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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-11-02
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>
NEWS IN ENGLISH
ATHENS, GREECE, 02/11/1999 (ANA)
NEWS IN DETAILDeath toll rises in ferry fire
The bodies of five stowaways, believed to be Kurdish illegal immigrants, were discovered today in the parking levels of a Greek ferry on the Patras- Italy line that caught fire last night, port authorities said.
They said the identities of the three men and two women have not been established yet, adding the bodies were found in different parking levels away from the spot where the fire broke out.
Authorities said they apparently died of smoke inhalation, as the bodies did not have burns
Fire broke out aboard the Superfast III ferry car/passenger ferry last night shortly after it left the western Greek port city of Patras for Italy, and is believed to have started on a truck carrying paper pulp.
Port authorities said no identification or travel documents were found on the bodies.
Only four of the 307 passengers, and 106-member crew, all Greek, were slightly injured.
The ferry was 15 miles off Patras when the fire started in the parking level of the 11,246-ton Superfast lll ferry, owned by Superfast Ferries SA.
Several bilateral agreements signed by Moldova's Lucinschi
Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday met visiting Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi and discussed a wide range of political and economic issues.
Earlier in the day, the two countries signed two partnership agreements aimed to promote bilateral relations in the economic, science, cattle- breeding and technical sectors, and a protocol of cooperation between the two countries' foreign ministries.
Mr Simitis said that Greece supported the European Union's expansion through a gradual admittance of all European countries, including Moldova.
He discussed with Moldovan president issues referring to regional countries, east Mediterranean relations, the Cyprus problem and issues relating to the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) pact.
Mr. Simitis said that Greece was seeking to strengthen its presence in eastern Europe and the Moldovan president's visit promoted this goal.
Answering to a Moldovan journalist's question on Greece's stance towards a demand to withdraw all Russian weapons from Moldova's territory, Mr. Simitis said: "We support an EU approach for the withdrawal of weapons and we believe that foreign troops should not be stationed in another country without its consent".
Mr. Lucinschi said that following Moldova's independence in 1991, Greek businesses were the first to enter the country. A total of 41 joint ventures and one Greek-owned bank operate today in Moldova.
Mr. Lucinschi invited the Greek premier to visit Moldova and said that Mr. Simitis replied that he will do so after next year's general elections.
Mr. Lucinschi said that the sectors of technology, tourism, agriculture, telecommunications, transport, construction, pharmaceuticals and banking present opportunities to Greek businessmen wanting to enter the Moldovan economy.
Budget for 2000 to parliament tomorrow
The government is to submit its budget for 2000 to parliament tomorrow, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou announced.
The minister also told reporters yesterday that he rejected weekend press reports of changes in the government's fiscal and foreign exchange policies, repeating that Greece was moving steadily towards euro zone entry. He was speaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis on the budget and progress made towards convergence targets.
Mr. Papantoniou repeated that in March the government would submit to the European Commission its application for euro zone entry.
The minister urged all businesses to take part in a concerted effort to lower inflation, adding that the country's EU harmonised consumer price index was moving at 1.5-1.7 percent, which was in line with the euro zone target.
Stocks rally on sentiment
Equity prices rebounded strongly yesterday helped by major rises in international markets and confidence in the domestic economy.
The general index ended 3.46 percent higher at 5,630.27 points, near the day's highs. Turnover was a moderate 258 billion drachmas.
Shares in the Industrials and Banking sectors attracted heavy demand pushing the two indices 5.55 and 3.70 percent higher respectively.
Other sector indices ended as follows: Leasing (+1.21 pct), Insurance (+1.54 pct), Investment (+0.10 pct), Construction (+2.49 pct), Miscellaneous (+2.42 pct) and Holding (+0.46 pct).
National Bank of Greece ended at 22,980 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 24, 990, Commercial Bank at 24,390, Titan Cement (common) at 37,584, Hellenic Petroleum at 5,135, Intracom at 14,900, Minoan Lines at 9,950, Panafon at 4, 090 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,775.
SE Europe reconstruction conference begins today
A two-day international conference on the reconstruction of southeastern Europe starts in Thessaloniki today at the Ioannis Vellidis conference centre.
Bodo Hombach, the Stability Pact coordinator, will address the conference with politicians and businessmen expecting to hear concrete pledges on the reconstruction of Balkan countries, many of which urgently need financial help in the aftermath of civil clashes, NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia, and difficulties in adapting to a free market economy.
US ambassador to Greece Nicolas Burns will address the conference, highlighting the American role in promoting financial help towards the region, which US President Bill Clinton is due to visit shortly.
Also to attend the conference is a Turkish business delegation, led by ENKA Group chairman Sarik Tara. Turkish businessmen had failed to attend an annual business forum held by the Northern Greek Industrialists Association, co-organisers of the curre nt conference, earlier in the year due to tension in Greek-Turkish relations as a result of the Ocalan affair.
Montenegran President Milo Djuganovic and Albanian Socialist Party chairman Fatos Nano will also address the conference.
Greek shipping register edges down
The Greek merchant marine fleet fell slightly in October, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday.
Six new ships totalling 165,866 dwt entered the Greek shipping register last month, while 10 ships totalling 415,421 dwt departed.
In the first 10 months of the year, 84 ships left and 76 joined the country's shipping register.
