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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-03-27
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 US-Clinton-Greek Independence Day27/03/2000 22:02:27
WASHINGTON (ANA) - US President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore on Sunday issued proclamations in light of GreeceĘs celebration of its Independence Day on March 25.
Some 2,500 years ago "the birth of democracy in Greece ushered in one of the true golden ages of Western civilisation,? Clinton said, adding ?while our democracy has its roots in Greek thought, the friendship between our two nations flows from our shared values, common goals and mutual respect?.
On his part, Gore noted ?I am pleased to extend my greetings to everyone as you celebrate Greek Independence Day. Though thousands of miles separate our two nations, America has very deep roots in Greece ∑ from the visible expression of our shared values in the Greek revival architecture of our institutions of government, to the passion for truth and justice handed down from the ancients?.
 Secondary Bond Market-Close27/03/2000 20:42:09
Bond prices in the domestic secondary market slipped in thin trade on Monday with players apparently keeping out of the market before national elections on April 9, traders said.
Little action is expected until after the polls, despite the attractiveness of Greek paper, including the 20-year bond, analysts said.
 Foreign Exchange Market-Close27/03/2000 20:25:40
The drachma on Monday fell against the euro in the domestic foreign exchange market and rose against the US dollar, dealers said.
The central bank did not step into the market after selling about 750 million euros last week in interventions.
 Marfin-Bourse Application-Name Change27/03/2000 19:52:52
Shareholders of Marfin Premium, a portfolio investment company, on Monday agreed to change the firm's name to Marfin Magnum.
On the same day, Marfin Magnum applied for entry into the main market of the Athens Stock Exchange.
 Olympic Airways-Union-Protest27/03/2000 19:36:57
Olympic Airways flight attendants on Monday charged management and the government with trying to reduce the state airline's value in order to effect a cheap sale in the future.
The Union of Flight Attendants said in a statement that OA's temporary British managers and the Greek government had agreed to sell aircraft belonging to the company and replace them with 15 leased planes, thereby reducing assets.
 National Bank of Greece-Bank of Piraeus-Bulgaria27/03/2000 18:54:22
SOFIA (ANA/B.Borisov)- National Bank of Greece and Bank of Piraeus, both listed on the Athens bourse, are interested in purchasing one of Bulgaria's largest banks, a weekly newspaper reported on Monday.
National, Greece's biggest commercial bank, has already begun acquisition negotiations with the management of the United Bulgarian Bank (OBB) while Bank of Piraeus is expected to send executives to the Bulgarian capital by the end of the week for talks.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Tuesday27/03/2000 17:49:08
Following are indicative foreign exchange buying rates for commercial banks released by the central bank for the next working day.
Tuesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar 340.554
 Turkey - Christodoulos - Blacklist (recasts)27/03/2000 17:19:19
ISTANBUL (ANA - A. Kourkoulas) -- There is no prohibition against Archbishop Christodoulos for entry into Turkey, the mass daily 'Sabah' reported on Monday, citing Turkish foreign ministry sources.
On Saturday, the Turkish-language Sabah carried an article alleging that the Turkish foreign ministry had prohibited the entry into the country of 56 US, European and Greek nationals, designating them as "enemies of Turkey".
The 'blacklist', according to the press article, included Christodoulos -- the primate of the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Greece -- seven Greek MPs and a Greek retired naval commander.
Following a stern condemnation by GreeceĘs foreign ministry and several prominent politicians on Sunday -- including Foreign Minister George Papandreou -- in the event that such a list exists, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos also commented on the report Monday from Thessaloniki.
Tsohatzopoulos said that if the article proves true, then Ankara would be the one losing, ?as it is obvious that the ones responsible for this move desire exactly this, in order to overturn the prospect and course linking it (Turkey) with Europe.?
?There is enough time before us to see how Turkey adapts to what Europe requests,? the minister added.
 Weather Forecast-Tuesday27/03/2000 16:54:01
Scattered cloud is forecast throughout the country on Tuesday, probably turning showery in the north. Mist is expected, especially early in the morning.
Winds will be southerly, light to moderate, turning strong in the Aegean.
 Aspis Bank-new branch27/03/2000 16:35:24
Aspis Bank on Monday launched its new branch in Ioannina, Epirus, offering a full range of financial services and products and linked with the on-line interbank payment system Dias.
Aspis Bank's network totals 21 branches.
 Xifias SA-share capital increase27/03/2000 16:23:46
Xifias SA, a listed Greek aquaculture company, will seek to raise 8.22 billion drachmas from the market through a share capital increase plan, aimed to support the development of its subsidiaries and the acquisition of food companies in Greece and abroad.
Part of the money will be also used to reduce bank borrowing.
The plan is expected to be approved at a general shareholders' meeting scheduled for April 21.
The share capital increase plan envisages cash payment and a five-for-10 common share offering at 1,500 drachmas each and a 10-for-10 preference share offering at 1,000 drachmas each.
 Pop - Korkolis - Drug - Charges27/03/2000 16:22:32
A local teen pop idol was slapped with a drug-related indictment on Monday only months after being implicated in an alleged sex scandal involving juvenile girls, and following the airing of explicit footage on a current affairs TV programme.
Among others, singer Stephanos Korkolis was charged with offering narcotics ∑ primarily cocaine and hashish -- to third parties, a felony in Greece.
An Athens prosecutorĘs investigation leading up to the drug charges began after a controversial TV reporter/host broadcast videotapes on his programme last year showing the singer in intimate moments with an unidentified female companion. The TV host claimed at the time that the woman shown on the footage was a juvenile and one of several teenage girls sexually linked with the 39-year-old heartthrob ∑ a series of events that led to the prosecutorĘs probe.
TV reporter Makis Triantafyllopoulos had used one of the amateur videotapes on his programme as part of an "expose" on the exploitation of minors in the show biz sector.
Korkolis filed the lawsuit claiming defamation and demanding two billion drachmas from the TV personality.
Four witnesses were reportedly questioned by the Athens prosecutorĘs office during the investigation over the drug-related portion of allegations against the pop singer.
 Karatzas-stock market27/03/2000 16:17:14
National Bank of Greece's governor, Theodore Karatzas, reiterated its optimism over the Athens bourse's course.
Addressing an ETEBA's general shareholders' meeting on Monday, Karatzas said that the stock market's course "will be absolutely positive".
"Short-term fluctuations will not last long. The truth of the economy - which is generally good - will be reflected in the ASE," Karatzas noted.
ETEBA is the investment arm of National Bank of Greece.
 Building activity-1999 figures27/03/2000 16:04:16
Building activity dropped 9.0 percent in the period January-November 1999 compared with the same period the previous year, National Statistics Service said on Monday.
The NSS said that building activity fell 8.0 percent in the Attica prefect and dropped 9.4 percent in the rest of the country.
 ASE-close27/03/2000 16:00:23
Equity prices ended the first trading session of the week with a mixed appearance on the Athens Stock Exchange reflecting lack of liquidity in the market which saw the day's turnover fall to its lowest level since April 28, 1999.
The general index ended at 4,675.67 points, down 0.20 percent, off the day's highs of 4,703.49 and the day's lows of 4,648.33 points.
Dealers said investors were cautious ahead of the April 9 general elections with opinion polls showing the two big political parties moving neck-to-neck.
Turnover was a low 120.34 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended at 2,658.47 points, up 0.60 percent while the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 1.89 percent to 670.55 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 795.45 points, off 5.86 percent.
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