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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-03-31

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Thessaloniki-Documentary festival-Canadian gets first prize
  • [02] EFG Eurobank-Ergobank-Moody's
  • [03] Karamanlis-Irakleio-Rally
  • [04] Elections - Simitis - Ioannina
  • [05] Northern Greece-Electricity Cable
  • [06] Carrefour-Marinopoulos
  • [07] EFG Eurobank-Ergobank-Moody's
  • [08] Foreign Exchange Market-Close
  • [09] Secondary Bond Market-Close
  • [10] TELETEXT ENGLISH
  • [11] BTC - Sale - Delay
  • [12] Foreign Exchange Rates-Monday
  • [13] Weather Forecast-Saturday
  • [14] Weather Forecast-Saturday
  • [15] Izmir - Olive Branch - Consul
  • [16] Bulgarian - Drug - Arrests
  • [17] Photo - Exhibition - Deonna
  • [18] ASE-weekly review
  • [19] ADEX-close
  • [20] ASE-close
  • [21] Financial crimes-inspections

  • [01] Thessaloniki-Documentary festival-Canadian gets first prize

    31/03/2000 23:07:16

    A Canadian production won the first prize of the Second Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival on Friday, following a vote of foreign journalists attending.

    The 83-minute documentary entitled ?Life without death? was directed by Frank Cole and was chosen from among 70 films shown during the festival.

    The Greek journalists¢ prize was given to the Greek production ?I like hearts like my own · Markos Vamvakaris?.

    [02] EFG Eurobank-Ergobank-Moody's

    31/03/2000 22:26:44

    Moody's Investors Service confirmed its A3 long-term foreign currency deposit rating and C financial strength rating for Ergobank SA. The outlook for both ratings is stable, the international ratings agency said on Friday.

    Moody's also upgraded the long-term foreign currency deposit rating of EFG Eurobank SA to A3 from Baa1, and the bank's financial strength rating to C from D+. The outlook on both ratings is stable, Moody's said in a statement.

    The agency said that the ratings followed a decision by the two banks' controlling shareholder, Latsis-owned Consolidated Eurofinance Holdings, to proceed with the merger of the two banks in June 2000, much sooner than originally planned.

    [03] Karamanlis-Irakleio-Rally

    31/03/2000 22:26:38

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis accused the government of negative propaganda and of attempting to create a political jungle by reviving past tactics.

    He also said that the government was attempting to distort ND's image and to falsify reality via the use of models of projects and computer animation, during an address at a party rally in Iraklio, Crete on Friday night.

    He spoke of Crete¢s democratic tradition and the great statesmen born on the island and added that his government will repeat meetings held under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic as was the case when ND Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis ruled the country over the 1990-1993 period.

    Karamanlis said ND covers the political centre and accused the government of copying ND's proposals and of authoritarianism, as well as of ?abusing farmers and looting small and medium-size businessmen via taxation?.

    [04] Elections - Simitis - Ioannina

    31/03/2000 22:26:32

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday promised that his ruling PASOK party would spend 45 trillion drachmas on social services in the next four years in order to complete the task of a comprehensive welfare state.

    "For the new four-year term (2000-2004) we have secured 15 trillion drachmas for development through the Community Framework, 9.5 trillion for the farmer and the reconstruction of rural areas, and 45 trillion drachmas for extending social protection to meet the requirement of social solidarity and secure social cohesion. Our aim is to complete the welfare state in the next four years," he said in a rally address in the northwestern city of Ioannina.

    Simitis said the overall aim was to improve life for all.

    [05] Northern Greece-Electricity Cable

    31/03/2000 21:25:30

    ALEXANDROUPOLI (ANA) - Work on laying the country's largest undersea electricity cable, located in northeastern Greece, is to begin on Saturday.

    The cable beneath the Thracian Sea will link the city of Alexandroupolis to the island of Samothrace, which has faced recurrent electricity shortages.

    The project is budgeted at 3.3 billion drachmas.

