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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-01-31

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] EU-Greek Economy
  • [02] Turkey-Cyprus-Proximity Talks
  • [03] Metro-parking
  • [04] Stock market report
  • [05] ECOFIN-Greek convergence programme
  • [06] Quakes-Rhodes

  • [01] EU-Greek Economy

    31/01/2000 20:32:54

    BRUSSELS (ANA-M.Spinthourakis) - Greece on Monday welcomed the acceptance by European Union finance ministers of the country's 1999-2002 plan to align its economy with the rest of the 15-nation bloc.

    "Today, a decisive step was taken towards the country's entry into the final phase of economic and monetary union," National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told reporters in the Belgian capital.

    Greece hopes to join the 11-member euro zone on January 1, 2001. It plans to apply for membership in March, with the EU due to decide whether or not the country qualifies at a summit in Lisbon on June 19.

    [02] Turkey-Cyprus-Proximity Talks

    31/01/2000 17:54:15

    ISTANBUL (ANA · A. Kourkoulas) -- Turkey reiterated on Monday its standing position over a ˇconfederation˘ solution for the divided island of Cyprus, a proposal the island republic˘s government flatly rejects as unacceptable and in direct opposition to UN resolutions regarding the Cyprus problem.

    ?The ˇauthorities˘ of the ˇTRNC˘, in cooperation with us, developed the proposal of a confederation of two states; a proposal which is the most realistic model for a solution to the Cyprus problem, and taking into consideration the European Union dimension,? an announcement issued by the Turkish foreign ministry said.

    A resumption of UN-sponsored proximity talks in Geneva between the two communities on Cyprus was scheduled for the same day, Monday.

    [03] Metro-parking

    31/01/2000 17:25:15

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis on Monday promised to find an immediate solution to the problem of parking for those commuters wanting to use the new Athens Metro.

    Speaking on the first working day of the Athens Metro's two new lines, Laliotis said he hoped the ministry would soon be able to provide some 7000 free parking sites in total.

    The Athens Metro opened for business to commuters at dawn Monday, boasting 60-70 percent capacity in the morning rush hour, according to Metro officials.

    The first paying passengers boarded the first train at 5:30 a.m., after a 'get acquainted' weekend which saw close to two million Athenians ride the Metro lines for free.

    While there were no problems reported on the actual subway system itself, the situation outside the Metro stations was somewhat different, with prospective commuters frustrated at not finding anywhere to leave their cars.

    [04] Stock market report

    31/01/2000 16:31:37

    Equity prices ended lower on Monday pushing the Athens Stock Exchange below the 5,000 level once again, hit by low liquidity and a continued absence of new buyers in the market.

    Turnover remained low at 174 billion drachmas despite the fact that Monday was the first day of extended trading hours (trading ended at 14.15 am).

    Shares in the Miscellaneous and Construction sectors were mostly hit while the Investment sector was in demand following news of significantly increased dividend payments.

    The general index ended 0.60 percent off at 4,990.02 points. The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.67 percent to 2,606.43 points, while the FTSE/ASE 40 index ended 1.79 percent off at 905.98 points.

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended 1.01 percent down at 1,501.04 points.

    [05] ECOFIN-Greek convergence programme

    31/01/2000 15:50:00

    European Union Finance Ministers on Monday approved Greece's convergence programme with the other EU member-states' economies, sources said in Brussels.

    The council's official opinion on Greece's updated convergence programme was based on a European Commission's recommendation, issued on January 18.

    The recommendation, based on procedures envisaged in the stability pact - aimed at monitoring fiscal policy in EU member-states - said that the Greek programme was in line with community decisions on the country's fiscal condition.

    ECOFIN's official announcement is expected later on Monday.

    [06] Quakes-Rhodes

    31/01/2000 15:02:10

    A strong earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale jolted the islands of Carpathos and Rhodes Monday, but there were no immediate reports of damage. Thessaloniki seismologists later reported recording another earthquake, registering 3.9 on the Richter scale, and originating from the northern Greek prefecture of Halkidiki. The epicentre of the tremor, recorded at 11.56 a.m., was 60 kms eat of Thessaloniki, in the Varvaras region. The same fault - the so-called 'Serbo-Macedonian' fault - has given rise to two strong quakes in recent years: one registering 5.8 on the Richter scale in May 1995, and another measuring 4.5 in December 1999.


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