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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-10-08

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, 08/10/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Salomon upgrades Athens bourse to developed market
  • Greece to pick designs in Olympic Village tender
  • Central bank chief doesn't rule out rate cut
  • Government plans to issue 20-year bond
  • Athens Bourse edges up in volatile trade
  • Energy deals to aid FYROM, Tzellas says
  • Gov't on EU resolution regarding Turkey
  • EU access issues dominate Simitis talks with Malta's premier
  • Tsohatzopoulos opens 12th WEAG conference
  • South African aid for quake victims
  • Bomb attack against Greek school in Istanbul
  • To the "Daily Bulletin" subscribers
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Salomon upgrades Athens bourse to developed market

Salomon Smith Barney announced yesterday that it had ugraded the Athens Stock Exchange to a developed market from its previous status of emerging market.

The company said the decision was based on the Athens bourse's spectacular performance since the beginning of the year, showing gains of 79 percent in drachma terms and 63 percent in dollar terms, Reuters news agency reported.

As a rule, Salomon Smith Barney upgrades a stock market when there have been no restrictions on foreign investors for three years, and when the country's gross domestic product has been at least 10,000 US dollars per head in the past year.

Talk in the market of the anticipated upgrade had lifted sentiment on the Athens bourse on Wednesday when the general share index finished 1.01 percent higher at 5,884.05 points.

Greece to pick designs in Olympic Village tender

Thirty-six architectural and engineering firms from Greece and abroad have submitted designs in an international tender to create an Olympic Village for the 2004 Athens Games.

A seven-member evaluation committee will meet by mid-month to evaluate the designs, and draw up a shortlist of six firms to submit plans in about three months.

Following evaluation of the six offers, negotiations will begin for the award of detailed engineering.

The panel will take into consideration experience in Olympic projects, experience in housing complexes, the composition of bidding groups, the ability to produce a design within the government's timescale, and the general profile bidders.

The tender was called on August 2.

Central bank chief doesn't rule out rate cut

Bank of Greece governor Lucas Papademos yesterday did not rule out an interest rate cut in the near future.

Addressing a shareholders' meeting, Mr. Papademos did not specify the possible timing or extent of a decline.

"In coming weeks the Monetary Policy Council will meet and take the relevant decisions. I cannot pre-empt the council's decisions," he added.

At the same time, he underlined that conditions were gradually emerging that would allow a rate adjustment.

Shareholders approved a stock split for the central bank, which is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.

Government plans to issue 20-year bond

Greece is to issue a 20-year bond when inflation holds below 2.0 percent, Deputy Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said yesterday.

He also said that the public debt would be tangibly lower in 1999 as a proportion of gross domestic product.

Athens Bourse edges up in volatile trade

Equities ended slightly up yesterday after fluctuations and a resumption of buying interest towards the close of the session.

The general index ended 0.47 percent higher at 5,911.47 points from 5, 884.05 points in the previous session.

Turnover was 487.3 billion drachmas from 438.742 billion drachmas a day earlier and 370 billion drachmas on Tuesday.

After rising 1.7 percent to 5,988 points shortly after trading commenced, selling in banks gradually spread to other sectors and the general index dropped to 5,822 points (-1.05 percent).

The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks lost 0.10 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chips and heavily traded stocks was down 0.70 percent to finish at 2,978.53 points. National Bank of Greece ended at 23,800 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 23,970, Commercial Bank of Greece at 28,200, Minoan Lines at 9,700, Intracom (common) at 31, 644, Titan Cement (comm on) at 40,200, Hellenic Petroleum at 5,550, Hellenic Telecommmunications Organisation at 7,100 and Panafon at 8,005 drachmas.

Energy deals to aid FYROM, Tzellas says

Hellenic Petroleum Chairman Eleftherios Tzellas said yesterday that his company's energy expansion deals with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) would help the country to achieve greater stability.

"This will help FYROM to stabilise its political system as it will have a steady and assured energy supply and it will be able to liberalise its domestic energy market," Mr. Tzellas said.

He was speaking in an interview to CNN television during a visit to London to inform institutional investors of the state-owned company's performance.

Hellenic Petroleum, a heavily traded stock on the Athens bourse, is planning to float a second stake in the near future.

Gov't on EU resolution regarding Turkey

The government said yesterday that a European Parliament resolution on relations between the EU and Turkey safeguarded Greece's interests.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that the European Parliament's resolution was "an asset and not a concession".

The resolution on Wednesday came after Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen told the European Parliament that Turkey should be given formal candidate country status.

The assembly subsequently approved a resolution acknowledging Turkey's eligibility to apply for membership but pointing out that it had not yet fulfilled membership criteria.

Mr. Reppas also accused the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party of misleading public opinion on the issue "in an irresponsible and harmful manner".

Reacting to the stance of ruling PASOK party Eurodeputies in voting on Wednesday's resolution, main opposition ND leader Costas Karamanlis had earlier yesterday accused Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the government of "selling out" long-standing Greek positions and constantly making unilateral concessions to Turkey.

Of nine PASOK Eurodeputies, seven voted for, one against and one abstained from the voting.

The total tally was 259 in favour, 187 against and 84 abstentions.

