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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 04/07/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Premier defines centre-left objectives
  • Greece to cooperate with Kazakh oil, gas industry
  • US awaiting for decision on Aegean, State Dept. says
  • Greek Eurodeputy rapporteur on IGC report committee
  • Charter arrivals up, but problems remain, hoteliers say
  • Olympic Airways raises prices on domestic routes
  • Rhodes officials warn OA over air fares
  • Greek industrial output up 3.1% in April
  • Greek equities slip, finish below 1,500 points
  • ECU 1.5 million for drinking water supply network in Greece
  • Commission takes Greece to court for sex discrimination
  • Greece joins UNESCO intellectual property rights group
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Premier defines centre-left objectives

The 21st century will witness the dilemma between socialism or social anarchy, and the differences between them are major, Prime Minister Costas Simitis noted yesterday.

He was addressing a conference by the Institute of Strategic and Development Studies Andreas Papandreou (ISTAME) on the issue of "The Left in Europe of the 21st Century" at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Mr. Simitis said that socialism stands for controlled development by man for man and individual initiative containing social responsibility and collectivity.

On the other hand, he said, social anarchy means development under conditions of ruthless individualism and political crudeness, and individual initiative without mutual respect, solidarity and social justice.

Referring to Europe, Mr. Simitis said that the centre-left is a political challenge that gives the opportunity for new power blocs to form and guarantee development and social cohesion in Europe.

Referring to the differences between socialism and neo-conservatism, Mr. Simitis said: "We are not all politically the same; we do not resemble in any way the neo-conservative world of oppressive anarchy, freedom for the few and bondage of the many". The Right, he said, resembled an apprentice magician who had unleashed forces beyond his control.

Greece to cooperate with Kazakh oil, gas industry

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said on Thursday that Greece was seeking closer economic cooperation with resource-rich Kazakhstan, especially with its oil and gas industries.

"We are interested in productive cooperation which will be mutually profitable," Mr. Pangalos told reporters after meeting Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the end of a two-day official visit to the Central Asian state.

Kazakhstan - a country five times the size of France and with a population of just 16.7 million people - is attractive because of its huge oil and gas reserves, the minister said. "Greece is buying important volumes of gas from Kazakhstan, and we shall also buy oil. We are planning a big pipeline from Novorossiisk to (the Black Sea port of) Burgas in Bulgaria and then to the Mediterranean," he said.

Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk is the destination of an oil pipeline due to be built by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) from Kazakhstan's huge Tengiz oil field, in line with an agreement signed in May this year.

The CPC deal allows full project financing and construction on the $2 billion project to proceed. CPC will build a 1,500 km (940 mile) pipeline from Tengiz to Novorossiisk to transport it later to international markets.

The CPC pipeline - to be built by Russia, Kazakhstan, Oman and eight large oil companies by the end of 1999 - will have an initial capacity of 28 million tonnes a year (560,000 barrels per day) and a peak of 67 million tonnes a year (1.34 million barrels per day).

Mr. Pangalos did not specify the size of Greek investment in the project aimed at extending the CPC pipeline, or when it would start and how much oil his country would buy.

Both Kazakhstan and Greece are dissatisfied with the level of their commercial relations, although foreign trade jumped last year to $16.5 million from $4.26 million in 1995.

US awaiting for decision on Aegean, State Dept. says

The United States said yesterday it could not promote any initiative in the Aegean until Greece and Turkey reached an agreement to reduce tension in the region.

US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said "we believe that any measures to reduce tension that can be agreed and applied in the Aegean must be implemented by both sides."

Mr. Burns added that confidence-building measures (CBMs) in the Aegean were still being discussed under the aegis of NATO, while there was no concluding agreement yet.

"We must await the completion of these talks," he said, adding that "Greece must be given time to evaluate Turkey's public statements". He was referring to Ankara's unilateral decision announced earlier this week to limit its military activity in the Aegean between July 1 and Aug. 15.

Athens responded with reservation to the announcement, insisting for a three-month moratorium on military overflights in the Aegean.

