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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-03-03
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Greek-Australian's novel receives positive reviews03/03/2000 21:53:55
MELBOURNE (ANA)- Greek-Australian writer Tom Petsinis' new novel entitled "The Twelfth Dialogue" hit the bookstands in Australia this week and received positive reviews by critics.
Australian newspapers wrote that it is the best novel of the year.
Petsinis, who was born in Greece in 1953, is considered one of Australia's most distinguished writers.
 Copyright-Infringement-Greece-U.S.03/03/2000 20:27:00
Video and television copyright infringement of U.S. products has declined to 5 per cent from 17 per cent and it will be totally wiped out in the immediate future, Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas said on Friday.
 Smart Cards-Greek Launch03/03/2000 20:15:43
The country's two largest banks are to team up with the state telecom to launch consumer smart cards in Greece this year through a newly created subsidiary, executives said on Friday.
Taking an equal stake in the new company to devise and manage the card system are state-run National Bank of Greece, private Alpha Credit Bank and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), executives of the firms told a news conference.
The three enterprises are listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.
 Athens Derivatives Market-Close03/03/2000 18:17:28
Equity futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Friday in line with the stock indices on which they are based.
On the Athens bourse, the FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 0.95 percent down; and the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index also closed 0.95 percent lower.
Turnover slumped to 6.3 billion drachmas from 12.3 billion drachmas a day earlier.
 Weather Forecast-Saturday03/03/2000 17:52:24
Sunny weather is forecast throughout the country on Saturday, with the eastern Aegean and Dodecanese islands starting showery.
Winds will be westerly, moderate, turning strong at sea.
 ASE-weekly review03/03/2000 16:50:51
Equity prices ended with losses for the third consecutive week reflecting investors' cautiousness over the short-term course of the Athens Stock Exchange.
The Greek market flirted with the psychologically critical level of 5,000 points, which finally resisted pressures. A short-term buying activity on Wednesday and Thursday was not followed by a rise in turnover with investors preferring to take early profits on Friday.
Smaller and medium-sized capitalisation stocks were particularly hit, while blue chips found support as the weekly moves of the FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40 indices show (down 0.91 and 4.55 percent respectively).
Turnover slightly improved to a total of 1.010 trillion drachmas, or a daily average of 202.024 billion drachmas, up from 168.437 billion the previous week.
The general index ended the week 1.65 percent lower, with the Construction index plunging 10.11 percent on the week and the Insurance index ending slightly higher.
 Mytilineos-1999 results03/03/2000 16:36:49
Mytilineos Group, a listed mining company, on Friday reported a 35 percent increase in its 1999 turnover to 93 billion drachmas from 69 billion the previous year.
The group said improved results reflected balanced growth in all subsidiaries' figures despite adverse conditions due to the war in Kosovo, low prices in international metal markets and adverse foreign exchange moves.
Net pre-tax profits totalled 15.6 billion drachmas from 4.6 billion in 1998, while operating income rose to 7.6 billion drachmas, an increase of 65 percent from the previous year.
Financial expenses totalled 3.8 billion drachmas, reflecting higher funding for the acquisition of Metka and other expanding moves by the group which ensured a capitalisation of more than 100 billion drachmas for the company, in current prices.
Mytilineos plans to pay a 50 drachmas per share dividend to shareholders, up from 15 drachmas in 1998.
 Gov't - Trilateral - Meeting - Akkuyu03/03/2000 16:30:41
The government noted on Friday that trilateral meetings begun since 1997 between the foreign ministers of Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece focus on achieving a ?peaceful (political) climate in our region.?
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas made the statement in response to a press question regarding Athens¢ expectations from the Sofia meeting on Sunday.
Reppas added that a joint communique issued by the three delegations would include each country¢s position on regional developments, with a common denominator being the safeguarding of stability and peace.
In response to a question over Ankara¢s decision to proceed with the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant at the Akkuyu site, on the coast of SE Asia Minor, Reppas said the Greek government¢s position is well known. He stressed that Athens has repeatedly questioned and criticised plans to build the nuclear station at Akkuyu, and has reiterated this view in various international fora.
 Credit expansion-1999 report03/03/2000 16:23:06
Credit expansion growth rate totalled 11.1 percent in 1999, exceeding the Bank of Greece's 7-9 percent target for the year, while credit expansion to the private sector grew an annual 10.3 percent - including a foreign exchange "correction" - compared with an official target of 13 percent, official figures showed on Friday.
Excluding the correction, credit expansion increased 12.3 percent in the wider economy and 14.4 percent in the private sector.
A central bank's report attributed the speedier growth to an increased credit expansion in the public sector, up 11.4 percent in 1999 from 7.4 percent the previous year.
Credit expansion to the private sector slowed to an annual rate of 14.4 percent last year from 15.0 percent in 1998.
Consumer loans also slowed to an annual growth rate of 31 percent, from 36.7 pct in 1998, while mortgage loans rose to 26.7 percent in 1999 from 18.5 pct the previous year.
Credit expansion to the manufacturing sector rose to 14.7 percent from 5.2 pct in 1998, while trade credit expansion fell sharply to 6.8 pct in 1999 from 19.7 pct the previous year.
The central bank said that foreign exchange loans rose 22.9 percent in 1999, up from 13.8 percent the previous year.
 Patrol boat - Greece - Cyprus03/03/2000 16:07:34
NICOSIA (ANA · G. Leonidas) -- The Cypriot National Guard will take delivery of a fully equipped patrol boat from the Greek navy during a ceremony this month near Athens.
In statements this week, Cypriot Defence Minister Socrates Hasikos said he would attend the ceremony on March 21, along with his Greek counterpart Akis Tsohatzopoulos.
Hasikos added that 15 National Guard officers and men are currently training in Greece in order to officially assume control of the vessel.
During an address at a confirmation ceremony in the Athalassa district for new five-year military volunteers, Hasikos noted that as long as the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus remains, ?we have no other alternative but to strengthen our defence within the framework of the joint defence doctrine?.
 ASE-close03/03/2000 15:36:26
Equity prices came under pressure to end lower on Friday as investors preferred to take early profits following a two-day rebound on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Dealers said the market remained cautious ahead of the elections.
Blue chip and medium-sized capitalisation stocks were particularly hit, while smaller capitalisation stocks continued moving upwards.
The general index ended at 5,116.98 points, down 1.11 percent, with turnover at 200 billion drachmas, boosted by a block trade, worth 25 billion drachmas, in Altec.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.95 percent to 2,822.56 points, while the FTSE/ASE 40 index ended 0.95 percent lower at 803.72 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 1,199.64, up 1.82 percent.
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