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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-04-14

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, 14/04/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • US Sefence Secretary due in Athens next Tuesday
  • Archbishop Serapheim laid to rest
  • Elder Karamanlis' condition critical
  • Simitis begins official two-day visit to Bulgaria today
  • Greece's Armenian Committee to commemorate 1915 genocide
  • New methadone centre in Athens
  • U.S. education fair to be held in Athens this month
  • Zakynthos to host environmental conference
  • Gov't intends to privatise ELBO
  • Greek-American trade exhibition in Atlantic City
  • Greek stocks jump 4.53 pct, post 11th record in 20 sessions
  • National Tech. University seeks papers for renewable energy meet
  • Greek hotel again wins Thompson award
  • Increased National Bank presence in Cyprus
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

US Defense Secretary due in Athens next Tuesday

US Defense Secretary William Cohen's stopover next Tuesday in Athens will reportedly focus on the promotion of Greek-US defence cooperation in efforts to reduce tension between Athens and Ankara.

Mr. Cohen's five-day regional tour, beginning on Friday, will also bring him to Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Israel, the US Pentagon announced yesterday.

According to a US State Department official, Mr. Cohen will meet with Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, while he may also be received by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis. He will end his four-hour Athens visit by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The same official stressed that the US defense secretary will discuss NATO's structural changes and will reiterate the US support for confidence- building measures in the Aegean, promoted by NATO's Secretary General Javier Solana. He will also discuss a Greek weapons acquisition programme, while discussions might touch on the Cyprus issue.

The official added that the US-made warplanes F-15E or F-16 have been presented to the Greek political and military leadership, which will now decide on a possible purchase.

Mr. Cohen's first stop will be at Ankara, where he will meet with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel and other Turkish leaders. He will discuss the continued use of air bases by the US and Greek-Turkish relations, among others.

The US official also said that Mr. Cohen will hold talks with Mideast leaders on the lagging Middle East peace process and bilateral military ties of those countries with Washington as well as the situation with Iraq.

During this trip he will also meet with Jordan's King Hussein, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Israeli Prime Minister Benjanim Netanyahu.

He will spend one night each in Jordan, Egypt and Israel.

The official stressed that the White House and State Department had been taking the lead in US efforts to advance Middle East peace.

"We all want the peace process to go forward," the official said.

Archbishop Serafheim laid to rest

Archbishop Serapheim of Athens, prelate of the Orthodox Church of Greece for the past 24 years, was buried yesterday with honours due to a head of state.

The longest-serving Archbishop in the Autocephalus Church's more than 150- year history, Serapheim died early Friday morning at the age of 85 from a respiratory infection compounded by chronic renal failure.

Flags flew at half-mast in all public buildings throughout the country, as civil services remained closed in public mourning.

After lying in state for three days at the Athens Cathedral, Serapheim's coffin was carried on a gun carriage from the Cathedral through central Athens to the city's First Cemetery as a 21-cannon salute was fired from Lycabettus Hill.

He was laid to rest in the burial ground reserved for Church leaders.

Elder Karamanlis' condition critical

Former president of the republic Constantine Karamanlis' condition was described as critical yesterday, as he remained hospitalised for one week.

Physicians said Mr. Karamanlis' condition was unchanged, according to a medical bulletin issued at 8:15 p.m. yesterday.

"The attempt to disconnect the patient from the artificial respirator did not yield satisfactory results,but it will be repeated when it is considered suitable," the bulletin read. This is likely to happen tomorrow, if Mr. Karamanlis is deemed capable of resuming his respiratory functions without mechanical support.

Mr. Karamanlis' pathologist described his condition as "serious". "He is seriously ill, and the steps we take must be careful," he said.

Mr. Karamanlis was placed on breathing support after his heart stopped beating early on Sunday. Doctors said the 91-year-old patient had shown an improvement since being transferred to intensive care on Sunday.

His advanced age, doctors said, was working against his full recovery from the respiratory infection.

Simitis begins official two-day visit to Bulgaria today

Greece reiterated its support yesterday for Bulgaria's membership bid into the European Union and NATO, and welcomed cooperation between the two countries in helping to defuse the crisis in Kosovo.

In an interview to the Bulgarian News Agency, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said that Sofia's drive to join the Euro-Altantic organisations opened prospects for even closer bilateral ties.

Mr. Simitis was speaking ahead of a two-day official visit to Bulgaria, starting today, during which he will meet Prime Minister Ivan Kostov, President Petar Stoyanov, the country's parliament speaker and party political leaders.

He welcomed coordinated moves by Greece, Bulgaria and other Balkan countries to try to resolve the Kosovo crisis.

For the first time since the former Yugoslavia collapsed, a unified proposal was drafted for a solution in Kosovo when a six-nation contact group met in Bonn last month, Mr. Simitis said.

Healthy ties between Greece and Bulgaria, whose two-way trade exceeded US$500 million in 1997, stemmed from regular contracts among government and other officials, he said.

