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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-11-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] EU lifts Greek excessive debt status
  • [02] Crucial conference focusing on Parthenon Marbles begins in London today
  • [03] Latest opinion polls unveiled by Athens dailies
  • [04] Gov't wants general elections as scheduled in Sept.
  • [05] Papandreou refers to `tough bargaining` ahead of Helsinki summit over Turkey
  • [06] Simitis, FM leadership to confer over Helsinki summit
  • [07] US comment on upcoming Cyprus talks
  • [08] Thessaloniki seminar to focus on Europe's asylum, immigration policy
  • [09] Medical symposium focuses on Parkinson's Disease
  • [10] Greek stocks rally led by blue chips
  • [11] Bonds mixed in light trade
  • [12] Minoan Flying Dolphins buys another ship
  • [13] Kavala Oil to re-open Prinos oilfield
  • [14] Delta becomes holding company
  • [15] OTE shows small profit rise
  • [16] Attica Enterprises claims lead on Greece-Italy route
  • [17] Panergon gets dealerships
  • [18] Thessaloniki firm seeks bourse listing
  • [19] Athens Foreign Exchange
  • [20] Aid for quake-stricken heads for Turkey
  • [21] Olympic flame for 2000 Sydney Games to be lit on May 10
  • [22] Antique document refers to founding of modern Athens

  • [01] EU lifts Greek excessive debt status

    BRUSSELS, 30/11/1999 (ANA/M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Union yesterday removed Greece from a list of countries carrying excessive debt status.

    The decision in favour of Greece, which was placed on the list in 1994, was taken by the EU's economy and finance ministers at a meeting in the Belgian capital.

    The EU's executive Commission had advocated lifting the debt status last week.

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, who attended the ministers' meeting, said he welcomed the move.

    "The first stage of Greece's entry into economic and monetary union has been successfully completed," Mr. Papantoniou told reporters.

    "Since 1993, the Greek economy has achieved the greatest reduction in fiscal deficit among the EU's member states in recent years."

    The minister added that the brunt of the drive to lower the deficit was borne by the Greek public.

    He also countered accusations by the main opposition New Democracy party that the deficit had been lowered by means of creative accounting, saying that yesterday's decision was a political reply to the charges.

    The next landmark date in Greece's bid to become the 12th member of the euro zone was in March next year when the government would submit its entry application to the Commission, Mr. Papantoniou said.

    Next, the Commission and the European Central Bank would produce reports on the Greek economy, which were likely to be ready at the end of May 2000.

    In June of the same year, an EU summit was expected to decide whether Greece qualified for euro zone entry.

    Replying to a reporter's question, Mr. Papantoniou said that the application would not be made earlier as Greece may not meet the Maastricht inflation criterion in December due to rising oil prices, but it would meet the target in February.

    Finally, he said that there would be no general elections in Greece before March.

    If early elections were held in March, the New Democracy party would be responsible, he added.

    The government has repeatedly stated that it wants the polls to take place on schedule in September 2000.

    Solbes sees deficits falling further : EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pedro Solbes told reporters after the ministers' meeting that he welcomed the decision to free Greece of excessive debt status.

    He said that current indications showed that reduction of the fiscal deficit and public debt would continue in coming years.

    He added that he hoped Greece would meet all euro zone entry criteria by March.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Crucial conference focusing on Parthenon Marbles begins in London today

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    The Greek government stressed yesterday that it was heading into a special conference in London today with solid arguments that the priceless 5th century sculptures known as the "Elgin Marbles" have been irrevocably damaged in the care of the British Museum and should be returned to Athens.

    The 100-page report from the team of Greek culture ministry experts, which examined the condition of the works at the British Museum in late October this year, is "revealing", according to Culture Minister Elizabeth Papazoi, who held a news conference on the issue yesterday.

    "We are in a position to analytically and scientifically judge the extent of the damage which was wrought by the cleaning in 1937-1938," Ms Papazoi said.

    She added she was confident because "we are gaining points continually P the issue of the return is daily a news item, both sides (of the dispute) are being covered in the British media, and slowly, we are winning the support of British public opinion."

