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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-10-26

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, 26/10/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Black Sea FMs in Thessaloniki
  • Gov't defends Clinton visit
  • Quake costs to top 500 bln
  • National Bank adopts wait-and-see on rate cuts
  • Power workers may strike over insurance pact
  • Delos lions to be moved Wednesday
  • Equities under pressure on inflation concerns
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Black Sea FMs in Thessaloniki

The foreign ministers of Black Sea Cooperation Council (BSCC) members begin arriving in the port city of Thessaloniki on Tuesday afternoon to begin their meeting on organisational issues. Among them will be Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, who arrives in Thessaloniki from Germany. Cem is expected to have a meeting with his host, Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the summit. Also arriving today is Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. In the wake of the dramatic developments in the Caucasus, the meetings Ivanov has with his Caucasus counterparts are expected to be watched with interest.

Gov't defends Clinton visit

Greece's government on Tuesday said opposition party criticism of U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to the country in November was out of line. "It is not justified," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters. "This visit will be of benefit to the country as important issues will be discussed and these discussions may help in the resolution of problems." He said there should be no demonstrations during Clinton's visit, adding however, that there was a right to freedom of expression of any opinion, within the context of democratic dialogue. The US president will be in Greece at the same time as events get under way to mark the 26th anniversary of the student uprising at Athens Polytechnic which eventually led to the fall of the military junta. The annual events culminate in a march to the US embassy on November 17 which has sometimes been marred by violence.

Quake costs to top 500 bln

Greece expects to spend more than 500 billion drachmas on repairing damage to homes and providing housing for those made homeless during the September 7 earthquake, National Economy and Finance Minister Yannos Papandoniou said on Tuesday. Papandoniou, speaking after a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis on housing policies for the quake-stricken, said that he was awaiting a European Union response on covering at least half the amount. The budget and loans from the European Investment Bank are expected to help meet the rest of the bill.

National Bank adopts wait-and-see on rate cuts

National Bank of Greece Governor Theodoros Karatzas said on Tuesday that the bank would not cut interest rates now but would await further moves by the Bank of Greece, the country's central bank. Karatzas was speaking at a press conference in downtown Athens where he outlined the nine-month results for National Bank, Greece's largest and dominant financial institution and the only Greek bank listed on the New York Stock Exchange. National Bank unveiled pre-tax profits of 146.4 billion drachmas in the first nine months of 1999, compared to 88.6 billion drachmas for the corresponding period in 1998.

Power workers may strike over insurance pact

Dissenting union factions in the Public Power Corporation's employees union have called on the management of the union federation to resign and are threatening labour action to overturn an agreement with the government over employee pension and insurance issues. Eight sector groupings in GENOP-DEH, the umbrella trade organisation for the state electricity company DEH and one of the biggest trade union federations in the country, have called for the resignation of GENOP-DEH's presidium. Unionists have announced protest action as of Monday, including sit-ins and walk-offs and have addressed a letter to Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos demanding to take on the role of interlocutor in any future talks on insurance issues.

Delos lions to be moved Wednesday

A complicated operation to move five ancient stone lions from the island of Delos to save them from further damage will get under way on Wednesday. Strong Cycladic winds and sea air have wrought havoc on the lions, which are thought to date back to the 6th and 7th centuries B.C. Only five are in a reasonable condition today, while only half of another two can be saved and a further three are in fragments. The lions - each thought to weight about 2.5 tonnes - will be moved to a special hall at the island's museum where they will be restored and exhibited. Replicas of the statues will be placed along the road the lions guard on Delos. The 'Lions Way' is a popular drawcard for the thousands of tourist who visit the island annually.

Equities under pressure on inflation concerns

Equity prices remained under mild pressure on Tuesday reflecting investors' worries over the course of the inflation and developments in international markets. Trading was nervous with the general index ending 0.96 percent lower at 5,524.32 points, off the day's lows of 2.0 percent. Turnover was a moderate 311 billion drachmas. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks increased 0.62 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.29 percent at 2,777.53 points.

WEATHER

Mostly fair weather with scattered cloud will prevail throughout Greece today. Winds variable, light to moderate. Fine weather in Athens with temperatures between 17-27C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 15- 25C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          307.361
Pound sterling       509.432
Japanese yen (100)   290.656
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.            44.025
Austrian sch.         23.779
Spanish peseta         1.966
Swedish kr.           37.656
Norwegian kr.         39.579
Swiss franc          204.600
Port. Escudo           1.632
Can. dollar          207.427
Aus. dollar          199.491
Cyprus pound         566.690
Euro                 327.211
(M.P.)
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