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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-27

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, 27/07/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Government to deregulate electricity in line with EU
  • Defence industry restructuring planned
  • Prime Minister gives interview to Financial Times
  • Summer course on electromagnetics in Samos
  • Greece more prepared for Olympics now than Sydney, 2000 Games host
  • Greek students in Britain campaign for Parthenon marbles' return
  • American climber rescued off Mount Olympus
  • Greek suspension bridge gets Dr 115 bln EIB loan
  • Greek telecom seen awarding Dr 70 bln digital deal next week
  • Greek rail subsidiary to manage Dr 500 bln in projects
  • Greek industrial output drops 3 pct in May yr/yr
  • Current account deficit drops in April
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Government to deregulate electricity in line with EU

The government has decided to deregulate the electrical power market, bringing the nation in line with European Union directives.

Following an Inner Cabinet meeting, where a unanimous decision was taken on the issue, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that the institutional, organisational and administrative framework governing the electricity power market must be completed by February 1999, announcing that the government has agreed to a single administrator system.

Mr. Reppas said this means that the private sector will be given the chance to produce electric power and that the Public Power Corp. (DEH) will maintain public control. He further announced that an independent body will be initiated to supervise conditions set in tendering.

Mr. Reppas said it was decided that processes for linking Greece with the European networks (cable with Italy) will accelerated and the institutional framework for the purchase of electricity will be promoted in Parliament by the end of the year, accompanied by a study to restructure DEH.

Defence industry restructuring planned

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the country's defence industry needed restructuring, commenting on a discussion held by the inner cabinet yesterday.

"The reasons are economic and national," he said, adding that an inter- ministerial committee will be established, composed of the National Economy, National Defence and Development ministries, to coordinate policy in this sector.

Mr. Reppas said various proposals had been made concerning the merging of companies that had a similar objective of closer cooperation, cooperation with the public sector, and the need to increase competitiveness, primarily in markets abroad. There are four state-run defence sector enterprises at present - EAB, EBO, ELBO and PYRKAL.

Prime Minister gives interview to Financial Times

In an interview with the London-based Financial Times, which was published on Thursday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed that "Greece will use all measures offered in the framework of the European Union to achieve what it considers to be right".

He also didn't rule out the possibility that Athens may resort to blocking EU accession of central European applicants if Cyprus isn't included in a future Union enlargement.

Mr. Simitis said Greece will not release EU funds to Turkey in the framework of the latter's customs union with the 15-member Union or proceed with dialogue if Ankara does not stop disputing part of Greek sovereignty or does not resort to the Internatio nal Court of Justice at The Hague.

"Every word in Greek-Turkish discussions is important," Mr. Simitis said, explaining that the Greek side aims at achieving results through the experts committees and not "as in the past" discussions leading to disagreement.

Mr. Simitis said the spirit of Davos was "shortlived" because an effort was made to achieve a great deal in a short period of time, while not enough attention was paid to details.

According to the British newspaper, Mr. Simitis is aware that an improvement in Greek-Turkish relations will allow for cutbacks in defence spending, an element which will contribute towards the attainment of targets set in the Maastricht Treaty, which constitutes a top priority target for the Greek government.

Describing Mr. Simitis' personal characteristics, the newspaper assesses that he is neither explosive nor charismatic but has much in common with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"He gave a different image to an old-fashioned socialist party, managing to apply policies which would have met with strong reaction a few years ago," the newspaper reported.

Lastly, Mr. Simitis said in the interview that he believes he's closer to the French socialists, adopting measures favouring low-level pensioners and the unemployed.

Summer course on electromagnetics in Samos

New developments and modern applications in the field of electro-magnetics will be taught at at the Eastern Aegean Research Institute, in a summer course which opened in Samos yesterday, during which 134 eminent scientists from 16 countries will present studies on electromagnetic computation, the theoretical basis on which numerous technologies are founded today.

Organised by the Athens Metsovion University Mechanical Engineering Department's division on communication and computer systems, in the context of NATO, the course theme ranges from computers to telecommunications, antennas, transmission of electrical waves, satellite systems and fibre optics, and is the theoretical basis for technologies involving electricity, electronics and microwaves.

The course, organised by Professor Nikolaos Ouzounoglou, will run to August 5.

Greece more prepared for Olympics now than Sydney, 2000 Games host

Athens is already better prepared organise an Olympiad now than Sydney, which is to host the 2000 Olympic Games, according to an article in Sunday's Independent newspaper. Athens was shortlisted with Rome, Cape Town, Buenos Aires and Stockholm in March, from among 11 candidates, for the 2004 Olympics.

Eminent British sports writer Peter Corrigan wrote that, more imporantly, the Greek candidacy had the genuine support of the people, as recent polls showed that 96% of the Greeks desired the return of the Olympic Games to their birthplace.

Corrigan, who visited Athens last week, said that apart from the fact that all the finances of the 2004 Games have been guaranteed, 72% of the relevent projects were already set for operation in Greece.

