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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-10-07

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, 07/10/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • End of millennium events scheduled for new year
  • CoE demands Turkey comply with Eurocourt rulingin Loizidou case
  • Papandreou: Greece expects specific policy change from Turkey
  • ECOFIN expected to take Greece off 'most indebted' list
  • Tsohatzopoulos talks with top Israeli leaders on the agenda
  • Pro golf seniors tournament at Glyfada course
  • Gov't to overhaul passenger shipping policy
  • Unemployment rises to 10.8 pct in 1998
  • Stocks rise despite intra-day correction
  • Silver & Baryte to prospect for Romanian gold
  • Local authorities, workers back TVX Hellas
  • Gasoline prices drop this week
  • SE European, Black Sea countries to debate transport links
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

End of millennium events scheduled for new year

People in the Greek capital on New Year's Eve will be able to see out the old millennium at the foot of the Acropolis amid various celebrations, while special events have been scheduled for throughout the new year, the government announced yesterday.

Apart from the Acropolis, the archaeological site of the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion will be kept open for revellers to watch the first sunrise of the year 2000. Also scheduled in Athens are a youth party at the Panathenian Stadium - the site of the 1896 Olympics - and a popular music concert in the old quarter Thisseion district.

The culture ministry plans a year of events to mark the end of the millennium and beginning of the new one, including celebrations to mark 10, 000 years of Hellenic civilisation, 5,000 years of urban living, 3,000 years of the Greek alphabet - entitled "From 'Word' to Software" - and "2, 000 years of Christianity".

In Thessaloniki, millennium celebrations will include music, dancing, theatrical shows and other events in the foyer and surrounding areas of the restored Royal Theatre in the northern port city.

Thessaloniki's new concert hall is also scheduled to be inaugurated on Jan. 2.

"Greek Artists of the 20th Century" is the title under which a number of events will be held throughout the year, culminating in a major retrospective in Athens in December 2000.

Also included is a "Songs of the Century" festival, to be held later this year, a photographic exhibition entitled "Greece in the 20th Century', a retrospective on the life of noted conductor Dimitris Mitropoulos in March 2000, which will include exhibits and performances, and finally, a Greek film panorama.

CoE demands Turkey comply with Eurocourt rulingin Loizidou case

The Council of Europe's (CoE) Committee of Ministers has strongly urged Turkey to comply with a European Court of Human Rights decision calling on Ankara to compensate a Greek Cypriot for the continuous violation of her human rights on the island republic.

Yesterday's development was welcomed in several quarters, including legal circles, who described it as an additional lever of pressure on Turkey to meet its obligations to the CoE, while pointing out that it would be rather difficult for Turkey to push for candidacy status in the European Union at a time when it refuses to abide by European norms and regulations.

The Committee, which met yesterday, adopted by 36 votes in favour, one against and one abstention an interim resolution which "strongly urges Turkey to review its position and to pay the just satisfaction awarded in this case in accordance with the conditions set out by the European Court of Human Rights so as to ensure that Turkey, as a high contracting party, meets its obligation under the Convention (European Convention on Human Rights)."

Titina Loizidou, the Greek Cypriot woman who won her case against Turkey before the Court, said that "today's decision reaffirms that the system (for protecting human rights) should work and that this same system, which issued the judgement, must implement its own decisions."

Dimitris Konstas, the head of Greece's permanent representation to the council said the adoption of the "interim resolution" was a "slap" in the face of Ankara and as the "first political sanction" imposed on the neighbouring country by an international body.

Turkey now has a reasonable period of time to pay more than 400,000 Cyprus pounds (about 800,000 US dollars set by the Court) to Ms Loizidou for depriving her from enjoying her property in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.

The Court found Turkey guilty of continuous violation of Ms Loizidou's human rights and said Turkey, by virtue of the presence of its occupation troops in Cyprus, has effective control of the island's northern third.

It also dismissed any notion of recognition of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus and said the only legal government on the island is the government of the Republic of Cyprus.

