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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-03-29
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Soccer-Friendly-Greece-Romania 2-029/03/2000 23:03:14
Greece beat Romania 2-0 in a friendly soccer match played at the Athens Olympic Stadium on Wednesday evening. The goals were scored by George Amanatidis (59) and Lambros Houtos (87). Attendance: 4,000.
 Foreign Exchange Market-Close29/03/2000 19:31:32
The drachma on Wednesday fell against the euro and the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market, and outflows totalled about 150 million euros, dealers said.
The central bank had sold roughly 750 million euros last week in a spate of interventions, but did not step into the market on Monday. On Tuesday, it sold about 75 million euros.
 Secondary Bond Market-Close29/03/2000 19:21:32
Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Wednesday were more or less unchanged from the previous session in negligible trade with most players keeping out of the market before national elections on April 9, dealers said.
Little action is expected until after the polls, despite the attractiveness of Greek paper, including the 20-year bond, the dealers said.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Thursday29/03/2000 19:05:48
Following are indicative foreign exchange rates for commercial banks released by the central bank for the next working day.
Thursday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar 347.031
 Simitis - Foreign Policy29/03/2000 17:47:01
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis called last DecemberĘs EU summit in Helsinki the ?high point? of his governmentĘs foreign policy over the last few years, saying CyprusĘ unhindered course towards EU accession and a framework for normalizing Greek-Turkish were achieved.
Speaking during a wide-ranging press conference in downtown Athens focusing specifically on GreeceĘs foreign policy -- and in light of the upcoming general elections on April 9 -- Simitis emphasised that he considers the island republicĘs possible accession regardless of a solution to its political problem ∑ the 26-year division and Turkish occupation ∑ a paramount achievement of Greek foreign policy.
A noteworthy improvement in Greek-Turkish relations recently followed two devastating earthquakes that struck NW Asia Minor and the greater Athens area late last summer, as a result of an outpouring of sympathy and assistance between the two peoples.
In other matters, the Greek premier said he doesnĘt expect an ?extreme confrontation? between MontenegroĘs leadership and the Milosevic regime or a worsening of the tense situation on the frontier between Kosovo and southern Serbia, noting that both issues were discussed at the recent special EU summit in Lisbon. The Greek PM also said Greece doesnĘt expect to increase its forces in the strife-torn Yugoslav province of Kosovo.
As far as the contentious ?name issue? still comprising a thorn between Greece and its immediate northern neighbor, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Simitis said it is obvious that ongoing talks under the UNĘs auspices have not yielded results, while stressing that Athens has told FYROMĘs leadership ?that it is time for a solution?.
In a brief response to a question regarding Yugoslav President Slobodan MilosevicĘs presence vis-a-vis stabilization in the Balkans, Simitis simply repeated that Athens desires ?free and democratic elections? in Yugoslavia.
Relations with Ankara
Asked earlier what he expects from Ankara in the aftermath of Helsinki and criticism by the opposition and other quarters in Greece over the lack of substantive moves by the Turkish side, Simitis cautioned that Athens views AnkaraĘs harmonization with the UnionĘs ?acquis communautaire? as well as respect for international law and human rights as a ?long-term prospect?.
??thereĘs a major democratic deficit in its (Turkey) institutions ? in such a country things donĘt change from one moment to the next,? he said, adding that current talks between Athens and Ankara are not ?low level? but ?significant for both countries future.? Along these lines, he cited a deal alleviating double-taxation and cooperation in the energy field as two primary interests of the Greek side in the current phase.
 Sports roundup29/03/2000 17:44:26
AEK Athens qualifies for Saporta Cup final
AEK Athens will face Kinder Bologna in the Saporta Cup final next month in Lausanne, as the Greek team beat CroatiaĘs Zadar Tuesday evening at home 82-67.
AEK overcame a five-point deficit carried over from the first match in Croatia to reach its second European final in three years, as the popular club reached the ?Euro-league? championship finals in 1998.
The game is scheduled for April 11.
 Weather Forecast-Thursday29/03/2000 17:29:37
Scattered cloud is forecast throughout the country on Thursday, turning to showers in the north.
Central and northern mainland Greece will be misty, especially in the morning. Winds southeasterly, moderate to strong.
 Alpha Trust-venture capital company29/03/2000 17:00:10
Alpha Trust, a Greek investment firm, on Wednesday announced it was launching a new venture capital company, named Alpha Trust Innovation, with an initial equity capital of 3.8 billion drachmas.
The new company's aim is to invest and participate in non-listed companies in the rapidly growing sector of information technology and Internet.
Haris Stamatopoulos will head the new company, with Ion Siotis as vice-chairman and Phaedon Tamvakakis, George Vasalakis and David Gibbs as members of the board.
 ADEX-close29/03/2000 16:53:43
Derivatives prices ended sharply up on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday following gains in the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40. Turnover was brisk and exceeded 10 billion drachmas.
A total of 1,155 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index with a turnover of 6.1 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 2,703 points, the May contract at 2,727, the June contract at 2,740 and the September expiring contract at 2,800 points.
A total of 1,625 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, with a turnover of 4.3 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 715 points, the May at 722 and the June contract at 723 points.
 Thessaloniki-HSBC-personal banking29/03/2000 16:47:23
HSBC, the international banking group, on Wednesday said it will open a new personal banking centre in Thessaloniki, following the bank's relocation to its new offices in the city.
Nikos Mattheou, general manager at HSBC's personal banking department, recently said that the bank plans to operate 40 personal banking centres around the country by 2003.
 ASE-close29/03/2000 16:36:29
Equity prices rebounded strongly on Wednesday with investors' confidence restored in the Athens Stock Exchange after a long period in doubt.
The advance of prices was general and focused on smaller capitalisation stocks which suffered heavily in the last few weeks.
The general index ended at 4,754.29 points, up 1.94 percent, off the day's highs of 4,780 points. The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks jumped 1.05 percent to 2,690.86 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index soared 5.74 percent to 690.97 points.
Turnover, however, remained at a low 130.3 billion drachmas reflecting the fact that dealers were unable to trade on several stocks because they had been "locked" at the day's 10.0 percent limit up.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 811.50 points, up 9.90 percent.
 Crete-hotel-LoyalWard Group29/03/2000 15:56:26
LoyalWard Group Plc, a UK company, plans to build a luxury hotel site, with a capacity of 7,000 beds, in Crete.
The hotel will be build on an area of 26,000 stremmata the UK firm has leased from a religious institution in the island.
The project envisages the building of five villages, including a Grand Bay luxury hotel with 180 suites, one golf hotel with 305 rooms and a conference centre, a sports facility hotel of 330 rooms, a 243-room hotel and 190 separate rooms.
The project also includes the building of 261 villas with a capacity of 1,107 rooms and 463 apartments with 1,105 rooms.
LoyalWard plans the construction of two golf courses, of 18 holes each, and another smaller with nine holes, an 50-metre swimming pool, cultural centres and marine sports.
Christopher Eggleton, LoyalWard's chairman, said the project's investment cost would total 250 billion drachmas and that he expected the first stage of the project to be completed before the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
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