    [06] Carrefour-Marinopoulos

    31/03/2000 21:06:19

    The Carrefour Group of France and Marinopoulos Group announced on Friday that they had created a new company to unify their supermarket and hypermarket activities in Greece.

    Each group will hold an equal 50 percent stake in the newly created firm, called Carrefour-Marinopoulos SA.

    [07] EFG Eurobank-Ergobank-Moody's

    31/03/2000 20:50:33

    Moody's Investors Service confirmed its A3 long-term foreign currency deposit rating and C financial strength rating for Ergobank SA. The outlook for both ratings is stable, the international ratings agency said on Friday.

    Moody's also upgraded the long-term foreign currency deposit rating of EFG Eurobank SA to A3 from Baa1, and the bank's financial strength rating to C from D+. The outlook on both ratings is stable, Moody's said in a statement.

    [08] Foreign Exchange Market-Close

    31/03/2000 20:37:02

    The drachma came under pressure on Friday after bond players abroad sold paper in the domestic market, and then sought foreign currency in exchange for drachmas accruing from the sell-off, dealers said.

    The Bank of Greece sold around 250 million euros in order to meet the heavy demand.

    [09] Secondary Bond Market-Close

    31/03/2000 20:33:03

    Investors abroad sold off bonds in the domestic secondary market on Friday, again bucking forecasts that a moribund phase would continue until national elections on April 9, dealers said.

    The sellers were trying to show healthy profits for the end of the first rather than suffering from pre-election jitters, the dealers said.

    [10] TELETEXT ENGLISH

    31/03/2000 18:50:18

    @1b

    NEWS HEADLINES

    Simitis-Karamanlis: TV debate

    Greek gets Turkish olive branch

    Britain's Cyprus envoy

    Suicide among youth

    Tax squad steps up raids

    Trolley stoppages

    Hoelderlin's influence in art

    Europe in the Age of Odysseus

    @2b

    Simitis-Karamanlis: TV debate

    Ruling PASOK leader and Prime Minister Costas Simitis and main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis participated in a televised debate on Thursday night, ten days ahead of the April 9 general elections. Responding separately to questions by three journalists, the two main contenders stood their ground and expressed satisfaction that their differences remained of a political nature devoid of any personal animosity.

    @3b

    Greek gets Turkish olive branch

    Growing Greek-Turkish rapprochement over the past few months edged forward slightly more on Friday, as Athens¢ consul in the western Asia Minor port city of Izmir was handed a golden olive branch by the city¢s jewelry-makers chamber. ?I believe the friendship between Greece and Turkey will be strengthened in the future and that a spirit of peace will be consolidated between the two peoples,? consul Christina Alexopoulou said in accepting the chamber¢s gift.

    @4b

    Britain's Cyprus envoy

    Britain's special envoy for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay, holds talks Friday with foreign minister George Papandreou. Hannay arrived in Athens Thursday evening from Ankara in advance of the UN-brokered proximity talks between Cyprus president Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, which resume in New York on May 23.

    @5b

    Suicide among youth

    Suicide was the third most common cause of death among schoolchildren in Greece after road accidents and disease, according to a survey. The survey of 1,627 schoolchildren with an average age of 14 who visited the children's psychiatric ward at Aghia Sophia hospital over the past year showed that 2-4 percent of children and 8-10 percent of teenagers who suffer from depression try to commit suicide at least once, while 10-15 percent are believed to be suffering from some kind of psychological disorder, including learning difficulties, stress, hyperactivity, depression or psychosomatic problems.

    @6b

    Tax squad steps up raids

    Greece's financial crimes squad on Friday announced its 2000 action programme which envisages a total of 91,292 inspections in an effort to contain tax evasion in the country. The financial crimes squad also published its report for the previous three years, a period in which state tax revenues rose substantially. This year's action programme includes checks on doctors, lawyers, accountants, consumer goods distribution, ports, road tolls, heavy trucks, gas stations, restaurants and bars, hotels, clothing and footwear, foodstuff, jewelry and securities firms.

