Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-31
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 31/07/1997 (ANA)
- KYSEA awards modernisation of 39 F-4 Phantoms to Germany's DASA
- Greece condemns suicide bombing in Jerusalem market
- Record 200 countries to take part in World Athletics Championships
- IAAF halves anabolics penalty
- Broken-down ship carries 180 illegal immigrants
- FYROM aircraft makes emergency landing in Greece
- INTRAKOM reaches exports agreement with Jordanian company
- Electricity rates increase by 3.5% from tomorrow
- Green light given to a new ELVO investment programme
- Greece cuts petrol tax to curb inflation after dollar's rise
- Bank of Attica wants to launch Dr 8.5 billion share cap rise
- Greek private construction rises 5 pct in May
- Greece to attend industrial fair in Tehran
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
KYSEA awards modernisation of 39 F-4 Phantoms to Germany's DASA
The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) yesterday
awarded an 87 billion drachma tender for modernisation of 39 Hellenic Air
Force F-4 Phantom jets to the German company DASA.
The German firm was awarded the tender after three competitions held since
last November and the cancellation of a previous competition for the same
DASA's bid was 8 billion drachmas less than that of the American bidder for
the tender, while the contract to be signed will also provide for offset
The Phantom jets will be modernised in cooperation with the Hellenic
Aerospace Industry (EAB). Specifically, EAB will undertake the modernisation
of the aircraft's skeleton at a cost of 5.5 billion drachmas, while DASA
will upgrade the jets' electronic components.
The average cost of modernisation per aircraft is 8 million dollars,
compared to 11 million dollars which Turkey recently agreed.
At the same meeting yesterday, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis,
KYSEA approved the country's new defence doctrine which continues to view
the main threat as coming from the east and stresses the importance of a
flexible response capability in o rder for Greece's policy of deterrence to
The council also approved the new structure of the armed forces which
provides for the conversion of large military formations into smaller, more
flexible and mobile units.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said later that the KYSEA had
unanimously approved Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' recommendations on the basic
principles of his ministry's policy and the new structure of the armed
Mr. Reppas underlined that Turkey was making efforts to strengthen its
armed forces "to the maximum" in order to overturn the status quo in the
Aegean "as well as in relations between the two countries". "Greece's
policy has also aimed at consolidating conditions of peace and security in
the region. Our country has never been a warmonger,'' Mr. Reppas said,
adding however that "we are alert and ready to confront any threat".
Regarding the new structure of the armed forces, the KYSEA decided to
reduce army divisions and shift the "centre of gravity" to brigades as
At the same time, it decided that the Second Army Corps should cease to
have specific territorial responsibility and instead be converted into a
special, flexible force with a high degree of mobility and a capability for
dealing with "emergency situatio ns".
Mr. Reppas said meanwhile that the armaments programme will have taken its
final form by the end of the year.
New armaments, he said, accounted for 23 per cent of the programme, 29 per
cent is at the level of offer evaluation, 18 per cent at the stage of
feasibility approval and the remaining 30 per cent at the drawing up of
Greece condemns suicide bombing in Jerusalem market
Greece condemned in the "most absolute way" the suicide bombing of a
Jerusalem street market that killed 13 people and the two Arab bombers
yesterday, saying that such acts have a negative effect on the peace
process which should however continue.
"The people and government of Greece condemn in the most absolute way and
express their abhorrence over the terrorist act at the Mahane Yehuda market
in Jerusalem," a Foreign Ministry statement said.
"They also express their sincere condolences to the government of Israel
and the families of the victims.
"Greece has always been opposed to whatever form of terrorist acts from
wherever they may come," the statement added.
"Such acts have a negative effect on the Middle East peace process, which
is at a very delicate phase. The resumption of negotiations as well as the
promotion and completion of the peace process can and must constitute the
strong answer to terrorism," i t concluded.
The Islamic militant movement Hamas claimed responsibility for the double
suicide bombing that killed 15 people and left more than 150 wounded.