Athens, he wrote has successfully overhauled its older reputation as a city of atmospheric pollution and major traffic problems as new roads have been constructed and the Athens Metro and new international airport outside Athens will have been completed by 2000, while environmental and atmospheric pollution has been reduced by 35 percent. And the fact that Athens had one of the lowest crime rates in Europe was another plus in its candidacy.

Greek students in Britain campaign for Parthenon Marbles' return

Greek student societies in Britain will stage protests outside the British Museum, the Ministry of Heritage and British embassies around the world on November 14 to campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

In a statement by the Union of Hellenic Student Societies in the United Kingdom released yesterday, the union said that they had designated November 14 as "Parthenon Day".

The campaign will include mass mailings to British officials calling for negotiations on a timetable for the return, debates, and Parthenon Day Web Sites at the Internet addresses of: http://www.greece.org/eefkmed and http://www.uk.digiserve.com/mentor/marbles.

American climber rescued off Mount Olympus

Mountain rescue workers have succeeded in evacuating an American national from a Mount Olympus shelter, after strong wings and fog hampered two attempts by military helicopters to approach the site.

Army personnel carried 32-year-old William Sheen overland down the mountain on a stretcher and from there by ambulance to an Athens hospital, where he is reported in a relatively good condition.

According to reports, Mr. Sheen, who suffers from sickle-cell anaemia, had been tended by a doctor while waiting for evacuation at the shelter, located at an altitude of 2,100 metres.

Greek suspension bridge gets Dr 115 bln EIB loan

A French-Greek consortium that won construction and operation of a suspension bridge in western Greece yesterday signed a contract with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a loan of 115 billion drachmas.

The loan, which is guaranteed by the Greek state, covers around 50 percent of the project's 226 billion drachma budget.

National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told the signing ceremony that the project, due for completion in 2005, was the key to development in northwestern Greece.

The winning "Gefyra" consortium, which will operate and maintain the Rio- Antirrio bridge for 42 years, comprises engineering contractors GTM- Entrepose SA of France with a 55 percent stake, and Greek engineering contractors who hold the remaining 45 percent.

The bridge will have two traffic lanes in each direction, and the state has undertaken to build access roads to the country's main highway network. Around four million vehicles annually are expected to use the bridge.

The project will create 3,000 jobs, Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said.

Greek telecom seen awarding Dr 70 bln digital deal next week

Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) is expected to award a contract next week to Intracom and Siemens, its traditional suppliers, for procurement of 1.366 million digital switches worth 70 billion drachmas, OTE sources said.

The state-run firm's board postponed the first of three meetings to debate the deal in order to gain more time to prepare its recommendations. Meetings are scheduled for Tuesday and Friday next week.

OTE is expected to order 1.366 million switches, opting for the mid-point of a 600,000-1,800,000 range still being discussed, the sources said.

The digital supplies are part of a fast track investment programme for 1997- 1998 worth 135 billion drachmas.

OTE board members are expected to make the following recommendations at next week's meetings:

  • Direct award of the digital switches deal to Intracom and Siemens to bypass new long-term contracts or an international tender, both of which would be time-consuming
  • Direct award to Intracom and Siemens of a contract for installation of a network risk and fault management system
  • Tender between Intracom and Siemens to provide network supplies

OTE president Dimitris Papoulias has informed Prime Minister Costas Simitis of progress in the firm's investment plan and fresh needs that have arisen.

Greek rail subsidiary to manage Dr 500 bln in projects

Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) in August is expected to transfer the design and implementation of projects worth 500 billion drachmas to Ergose, a newly created subsidiary.

State-owned OSE will keep control of projects in the final phase of implementation.

OSE is also due to hand over new projects and materials procurements to Ergose by the end of 1997.

Greek industrial output drops 3 pct in May yr/yr

Greek industrial production slumped three percent in May against the same month in 1996, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday.

Industrial output in January-May held steady, NSS said.

Current account deficit drops in April

Greece's current account deficit for April dropped 3.1 per cent to US$660 million from $681 million in the same month of 1996, showing an improvement for the second straight month, the Bank of Greece said yesterday.The January-April deficit jumped 21.3 pe r cent to $2.28 billion from $1.88 billion a year earlier, the central bank announced.

WEATHER

Most parts of the country will be cloudy with scattered showers especially in eastern and northern Greece. Winds north northwesterly, moderate. Athens will be cloudy at times with temperatures ranging from 22 to 33 degrees centigrade. Thessaloniki is likely to be overcast with temperatures ranging from 20 to 28 degrees centigrade.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.307 Pound sterling 473.581 Cyprus pd 530.323 French franc 45.995 Swiss franc 187.776 German mark 155.030 Italian lira (100) 15.933 Yen (100) 244.726 Canadian dlr. 205.721 Australian dlr. 210.403 Irish Punt 415.747 Belgian franc 7.505 Finnish mark 52.189 Dutch guilder 137.640 Danish kr. 40.718 Swedish kr. 35.924 Norwegian kr. 37.527 Austrian sch. 22.036 Spanish peseta 1.839 Port. Escudo 1.534

(L.G.)


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