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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 03/09/1997 (ANA)


  • G. Papandreou inaugurates schools, hospital in Sarajevo
  • France to Turkish Cypriots: 'make efforts for a Cyprus solution'
  • Tsohatzopoulos satisfied with talks in London
  • Final decrees on legalising illegal immigrants expected
  • Military helicopter crashes, three injured
  • Eco-technology congress in Lesvos
  • Brussels seminar on Europe's less-spoken languages
  • Letter bomb injures Orestiada court secretary
  • Greek couple on old Silk Road
  • EU Commissioner keynote speaker in Thessaloniki
  • Industrial production rises 0.1 pct in June yr/yr
  • US dlr gains 2.82 pct vs drachma in August
  • Greece records 10.3 pct unemployment in 1996
  • Greek shares rise in technical correction
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


G. Papandreou inaugurates schools, hospital in Sarajevo

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday expressed Greece's strong interest in the pacification and reconstruction of the former Yugoslavia to the Bosnian joint President Kresimir Zubak.

Mr. Papandreou paid a one-day visit to Sarajevo to inaugurate two schools and a hospital rebuilt by a consortium of Greek construction firms and financed by Athens. He stated that Greek aid to Bosnia would also continue in 1997.

Mr. Papandreou also visited the Greek contingent of the NATO peacekeeping force in Bosnia, stationed at the Visoko district.

Mr. Papandreou told the contingent that their presence in the formerly war- ravaged country elevates Greece into a force of stability in the area.

Mr. Papandreou was warmly received during the school inaugural ceremonies.

"We hope that these schools will become bridges of consolidation for the peace process, which is already being implemented," he said, adding that "now and in the future you will find only friends in Greece."

He said US$10 million had been disbursed in total for the reconstruction of the hospital, while more money will be made available for a hospital in Mostar.

"It is our intention to consolidate relations between Greece and its Balkan neighbours," he said.

France to Turkish Cypriots: 'make efforts for a Cyprus solution'

The Turkish Cypriot side is the side that must make the greatest effort to solve the Cyprus issue, French Minister for European Affairs Pierre Moscovici said here yesterday.

At a press conference following a meeting with visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, Mr. Moscovici said that "solving the political issue of Cyprus is a necessary prerequisite" for Cyprus' accession into the European Union (EU).

The French minister called on all interested parties to make efforts to solve the Cyprus issue, but stressed that the Turkish Cypriot side had to contribute the greatest effort.

He added that applications for accession to the EU by Cyprus and Turkey should be examined separately and each one evaluated on the basis of its own merits.

Tsohatzopoulos satisfied with talks in London

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday expressed his full satisfaction with the results of his talks with his British counterpart George Robertson.

He stressed they had the opportunity to reach certain important agreements regarding the two countries' cooperation on issues of security, armaments and training.

"Our two countries cover two opposite geopolitical areas...under different terms, of course, which creates the conditions for a substantial cooperation on issues of security, stability and policy. Our common findings in today's talks was that our views on these issues converge," he said.

Questioned whether his visit to British arms industries was related with a direct Greek interest for purchase of defence material, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos clarified that some weapon systems which are of interest to Greece are produced in Britain, and that this was related to his visit.

He also said there was a common assessment with Mr. Robertson for the creation of a new defence organisation which will emerge from NATO, covering the broader geopolitical area of Europe and including eastern Europe.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos is also due to meet with the British chief of staff and visit defence industries. He will also meet with members of Britain's Greek community and the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Great Britain.

Final decrees on legalising illegal immigrants expected

Prime Minister Costas Simitis is due to announce during Friday's Cabinet session the final drafts of presidential decrees that provide for the registration and legalisation of illegal immigrants.

Sources said the provision will not exempt nationals from neighbouring countries, particularly Albanians which form the largest group in the country.

Public order ministry data show that the problem of illegal immigration is serious and its effective handling particularly difficult. Between 1991 and 1996 more than 1.11 million foreign nationals permanently residing in Greece were located throughout the country, of which only 69,884 had residence permits.