Record 200 countries to take part in World Athletics Championships
Participating countries in the 6th IAAF World Athletics Championships, to
open in Athens tomorrow, have risen to 200, setting a new record. The last
country to confirm it is taking part in the track and field meeting,
yesterday, was Iraq.
The record number of countries, as well as the excellent work done by the
"Athens 97" organising committee in preparing the event, prompted the
International Classic Sports Federation to announce that the Athens 6th
World Athletics Championships is expected to be the best so far in its
IAAF halves anabolics penalty
The International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) today halved its
penalty for first-time anabolics offenders to two-year maximum suspension
from athletics events from the present four-year maximum.
Delegates at the annual two-day IAAF congress in Athens, which opened
Wednesday, today voted 112-56 with three abstentions in favour of a
proposal by several European countries, spearheaded by Germany, to reduce
The four-year maximum suspension for athletes caught using steroid
anabolics for a first time, introduced by the IAAF in 1991, has caused
problems with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which was pressing
for reduction of the ban, and also with civil courts in many countries, to
which athletes took recourse.
A second offense carries a lifetime ban. The IAAF spent 1.7 million dollars
on combatting doping last year.
IAAF president Primo Nebiolo endorsed a reduction of the ban in statements
to the Congress on Thursday.
Nebiolo told delegates the IAAF had spent 1.7 million dollars last year to
The congress voted against a similar proposal two years ago in Gotteburg,
fearing a reduction would be construed as a softening of the Federation's
stance against doping.
Broken-down ship carries 180 illegal immigrants
An Ukrainian-flagged ship carrying 180 Iraqi illegal immigrants, including
40 children, was towed to Anavyssos, Attica, after its engines failed close
to the island of Andros. The ship "Soloch" had left Izmir and was heading
for Italy, when it had a gener al power failure in the early hours
yesterday. The Andros coast guard, alerted by a fisherman, did not succeed
in raising the captain of the ship on radio and notified the Merchant
Marine, which in turn alerted all ships in the area and the air force.
The ship remained out of control and tossed in rough seas until yesterday.
After being located by an air force reconnaisance aircraft, a ship left
Piraeus to tow the "Soloh" to safety. The captain and the crew had
abandoned the ship. The operation was c ompleted late yesterday evening.
In statements to the authorities, the immigrants said they had paid US$3,
000 each to a Turkish slave-trader for passage to Italy.
FYROM aircraft makes emergency landing in Greece
An aircraft belonging to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)
made an emergency landing at the airport of Thessaloniki yesterday. The
aircraft was coming from Dusseldorf and was heading for Skopje, but due to
a storm there was forced to postpone landing. Fuel was not enough to stay
in the air, so the pilot gained permission to land and refuel at Thessaloniki.
After a stop-over of half an hour it headed back to Skopje.
INTRAKOM reaches exports agreement with Jordanian company
The INTRAKOM company has concluded its first important exports agreement
with a company from the rapidly developing telecoms markets in the Middle
East with the signing of a contract in Jordan initially amounting to three
The contract concerns the procurement of 3,000 cardphones for the Trans
Jordan Corporation company together with the relevant supervision and
management system and maintenance of the utility network.
According to an announcement by INTRAKOM, the amount anticipated by the
contract is expected to be more than doubled in the next year, covering in
this way the needs for utility telephony all over Jordan.
The Trans Jordan company is a joint Greek-Jordanian enterprise with 50 per
cent of its shareholders being Jordanian businessmen from the country's
telephony sector and the remaining 50 per cent being the Hellenic
Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) an d HELLASCOM which, following
international tendering, received one of the two licences to develop and
exploit utility telephony in Jordan.
INTRAKOM's integrated cardphone system is already established in 10
countries and sales on the international scene are in the region of 100,000
Electricity rates increase by 3.5% from tomorrow
New electricity rates, increased by 3.5 per cent will apply in DEH as of
August 1, 1997. Development Minister Vaso Papandreou said the increase is
to be considered slight, since it will have neither an impact on the
inflation rate, nor will burden consumers.
