the 20-minute courtesy visit, Mr. Papandreou briefed Mr. Cetin over progress in the recently inaugurated Greek-Turkish "low-level" dialogue, sources said.

    Mr. Papandreou also discussed Athens' position on the European vocation of Turkey and the issue of Turkey's EU candidacy.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Karamanlis criticises gov't over Clinton visit postponement

    Athens, 13/11/1999 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis accused the government yesterday of duplicity regarding the issue of US President Bill Clinton's visit to Greece next week.

    Speaking during his tour of Laconia prefecture, Mr. Karamanlis said the government "says one thing officially and does another thing at the party level, since the ruling PASOK party's youth wing participates actively in protests."

    Mr. Karamanlis reiterated that ND is opposed and is not participating in these protests, adding that "when we welcome a foreigner, the elementary rules of diplomacy should be applied."

    Mr. Karamanlis said Mr. Clinton's visit can prove beneficial for the country provided that national positions are highlighted in an explicit way. He further said that the country was harmed by the postponement of the visit, which he attributed to petty- party expediencies which PM Costas Simitis tried to serve.

    Mr. Karamanlis visited areas in Laconia which experienced devastating floods this week and said ND will pressure the government to provide compensation to flood victims immediately.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] EU`s immigration, crime-fighting issues presented in Athens by Finnish presidency

    Athens, 13/11/1999 (ANA)

    The EU's Finnish presidency yesterday outlined the results of the recent Tampere summit, focusing on the Union's increasingly crucial asylum and immigration policy, crime-fighting and the creation of a common judicial area.

    With the most extensive maritime borders in the 15-nation bloc and located on Europe's sensitive southeastern corner, Greek leadership has over the past few years called for increased solidarity from its EU partners to deal with the tide of illegal immi gration and 'imported' crime attempting to stream into Greece from the Asia Minor coast, the wider Mediterranean region and other Balkan countries.

    In detailing the Tampere results at a conference held at the Greek foreign ministry, Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and European Affairs Kimmo Sasi pointed to what Helsinki has termed the "10 Tampere Milestones", namely:

    A unified immigration and asylum policy by the Union; common European asylum procedures; measures on the rights of third country nationals to make them comparable in some areas with those of EU citizens; management of immigration flow; improved access t o justice across the Union through common minimum standards and rules on cross-border litigation; mutual recognition of judicial decisions; greater convergence in matters of civil law; improving crime prevention at the Union level through common prioritie s targeting juvenile, urban and drug-related crime; stepping up cooperation through the establishment of a police chiefs' task force along with extending the mandate of Europol and the creation of the 'Eurojust' network, and finally, special action agains t money laundering.

    "We are, both as the presidency and as a member-state, very satisfied with the outcome of Tampere. The achievements represent a new stage in EU integration. Justice and home affairs should be high on the external relations agenda of the Union. To a grea t extent these questions are international and global issues which need international and global cooperation," Mr. Sasi said.

    "...It is clear that EU enlargement will most probably lead to further changes in the field of justice and home affairs, not only in the way we cooperate but also in the underlying Treaty provisions. However, it is still too early to determine the natur e of these changes. The general aim P the further development of a genuine area of freedom, security and justice P should also be constantly borne in mind in all future work," the Finnish minister added. On his part, Greek foreign ministry Secretary Ge neral Stelios Perrakis emphasised that asylum and immigration policy is a top priority for Athens, stretching back to Greece's 1994 rotating EU presidency.

    "We're dealing with these same issues again today, five years later," Mr. Perrakis said, stressing additionally, that what the "15" need is political volition and maturity in order to implement an EU-wide policy towards asylum and immigration issues bey ond just the scope of varying national applications. He also noted that the issue of asylum throughout the world has developed into an exclusively European affair, while noting that Athens expected even more progress on the above issues at Tampere.

    The conference, entitled "Towards A European Space of Freedom, Security and Justice", was held in the foreign ministry's auditorium and jointly organised by the European Commission and the embassy of Finland in Athens, with Finnish ambassador to Athens Arto Tanner convening the session.

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou was scheduled to briefly address the conference before bowing out to attend a cabinet meeting convened in the morning.

    Main opposition New Democracy deputy Marietta Yiannakou-Koutsikou also addressed the conference as did Greek public order ministry Secretary General Dimitris Efstathiadis. Other speakers included repre-sentatives from the European Commission, the direct or of the Commission's Representation in Athens, Marios Camhis, as well as Finnish interior and justice ministry officials.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Employment plan discussed by Diamantopoulou, Protopapas

    BRUSSELS, 13/11/1999 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    The "Joint Report Plan on Employment 1999", which also includes comments on the content and course of implementation of national action plans, was discussed during yesterday's meeting of the Council of Labour Ministers.

    Greece was represented by Deputy Labour Minister Christos Protopapas.

