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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-10-25

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, 25/10/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Bildt favours Serbia in Balkans Stability Pact, concern for FYROM
  • Plan unveiled for 'Olympic bonds' to finance 2004 projects
  • Press report cites upper volatility limit hike at Athens bourse
  • Electronic commerce the focus of Thessaloniki conference
  • California governor to meet with Greek leadership
  • Med, Asian diets preferred in prevention of prostate cancer
  • WEU-related conference on Hania to focus on SE Europe
  • Website for Greek language instruction
  • Shareholders approve ANEK merger of Rethymniaki
  • Hios' museum opens
  • Ecevit adamant over recognition of T/C pseudo-state
  • Avramopoulos: Cyprus the key to improving Greek-Turkish relations
  • Greek first division soccer results
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Bildt favours Serbia in Balkans Stability Pact, concern for FYROM

The 23rd European meeting of the Trilateral Commission - a loose trans- national NGO divided into European, North American and Japanese sections that regularly brings together the world's most influential statesmen, politicians, business leaders, scientists and academics for informal contacts and briefings - concluded in Athens on Saturday.

In a short press briefing on the third and last day of the meeting, former German finance minister Otto Graf Lambsdorff - the conference chairman - and host country chairman Stelios Argyros, the ex-president of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB), outlined several of the issues discussed in the closed-door sessions at a downtown Athens hotel directly across from Parliament.

Asked whether the recent rapprochement in Greek-Turkish relations was discussed in the conference, Mr. Lambsdorff noted that Foreign Minister George Papandreou referred to the issue, noting that the new climate "is appreciated by all...there's a readiness to sit down and solve the details, " he said, adding that Turkey should become an EU member at some point in the future, although "it has to fulfil all the conditions (for membership) and not just the acquis communitaire."

Participating members included, among others, former Swedish prime minister and UN High Representative in Bosnia Carl Bildt; former EU commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard; EU Commissioner Mario Monti; French Defence Minister Alain Richard and former Norwegian FM Thorvald Stoltenberg.

Veteran Swedish diplomat Bildt reportedly told the conference's participants that the inclusion of Serbia in the Stability Pact for the Balkans was necessary. "As long as we keep Serbia outside developments, stabilisation is not likely," he said.

He also expressed concern over the future of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as no one could predict the behaviour of its Albanian minority. He also reportedly did not favour independence for Kosovo, although he recognised that its Albanian population no longer wished to live within Yugoslavia.

Plan unveiled for 'Olympic bonds' to finance 2004 projects

The government plans to collect revenues that would have emanated from a lottery - to finance 2004 Olympic Games projects - by issuing "Olympic bonds" instead, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday.

"The Olympic lottery was not a matter of life or death for the government, it was a detail," Mr. Papantoniou said in an interview with "Sunday Eleftherotypia", commenting on the government's decision last week to drop the controversial 'videolotto' proposal.

Mr. Papantoniou said the new bond issue hoped to raise some 250 billion drachmas a year over the next seven years.

Plans for an Olympic lottery were abruptly dropped by the government mid- week after the main opposition New Democracy party used the lottery as a vehicle to launch a stinging attack against the government.

Announcing a withdrawal, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said the decision to drop the lottery was based on the fact that it had become a playing field "for petty party politicking".

Press report cites upper volatility limit hike at Athens bourse

The government plans to introduce changes to the operation of the Athens Stock Exchange, including an increase in the upper volatility limit, Sunday's 'Eleftherotypia' reported.

According to a press report, the upper volatility limit would be increased to 12 per cent, while the lower volatility limit of 8 per cent will remain unchanged.

In addition, the paper claimed that a one- or two-hour extension of trading at the Athens bourse is envisioned, to bring trading hours into line with those of most major European bourses.

Electronic commerce the focus of Thessaloniki conference

With help from the European Union's Third Community Support Framework, Greece hopes to become a regional hub for electronic commerce and digital technology, Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos said yesterday.

Mr. Venizelos, who was in Thessaloniki to attend the opening meeting for the development of e-commerce in SE Europe, told reporters that the Greek government wanted to lay the groundwork for the development of a regional market in which Greece, by explo iting funds via the Third Community Support Framework, could develop into a centre for electronic commerce and the digital economy in SE Europe.

He said the ministry would create a national committee on electronic commerce, a scientific working group of electronic commerce and a project management group to lead and monitor developments in this sector.

On Saturday, Deputy Transport and Communications Minister Nikos Salayiannis told the conference that the telecommunications market in Greece grew 32 per cent in the 1997-1998 period.

He said that he was certain in the wake of the full deregulation of telephony in 2000, the sector would see even greater growth.

The first licences for telephony would be granted by the end of 2000, he said. The institutional framework for the new networks to be created with the liberalisation of telephony are already in place.

California governor to meet with Greek leadership

The governor of California begins a visit to Greece today, the first such official visit by a standing governor of the Golden Gate state.

Gray Davis is scheduled to meet with President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Foreign Minister George Papandreou and National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, as well as with prominent members of the Greek business community.

According to a US embassy press release, Mr. Davis is in Greece to build what he referred to as "bridges of trade and investment" between Greece and California, particularly in the area of new technologies.

"Basically, (California) is the home of the dot com economy. The purpose of my mission to Greece is to build partnership and form alliances for business in the 21st century," Mr. Davis said.