    @7b

    Trolley stoppages

    Work stoppages on Athens and Piraeus trolleys will continue on Friday, Monday and Tuesday, as drivers continue strike action in demand of better pay and working conditions. On Friday, there will be three 3-hour work stoppages from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. On Monday there will be a work stoppage from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on Tuesday from noon to 4 p.m.

    @8b

    Hoelderlin's influence in art

    An exhibition of paintings by such artists as Schiller, Fichte, Novalis and Hegel, influenced by the life and works of Romantic poet Hoelderlin, is running at the Goethe Institute, 14-16 Omirou street in downtown Athens, through April 13. Open 9:00am-9:00pm Monday through Thursday, and 9:00am-3:00pm on Friday.

    @9b

    Europe in the Age of Odysseus

    "Europe in the Age of Odysseus", the famous travelling exhibition organised by the Council of Europe that reveals a fundamental period in the history of humanity, that of Odysseus, Agamemnon and Priamus, featuring findings from Troy from 1300 BC, is running at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, 44 Patission street, through May 7. Open Monday 12:30-7:00 p.m., and Tuesday to Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

    @10b

    FOREIGN NEWS

    MOSCOW - President-elect Vladimir Putin said he wanted

    Russia to have a better nuclear arsenal while pressing on with

    international talks on arms cuts.

    DATE, Japan - Japan's snow-capped Mount Usu volcano erupted,

    belching forth vast clouds of smoke and ash and forcing 15,000

    people to flee their homes.

    NAZRAN, Russia - Two senior Russian commanders flew to Chechnya to oversee an operation to unblock the road to the site of a rebel ambush on a police commando convoy which killed four Russians and left 39 missing.

    WASHINGTON - The U.S. lawyer for the Cuban father of shipwreck survivor Elian Gonzalez said his client did not wish to defect to the United States and wanted only to be reunited with his 6-year-old son.

    BEIJING - Market opening talks between China and the European Union ended with no agreement, an EU statement said, dealing a blow to Beijing's hopes of joining the World Trade Organisation this year.

    ANKARA - Turkey weighed the consequences of Prime Minister

    Bulent Ecevit's defeat in parliament and concluded a political

    crisis was looming fast.

    WASHINGTON - The Defence Department's inspector general is

    investigating a sexual harassment complaint by the U.S. Army's

    top female general against a male general, defence officials said.

    @12b

    WEATHER

    Scattered cloud is forecast throughout the country on Saturday, turning to showers in parts of the north. Visibility will be limited, especially in the morning. Winds south-southwesterly, moderate, turning strong at sea. In the north, temperatures will range from 8C to 21C; in the Ionian and rest of mainland Greece from 11C to 24C; and in the Aegean islands from 13C to 23C. Cloudy spells in Athens with temperatures ranging from 12C to 23C. Same in Thessaloniki, with showers likely in the evening. Temperatures in the northern port city will range from 10C to 20C.

    @13b

    Temperatures-Greece

    Athens 23

    Thessaloniki 20

    Alexandroupolis 17

    Kavala 18

    Larissa 24

    Ioannina 18

    Patra 24

    Kalamata 22

    Iraklio 24

    Rhodes 22

    Corfu 20

    @14b

    Temperatures-Europe

    Berlin 05

    Brussels 09

    Budapest 11

    Geneva 12

    London 10

    Madrid 13

    Moscow 09

    Nicosia 21

    Paris 13

    Rome -

    Stockholm 10

    Vienna 08

    @18b

    NBA-RESULTS

    Phoenix 118 ATLANTA 74

    MIAMI 105 Chicago 80

    NEW JERSEY 107 Toronto 103

    MINNESOTA 122 Houston 90

    SAN ANTONIO 102 Golden State 90

    PORTLAND 96 Dallas 85

    Milwaukee 104 LA Clippers 85

    @20b

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Monday's rates (buying)