The minister added that DEH rates had remained frozen for the past 25
months, while since 1996 there has been a lowering of 7 per cent for
commercial consumers and large families.
Green light given to a new ELVO investment programme
A decision by the Ministry of Development yesterday gave the green light to
a new three-year investment programme of the Hellenic Vehicles Industry
(ELVO) amounting to 1 billion drachmas.
The cost of the approved investment programme will be subsidised by 40 per
cent. The operational plan includes an extension and modernisation of ELVO
production plants, purchase of modern machinery and a comprehensive
computer system for programming andd checking of production.
According to ELVO president Lykourgos Sakellaris "the expected results of
the new investments are regarded important to the companyYs operation,
since they will contribute to boosting production, competitiveness of
products, flexibility of production an d improvement of quality".
The industry has so far been involved in the production of military
vehicles and only in the last two years has entered the commercial vehicle
area. The investment programme is expected to allow the firm to further
expand to local and international markets.
Greece cuts petrol tax to curb inflation after dollar's rise
Greece will lower its gasoline tax today in order to contain a jump in fuel
prices sparked by the dollar's meteoric rise on world markets that has
jeopardised the country's inflation targets.
The reduction by four drachmas per litre ordained by the development
ministry will stay in place until September 30, and covers the whole
The ministry also decided the imposition as of today July 31 1997 of a
consumer ceiling in the sale of gasoline. The measure will apply all over
the country except Athens and Thessaloniki.
The dollar again rose versus the drachma at the central bank's daily fix to
close at 288.030 drachmas from 287.14 in the previous session. On Monday
the US currency had gained 2.27 percent in a week and 16.5 percent from the
beginning of 1997.
Development Minister Vasso Papandreou told reporters yesterday the tax cut
aimed to contain prices and protect consumers despite the rise of the
dollar and fuel prices worldwide.
The government has ordered spot checks in the market to halt profiteering ,
Gasoline prices will drop by 1.2 drachmas against the previous week's
levels, taking into account the tax drop and a readjustment of international
prices. Without the government's intervention, consumers would have paid
3.5 drachmas more per litre of gasoline.
Bank of Attica wants to launch Dr 8.5 billion share cap rise
Bank of Attica's board of directors will propose a share capital rise of
8.5 billion drachmas at a special shareholders' meeting on August
Shareholders will be asked to endorse the plan and decide the price and
terms of the bank's share distribution.
Bank of Attica said in a statement yesterday that the share capital
increase was part of a strategy to reinforce its presence in the marketplace.
Greek private construction rises 5 pct in May
Greek private construction rose by five percent in May year-on-year, the
National Statistics Service (NSS) said in a statement yesterday.
It rose by 4.8 percent in January-May against the same period of 1996, NSS
Greece to attend industrial fair in Tehran
Greece is to take part in an international industrial fair in Tehran, with
the organisation having being assigned to the Greek Organisation of Foreign
Products on show in the international fair, to be held in the Iranian
capital from October 2 to 10, will include industrial and chemical products,
cars, manufacturing equipment, electronics and products and services in the
construction of chemical plants.
Sporadic showers over mainland regions are expected in the afternoon today.
Most other regions will have light cloud, but fair weather will prevail
over the eastern Aegean and the Dodecanese. Winds will be northerly, mostly
moderate, but becoming very strong locally in the Aegean. Athens will be
cloudy with possible local rainfall and temperatures 22-32 C. Same for
Thessaloniki, with temperatures 20-30 C.
Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 285.726
Pound sterling 464.395 Cyprus pd 529.887
French franc 46.039 Swiss franc 187.706
German mark 155.198 Italian lira (100) 15.920
Yen (100) 240.540 Canadian dlr. 206.574
Australian dlr. 212.883 Irish Punt 416.144
Belgian franc 7.517 Finnish mark 52.249
Dutch guilder 137.828 Danish kr. 40.757
Swedish kr. 35.797 Norwegian kr. 37.458
Austrian sch. 22.054 Spanish peseta 1.840
Port. Escudo 1.538