Med, Asian diets preferred in prevention of prostate cancer

The Mediterranean and Asian diets are crucial factors in the prevention of prostate cancer, which kills more men than any other form of the disease worldwide, a conference on urology in Thessaloniki heard on Saturday. Brussels University urology professor Alex Zlotta presented a new method being studied in the research centre of Britain's University of Bristol which taps the beneficial effects of both diets regarding prostate cancer prevention.

Speaking at a press briefing afterwards, Dr. Zlotta explained that the method, named 'hymopro-vasion', includes use of the metal selinium for prevention, while special medicinal therapy is envisaged if the disease is diagnosed.

He recommended the consumption of vegetables and fish, as well as a low-fat diet. Lab data showed that the application of hymoprovasion reduced the incidence of prostate cancer and the growth rate of malignant tumours by 30 to 40 per cent.

WEU-related conference on Hania to focus on SE Europe

The security of countries in SE Europe and particularly the vulnerable Balkan region - focusing on Yugoslavia - and their repercussions for world peace will be the focus of a three-day conference in Hania this week.

The conference of the political and defence committees of the Western European Union will be held Oct. 27-29.

Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and the president of the WEU Parliamentary Assembly Luis Maria de Puig will open proceedings. The government will be represented by Deputy Defence Minister Dimitris Apostolakis, who will outline the central role played by Greece in restoring peace and stability in the Balkans.

The conference's conclusions will be a first look at the problems facing security in southeast Europe and will be the focus of a discussion by the WEU assembly later this year in Paris.

Website for Greek language instruction

A website for teachers and students of the Greek language (www.Greeklanguage.gr) will be launched on an experimental basis on Jan. 1, and will be completed in June. The website's creation was announced during a international conference on computers and la nguage teaching in Thessaloniki yesterday. The site will feature a number of dictionaries and open avenues of electronic communication between universities and schools as well as on- line discussions.

Shareholders approve ANEK merger of Rethymniaki

The general assembly of ANEK shipping lines shareholders, held in Hania yesterday, approved the merger through absorption of Rethymniaki shipping, which operates two ferry boats on the Rethymno- Piraeus route. Rethymniaki, which approved the merger last week, had a turnover of 3.9 billion drachmas in 1998.

Hios' museum opens

Culture Minister Elizabeth Papazoi yesterday opened Hios' renovated museum, which had remained closed on the eastern Aegean island for 11 years due to building problems.

She said the ministry featured a very extensive programme for museums on Aegean islands, and was to be supported with funds of the European Union's Community Support Framework III.

Ecevit adamant over recognition of T/C pseudo-state

Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said he would like to see a lasting peace with Greece based on a settlement over divided Cyprus, but with mutual recognition of two independent states on the island.

"The fact that there are two completely independent states on the island should be recognised," Mr. Ecevit said in an interview to be published in the Nov. 1 issue of US-based 'Newsweek' magazine, which will be on newsstands today.

The veteran Turkish politician spoke optimistically of the recent thaw in relations between Greece and Turkey, saying Athens' assistance to Turkey after a massive earthquake in August "had a welcome impact on the dialogue already started between the two foreign ministers."

Avramopoulos: Cyprus the key to improving Greek-Turkish relations

Cyprus remains the key to improving Greek-Turkish relations, which depends on a show of goodwill on Ankara's part, Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos stressed in an interview.

"Turkey can make steps on the Cyprus issue...If there is goodwill, it must be shown. Cyprus is the key - a positive development in the Cyprus issue will provide the beginning to a new era," he was quoted as sayin in an interview published by the Turkish daily "Hurriyet".

"In Europe we are trying to do away with borders, but in Cyprus some wish to build internal borders," he added.

"The recent quakes in our countries spontaneously opened the hearts of our peoples and broke through the firmly shut doors of the systems," he said at the conference.

Greek first division soccer results

Olympiakos Piraeus 3 Trikala 3-1 Iraklis Thessaloniki 3 PAOK Thessaloniki 3-1 Apollon Athens 3 Aris Thessaloniki 3-3 Panionios Athens 1 OFI Heraklion 1-4 Kalamata 1 Panachaiki Patras 1-1 Proodeftiki Piraeus 0 Xanthi 0-0 Kavala 0 Ionikos Piraeus 0-0 Playing today: Ethnikos Astir Athens-Panathinaikos Paniliakos Pyrgos-AEK Athens Points: Olympiakos 15, Aris 11, Panathinaikos, OFI 10, Iraklis 9, Paniliakos, PAOK, Ionikos 8, AEK 7, Ethnikos, Xanthi 6, Panahaiki 5.

Weather

Fine weather with some local cloud in the east and north of the country is forecast for today. Winds mild to moderate to occasionally strong in the southeastern Aegean Sea. Athens will be sunny with some local cloud and temperatures between 16-25C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 14- 23C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          303.205
Pound sterling       508.896
Japanese yen (100)   288.087
French franc          49.883
German mark          167.301
Italian lira (100)    16.899
Irish Punt           415.472
Belgian franc          8.111
Finnish mark          55.033
Dutch guilder        148.482
Danish kr.            44.019
Austrian sch.         23.779
Spanish peseta         1.966
Swedish kr.           37.363
Norwegian kr.         39.382
Swiss franc          205.056
Port. Escudo           1.632
Can. dollar          204.550
Aus. dollar          197.334
Cyprus pound         566.710
Euro                 327.211
(C.E.)
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