    The Greek experts will present their findings at the seminar today, in combination with two reports on the section of the Marbles that remained in Greece, and escaped the cleaning methods used on the friezes housed in London.

    The results indicate that the extent of the damage to the Marbles subjected to the British Museum's cleaning method is greater than that originally estimated.

    The Greek report, which presents archival material and photographic evidence of the damage to the sculptures patina, says the artworks were subjected to cleaning with an emery cloth and sharp instruments.

    The British report, compiled by the curator of Greek artwork at the British Museum, Ian Jenkins, admits that the cleaning methods of the '30s were concealed for decades. The damage to the Marbles - 5th century B.C. friezes taken from the Parthenon to England in the early 19th century and the focus of a bitter ownership dispute between Athens and London over the last 15 years - was revealed last year by a British historian William St. Clair.

    Mr. St. Clair said the friezes suffered the damage 60 years ago when museum staff tried to restore the friezes to what was mistakenly thought to be their original colour.

    According to the findings of the Greek experts, and corroborated by Mr. St Clair, London's smog has also exerted a particularly harmful effect on the Marbles in the 19th century.

    The Marbles were removed from the Parthenon by British diplomat Lord Elgin with permission from the local Ottoman administrators. Elgin removed the friezes and other parts of the impressive Parthenon temple, dedicated to the ancient goddess Athena.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Latest opinion polls unveiled by Athens dailies

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    Ruling PASOK party's popularity appears to be on the rise, according to opinion polls conducted in the greater Athens region this month, the results of which appeared in yesterday's newspapers.

    According to a poll by "Opinion", appearing in the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia", 29.8 per cent of those polled said they intended to vote for PASOK in general elections, up marginally from 29.6 per cent in a similar poll conducted by the firm in Septem ber.

    The resuts showed 24 per cent intending to vote for the main opposition New Democracy party, down from 25.9 per cent in September; 6.4 per cent for the Communist Party of Greece (slightly down from 6.7 per cent in September); 4 per cent for the Coalitio n of Left and Progress (up slightly from 3.8 per cent in September), and 4.8 per cent for the Democratic Social Movement - down slightly from 5.1 per cent in September.

    The same poll showed that 56.1 per cent of those polled believed that US President Bill Clinton's visit to Athens earlier this month was more or less positive for Greece, with 21.2 per cent seeing it as "positive" and 34.9 per cent as "rather positive", while 13 per cent saw the visit as "rather negative", and 17.7 per cent as "negative", and 11.9 per cent was undecided.

    The poll further showed PASOK the favoured party in the 18-59 year-old age bracket and ND in the above-60 age group.

    Also, 82.2 per cent of PASOK followers said they would vote again for their party, against 80 per cent for ND followers.

    In a separate opinion poll by V.PRC, appearing in the Athens daily "Ta Nea", 47 per cent of those polled believe that PASOK will win the next general elections, against 23.4 per cent who believe that ND will emerge the victor, compared with 36.4 per cent and 32.9 per cent, respectively, in a similar V.PRC poll in July.

    Also, 40.7 per cent believed that it would be better for general elections to be held in September 2000 at the end of the present term against 22.7 per cent who preferred early general elections in March and 9 per cent who wanted early elections in June . Another 24.8 per cent said they did not care when the elections would take place.

    Further, 34.8 per cent of those polled expressed "absolute certainty" about which party they would vote for in the next general elections, while 21.8 per cent said they were "rather certain", 21.2 per cent said they were "not so certain", and 20.6 per cent said the were "not at all certain".

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Gov't wants general elections as scheduled in Sept.

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    The government said yesterday that elections should be held in September next year because it was "imperative" that the government serve out its four-year mandate.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters that ruling PASOK had made its position clear on when elections should be held but that opposition parties had, on the other hand, not been clear on whether they wanted early elections or not.

    If a president of the republic is not elected when incumbent President Kostis Stephanopoulos' term comes up for renewal in March, Parliament is dissolved and general elections held.