    Mr. Protopapas said in his address that the process of coordinating employment policies is being consolidated and is going ahead, adding that for the first time there is a joint report by the Employment and Labour Market Committee and the Economic Polic y Committee which constitutes an important step in planning economic policy in conjunction with strengthening employment.

    He also said "we insist on the implementation of measures included in the national plans", adding that "we accept the proposal by the Greek Commissioner" for their evaluation.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Bill on deregulating Greek power industry tabled

    Athens, 13/11/1999 (ANA)

    The bill on deregulating the power industry and the settlement of energy policy issues has been tabled in Parliament.

    Among others, the creation of an independent administrative authority named the regulating energy authority is anticipated, which will enjoy administrative and economic self-sufficiency and will be supervised by the development minister.

    The bill adjusts the country to the European Parliament's directive 96/92/EK and to the commitment to gradually deregulate the electrical power sector, which will be implemented in Greece on February 19, 2001.

    According to the bill, "exclusive rights for the construction and operation of energy production stations will be abolished."

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Homicide charges expected in conscript`s 1997 death

    Athens, 13/11/1999 (ANA)

    A military court prosecutor yesterday said he was filing criminal charges for premeditated homicide over the death of a young c onscript in 1997.

    The charges came after almost two years of speculation over the cause of death of 20-year-old Spyros Romiopoulos, who was initially ruled to have died of natural causes, specifically, heart failure.

    He was found dead after disappearing while on patrol near Soufli, Evros on June 18, 1997.

    The prosecutor of the Standing Military Court at Xanthi said he was also requesting additional testimony from the conscript's commanding officer, who was serving with Romiopoulos when he disappeared and who now resides permanently in the Netherlands.

    The ex-officer denied any involvement in the soldier's death.

    A second and third autopsy P the last after exhumation of the body P were both inconclusive. The last autopsy was attended by two coroners on behalf of the family, who said they found evidence of strangulation and bruising.

    Ex-officer Aris Bakatinakis has testified in the ongoing investigation into the death twice before. An examination of his testimony, according to the prosecutor who has been recently assigned to the case, has also revealed a number of inconsistencies.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Noted novelist, translator Nikos Bakolas dies

    Athens, 13/11/1999 (ANA)

    Journalist, noted novelist and translator Nikos Bakolas died yesterday at the age of 72.

    Bakolas was twice awarded the National Book Award and is credited with promoting the arts in northern Greece through his works.

    He translated American authors such as William Faulkner, Henry James and F. Scott Fitzgerald, while, he produced a series of novels dealing with the life and history of northern Greece.

    Culture Minister Elizabeth Papazoi expressed her condolences over what she called the loss of one of Greece's 'literary creators'.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Vangelis to compose 2000 Games closing musical score

    MELBOURNE, 13/11/1999 (ANA)

    Academy Award-winning composer Vangelis Papathanasiou, known internationally as Vangelis, will compose the musical score for the closing ceremony of the 2000 Games in Sydney it was announced here yesterday.

    Vangelis, who won a 1981 Oscar for his score for the motion picture "Chariots of Fire", will compose the 10-minute piece for the ceremony in which Sydney will turn over the Olympic flag to Athens for the 2004 Games.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Economic News

    Athens, 13/11/1999

    Harmonised inflation below 2.0 pct in October: Harmonised inflation remained below 2.0 percent in October despite a rise in consumer price inflation in the same month, the National Statistics Service said yesterday.

    Year-on-year harmonised inflation was 1.9 percent in October with the average harmonised CPI index running at 2.6 percent in October, down from 2.8 percent the previous month.

    Harmonised inflation is used in international inflation comparisons and for evaluating price stability in the European Union.

    The annual rate of the average harmonised consumer price index in Greece was as follows in 1999: January 4.5 pct, February 4.4 pct, March 4.3 pct, April 4.1 pct, May 3.8 pct, June 3.6 pct, July 3.3 pct, August 3.1 pct, September 2.8 pct and October 2.6 pct.

    Quake damage estimated at Dr 810 bln: The cost of repairing damage from a major earthquake that hit Athens on September 7 is estimated at 810 billion drachmas.

    The figure emerged after talks in Athens yesterday between National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and the EU's Commissioner for Regional Policy, Michel Barnier.

    Mr. Papantoniou told reporters that quake aid from the EU would cover 50 percent of the total cost, and that Greece would receive a loan from the European Investment Bank worth 300 billion drachmas to help fund reconstruction.

    Turning to EU matters, the minister said that Mr. Barnier was satisfied at Greece's rate of absorption of funds from the 15-nation bloc.

    Stocks end the week above 5,700 pts: Equity prices ended the last trading session of the week higher with the general index overtaking the 5,700 level on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The session was marked by the successful launch of a new electronic trading system for the market.