    Euro 332.042

    U.S. dollar 347.527

    German mark 169.771

    French franc 050.620

    Pound sterling 554.369

    Irish punt 421.607

    Belgian franc 008.231

    Luxembourg franc 008.231

    Dutch guilder 150.674

    Italian lira (100) 017.149

    Austrian schilling 024.130

    Danish kroner 044.618

    Swedish kroner 040.073

    Finnish mark 055.846

    Spanish peseta 001.996

    Portuguese escudo 001.657

    Japanese yen (100) 332.508

    Swiss franc 208.682

    Norwegian kroner 041.059

    Cyprus pound 577.780

    Canadian dollar 239.211

    Australian dollar 209.560

    @21b

    ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Equity prices ended the last trading session of a subdued week with a mixed appearance as investors remained sidelined ahead of next Sunday's general elections. The general index ended 0.24 percent higher at 4,793.47 points, off the day's lows of 4,710.88 points, helped by institutional buying in banks. Turnover was a low 134.09 billion drachmas.

    [11] BTC - Sale - Delay

    31/03/2000 18:41:34

    SOFIA (ANA · B. Borisov) · A long-delayed decision by the Bulgarian government on whether to accept a bid for the majority sale of its state telecom was again postponed on Friday, with the issue now to be examined in the country¢s parliament on Tuesday.

    The Sofia government said this week that it would announce on Friday the outcome of a tender for the telephone utility's privatisation. A consortium comprising the state-run Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) and KPN of the Netherlands are the sole bidders in the tender, with the final sale repeatedly delayed in the past few months over disagreements regarding terms.

    Three Bulgarian parliament committees will now jointly discuss the consortium's revised offer, tabled in the legislature on Friday. In addition, a same-day report in the pro-government ?Demokrasia? quotes the head of the Bulgarian negotiating team as saying that the parliament discussion was judged as necessary following a request by the consortium for changes in the legal framework governing BTC¢s activities.

    The Bulgarian privatisation minister earlier in the week pointed to a decision on Friday in comments to reporters, and after a cabinet meeting debated the matter.

    A portion of the Sofia dailies earlier in the month claimed that Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadejda Mihailova had reassured her Greek counterpart George Papandreou that negotiations BTC would conclude soon. At the time, Bulgarian press reports cited unnamed media reports in Greece as the source of the statement.

    The deal to purchase a majority stake of BTC by OTE and KPN has generated heated opposition amid some quarters of the neighbouring country¢s political leadership and state bureaucracy.

    [12] Foreign Exchange Rates-Monday

    31/03/2000 18:39:22

    Following are indicative foreign exchange rates for commercial banks released by the central bank for the next working day

    Monday's rates (buying)

    Euro 332.042

    U.S. dollar 347.527

    [13] Weather Forecast-Saturday

    31/03/2000 18:38:04

    Scattered cloud is forecast throughout the country on Saturday, turning to showers in parts of the north.

    Visibility will be limited, especially in the morning. Winds south-southwesterly, moderate, turning strong at sea.

    [14] Weather Forecast-Saturday

    31/03/2000 18:04:25

    Scattered cloud is forecast throughout the country on Saturday, turning to showers in parts of the north.

    Visibility will be limited, especially in the morning. Winds south-southwesterly, moderate, turning strong at sea.

    In the north, temperatures will range from 8C to 21C; in the Ionian and rest of mainland Greece from 11C to 24C; and in the Aegean islands from 13C to 23C.

    Cloudy spells in Athens with temperatures ranging from 12C to 23C.

    Same in Thessaloniki, with showers likely in the evening. Temperatures in the northern port city will range from 10C to 20C.

    [15] Izmir - Olive Branch - Consul

    31/03/2000 17:33:29

    Growing Greek-Turkish rapprochement over the past few months edged forward slightly more on Friday, as Athens¢ consul in the western Asia Minor port city of Izmir was handed a golden olive branch by the city¢s jewelry-makers chamber.

    ?I believe the friendship between Greece and Turkey will be strengthened in the future and that a spirit of peace will be consolidated between the two peoples,? consul Christina Alexopoulou said in accepting the chamber¢s gift.

    ?Greeks and Turks lived together for centuries with common sentiments of friendship and brotherhood,? chamber president Mevlut Ozer responded.