    The ruling party has said it supports a renewal of Mr. Stephanopoulos' term but the number of deputies it has in Parliament falls short of the number required to re-elect him. Other parties have yet to publicly say whether they will support a re-election of Mr. Stephanopoulos.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Papandreou refers to `tough bargaining` ahead of Helsinki summit over Turkey

    HELSINKI, 30/11/1999 (ANA - D. Konstantakopoulos)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou again reiterated yesterday that Athens has not yet decided whether or not to endorse Turkey's European Union candidacy at next week's EU summit here.

    "We are ready for a 'no', just as we are ready for a 'yes'," to Turkey's EU candidacy he said, and warned that very "tough bargaining" still lies ahead.

    Mr. Papandreou was speaking yesterday at a joint press conference after holding talks here with his Finnish counterpart Tarja Halonen.

    He said Athens desires a substantive candidacy and not "a sham candidacy, as some countries might want."

    Regarding the state of human rights in Turkey (missing persons, torture, etc), the Finnish foreign minister said Turkey's proclamation as a candidate is nothing more than the start to the process, while she recognised that Turkey's possible EU path will be rougher than that of many other countries.

    Ms Halonen tried to explain how Turkey's candidacy, on the one hand, and the state of human rights in Turkey, on the other, are compatible, claiming that how much progress a country should achieve before being proclaimed a candidate is an open issue. She added that the atmosphere created after the recent earthquakes, particularly in relations between Greece and Turkey, created hopes for a solution to issues between the two countries.

    "We have a realistic faith in that Turkey will follow a certain specific path for its accession to European structures," she said.

    On the question of Cyprus, Ms Halonen said it should be resolved in any case and expressed hope that the New York proximity talks will produce results.

    On his part, Mr. Papandreou underlined that Greece is not calling for its interests to override the Turkish ones, but desires Turkey to be incorporated in the EU's norms and practices.

    "In a way, we have more interest in a European Turkey than other EU countries," he said.

    Mr. Papandreou underlined that it should be ruled out for any third country to be able to raise, even indirectly, a veto to the accession of Cyprus. He expressed support for the separation of a political solution to the Cyprus issue from Cyprus' accessi on, reminding of Germany's example, and added that EU accession will contribute to the protection of the Turkish Cypriots' rights.

    Ms Halonen said Finland is facing issues related to Cyprus with an open mind, expressing the hope the Cyprus issue will have been resolved before accession.

    During their talks, Ms Halonen spoke primarily in the capacity of the EU presiding country, which is mainly interested in the views of the EU's member-states.

    After concluding his visit to Finland, Mr. Papandreou will leave for Russia today for talks with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov on bilateral Greek- Russian relations, the Cyprus issue and issues concerning the Caucasus region.

    Meeting with Sweden's Lindh : Before arriving in Helsinki, Mr. Papandreou had an informal meeting with his Swedish counterpart Anna Lindh.

    The two ministers discussed the prospects for Turkey's candidacy bid for the EU, ahead of the Council of General Affairs meeting on Dec. 6.

    Specific texts were discussed and, according to reports, both sides ascertained a common approach to their positions, particularly on the framework which Turkey must meet.

    They agreed to keep in touch on a ministerial and official level.

    According to diplomatic sources, Stockholm continues to believe that Turkish progress on the issue of Cyprus and on human rights is "inadequate" and is still reserved on the final position it will take at the summit.

    Mr. Papandreou arrived in Stockholm on Sunday night.

    Russian talks : NICOSIA (CNA/ANA) - Meanwhile, Russian foreign ministry spokesman Vladimir Rahmanin said yesterday that the Cyprus problem is among the issues which Mr. Papandreou will discuss with his Russian counterpart in Moscow.

    He added that Moscow "is satisfied with the present state of Russian-Greek relations."

    Mr. Rahmanin noted that the political dialogue between the two countries "is becoming increasingly intensive and concrete", saying they intend "to further develop and deepen interaction with Greece in various spheres, including those of trade and economy."

    During the talks, "special attention will be given to questions of ensuring lasting peace and security on the European continent," including Kosovo and Yugoslavia, he added.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Simitis, FM leadership to confer over Helsinki summit

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greece favours Turkey's European orientation but Turkey must also work towards this direction, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stressed yesterday.

    Mr. Reppas was responding to questions about an interview in a Sunday newspaper by US ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns, who reportedly said that Washington hoped Greece would approve Turkey's EU candidacy bid.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will confer with the leadership of the foreign ministry on Thursday over the stance to be taken by Athens at the Helsinki summit, Mr. Reppas said.