Other data indicate the seriousness of imported crime. In 1994-95, 22,085 foreign nationals were arrested and imprisoned.

According to the same sources, the government appears determined to provide a permanent solution with the granting of a "green card" to illegal immigrants.

Military helicopter crashes, three injured

A military helicopter crashed late yesterday near the Episkopi, Naousa region of Imathia prefecture, from as yet unknown reasons.

Three members of the helicopter's crew were injured in the crash. One of the three was transported to Naousa hospital, while the other two were transported to the 424 Military Hospital in Thessaloniki.

Eco-technology congress on Lesvos

University of the Aegean rector Themistoklis Lekkas called for the founding of a world network of managing data on the environment during the opening session yesterday of an international congress on Lesvos.

The fifth congress for environmental science and technology is being held every two years since 1989 at Molyvos, Lesvos, focusing on means of reducing pollution and promoting environmental responsibility.

Prof. Lekkas said that what was needed today was "a new civilisation where nobody will support (anymore) the belief of man's sovereignty over nature."

The congress will continue until tomorrow.

Brussels seminar on Europe's less-spoken languages

A seminar is to be held in Brussels on September 11 aimed at finding ways to promote the use of and equal status for all Europe's languages.

Organised by PASOK Eurodeputy Irini Lambraki with the support of the Hellenic Culture Foundation, participants will be from Greece, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark.

The proceedings, to be coordinated by Professor Lambros Kouloubaritsas, will be translated into all nine official languages of the European Union.

Letter bomb injures Orestiada court secretary

A court secretary lost her left hand yesterday after opening a parcel bomb, which was addressed to the chief justice of the Orestiada first instance courts, Evros prefecture.

The homemade device exploded inside the Orestiada court building when secretary Chryssa Parapagillou, 45, opened the parcel addressed to Fotis Kimiskidis. She lost three fingers.

Mr. Kimiskidis is currently on leave and was not in the building at the time of the blast. No one has claimed responsibility for the bomb.

Greek couple on old Silk Road

A Greek couple have just concluded a journey on the old Silk Road travelled hundreds of years ago by Byzantine monks who went to China in order to smuggle silk out of the country and bring it back to Byzantium.

Costas Mitsakis and Olga Papadoyianni set off on their journey on 4 July from Beijing and returned to Greece on Monday having travelled 12,500 km. on their motorcycle through landscapes ranging from the deserts of western China to the steep mountains of Central Asia.

The couple, backed by the Thessaloniki '97 Cultural Capital Organisation, retraced the route followed by merchants hundreds of years ago through China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey.

In all the countries they visited, the two travellers conveyed messages from the Thessaloniki 97 Cultural City Organisation and the Thessaloniki Mayor.

The Greek couple, who got married just before they embarked on the journey, have made other such journeys in the past.

In 1993 and 1994 they retraced the road travelled by Alexander the Great and his Macedonian warriors, while two years ago they covered the Athens- Sydney route. Last year they went around the world in 80 days.

EU Commissioner keynote speaker in Thessaloniki

EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis will be the keynote speaker at a dinner hosted by the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece in Thessaloniki on Monday on the occasion of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday evening.

Mr. Papoutsis, responsible for energy, tourism, small and medium-sized enterprises will also chair a joint session of the federation and the board of managers of the Stock Exchange Centre in the city.

This year the European Union celebrates the 40th anniversary of its founding. It is also the 13th consecutive year of its presence at the fair. Mr. Papoutsis will attend events marking the anniversary at the Thessaloniki fair along with European Commission general director for information and telecommunications Spyros Pappas.

Industrial production rises 0.1 pct in June yr/yr

Greece's year-on-year industrial production rose fractionally in June, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday.

In its monthly release of the output index, NSS said that industrial production rose by 0.1 percent in June from the corresponding month last year.

Industrial production was 0.1 percent higher in the first six months of the year against the same period a year earlier.

US dlr gains 2.82 pct vs drachma in August

A sharp rise in the US dollar and a fall in most European currencies were the main features in the domestic foreign exchange market in August.