Minoan Flying Dolphins acquires new vessels
Minoan Flying Dolphins yesterday announced the purchase, for an undisclosed sum, of five ferries to ply the Saronic Gulf from Piraeus to Aegina, Methana, Hydra, Poros and Spetses.
The new ships - the Nepheli, Georgios, Saronikos, Eftihia and Express Danae - can carry around 800,000 passengers and 100,000 vehicles annually and are expected to show a combined turnover of two billion drachmas.
Minoan Flying Dolphins expects to raise its annual passenger traffic to two million through the purchase.
G. Papandreou contacts with Canadian officials scheduled
Foreign Minister George Papandreou meets today in Ottawa with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and tomorrow with Canadian FM Lloyd Axworthy.
During an official four-day visit to the North American country, Mr. Papandreou will brief Canadian officials on the Cyprus issue and the latest developments in Greek-Turkish relations.
He will also exchange views with Canadian officials on developments in the Balkans, particularly Kosovo and Bosnia, given that Canada has sent military contingents to the UN-led international peace-keeping forces in the region.
Mr. Papandreou will wind up the visit tomorrow with the signing of a bilateral agreement on the mutual extradition of outlaws, and a memorandum of cooperation on sports issues. Mr. Axworthy will sign the accords on behalf of the Canadian government.
Simitis in Sofia on Thursday, France on Sunday
Prime Minister Costas Simitis will chair a Cabinet meeting tomorrow, expected to focus on the 2000 budget, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.
On Thursday, Mr. Simitis will leave for Bulgaria, where he is to attend a meeting with the Bulgarian and Romanian prime ministers, the spokesman added.
Finally, the Greek PM leaves for France on Sunday to attend a summit meeting of the Socialist International.
Army denies reports of stolen missiles
The Hellenic Army general staff yesterday issued a statement categorically denying a press report that five light anti-tank missiles had been stolen from an army base on the island of Kos.
"Today's press report is completely untrue," the statement read. Following a probe, the allegedly stolen missiles were, in fact, used in a training exercise and had not been processed as used.
A representative of the general staff clarified to reporters that the particular missile type was able to be used only once and that the cyclinder used to launch the rocket, identified as 'LAW' missiles, could not be used or adapted for other purposes.
Patriarch Vartholomeos in Albania today
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos of Constantinople will commence an official visit to the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Albania today.
According to an announcement by the Patriachate, Vartholomeos will hold talks with the Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios on issues of mutual interest and issues concerning all the Orthodox Church. Apart from Tirana, the Patriarch will also be visiting Berati, Korce and Gjirokaster.
Accompanied by Anastasios, Patriarch Vartholomeos will meet Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani, Parliament President Skeder Ginusi and the leaders of Christian denominations and other official religions of Albania.
Timely detection critical in preventing breast cancer: US group
Representatives of a US breast cancer prevention group said yesterday that timely detection of breast cancer were critical factors in stopping the growing incidence of the disease.
Speaking in Athens, representatives of the newly established Greek branch of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation said it would begin funding an information campaign targeted towards Greek women, where breast cancer deaths were second only to lung cancer deaths.
Breast cancer affects about 4,500 women in Greece each year, although only 15 per cent of breast cancer cases in Greece are detected in the initial stage, compared to 50 per cent in the United States. Self-examination for tumours can significantly bring down the incidence of breast cancer.
Founded in 1980 by Nancy Brinker, who lost her sister Susan Komen to the disease, the foundation has been working to inform women in the US about the disease for the past 17 years.
Commission programme to combat workplace discrimination
The European Commission is already scheduling an interesting European Union initiative, known as 'Equal', concerning cooperation among 15 EU member- states on combatting discrimination in the workplace, following a proposal by Greek Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou.
According to reports, funding for the initiative is secured by the European Social Fund with 2,847 million euro for the 2000-2006 period. The Commission will have the initiative finally ratified in early 2000 to enable the first invitation for plans to be submitted at the end of 2000.
Turkish media interest in Kavala, Thassos as tourist destinations
Some of Turkey's largest media outlets announced intentions to promote tourist destinations in NE Greece, especially Kavala prefecture and the island of Thassos.
Some 30 Turkish writers specialising on tourism reporting are currently touring the Kavala region and nearby Thassos, along with related visits to archaeological sites, hotels, airports etc.
WEATHERScattered cloud is forecast throughout the country on Tuesday with sunny spells in western and northern Greece. Possibility of showers in Thessaly, eastern central Greece, Evia, the Cycladic islands and northern Crete. Winds northerly, northeasterly, light to strong. Partly cloudy in Athens with temperatures between 11-22C. Mostly fair in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 9-19C.
Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 309.097 Pound sterling 509.531 Japanese yen (100) 296.043 French franc 49.848 German mark 167.184 Italian lira (100) 16.887 Irish Punt 415.183 Belgian franc 8.106 Finnish mark 54.994 Dutch guilder 148.378 Danish kr. 43.989 Austrian sch. 23.762 Spanish peseta 1.965 Swedish kr. 37.638 Norwegian kr. 39.561 Swiss franc 203.796 Port. Escudo 1.631 Can. dollar 210.185 Aus. dollar 197.289 Cyprus pound 566.432 Euro 326.983(C.E.)
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