    Later the same day, Finnish PM and current EU council president Paavo Lipponen will be in Athens for talks.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] US comment on upcoming Cyprus talks

    WASHINGTON, 30/11/1999 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    US State Department spokesman James Rubin said yesterday the United States believes that the upcoming talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, due to start in New York on Frida y, should be "substantive."

    Replying to a relevant question, Mr. Rubin said that during the talks "all the important issues will be discussed, such as security, government and the territorial issue."

    He added that each side will be in a position to raise for discussion any other issue it wishes.

    Mr. Rubin expressed Washington's satisfaction over the impending start to the talks whose purpose, as he said, is "to pave the way for negotiations of significance which will lead to an overall solution."

    Lastly, he reiterated that the talks will be held under the auspices of the UN.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Thessaloniki seminar to focus on Europe's asylum, immigration policy

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greece lacks the appropriate infrastructure for the application of laws related to issues of asylum and immigration, the president of the Thessaloniki Bar Association stressed yesterday.

    Giorgos Ignatidis, speaking at a news conference to announce the holding of a two-day seminar in Thessaloniki on Thursday by the Council of European Union Bar Associations, said one indication of this were the delays of joint ministerial decisions related to the state-funded compensation for attorneys acting on behalf of repatriated Greeks from the former Soviet Union.

    The topic of the seminar is "Asylum, immigration and the protection of civil liberties and human rights in Europe".

    Participants include European Parliament deputies, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and members of the Court of Human Rights.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Medical symposium focuses on Parkinson's Disease

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    Scientists yesterday said recent significant progress in the research field had resulted in controlling some of the symptoms in Parkinson's Disease, as well as in improving patients' quality of life.

    Participants at a medical symposium held in Halkidiki, northern Greece, stressed that medical advances have been made in connection with Parkinson's over recent years thanks to the use of a substance called "pramipexole", which eases symptoms and assists in decreasing the use of other drugs with serious side-effects.

    They said that during tests on patients it was observed that the use of "parmipexole" achieved up to a 60 per cent reduction in the shaking caused by the disease.

    It is estimated that in Greece there are more than 10,000 people suffering from Parkinson's Disease, which usually strikes middle-aged individuals.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Greek stocks rally led by blue chips

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greek equities ended yesterday's session sharply higher, extending Friday's rally on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index ended 3.37 percent higher at 5,806.33 points, at the day's highs. Turnover was a moderate 287.7 billion drachmas.

    Traders said buying interest focused on blue chip stocks, mainly in the banks and industrials sectors. Foreign buyers were active again.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks ended 5.13 pct higher surpassing the 10,000 level, Insurance (+3.72 pct), Leasing (+1.60 pct), Investment (+1.49 pct), Construction (+0.85 pct), Industrials (+3.40 pct), Miscellaneous (+1.22 pct) and Holding (-0.79 pct).

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks rose 0.67 percent to 2,089.61 points, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks soared 4.10 percent to 2,907.38 points.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 191 to 104 with another 16 issues unchanged.

    A large number of stocks ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

    Among them were: Attica Bank, Kekrops, Allatini Ceramics, Lambrakis Press, Dias, Etane, Gener, Karelias, Mosholios and Terna.

    Viosol and Esha ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit down.

    Hellenic Telecoms, Eskimo and Panafon were the most heavily traded stocks.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 23,300 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 26, 800, Commercial Bank at 24,400, Hellenic Petroleum at 5,130, Panafon at 4, 150, Hellenic Telecoms at 7,150, Intracom at 13,950, Minoan Lines at 9,700, Titan Cement (common) at 38,700.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Bonds mixed in light trade

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    Bonds in the domestic secondary market ended mixed with domestic players buying into paper but instituional investors abroad selling off.

    A lacklustre market had gained momentum last week on news that Standard & Poor's, the international credit ratings agency, had given Greece an upgrade.

    Yesterday, the benchmark 10-year bond was trading above 99.05, showing a yield of 6.59 percent, the same as the previous session, from 6.57 percent on Wednesday and Thursday.