Ms Loizidou, who hails from the currently Turkish-occupied town of Kyrenia, is one of 200,000 Greek Cypriots forcibly uprooted from their homes and properties by Turkish invasion troops in 1974.

In Athens, Foreign Minister George Papandreou welcomed the resolution, saying: "With the adoption of the resolution on the Loizidou case, it is reaffirmed that the Council of Europe, beyond any expediency, is the guarantor of the protection of human rights and principles of international law".

Papandreou: Greece expects specific policy change from Turkey

Greece does not expect a specific goodwill gesture on the part of Turkey but a specific change in policy on Cyprus and bilateral issues, Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday.

"We shall welcome any steps on the part of Ankara. However, the issue is not to ask for some specific move, but for there to be a specific desire on Cyprus and bilateral issues," he said at a joint press conference with French counterpart Hubert Vedrine .

Replying to a question regarding the results of his visit to Istanbul earlier this week, Mr. Papandreou referred to new dynamics in bilateral relations, which began with small ambitions in a letter to his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem for the commencement of dialogue, and to the new situation emerging after the destructive earthquakes in the two countries.

Replying to questions, Mr. Vedrine expressed his country's sincere desire to see a rapprochement between the two countries, describing the work of his Greek counterpart in this field as " worthy of praise".

ECOFIN expected to take Greece off 'most indebted' list

The European Union Finance Ministers' Council (ECOFIN) is expected to take Greece off the list of the most indebted member-states when it meets tomorrow, sources said.

Greece is, in fact, the only member-state on the list remaining. The development is expected on account of the fact that the country's fiscal deficit no longer exceeds 3 per cent of GDP, a Maastricht Treaty criteria.

Tsohatzopoulos talks with top Israeli leaders on the agenda

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos' visit to Israel next week will include talks with the Mideast country's top leadership, visits to Israeli defence industries as well as a meeting with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, diplomatic circles in Athens said yesterday.

Greek-Israeli contacts have dramatically increased in recent years, especially in 1999.

In addition, a high-ranking Israeli public security ministry delegation explored greater bilateral cooperation during a visit to Greece in February, while the Israeli naval chief, Read-Adm. Alex Tal, officially visited the country in late August and met with his Greek counterpart.

The Hellenic army chief is also expected to travel to Israel some time during November, while standing invitations have been made for an exchange of visits by both Greece's and Israel's head of states and government.

The same sources added that if the Greek side brings up the issue of Athens' serious concerns over expanded Turkish-Israeli cooperation in the military field, they (Greek side) will again been given the same reassurances as before.

Pro golf seniors tournament at Glyfada course

An annual pro golf tournament is to be resurrected in Greece this year following the country's inclusion in the international professional golf circuit after some 20 years.

The "TEMES Greek Seniors Open" will be held at Glyfada golf course from Oct. 8-10. Taking part will be 92 of the best players in the world, including two Greek nationals. The winners will share money prizes totalling 70 million drachmas.

Tourist Enterprises of Messinia (TEMES), which is realising the major investment "Integrated Tourist Development Region" has the exclusive rights to promote the pro golf championship in Greece. and make the sport more popular in Greece.

Gov't to overhaul passenger shipping policy

The government is launching a plan to overhaul policy and practice in passenger shipping in order to upgrade services and comply with European Union rules on liberalisation.

Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis was quoted as saying in a letter to sector groups that the reform was timed to coincide with a gradual renewal of the passenger and vehicle shipping fleet.

The minister called the groups to a meeting on October 14 to put forward proposals. Among the government's targets are job creation in the sector, safeguarding shipping links to the islands, and upgrading services.

Unemployment rises to 10.8 pct in 1998

Unemployment in Greece rose to 10.8 percent of the workforce, or 478,000 people, in 1998 from 10.3 percent a year earlier, Labour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou said yesterday.

Speaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis on employment, Mr. Papaioannou attributed the rise in joblessness to a growing workforce outstripping job availability, due primarily to more women entering the workforce and a fall in agricult ural work.