The greenback rose by 2.82 percent against the drachma on a monthly basis. The August fixing was 288.890 drachmas from 280.976 in July.

The US currency was 22.98 percent higher against the drachma compared to its level a year ago.

On an annual basis the DMark fell by 0.11 percent against the Greek currency while the French franc was stable. The British pound was 1.40 percent lower and the Italian lira fell by 0.44 percent against the drachma.

The European Currency Unit (Ecu) eased by 0.34 percent while the Japanese yen rose by 0.33 percent.

Greece records 10.3 pct unemployment in 1996

Greece reported an increase both in employment and unemployment rates in 1996, a survey by the National Statistics Service said yesterday.

The survey showed that the country's total workforce was 4,318,302 at the end of last year. The employed numbered 3,871,923, representing 89.7 percent of the workforce, and the jobless were 446,379, or 10.3 percent.

The total workforce was up 69,774 from 1995. The number of employed rose by 48,114 while the unemployed increased by 21,660.

Employment in agriculture, farming, fishing, forestry and mines fell to 20.3 percent in 1996 from 27 percent in 1987.

Employment also declined in industry and manufacturing, running at 22.9 percent from 23.2 percent in 1995.

However, employment in the public sector, banking, transport and communications rose steadily from 45 percent of the workforce in 1987 to 51 percent in 1992, 54.5 pct in 1993, 55.5 pct in 1994, 56.4 pct in 1995 and 56.8 percent in 1996.

The survey also showed that western Macedonia, Epirus and Attica marked the highest unemployment rates among the country's 13 regions at 17.2, 12.5 and 12.5 percent respectively.

The lowest rates were reported in the Ionian islands, south Aegean and Crete at 6.2, 5.4 and 3.8 percent respectively.

Unemployment among women rose to 62.6 percent of total unemployment in 1996 from 58.5 percent in 1995.

Greek shares rise in technical correction

Greek equities reversed a three-day decline to end substantially higher on the Athens Stock Exchange in a technical rebound, traders said yesterday.

The general index closed 0.95 percent up at 1,543.80 points with most sector indices scoring gains.

Banks were 0.85 percent higher, Leasing fell 0.17 percent, Insurance rose 0.68 percent, Investment increased 1.34 percent, Industrials were 0.73 percent up, Construction rose 0.59 percent, Holding ended 0.49 percent higher and Miscellaneous rose 0.98 pe rcent.

The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.69 percent up.

Trading was light to moderate. Turnover was 12.7 billion drachmas including a block trade in Viochalco shares of six billion drachmas.

Broadly, advancers led decliners by 138 to 53 with another 31 issues unchanged.

National Portfolio, Levenderis, Ridenco and Barba Stathis scored the biggest percentage gains, while Bank of Athens, Epilektos and Kallinis suffered the heaviest losses of the day.

National Bank of Greece ended at 33,930 drachmas, Ergobank at 16,930, Alpha Credit Bank at 18,850, Delta Dairy at 4,025, Titan Cement at 14,450, Intracom at 11,990 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6, 380.

In the domestic foreign exchange market the US dollar was slightly higher against the drachma.


Partly cloudy skies throughout the country today with brief showers expected in mainland Greece, Epirus, Macedonia and Thessaly. Winds northerly, moderate to strong, turning gale force in the Aegean Sea. Athens will be partly cloudy with temperatures from 20-29C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 18-27C.


Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.059 Pound sterling 453.523 Cyprus pd 529.728 French franc 46.352 Swiss franc 189.730 German mark 155.987 Italian lira (100) 16.000 Yen (100) 233.289 Canadian dlr. 204.828 Australian dlr. 206.038 Irish Punt 418.426 Belgian franc 7.556 Finnish mark 52.001 Dutch guilder 138.488 Danish kr. 40.978 Swedish kr. 35.984 Norwegian kr. 37.690 Austrian sch. 22.166 Spanish peseta 1.850 Port. Escudo 1.537


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