    The yield spread over German bunds was 136 basis points from 138 basis points a session earlier and 138-140 basis points on Thursday.

    Electronic turnover was 11.5 billion drachmas from 37 billion drachmas in the previous session and 26 billion drachmas on Thursday, sharply down on Wednesday's 53 billion drachmas.

    Yesterday, sell orders accounted for the whole of turnover.

    Drachma gains on euro's slump : Domestic foreign exchange trade yesterday was dominated by a decline in the euro against the dollar in international markets, driving up the drachma against the European currency.

    Inflows into the Greek market were around 120 million euros on the heels of 70-80 million euros in inflows a session earlier, traders said.

    At the central bank's daily fixing, the European single currency dropped against the drachma.

    It was set at 328.550 drachmas from 329.000 drachmas in the previous session and 328.600 drachmas on Thursday.

    The dollar again rose versus the drachma in line with its ascent in global markets.

    The US currency was set at 324.680 drachmas from 324.140 drachmas a session earlier and 321.890 drachmas on Thursday.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Minoan Flying Dolphins buys another ship

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    Minoan Flying Dolphins yesterday announced the purchase of a ferry, the "Penelope A", from D. Agoudimos Shipping Co, raising its fleet to 68 ships.

    The Penelope A operates the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos line.

    Minoan Flying Dolphins expects its turnover to total 37.2 billion drachmas this year and passenger traffic to reach 7.5 million.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Kavala Oil to re-open Prinos oilfield

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    The government and Kavala Oil SA yesterday signed a five-year contract granting the company a concession to the state Prinos oilfield. The agreement was signed in the presence of Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    Under the terms of the contract, Kavala Oil will have to sell all its oil from the Prinos field to Hellenic Petroleum, a state firm listed on the Athens bourse, at current prices.

    Natural gas supplies will be used to provide the company with power. The Prinos oilfield's proven reserves are estimated at eight million barrels of crude oil with a production capacity of 6,500-7,000 barrels per day.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Delta becomes holding company

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    Delta Dairies is to be turned into a holding company incorporating Delta Dairy Industry and Delta Ice Cream, managing director Dimitris Daskalopoulos told a shareholders general assembly yesterday.

    The new umbrella company will also include Delta Investments, a new firm to emerge from the transfer of a 20 percent stake in Delta held by France's Danone group.

    In return, Danone will receive 30 percent in Delta Dairy industry and 4.8 billion drachmas.

    Delta Investments, with assets of 70 billion drachmas, will provide the group's arm for further development and acquisitions.

    At the same time, Delta Holdings will hold a 21.5 billion drachma share capital increase on a cash basis and issue a 9.1 billion drachma convertible bond.

    The group expects a turnover of 125 billion drachmas and profits of 15 billion drachmas in 1999.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] OTE shows small profit rise

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) said yesterday that profits before tax, depreciation and interest rose 17.3 percent in January to September to 390 billion drachmas from 333 billion drachmas in the same period of last year.

    Turnover was also up by 18 percent, while the gross profit margin stood at about 34 percent.

    Pre-tax return on equity was 22.3 percent compared to 20.5 percent in the same period of 1998.

    OTE's Romanian and Armenian telecom investments showed profits of 7.2 billion and 3.9 billion drachmas respectively.

    In another development, OTE made a strategic agreement with the Bank of Greece to expand the central bank's telecoms infrastructure.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Attica Enterprises claims lead on Greece-Italy route

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    Attica Enterprises said yesterday it had maintained first place among operators on the Greece-Italy route in terms of passengers and trucks carried in January to September.

    The company said its Superfast ferries carried 437,000 passengers (23.4 percent of the total), 77,900 trucks (27.1 percent), and 87,000 private cars.

    Attica Enterprises is currently holding a 66.9 billion drachma share capital increase, due to be completed on December 9.

    The group's investment plan for the 2000-2001 period includes 11 new vessels, of which six are for Superfast Ferries and five for Strintzis Lines, which is partly owned by Attica.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Panergon gets dealerships

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    Panergon SA, a Sfakianakis Group subsidiary, will become the exclusive dealer of Daf trucks and Landini tractors from December 1.