Also attending the meeting were Deputy Labour Ministers Christos Protopappas and Fivos Ioannidis and the prime minister's advisers, Tasos Yiannitsis and Nikos Themelis.

Mr. Papaioannou said he expected a fall in unemployment next year and that a plan to create 200,000 new jobs in the 1998-2000 period was being implemented.

Stocks rise despite intra-day correction

Equities ended up yesterday but off the day's highs following an intra-day downward correction.

Sentiment was fuelled by Salomon Smith Barney's decision to upgrade the emerging Athens Stock Exchange to the status of a developed bourse, traders said.

The general index ended 1.01 percent higher at 5,884.05 points from 5, 825.45 points in the previous session.

Buying interest again focused on small and medium capitalisation stocks listed on the parallel market and in the main market's construction sector.

The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks gained 6.45 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chips and heavily traded stocks gained 0.26 percent to finish at 2,999.48 points.

Of 305 stocks traded, advances outpaced declines at 239 to 61 with five shares remaining unchanged.

National Bank of Greece ended at 23,900 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 24, 500, Commercial Bank of Greece at 28,400, Minoan Lines at 9,670, Intracom (common) at 29,300, Titan Cement (common) at 39,400, Hellenic Petroleum at 5,780, Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 7,080 and Panafon at 8, 195 drachmas.

Silver & Baryte to prospect for Romanian gold

Silver & Baryte, which is listed on the Athens bourse, has acquired rights to prospect for gold and other metals in Romania.

The company will exercise its exclusive rights through a subsidiary, Gramex Srl.

It won the rights in an international tender.

Local authorities, workers back TVX Hellas

Local authorities in Halkidiki and workers of TVX Hellas said yesterday they opposed a court ruling that operations at the company should be suspended until environmental concerns are resolved.

The Council of State has ordered the temporary halt to the company's gold mining and processing operations.

The local officials and workers told a news conference that the company was suffering losses due to the state's slowness in issuing permits.

Loss of the project would leave around 1,000 families without a livelihood, the officials added.

Gasoline prices drop this week

Gasoline prices are to drop for a week beginning today with super falling by 0.30 drachmas a litre.

Heating fuel and diesel are to edge up in line with world prices, the development minister and state-controlled Hellenic Petroleum said yesterday in their weekly update of indicative retail prices.

SE European, Black Sea countries to debate transport links

Two high-level meetings are due to be held in Alexandroupoli, northern Greece, between 11 and 13 October, to promote multilateral cooperation in the transport sector, with the participation of countries of the Black Sea region and southeastern Europe.

Both meetings have been organised on the initiative of the Transport and Communications Ministry.

On October 11, within the framework of Greece's presidency of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), the organisation's Transport Group will meet to discuss infrastructure policy and easing transport.

The meeting will focus on the prospects for integrating the transport infrastructures of Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania, particularly within the framework of the inter-European netwo rks.

It will also look at the possibilities of funding viable investment programmes.

Greece aims to project its strategic role in formulating policy by making optimum use of a Memorandum of Understanding on easing road transport in southeastern Europe.

WEATHER

Fair weather with local cloud and a further drop in temperatures will prevail in most parts of Greece today. Winds northerly moderate in the Ionian and Aegean seas. Few clouds in Athens with temperatures between 19- 27C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 17-23C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          302.729
Pound sterling       501.496
Japanese yen (100)   282.274
French franc          49.660
German mark          166.550
Italian lira (100)    16.823
Irish Punt           413.608
Belgian franc          8.075
Finnish mark          54.786
Dutch guilder        147.816
Danish kr.            43.836
Austrian sch.         23.673
Spanish peseta         1.958
Swedish kr.           37.458
Norwegian kr.         39.513
Swiss franc          204.997
Port. Escudo           1.625
Can. dollar          206.177
Aus. dollar          200.285
Cyprus pound         564.230
Euro                 325.743
(C.E.)
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