Both countries were working to ensure peace, stability and prosperity in the Balkans.

Mr. Simitis also said that a delayed project to build a pipeline to carry Russian oil from the Bulgarian port of Burgas to Alexandroupoli would go ahead.

During his trip to Sofia, the Greek premier is expected to discuss the pipeline project and other infrastructure works in transports and environmental protection.

Also likely to be discussed is construction of three new border points between the two countries.

Greece's Armenian Committee to commemorate 1915 genocide

The Armenian National Committee in Greece will schedule a series of events in Thessaloniki to mark the 83rd anniversary of the genocide by the Ottoman Turk regime.

The official service in memory of the approximately 1.5 million Armenians who were slaughtered in the genocide will be held on Friday, Arpil 24, while the main political rally will be held on the following Sunday, April 26.

Former transport minister Haris Kastanidis will speak on the subject of "The Armenian Genocide and the International Legal Order".

A statement issued by the Committee yesterday said the Armenian people demanded "acknowled-gement of the genocide and the return of the Armenian ancestral lands occupied by Turkey".

It also calls for an end to "the systematic destruction of the monuments of Armenian civilisation in Turkish-occupied Armenia, an end to the blockade of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as the end of the arming of Azerbaijan by Turkey and the under mining of peace initiatives for a just and viable solution to the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh."

The statement also stressed that "this year's 83rd anniversary of the Armenian genocide is officially commemorated for the first time in Greece, and for this reason acquires historic significance".

New methadone centre in Athens

A new medical centre for the treatment of drug-addicted individuals with methadone will open within the month in Athens (Kapodistriou st.), Health Undersecretary Manolis Skoulakis said yesterday from Kavala.

"We hope this second (methadone) centre will be ready to operate by the end of April", he said, adding that a third such centre, for Piraeus, is planned.

A Piraeus methadone centre is expected to operate within the year, while Mr. Skoulakis said the methadone administration programme will be extended throughout the country.

He said the issue was currently debated in the Parliament's interparty committee.

Methadone is a synthetic, non-hallucinogenic drug substitute, used especially for the treatment of heroin addiction.

U.S. education fair to be held in Athens this month

Representatives from approximately 30 US universities, colleges, technical institutions and language centres will be in Athens at the end of the month to attend the first-ever "Study in the USA" education fair.

The April 28-29 event is organised by the Seattle-based firm "Study in the USA", and follows similar events in Madrid, Barcelona and Milan.

According to officials at the US embassy's commercial section in Athens, which is assisting the event's organisers, the educational fair targets those interested in language training and undergraduate courses in the US, as well as continuing education and postgraduate study programmes. A third target group will be individuals or companies interested in executive or human resources training.

The education fair will be held at the Athens Hilton, with doors opening between 12 noon and 8 p.m. on both days.

Among the universities represented are Boston University, California State in Long Beach, Columbia, DePaul in Chicago, New York University in New York City, Temple in Philadelphia, the University of San Francisco, as well as four schools in the Universi ty of California system -- UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UC Santa Cruz.

Zakynthos to host environmental conference

More than a dozen representatives of major American firms and US federal government officials will participate in an environmental conference on the Ionian island of Zakynthos at the end of the month to discuss recycling and waste disposal technologies and developments.

The conference, the first-ever jointly sponsored by the US embassy in Athens, was announced yesterday by the embassy's commercial counsellor, Patrick Santillo, at a news conference.

"We chose Zakynthos not only because of the (endangered) Caretta Caretta sea turtles, but as experts have said, it features probably the best and most environmentally friendly landfill in Greece," Mr. Santillo said.

Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis and US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns will inaugurate the two-day environmental conference, set for April 29-30.

The conference, entitled "Waste Management on Islands and Small Geographical Regions", will focus on recycling, energy conservation through recycling, funding sources for projects, solid waste management and new wastewater management technologies.

Mr. Santillo said the conference is a continuation of last year's initiative by the US embassy in Athens, when the commercial section organised a tour for about 50 Greek executives for contacts with American colleagues. He said the purpose of this confe rence is to bring representatives of US firms - including Brown and Root and Lockheed Finance - and agencies in direct contact with Greek industry leaders, local government officials and academics.

The prefecture of Zakynthos is also co-sponsoring the conference.

Gov't intends to privatise ELBO

National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Development Minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday announced the government's intention to privatise the Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELBO).

The ministers also said that the Hellenic Arms Industry (EBO), Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAB) and Powder and Cartridge Co. (PYRKAL) managements will develop business plans, which must be submitted to the government's economic council by next week.

As for surplus personnel at the industries, the ministers decided to transfer them to other defence and public order sectors.

Greek-American trade exhibition in Atlantic City

The major Greek-American products and services exhibition "Hermes '98" will take place this year in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on May 30 and 31.

Event organisers expect some 150 exhibitors from the US, Greece and Cyprus to participate, while visitors are estimated at more than 9,000 people.

