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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-03-16
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Britain-Parthenon Marbles16/03/2000 22:52:36
LONDON (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis) - A total of 66 percent of British MPs in the present Parliament would vote for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece in the event of a free vote on the issue, according to an opinion poll conducted by the "Economist".
The poll was conducted among 183 MPs from all parties in an effort to compile a relevant report on the Parthenon Marbles and Greece's efforts to get them back. The report will be published on Friday.
The poll showed that 85 percent of MPs of the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats support the return of the Parthenon Marbles and only the majority of the Conservative Party's MPs, which has 174 seats in the present British Parliament, support keeping the historic monuments at the British Museum.
The "Economist" comments that "while pressures on Britain to return the Elgin Marbles are increasing, British excuses not to return them are continuously wearing thin."
 Swimming-World championships16/03/2000 22:05:24
Four more world records and three Greek ones were set on Thursday, the first day of the world Swimming Championships taking place at the Athens Olympic Stadium.
The world records were set by Neil Walker from the US in the 50-metres backstroke with 23.42, the Swede Frolander in the 100-metres butterfly with 50.59, the Swedish men's team in the 4X100 free-style with 3:09.57 and the British team in the 4X200 free-style with 7:49.11.
Greek records were set by Tonia Mahaira in the women's 100-metres free-style with 55.65 (she came 7th in the semifinal and 13th in the total), Artemis Dafni in the 400-metres mixed group race with 4:42.49 (compared to 4:42.71 in the morning) and the women's team in the 4X200 free-style with 8:07.31 (8:01.93 in the morning qualifiers).
Yiannis Kokkodis also came 8th in the 400-metres mixed individual race with 4:19.12.
 Foreign Exchange Market-Close16/03/2000 21:50:42
The drachma on Thursday rose against the US dollar and retreated slightly against the euro in the domestic foreign exchange market. Demand for drachmas continued to be healthy allowing for the development.
At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 333.660 drachmas up from 333.570 drachmas in the previous session on Wednesday.
Also at the fixing, the US dollar was set at 344.570 drachmas from 345.320 on Wednesday.
 Secondary Bond Market - Close16/03/2000 21:47:55
Greek bonds maintained their yield spread from German bunds in buy trade on Thursday, as both increased at almost the same rate, following a 0.25 percent rise of interest rates by the European Central Bank.
The basis interest rate in the euro-zone now stands at 3.5 percent.
The volume of transactions totalled 84 billion drachmas, with buy orders accounting for 72 billion drachmas.
The benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.22 percent, with the spread over German bunds fluctuating between 91 basis points.
The increased liquidity in the interbank market forced short-term period rates downward, with the National Bank of Greece quoting 8.80 percent for overnight, 9.30 percent for two weeks and 7 percent for one year.
 Simitis says 15 trillion drachmas earmarked for development16/03/2000 20:20:47
Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Thursday 15 trillion drachmas have been earmarked for development, 10 trillion for the countryside's agricultural restructuring and 45 trillion for the expansion of social protection.
Simitis, who was speaking at a press conference in the city of Volos, eastern Greece, on balanced regional development, said the country needs a strong government on April 9 (the date of the general election) with a fresh popular mandate to enable negotiating for the country's new era to be strong.
He said Greece will deservedly join Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and a new era will open before it with security and stability, adding that for his PASOK party two Greeces do not exist and pointed out that such policies are applied by others and not the government.
 Thessaloniki - Drug - Arrests16/03/2000 18:25:37
Three separate drug-related incidents in northern Greece resulted in the arrests of several foreigners on Thursday, with a car chase and an exchange of gunfire through the northern port city of ThessalonikiĘs streets reported in at least one instance.
According to police, three Albanians and a Bulgarian woman were arrested on charges of smuggling heroin and cocaine from neighbouring Albania over the past several months. Artur Mane, 37, and his girlfriend Natasa Vintsani, both from Korce, were initially arrested in the case. Two alleged accomplices were later apprehended after a shoot-out with police in a central Thessaloniki square as well as subsequent car chase. The two latter suspects were identified as 24-year-old Evgenia Osipova, from Varna in Bulgaria, and Erzon Gioze, 21, from Pogradec, Albania.
A total of 705 grams of heroin rolled into pellets, 257 grams of cocaine, 9.4 grams of hashish along with more than five million drachmas and a precision scale were found on the four, police reports state.
In a separate incident on the Greek-Bulgarian border, authorities announced the arrest of two men reportedly attempting to smuggle 206 grams of cocaine into Greece.
The two suspects were identified as Dimitri Stoyanov, 37, and Goulten Karailiev, 23, both Bulgarian nationals.
Finally, two Albanians were arrested in a police sting operation in Thessaloniki on charges of attempting to sell almost three kilos of hashish to an undercover police officer for 486,000 drachmas.
The two were identified as Ibrahim Flamour, 24, and Mariklen Velitarna, 23.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Friday16/03/2000 17:55:02
Following are indicative foreign exchange buying rates for commercial banks, released by the central bank for the next working day.
U.S. dollar 341.813
 Weather Forecast-Friday16/03/2000 17:30:31
Rainy weather is forecast in most parts of Greece on Friday with snow or sleet in the north. Snow in the mountainous regions of the country. Cloudy in the west with the possibility of rain in the morning.
Winds will be northerly, strong, turning gale force at sea.
 ADEX-close16/03/2000 16:54:50
Derivatives prices ended higher on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday following gains in the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40, which ended 2.9 and 8.2 percent higher, respectively.
A total of 1,838 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, worth 9.7 billion drachmas. The March expiring contract ended at 2,670 points, the April contract at 2,704.50, the May contract at 2,735 and the June expiring contract at 2,740 points.
A total of 1,440 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, worth 3.8 billion drachmas the March expiring contract ended at 722.75 points, the April contract at 737, the May contract at 746, the June contract at 765 and the September expiring contract at 790 points.
 Maillis SA-new factories16/03/2000 16:31:15
Maillis, a listed packaging systems company, on Thursday inaugurated its three new factories in Alexandroupolis' industrial zone, northern Greece.
The project includes a packaging film production unit, owned by the parent company, M.I. Maillis AEBE, of an investment value of 5.5 billion drachmas, an adhesive tape production union and a paper cylinder production unit, of a total investment of 3.1 billion drachmas, owned by Straptech SA, a Maillis subsidiary.
Mihalis Maillis, chairman of the group, said that a three-year investment plan in the region marked the company's dynamic entry in the light packaging sector.
The group's total production accounted for 5-25 percent of the domestic market share, based on product category.
"The development of the Balkans is under way and we hope that resolving Greek-Turkish differences in the framework of the European Union will soon link us with a new very large market," Maillis said.
National Bank of Greece's governor, Theodore Karatzas, who inaugurated the project in a special ceremony, noted the significance of the project and said that its outlook looked bright.
 ASE-close16/03/2000 16:04:48
A dramatic change of climate was noted on the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday as a concertated buying intervention by institutional investors the previous day restored confidence in the market and led many investors to bargain-hunting.
Buying focused on small and medium-sized capitalisation stocks with the parallel market and the construction indices scoring the biggest percentage gains.
The general index ended at 4,759.89 points, up 4.53 percent. The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 2.95 percent to end at 2,676.60 points and the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index jumped 8.28 percent to 708.81 points.
Turnover was a moderate 188.3 billion drachmas.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks soared 9.75 percent to end at 851.86 points.
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