Greek Eurodeputy rapporteur on IGC report committee

Greek PASOK Eurodeputy and European Socialist Party representative Dimitris Tsatsos and European Peoples Party representative Mendez de Vigo have been appointed rapporteurs by the Institutional Issues Committee for the IGC report. The report, on the results of the Amsterdam Intergovernmental Conference, will provide the basis for the European Parliament's avis regarding the revised Treaty which was finalised during the Amsterdam summit after long consultations. The report is due for appr oval by the European Parliament on 19 November.

Charter arrivals up, but problems remain, hoteliers say

Tourist arrivals by charter flights are on the rise, the Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers announced yesterday.

Using figures from arrivals at airports throughout Greece for June, the federation warned that the increases did not preclude a drop in prices offered by tour operators.

According to their data, the largest increase in June was observed at the airport of Irakleion, Crete, where arrivals rose 20 per cent in June, compared to the same month last year.

At other destinations, tourist arrivals seemed to increase for Samos (up 7.5 per cent); decrease in Mytilini (down 0.9 per cent) while an increase of 1 per cent was noted for Corfu.

May also posted increases compared to figures from the same month last year in terms of charter arrivals. Specifically:Athens (9.8 per cent); Thessaloniki (15.9 per cent), Irakleio (6.4 per cent), Corfu (1 per cent), Rhodes (13 per cent), Zakynthos (8.7 per cent), Kos (16.7 per cent) and Samos (1 per cent).

Despite the increases, however, the hoteliers' federation warned that long- term infrastructure deficiencies in tourism policy had led to a drop in prices and an increase in lower-income tourists, while calling on the government to take measures immediately "before we are led to irreversible conditions".

Olympic Airways raises prices on domestic routes

Olympic Airways yesterday approved an average fare increase of about 7 per cent on most domestic flights.

The state-owned and managed national carrier said it based its decision on a number of trade and commercial factors, such as an increase in fuel costs, which it said rose by 43 per cent, and competition from other forms of transportation.

On the other hand, the OA board also decided to apply a system of discounts for certain categories of passengers. Among others, a 20 per cent discount for children between 2-12 years of age, a 20 per cent discount for young people between 12 and 24, a d iscount ranging between 25-40 per cent for families with at least three persons and through fares with a discount ranging between 21-47 per cent for each passenger using a combination of domestic flights via Athens.

The new prices for some popular destinations are as follows:

Athens-Hania 16,900 drachmas; Athens-Irakleio 18,500; Athens-Thessaloniki24, 000 (business class); Athens-Thessaloniki 18,600 (economic class); Athens- Kos 18,000; Athens-Rhodes 21,500; Athens-Corfu 17,300; Athens-Mykonos 15, 700 and Athens-Santorini 18,8 00 drachmas.

Rhodes officials warn OA over air fares

Officials in Rhodes warned yesterday that they would invite foreign airlines to commence domestic flights to the Dodecanese if state-run Olympic Airways again raises fares on flights to the island at a higher rate than on routes to other Greek destination s.

The Rhodes Municipal Council unanimously took the decision after recent announcements that OA will increase its domestic fares by 9.5 per cent, while the increase for the Athens-Rhodes route would be 12.5 per cent. Rhodes Mayor Georgios Yiannopoulos charged that "Olympic Airways is continuing to perpetrate a blatant injustice against the island, which is seriously harming the island's tourism and making the movement of residents too expensive."

Mr. Yiannopoulos said the one-way air fare from Athens to Rhodes is presently 20,000 drachmas, while the corresponding tickets for the Athens- Corfu and Athens-Alexandroupolis routes, which take the same time, cost 16, 000 and 14,000 drachmas, respectively .

The municipal council also decided to place itself at the head of protest actions and at the same time lodge appeals with the Council of State and, if necessary, the European Union.

Greek industrial output up 3.1% in April

Greek industrial production rose 0.9 percent in the first four months of 1997, the National Statistics Service said yesterday.

Industrial output was 3.1 percent higher in April year-on-year against the corresponding month last year.

Greek equities slip, finish below 1,500 points

Share prices remained under mild pressure to lose further ground on the Athens Stock Exchange and finish below the 1,500-point psychological level.