EU access issues dominate Simitis talks with Malta's premier

Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Maltese counterpart Edward Fenech- Adami yesterday underlined the excellent level of bilateral relations and the common interests of the two countries in Europe and the Mediterranean.

Speaking to reporters after talks with Mr. Fenech-Adami, Mr. Simitis said Greece wanted negotiations to commence for Malta's accession to the European Union and expressed a hope that a decision to this effect would be taken at the upcoming EU summit in Helsinki.

Mr. Simitis underlined that Malta's application should be examined along with those of the other candidate-countries in the first "wave" of accession.

Mr. Fenech-Adami described his talks with Mr. Simitis as "particularly interesting", and said the island nation wished to further strengthen its ties with Greece. It was within this framework, he added, that Malta had decided to install a permanent ambassador in Athens.

He also extended an invitation to the Greek premier to visit Malta.

Tsohatzopoulos opens 12th WEAG conference

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos opened the 12th conference of the Western European Armaments Group (WEAG) in Rethymno, Crete yesterday, at which the representatives of 16 countries are discussing a common policy on armaments.

Discussion of a common armaments policy follows a recent decision by European Union leaders on a common foreign and security policy (CFSP).

Opening the conference, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the aim was to forge a common defence policy at EU level at the same time as monetary union.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said it was now necessary for Greece to participate in international organisations of collective security.

He underlined that Greece must have strong armed forces if it was to protect its national security and play an important role in the greater region.

"Greece must be and is a force for stability in the Balkans," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos added. Greece holds the presidency of WEAG from January 1999 to December 2000.

South African aid for quake victims

The Greek communities of South Africa are the latest to come to the aid of the greater Athens area's quake-stricken residents, with the donation of some four tonnes of aid and a check for four million drachmas.

Fundraising efforts by South Africa's ethnic Greeks were highlighted yesterday during a brief ceremony at the residence of Pretoria's envoy in Greece, with the president of the Hellenic Communities of South Africa, Harry Gouvelis, presenting a represent ative of Greece's Red Cross with the check.

"Our offer may be small but it is with love from us," he said, adding that a delegation from South Africa, accompanied by the Red Cross, toured the districts hardest hit by the Sept. 7 tremor.

Bomb attack against Greek school in Istanbul

An explosion rocked a building housing a Greek high school in an Istanbul residential area early yesterday, causing damages but no injuries.

The explosion, caused by a home-made bomb, occurred shortly after midnight at the Zographeio Lyceum in Istanbul's Pera district.

The Islamist group "EBDAC" claimed the attack in a telephone call to a local newspaper.

The shadowy Turkish terrorist group, which has in the past claimed attacks targetting the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, did not specify the reasons behind the attack on the Greek school.

In Athens, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters that the attack was an isolated incident.

"The government condemns the act and calls on Turkish authorities to take measures to isolate these elements, which belong to Islamic groups," he said.

A Greek foreign ministry spokesman also strenuously condemned the bomb attack urgeing Istanbul's authorities to apprehend and punish the perpetrators and take all necessary measures for the protection of ethnic Greek establishments and the safeguarding of the property of ethnic Greeks."

To the "Daily Bulletin" subscribers

Dear friends,

As you are aware, technological developments in the mass media sector are rapid. Today, all the news services are offered online. The "electronic newspaper" supplements, and in many cases replaces, the printed newspaper. Contact via e-mail also affords the ability for direct communication.

These developments, as many others, have also influenced our own work here at Athens News Agency (ANA), which is adapting all its services to the new technology. In the framework of these changes, the "Daily Bulletin" will - as of Jan. 2, 2000 - be conv erted from a printed to an electronic medium for our subscribers.

With this change, our subscribers will: a) receive our news items online, at the moment the news is breaking. b) receive the next day's "Daily Bulletin" on their screens at midnight, with the ability to print it out if they wish or simply view on screen. c) receive the "Bulletin" either via the paid ANA services on the Internet, or via e-mail sent to a subscriber's e-mail address. d) also have the ability, for a small surcharge, to utilise the ANA's English-language data bank, which contains all the news items appearing in the "Daily Bulletin" since 1992.

We believe that these changes, which correspond with the new function of the international and national news agencies, will satisfy subscribers' needs for immediate and credible information. In order to subscribe to this service, you must have a PC and a modem, or an e-mail address.

All who wish to continue receiving our services must prepare for these changes which, as stated, will commence on Jan. 2, 2000.

Takis Mantis, the director of ANA's informatics and telecommunications department, is at your disposal for any technical information on tel: 64.00.560 and 64.00.038.

I sincerely hope all our subscribers will adapt to these necessary technological changes.

Andreas Christodoulides ANA General Director

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. Partly cloudy in Athens with temperatures ranging from 17-25C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 15- 21C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          304.197
Pound sterling       503.321
Japanese yen (100)   281.807
French franc          49.694
German mark          166.667
Italian lira (100)    16.835
Irish Punt           413.898
Belgian franc          8.081
Finnish mark          54.825
Dutch guilder        147.919
Danish kr.            43.856
Austrian sch.         23.689
Spanish peseta         1.959
Swedish kr.           37.377
Norwegian kr.         39.392
Swiss franc          204.580
Port. Escudo           1.626
Can. dollar          207.189
Aus. dollar          201.078
Cyprus pound         561.631
Euro                 325.971
(C.E.)
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