    Panergon will use Daf's mechanical parts for the assembly of buses.

    The company expects its turnover to reach five billion drachmas by 2000 and plans to seek listing on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Thessaloniki firm seeks bourse listing

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    KLT, a heating and refrigeration company based in Thessaloniki, will seek to raise 700 million drachmas from the country's capital market through a private placement and listing on the Athens Stock Exchange's parallel market for smaller capitalisation sto cks.

    KLT's equity capital will rise to one billion drachmas following the capital increase.

    Omega Securities will act as consultant in the listing.

    KLT expects its turnover to reach five billion drachmas and its pre-tax profits to total 210 million drachmas in 1999.

    The company also forecast that its turnover would rise to 6.5 billion drachmas next year and its pre-tax profits to 650 million drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: November 29, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             322.083 329.550
    Can.Dollar            218.736 223.807
    Australian Dlr        205.359 210.120
    Pound Sterling        516.515 528.490
    Irish Punt            413.835 423.430
    Pound Cyprus          566.372 579.504
    Pound Malta           750.480 781.750
    Turkish pound (100)     0.057   0.059
    French franc           49.686  50.838
    Swiss franc           203.390 208.105
    Belgian franc           8.079   8.267
    German Mark           166.641 170.505
    Finnish Mark           54.816  56.087
    Dutch Guilder         147.896 151.325
    Danish Kr.             43.823  44.839
    Swedish Kr.            37.936  38.816
    Norwegian Kr.          40.156  41.087
    Austrian Sh.           23.686  24.235
    Italian lira (100)     16.832  17.223
    Yen (100)             315.426 322.740
    Spanish Peseta          1.959   2.005
    Port. Escudo            1.626   1.664
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              322.083 329.550
    Montreal              218.736 223.807
    Sydney                205.359 210.120
    London                516.515 528.490
    Dublin                413.835 423.430
    Nicosia               566.372 579.504
    Paris                  49.686  50.838
    Zurich                203.390 208.105
    Brussels                8.079   8.267
    Frankfurt             166.641 170.505
    Helsinki               54.816  56.087
    Amsterdam             147.896 151.325
    Copenhagen             43.823  44.839
    Stockholm              37.936  38.816
    Oslo                   40.156  41.087
    Vienna                 23.686  24.235
    Milan                  16.832  17.223
    Tokyo                 315.426 322.740
    Madrid                  1.959   2.005
    Lisbon                  1.626   1.664
    Athens News Agency

    [20] Aid for quake-stricken heads for Turkey

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    Eighteen trucks carrying humanitarian aid for earthquake-stricken victims in Turkey left Athens yesterday and are expected to arrive in the Turkish cities of Duc and Bolu tonight.

    The trucks are carrying 500 tons of medicines, 650 heaters, condensed milk, foodstuffs and clothing.

    Speaking on their departure, Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou congratulated those who offered the aid.

    She noted that this climate helps the rapprochement between the two peoples, adding however, "it is not enough for differences existing between the two countries to be resolved. It is necessary for Turkey to take specific initiatives."

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Olympic flame for 2000 Sydney Games to be lit on May 10

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    The Olympic flame that will burn during the Olympic Games in Sydney will be lit on May 10, the Greek Olympic Games Committee announced yesterday.

    The flame will be lit at a traditional ceremony in ancient Olympia at noon on Wednesday, May 10, a spokesman said.

    A torch with the flame then will be relayed by runners through the towns of Pyrgos, ancient Iliad and Arcadia prefecture, among others, before arriving in Athens the next day in order to be flown to Australia.

    It will be kept overnight in the town of Tripoli, in the central Peloponnese.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Antique document refers to founding of modern Athens

    Athens, 30/11/1999 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos yesterday presented a 1833 document which he called the "birth certificate" of Athens as the capital of the modern Greek state.

    The document, which is signed by the heads of the land's leading families at the time, conceded to young King Otto property located in the city's centre today for the construction of squares, roads and public buildings.

    Mr. Avramopoulos said the document, which was bought by the Athens municipality at a London auction, possessed unique cultural value for the history of the capital and that "it will offer useful material to those who study Athens."

    Athens News Agency

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