Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-22
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 22/08/1997 (ANA)
- Papantoniou pledges cutbacks in '98 state expenditures
- Seismic activity in Greece until 2010, scientists say
- US senators visit Thessaloniki, Athens next week
- Minister calls for solution to eastern Attica garbage problem
- State Dept. approval for Security Council briefing on Cyprus
- Olympic idea to live on in education
- Art, film festival to bring together Greek, Turkish artists
- DEP share capital to increase
- Low prices noted for grapes in European markets
- Greek meat firm may open new Balkan exports base in Cyprus
- Greek stocks end flat in slack trade
- Greek youth volleyball team in world championships finals
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Papantoniou pledges cutbacks in '98 state expenditures
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday
that 1998 will be a year of "austerity for the state" and consolidation of
the major tax reforms.
He made the statement after a meeting with Finance Undersecretaries George
Drys and Nikos Christodoulakis, which focused on the government's 1998
Mr. Papantoniou also said the 1998 budget would be crucial, as it would
determine the country's participation in the Economic and Monetary Union.
He said the government's economic policy for 1998 would focus on state
austerity and tax reforms, implying that the state will cut expenditures.
Replying to criticism that there are deviations in the 1997 budget, Mr.
Papantoniou said there were no deviations, adding that state revenues were
rising by 12.5 per cent. He said that by the end of the year he expected
state revenues to rise by 14.5 per cent.
"1998 will be a year of recovery," Mr. Papantoniou said, forecasting a 4
per cent GDP rise as against a 3.5 per cent this year.
Economic issues will also be discussed today during a meeting of the ruling
PASOK party's political secretariat, chaired by Prime Minister Costas
Simitis. Mr. Papantoniou, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Interior
Minister Alekos Papadopoulos will participate.
Seismic activity in Greece until 2010, scientists say
Scientists attending an international seismology conference in Thessaloniki
said yesterday that Greece had in 1996 entered a period of heightened
seismic activity, which was expected to last until the year 2010.
During this period, they said, and on the basis of observations and
statistical data processed by a research team of the Geophysics Laboratory
of Thessaloniki University, there was a greater risk of strong earthquakes
Speaking at the 29th World Seismology Conference, Thessaloniki University
seismology professor Georgios Karakaisis said up to 27 earthquakes of more
than six on the Richter scale could hit the region during the 15-year
The 10-day conference, which opened on Monday, is being attended by 1,000
seismology experts from all over the world.
The Thessaloniki University research team, using a long-term quake
prediction method, said it had identified 25 areas posing a high risk from
the point of view of seismic activity.
Prof. Vassilis Papazachos said the government had been urged to increase
its anti-seismic protection measures, without this meaning that it was
absolutely certain that very powerful earthquakes would occur.
He added that the method did not constitute a precise means of predicting
earthquakes, since this was not yet scientifically feasible.
US senators visit Thessaloniki, Athens next week
Six US senators expected to visit Greece this coming week will make their
first stop in Thessaloniki on Sunday to attend a dinner in their honour.
Senators Michael Bilirakis, Randy Cunningham, Ron Klink, John Laflace, Dan
Schaefer and Michael Pappas were invited by the Greek-American Institute in
the United States and the Panhellenic Organisation of Greek-American
Friendship in Greece.
Their visit to the Cultural Capital of Europe will open with a meeting on
Monday morning with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, to be
followed by a tour of the city and the city's archaeological museum.
Later on Monday they will visit the Byzantine Museum, which is hosting the
"Treasures of Mount Athos" exhibition and attend a dinner in their honour
by the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
On Tuesday they are expected to visit the Porto Carras resort in Halkidiki
They will visit Athens on Wednesday. Their schedule includes meetings with
several ministers and political officials.
Minister calls for solution to eastern Attica garbage problem
The dispute over proposed sites for landfills in eastern Attica reached a
pitch yesterday when Environment, Public Works and Town Planning Minister
Costas Laliotis called on municipal authorities in the region to assume
"It is simply inacceptable that twenty garbage dumps exist in eastern
Attica, polluting the water table and threatening public health," he said,
urging local authorities to "set a modern example" in dealing with the
thousands of tonnes of garbage produc ed by their municipalities every
The minister, referring to the existing landfill in Liossia, western Attica,
said that a 32-billion-drachma plan was under way to deal with two-thirds
of Attica's refuse, including new landfill sites and recycling systems.
Former sites in Schisto and Ano Liossia, he said, were being converted into
a 2.5 square kilometre park.
State Dept. approval for Security Council briefing on Cyprus
The US State Department has expressed approval of the UN Security Council
briefing on the Cyprus issue by the Secretary General's special adviser
Diego Cordovez on Wednesday, and of statements by the Council's British
chairma n, John Weston, criticising the Turkish Cypriot side and commending
President Glafcos Clerides for his stand during talks in Montreux,
Switzerland, last week.
Spokesman James Rubin said Mr. Cordovez's briefing was accurate and that
the State Department was in agreement with the Security Council chairman's
He also said that progress on humanitarian issues was possible even when
this was not the case on issues of substance, and that the US certainly
Olympic idea to live on in education
Over 30 professors from 20 countries are attending the first world congress
on "Introducing the Olympic and athletic education in schools", which
opened in Patras yesterday and will end on Sunday.
Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras, who opened the congress, said that
the Olympic idea was born in Greece and must continue to in Greece through
the school system, through experimental programmes in cooperation with
towns and communities.
The congress aims at proposing ways of introducing the ideals of the
ancient Olympic Games in schools starting from elementary grade level.
Art, film festival to bring together Greek, Turkish artists
The first-ever Festival of Arts and Films is due to open in Turkey next
Saturday with the aim of bringing together artists from Greece and
The festival is organised by the group which is responsible for the
administration of the Izmir Cinema Festival, and the Fine Arts Foundation
for Education and Culture. The festival will take place in Cesme.
DEP share capital to increase
The government yesterday approved an increase by 20.9 billion drachmas in
the share capital of the state-owned Public Petroleum Corp. (DEP).
Following this initial approval, a draft presidential decree on the
increase was submitted to the Council of State for processing.
The increase calls for an issuing of 4,197 registered shares with a nominal
value of five million drachmas each. They will be issued in 20 packages of
200, 1 of 100 and one of 97 shares.
The shares will all revert to the state, DEP's only shareholder.
Under these provisions, DEP's subsidiary for natural gas, DEPA, will also
receive 20.9 billion drachmas from the public investment programe.
The increase will raise DEP's share capital to a total of 180.6 billion
drachmas, or 36,128 shares of five million drachmas each.
Low prices noted for grapes on European markets
Low prices for the "Victoria" variety of grapes in European markets is
causing concern to thousands of producers, exporters and government
officials in Kavala.
Prices in Munich, the largest market abroad for Greek grapes, vary between
70 and 80 drachmas a kilo, a price 15-20 per cent lower than 1996, creating
fears that a large part of this year's 30,000-tonne crop will remain
Producers' worries are compounded by an increase in transportation fees,
which have been increased from 500,000 drachmas to 800,000 drachmas per
load, resulting in an extra cost of 40 drachmas per kilo at a time when
grapes are not subsidised by the EU.
Greek meat firm may open new Balkan exports base in Cyprus
Greece's Yfandis processed meat manufacturer is to decide in the near
future whether to build a factory in Cyprus budgeted at 770 million
drachmas that could be used as an exports base for the Balkans and Middle
East, a company executive said.
Yfandis, which is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, has already
completed surveys of the Cypriot market, which taken in isolation would be
too small to warrant a costly investment, general director Christos
Bartsokas told yesterday the Nicosia Philel eftheros daily newspaper.
But using the new plant as a base for Balkan and Middle Eastern exports
would make the investment viable, Mr.Bartsokas said.
Greek stocks end flat in slack trade
Greek equities ended with minor changes after subdued trading on the Athens
Stock Exchange yesterday.
Market sources said investors were reluctant to open new positions ahead of
the government's initial decisions over drafting next year's budget and
further measures to contain 1997's larger-than-expected budget shortfall.
The general index closed 0.05 percent lower at 1,619.20 points despite a
2.78 percent gain in the construction sector.
Other sector indices moved in a narrow range. Banks fell 0.27 percent,
Leasing rose 0.29 percent, Insurance eased 0.98 percent, Investment fell
0.33 percent, Industrials were 0.05 percent off, Holding rose 0.14 percent
and Miscellaneous ended 1.08 perce nt higher.
The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 0.64 percent.
Trading remained thin and turnover was 7.8 billion drachmas.
Broadly, decliners narrowly led advancers by 103 to 91 with another 32
Pireaus Investment, Athinea, Demetriades and Balkan Export scored the
biggest percentage gains, while Lambropoulos, Ippotour and Ideal suffered
the heaviest losses of the day.
National Bank of Greece ended at 37,000 drachmas, Ergobank at 17,840, Alpha
Credit Bank at 19,690, Delta Dairy at 4,250, Titan Cement at 14,910,
Intracom at 12,975 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,
In the domestic foreign exchange market, the US dollar rose by 0.27 percent
against the drachma.
Greek youth volleyball team in world championships finals
The Greek youth team in volleyball qualified for the final at the world
championships in the Iranian capital after beating Poland yesterday in a
game that lasted 2.5 hours.
"Anything may happen in the finals and we want to beat Italy at last," the
team's coach, Nikos Neofytos, said. Greece plays against Italy today for
Sunny weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today except some
cloudiness and afternoon showers in the mainland, the Ionian and the
northern Aegean Sea. Light to strong northerly winds in the south- eastern
Aegean. Partly cloudy in Athens with temperatures between 20-31. Similar
weather in Thessaloniki where temperatures will be from 17-30C.
Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 288.493
Pound sterling 458.820 Cyprus pd 529.668
French franc 46.148 Swiss franc 189.452
German mark 155.397 Italian lira (100) 15.962
Yen (100) 244.657 Canadian dlr. 206.852
Australian dlr. 215.125 Irish Punt 416.918
Belgian franc 7.527 Finnish mark 52.130
Dutch guilder 138.047 Danish kr. 40.769
Swedish kr. 35.762 Norwegian kr. 37.339
Austrian sch. 22.096 Spanish peseta 1.840
Port. Escudo 1.532