The general index closed at 1,493.53 points, down 0.67 percent, in subdued trading. Turnover was a thin 9.8 billion drachmas.

Most sector indices ended lower. Banks fell 1.45 percent, Leasing was 1.85 percent off, Insurance eased 1.14 percent, Investment ended 1.01 percent down, Industrials rose 0.22 percent, Construction fell 1.57 percent, Holding increased 0.86 percent and Miscellaneous dropped 0.95 percent.

Traders said the market would remain on a short-term downward correction on worries over inflation and reports of new financial problems faced by a number of brokerage firms.

Broadly, decliners led advancers by 150 to 57 with another 20 issues unchanged.

Remek, Chalyps Cement, Viohalco and Keranis scored the biggest gains, while Lambropoulos, Doudos, Bank of Central Greece and Ergodata suffered the heaviest losses of the day.

National Bank of Greece closed at 33,300 drachmas, Ergobank at 16,500, Alpha Credit Bank at 18,010, Titan Cement at 13,885, Intracom at 11,650 and OTE at 6,385.

ECU 1.5 million for drinking water supply network in Greece

The Commission has approved Cohesion Fund assistance amounting to ECU 1.5 million for a new project in the environment sector in Greece. The project aims to complete work to replace and extend the drinking-water supply network of the town of Veria at an overall cost of ECU 1.9 million.

The project to establish a drinking water supply system in Veria in the Greek region of Central Macedonia involves in particular a network of pipes stretching 48.8 km.

The work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 1997.

Commission takes Greece to Court for sex discrimination

Padraig Flynn, European Commissioner with responsibility for Employment and Social Affairs, announced that the European Commission has decided to bring a case before the European Court of Justice regarding Greek legislation applicable to employees of the IKA (National Institute of Social Security) and employees of DEH (Public Power Company).

This legislation conflicts with European Union law concerning social security and equal pay. Female employees suffer discrimination compared to their male colleagues with regard to the method of calculation of their pensions.

The infringement specifically concerns discrimination against women employees of the IKA and their right to a marriage allowance from their employer under collective agreements negotiated at both branch and national level.

Although this discrimination was abolished with effect from 1st January 1989, its effect continues to be felt. This is because the marriage allowance is taken into account when calculating the pension payments of IKA employees so that women who qualified for a pension before 1st January 1989 or who took advantage of early retirement before this date continue to suffer discrimination compared to their male counterparts, as they did not qualify for a marriage allowance before this date.

Female employees of DEH suffered the same problem concerning a family allowance until the relevant legislation was amended following a Greek High Court judgment. The discrimination was abolished with effect from 2nd September 1983 but not with retrospective effect to 1st January 1981 as required by Community law.

Greece joins UNESCO intellectual property rights group

Greece was accepted as a member of UNESCO's inter-governmental committee for the protection of intellectual property rights.

The committee adopted a Greek proposal for a survey to be conducted on the protection of intellectual rights, recognised by the Pact of Rome in 1996.

UNESCO's general director for intellectual property rights welcomed Greece's interest in implementing international agreements on the protection of artists' property rights.

Representing Greece at the meeting were the general director of the Intellectual Property Rights Organisation, the country's permanent representative at UNESCO, and a culture ministry adviser.

WEATHER

Sunny weather will prevail throughout the country today with a rise in temperatures forecast in the Ionian Sea regions and mainland Greece. Winds will be variable, moderate to strong. Athens will be sunny with temperatures between 23-36C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 21-36C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 274.169 Pound sterling 458.641 Cyprus pd 530.581 French franc 46.416 Swiss franc 186.546 German mark 156.443 Italian lira (100) 16.075 Yen (100) 239.796 Canadian dlr. 198.975 Australian dlr. 206.371 Irish Punt 417.731 Belgian franc 7.579 Finnish mark 52.511 Dutch guilder 138.974 Danish kr. 41.071 Swedish kr. 35.248 Norwegian kr. 37.398 Austrian sch. 22.231 Spanish peseta 1.850 Port. Escudo 1.550

(C.E.)


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