The sixth annual Hermes exhibition, the most important commercial and economic event of the Greek-American community, will feature products from the foodstuffs and beverage sectors, travel services, the media, banks and insurance.

Sponsors this year include the Greek National Tourist Organisation (EOT), Olympic Airways, Coca-Cola, the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce, the University of Drexel in Pennsylvania and the "Athens 2004" organisation.

Greek stocks jump 4.53 pct, post 11th record in 20 sessions

Greek equities yesterday posted their 11th record close in the last 20 sessions on the Athens Stock Exchange.

Traders said the market welcomed news that the private Bank of Piraeus had bid highest in a tender for the sale of state Macedonia-Thrace Bank.

The general index closed 4.53 percent up at 2,255.81 points with most sector indices scoring gains.

Banks soared 5.64 percent, Insurance rose 4.44 percent, Investment was 4.61 percent up, Industrials increased 4.09 percent, Construction was 3.58 percent higher, Miscellaneous rose 4.03 percent, Holding increased 2.89 percent but Leasing bucked the tren d to end 0.43 percent off.

The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 5.88 percent.

Trading was heavy with turnover at 59 billion drachmas.

Broadly, advancers led decliners by 203 to 42 with another 21 issues unchanged.

Titan Cement, Varyte, Hellenic Sugar, Bank of Attica, National Insurance, Xiosbank, Macedonia-Thrace Bank, Bank of Piraeus and Halcor scored the biggest percentage gains at the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

Vis, Xylemporia, Maxim and Kyriakoulis suffered the heaviest losses.

National Bank of Greece ended at 40,200 drachmas, Ergobank at 26,250, Alpha Credit Bank at 26,130, Delta Dairy at 3,990, Titan Cement at 25,500, Intracom at 20,900 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 8, 200.

National Tech. University seeks papers for renewable energy meet

The National Technical University yesterday invited experts on renewable energy to submit proposals for papers to be read at a national conference in Athens on November 30-December 2, 1998

The conference will be entitled "Applying Renewable Energy - National Priorities and European Strategy."

Organising the conference is the university's newly created renewable energy group, comprising lecturers and research staff involved in renewable energy applications.

The deadline for applications to deliver papers at the conference is May 28. Further information is available on 7723272.

Greek hotel again wins Thompson award

The Candia Park Village hotel, owned by Gina Mamidaki, yesterday won Thompson's Golden Award for the fourth straight year.

The British tour operator said it ranked the hotel top in Greece and fifth worldwide for its services.

The Candia Park Village holds the ISO 9001 international quality assurance certificate for services.

Among officials attending the award ceremony were the Greek National Tourism Organisation's secretary general, Nikos Skoulas, and the president of the Athens Hoteliers Union, Gerassimos Fokas.

Increased National Bank presence on Cyprus

A National Bank of Greece official yesterday announced that the group will turn Cyprus into its administrative centre for the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Theodoros Pantalakis, a National Bank vice-president and president of the group's insurance subsidiary "Ethniki", revealed the expansion at a press conference on the occasion of a planned visit to Cyprus by National Bank Deputy Governor Nikolaos Karamouzis. However, his visit was not carried out due to strike action concerning Olympic Airways.

The press conference was addressed by Michalis Tagaroulias, the director of the National Bank of Greece (Cyprus), who said that the bank has 23 branches and five exchange bureaus on Cyprus and holds a 4.5 per cent market share.

Mr. Tagaroulias said that in 1997 the National Bank of Greece (Cyprus) produced profits amounting to 543,000 pounds, compared to 256,000 in 1996, while in the first quarter in 1998 they increased by roughly 14 per cent.

He further said that the bank will soon operate a mutual funds management company on Cyprus in cooperation with Interamerican of Greece and the Shacolas group of companies, while it has also established in Nicosia a unit for serving offshore companies. Such a unit is being scheduled in Limassol as well.

The National Bank of Greece (Cyprus) has been operating since 1994 as an independent bank.

WEATHER

Partly cloudy weather will prevail in most parts of Greece today. Rain in Crete and the Dodecanese islands from the afternoon. Possibility of sporadic rain in the northern Ionian Sea and Epirus. Winds variable, light to moderate. Athens will be overcast with few sunny spells. with temperatures between 11-22C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 9- 19C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's closing rates (buying): U.S. dollar 316.686 British pound 529.034 Japanese Yen(100) 244.131 French franc 51.689 German mark 173.203 Italian lira (100) 17.538 Irish Punt 436.579 Belgian franc 8.396 Finnish mark 56.998 Dutch guilder 153.790 Danish kr. 45.422 Austrian sch. 24.612 Spanish peseta 2.041 Swedish kr. 40.245 Norwegian kr. 41.763 Swiss franc 208.885 Port. Escudo 1.692 AUS dollar 207.323 Can. dollar 222.109 Cyprus pound 594.208

(C.E.)


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