    The general index ended 0.80 percent higher at 5,702.21 points with turnover at 296 billion drachmas. Shares in the Construction and Banks sectors were at the focus of attention, pushing the two indices 3.20 and 1.59 percent higher.

    Other sector indices ended as follows: Leasing (+1.51 pct), Insurance (- 2.03 pct), Investment (+1.62 pct), Industrials (+0.01 pct), Miscellaneous (- 0.63 pct) and Holding (-0.23 pct).

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks jumped 2.77 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chips and heavily traded stocks rose 0.78 percent to 2,793.03 points.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 147 to 146 with another 22 issues unchanged.

    A total of 24 shares ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up, with Macedonian Spinning Mills and Olympic Catering ending at the day's limit down.

    Hellenic Telecoms and Atticat were the most heavily traded stocks.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 21,300 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 26, 300, Commercial Bank at 22,980, Titan Cement (common) at 38,500, Hellenic Petroleum at 4,940, Intracom at 14,390, Minoan Lines at 10,000, Panafon at 3,650 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,480.

    Drachma rampant in robust demand: The drachma rose up in heavy demand yesterday, prompting the central bank to step into the market in order to curb its ascent.

    The drachma rose late this week after slumping on a statement by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou that monetary policy would remain unchanged.

    The decline had followed euphoria on rumours the drachma's central parity in the European Union's exchange rate mechanism II would be revalued in the near future.

    Yesterday, the Bank of Greece bought about 150 million euros to try to bring down the drachma, which still managed to finish higher.

    At the central bank's daily fix, the euro was set at 328.320 drachmas from 328.450 drachmas in the previous session and 328.550 drachmas on Wednesday.

    The dollar crept up against the drachma.

    The US currency was set at 316.800 drachmas from 315.590 drachmas a day earlier and 315.830 drachmas on Wednesday.

    Bonds rise in buying interest: Secondary market bonds posted gains of 120- 140 basis points in light to moderate trade yesterday with buyers active in the market.

    Trading at 99.40, the benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.38 percent from 6.58 percent in the previous session.

    The yield spread over German bunds dropped to between 153 basis points and 155 basis points from 158 basis points a day earlier.

    Electronic trade was 48 billion drachmas from 14 billion drachmas in the previous session. Buy orders accounted for the bulk of turnover. Greece to tender three-year bonds Tues: The finance ministry on Tuesday will auction 150 billion drachmas of three-year bonds in paperless form.

    In a reopening of the original January 22 bond, the paper will carry an annual coupon of 7.6 percent.

    The auction is to be held through the market's primary dealers. No commission is payable.

    Applications for bankruptcy rise in October: Applications for bankruptcy rose 32 percent in October compared with the same month of last year to total 186, while declared bankruptcies rose to 32 from 19 in the same period, an increase of 68.4 percent, the Hellenic Banks Association said.

    Bankruptcy figures were healthier in January-October 1999, with applications for bankruptcy down 0.9 percent and declared bankruptcies down 19.5 percent compared with the same period of last year.

    In October, the number of bouncing checks fell to 8,768, worth 19 billion drachmas, to show a 21.4 percent decline compared with the same month of 1998.

    Banknotes Buying Selling: US Dollar 314.266 321.552 Can.Dollar 214.272 219.240 Australian Dlr 202.051 206.735 Pound Sterling 508.479 520.269 Irish Punt 413.545 423.133 Pound Cyprus 563.039 576.094 Pound Malta 742.880 773.833 Turkish pound (100) 0.056 0.058 French franc 49.652 50.803 Swiss franc 202.527 207.222 Belgian franc 8.074 8.261 German Mark 166.524 170.385 Finnish Mark 54.777 56.047 Dutch Guilder 147.793 151.220 Danish Kr. 43.842 44.859 Swedish Kr. 37.759 38.635 Norwegian Kr. 39.700 40.620 Austrian Sh. 23.669 24.218 Italian lira (100) 16.820 17.210 Yen (100) 300.259 307.220 Spanish Peseta 1.957 2.003 Port. Escudo 1.625 1.663

    Foreign Exchange Buying Selling New York 314.266 321.552 Montreal 214.272 219.240 Sydney 202.051 206.735 London 508.479 520.269 Dublin 413.545 423.133 Nicosia 563.039 576.094 Paris 49.652 50.803 Zurich 202.527 207.222 Brussels 8.074 8.261 Frankfurt 166.524 170.385 Helsinki 54.777 56.047 Amsterdam 147.793 151.220 Copenhagen 43.842 44.859 Stockholm 37.759 38.635 Oslo 39.700 40.620 Vienna 23.669 24.218 Milan 16.820 17.210 Tokyo 300.259 307.220 Madrid 1.957 2.003 Lisbon 1.625 1.663

    Athens News Agency

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