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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-11-25

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, 25/11/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Government moves to contain CPI
  • Athens hopes no execution of Ocalan
  • Real interest rates to fall - finmin
  • FM Papandreou due in Cyprus for talks
  • Expert warns of major quake in Aegean
  • Fight against tuberculosis stalls, experts say
  • Greek equities bypass good news
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Government moves to contain CPI

The government on Thursday moved to halve a special consumer charge on petrol used to produce electricity, to offset adverse effects on the consumer price index by rising fuel prices worldwide. An amendment filed in Parliament by National Economy and Finance Minister Yannos Papandoniou and Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos on deregulating the electricity market foresees the special charge on diesel fuel being cut from 83,000 drachmas to 41,000 drachmas per thousand litres. According to the amendment, the price cut aims at containing electricity rates paid by consumers in light of the continuously rising price of fuel on the international market. Papantoniou and Venizelos also announced a 7.0 percent cut in consumer electricity bills from December 1. "We have to protect consumers from facts (rising oil prices) not linked with economic developments in Greece." Papandoniou said.

Athens hopes no execution of Ocalan

Greece on Thursday expressed the hope that a Turkish court decision upholding the imposition of the deal penalty on Kurd rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan "would not be carried out." "The death penalty should not be put into force," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. "Greece always brings issues of human rights to the European Union and it has repeatedly brought the issue of the death penalty to the EU," he said.

Real interest rates to fall - finmin

Real interest rates will fall to 6-7 percent by the end of 2000, from a current 12-13 percent, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said today. Speaking to reporters, after announcing key anti- inflation measures with Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Papantoniou said that interest rates would fall rapidly next year, a development to benefit small- and medium-sized enterprises highly dependent on bank lending. He also announced changes in penalty interest rates following consultations with Hellenic Banks Association.

FM Papandreou due in Cyprus for talks

Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou arrives on Cyprus on Thursday for a two-day visit involving talks with the government and opposition party leaders on the latest developments ahead of the December 10-11 Helsinki summit. Papandreou's first meeting is with Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kassoulides at 4.30 p.m. Statements will be made after the meeting. In the evening, Papandreou will speak at the University of Cyprus on "Answering modern-day challenges: Cyprus, Greece and Europe". His schedule on Friday includes meetings with Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides, who spoke in Athens with Prime Minister Costas Simitis earlier in the week, Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos and the leaders of parliamentary parties.

Expert warns of major quake in Aegean

A Greek seismology professor on Thursday warned of the possibility of a major earthquake in the Aegean sea between Greece and Turkey, both the sites of major earthquakes over the past few months. "We have to prepare because there is energy gathering in the Aegean area, which has not seen quakes over the past few years," Thessaloniki University professor Antonis Psilovikos said a conference on the northeastern Aegean island of Samos. Psilovikos said that there were four active fault lines in the area ranging from 8 to 15 kilometres long. He claimed that his group's study of average repeat seismic activity showed that there was a likelihood of a quake registering in the order of 5.9-6.9 Richter in the near future.

Fight against tuberculosis stalls, experts say

Poor living conditions of many illegal immigrants in Greece is thought to be the reason behind the stalling of efforts to eradicate the disease, experts said on Thursday. According to experts speaking at a news conference on Thursday, the incidence of tuberculosis was on a downward trend up until 1990. This trend has stalled for the past eight years and concerned doctors say this is indirectly related to poor living conditions. Tuberculosis - all but eradicated in the western industrialised world - has been making a reappearance worldwide, experts said, due to the movement of populations from areas with a high incidence of the disease to those with low incidence. Given that Greece is at the crossroads of these moving populations, they said, tuberculosis in Greece is being studied very carefully.

Greek equities bypass good news

The Greek market remained nervous on Thursday largely ignoring a European Commission's positive report on the Greek economy and a decision by Standard & Poor's - the US credit rating agency - to upgrade the country's credit rating on Wednesday. The general index ended 0.68 percent higher at 5,418.60 points after hitting an intra-day high of 5,460 points and an intra-day low of 5,267 points. Turnover was a moderate 257.7 billion drachmas. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks rose 0.18 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.10 percent up at 2,661.81 points.

WEATHER

Fine weather with a further drop in temperatuires is forecast in most parts of Greece today with local cloud in the north. Winds north, northwesterly, medium to strong, and very strong in Aegean and Ionian seas. Sunny, but cold in Athens with temperatures between 9-14C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 3-9C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          318.571
Pound sterling       515.046
Japanese yen (100)   304.673
French franc          49.709
German mark          166.717
Italian lira (100)    16.840
Irish Punt           414.024
Belgian franc          8.830
Finnish mark          54.841
Dutch guilder        147.965
Danish kr.            43.842
Austrian sch.         23.697
Spanish peseta         1.960
Swedish kr.           37.904
Norwegian kr.         39.886
Swiss franc          203.821
Port. Escudo           1.627
Can. dollar          216.732
Aus. dollar          201.227
Cyprus pound         565.440
Euro                 326.070
(M.P.)
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