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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-11-19

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, 19/11/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Simitis hopes for peace, friendship with Turkey
  • Government appeals for maturity as Clinton arrives
  • Greek, Turkish experts to confer on chauvinism
  • Police interrogate suspect in German rape-murder
  • Spurned lover's murder trial postponed
  • Greek stocks change direction, end higher
  • Greek stocks end week lower on inflation woes
  • Bank of Greece intervenes to hold rates
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Simitis hopes for peace, friendship with Turkey

Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said in Istanbul today that he envisaged peace, friendship and cooperation in the region, without tensions and nationalistic tendencies. "My dream is for there to be peace in this area, that there be friendship and progress," Simitis said in his first- ever interview on Turkish television. "We want a relationship between the two countries (Greece and Turkey), the growth of one to aid the growth of the other, and both countries contributing, together with the rest of the Balkans, to prosperity in the region, to ending foolish nationalistic sentiments and tensions, which can be resolved on the basis of the international pacts and treaties," Simitis told Turkish state television TRT1.

Government appeals for maturity as Clinton arrives

The government said on Friday that it hoped 'political maturity' would prevail during an evening rally in downtown Athens to protest the arrival of U.S. President Bill Clinton. "The police have no intention of touching any citizen," government spokesman Yannis Nikolaou told reporters. Some of the protest organisers have vowed to break police lines and march to the U.S. embassy as originally planned. The embassy has been placed out of bounds by Greek police while Clinton is in town. "Everybody has the right to freely express their opinions but the state has also the right to protect the country's national interests," Nikolaou said.

Greek, Turkish experts to confer on chauvinism

Alternate Foreign Minister Christos Rokofyllos on Friday denied Greece and Turkey had agreed to remove "painful" and "problematic phrasing" from Greek and Turkish schoolbooks. Responding in Parliament to a question from ruling PASOK MP Yannis Kapsis, Rokofyllos said that no such state agreement had been signed but that a joint committee of Greek and Turkish experts had been agreed to "coordinate some chauvinistic exaggerations and insulting expressions". "There will be a joint committee of educations and experts," Rokofyllos said, adding that this had been the outcome of talks between Greek and Turkish foreign ministry officials.

Police interrogate suspect in German rape-murder

A German man arrested on suspicion of raping and killing a 19-year-old woman in his homeland has been seen by an Athens public prosecutor examining a German request for extradition, police said on Friday. Manfred Immler, 26, from Furstenfeldbruck, Germany, arrived in Greece via Italy last Friday and applied for a job at a German company constructing the new Athens airport. He was recognised by some of his compatriots at the site, who notified the police. German authorities have requested his extradition by the Greek authorities, police said. Immler, who denied any involvement with the rape and murder charge, said he wanted to reply to questions in order "to prove his innocence" and was willling to be extradited to Germany.

Spurned lover's murder trial postponed

The trial of a 25-year-old Greek man accused of murdering and dismembering his American fiancee was adjourned to November 27, court officials said. Defence counsel for George Skiadopoulos requested the adjournment from the Drama, northern Greece, court due to the unforeseen absence of one of his lawyers. Skiadopoulos is accused of murdering his fiancee Julie Marie Scully from New Jersey on January 8 after a lover's quarrel. He then attempted to dismember her body and threw pieces into a lake. The woman's head has never been found.

Greek stocks change direction, end higher

Greek equities showed signs of recovery in the last trading session of the week, reversing a three-day decline on the Athens Stock Exchange. The general index ended 0.70 percent higher at 5,610.50 points, off the day's highs of 5,625.16 points with turnover at 310 billion drachmas. Smaller capitalisation stocks, mainly in the Construction and Miscellaneous sectors, were in focus although Banks remained under pressure. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks jumped 3.39 percent, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.34 percent to 2,739.51 points.

Greek stocks end week lower on inflation woes

Low liquidity combined with worries over the course of inflation hit the Athens Stock Exchange during the week under review pushing equity prices lower. Traders said investors have adopted a short-term investment policy ahead of the end of the year and awaiting news about the course of inflation and interest rates in the country. A recent wave of share capital increases and new listings on the market have drained liquidity from the Athens bourse although dealers expect the market to regain its confidence and move higher in the next few months. Buying interest focused on smaller capitalisation stocks, while blue chips stocks remained under pressure. Banks' and other blue chips' valuations remain at attractive levels, with the P/E ratio at 58 this year and at 47 in 2000, a fact largely ignored by investors, traders said.

Bank of Greece intervenes to hold rates

Greek money markets remained nervous on Friday hit by low liquidity with the Bank of Greece intervening again to hold short-term interest rates from rising further. The central bank supplied the domestic interbank market with 199.7 billion drachmas through five-day repos holding the overnight rate at 11.0 percent, the 48-hour rate at 11.10 percent and the 15-day rate at 11.25 percent. Medium-term interest rates, however, remained low with the 12-month rate stable at 9.30 percent. The drachma weakened against the US dollar reflecting a US currency's rally in international foreign exchange markets. At the day's fixing the dollar stood at 318.900 drachmas, up from 316.340 on Thursday. The drachma, however, was stronger against the euro at 328.850 drachmas, down from 328.960 the previous day.

WEATHER

Rainy weather will prevail in most parts of Greece today, mostly in the northeastern part of the country and the northern Aegean islands. Winds westerly, moderate to strong, turning gale force in the Aegean Sea. Partly cloudy in Athens with sunny spells and possible rain in the evening with temperatures between 14-20C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 10- 15C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          313.809
Pound sterling       509.293
Japanese yen (100)   296.568
French franc          49.749
German mark          166.849
Italian lira (100)    16.853
Irish Punt           414.351
Belgian franc          8.089
Finnish mark          54.884
Dutch guilder        148.082
Danish kr.            43.876
Austrian sch.         23.715
Spanish peseta         1.961
Swedish kr.           37.791
Norwegian kr.         39.799
Swiss franc          203.672
Port. Escudo           1.628
Can. dollar          213.330
Aus. dollar          200.354
Cyprus pound         565.242
Euro                 326.328
(M.P.)
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