    [16] Bulgarian - Drug - Arrests

    31/03/2000 17:15:09

    SOFIA (ANA - B. Borisov) · Two notorious Bulgarian heroin smugglers, both escapees from Greek prisons, have been apprehended in the neighbouring country, authorities said.

    According to Bulgarian anti-crime officials in Sofia, Ognian Athanasov, 37, and Vasil Manikatov, 41, were arrested as they were driving a late-model luxury sedan, while some 500 grams of heroin were reportedly also confiscated in the vehicle.

    The site where the arrests were made as well as the date were not specified.

    Athanasov had been sentenced to life in prison by a Greek court following his convictions on several felony drug smuggling charges before succeeding in escaping under mysterious circumstances from a northern Greece prison farm last year.

    [17] Photo - Exhibition - Deonna

    31/03/2000 16:45:37

    GENEVA (ANA) - A photographic exhibition featuring some of the finest shots taken by noted Swiss archaeologist Waldemar Deonna was inaugurated here on Thursday at the city¢s Museum of Art and History.

    Entitled ?Waldemar Deonna: An Archaeologist Behind the Lens -- From 1903 to 1939?, the exhibition will display 150 photographs taken by the eminent University of Geneva archaeology professor and long-time director of the same museum (1927-51) now hosting the event.

    Deanna (1880-1951) served for three years at the French School of Archaeology in Athens and was a frequent visitor of sites in continental Greece, the Aegean and Asia Minor, where he photographed not only archaeological sites and monuments but scenes from daily life as well.

    Additionally, a catalogue for the exhibition contains 193 high-resolution prints and was sponsored by the Alexander Onassis Foundation, while the entire event will transfer to Athens¢ Benaki Museum in the spring of 2001.

    [18] ASE-weekly review

    31/03/2000 16:33:01

    Greek stocks ended the week under review with gains, reversing a six-week declining trend, on the Athens Stock Exchange although volume fell to its lowest levels since April 1999.

    Traders said buying interest "froze" ahead of next Sunday's general elections.

    A Morgan Stanley Capital International announcement in the week that it was placing the Greek stock market under possible upgrade to a mature market, had only temporary positive effects on the market, pushing the general index 1.94 percent higher on Wednesday.

    The general index ended the week 108.3 points, or 2.31 percent, higher. The FTSE/ASE 20 ended rose 0.39 percent in the week, while the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 4.17 percent reflecting pressures in medium and smaller capitalisation stocks.

    The week's turnover totalled 755.635 billion drachmas to a daily average of 151.127 billion, down from 170.446 bln the previous week.

    [19] ADEX-close

    31/03/2000 16:19:24

    Derivatives prices ended higher, in thin volume, on the last trading session in the Athens Derivatives Exchange despite a mixed appearance in the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40.

    A total of 1,016 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, with a turnover of 5.4 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 2,703 points, the May at 2,717, the June at 2,728 and the September contract at 2,761 points.

    A total of 850 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, with a turnover of 2.2 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 677.25 points, the May at 681.25, the June at 687.25 and the September contract at 700 points.

    [20] ASE-close

    31/03/2000 16:13:08

    Equity prices ended the last trading session of a subdued week with a mixed appearance as investors remained sidelined ahead of next Sunday's general elections.

    The general index ended 0.24 percent higher at 4,793.47 points, off the day's lows of 4,710.88 points, helped by institutional buying in banks. Turnover was a low 134.09 billion drachmas.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 0.10 percent up at 2,710.40 and the FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 0.17 percent to 686.12 points.

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 826.46 points, up 0.73 percent.

    [21] Financial crimes-inspections

    31/03/2000 16:03:40

    Greece's financial crimes squad on Friday announced its 2000 action programme which envisages a total of 91,292 inspections in an effort to contain tax evasion in the country.

    The financial crimes squad also published its report for the previous three years, a period in which state revenues rose substantially.

    The squad has made 28,736 inspections in the period January-February this year, up from an official target of 14,689 inspections (a rise of 96 percent), with almost half of the inspections made in the Attica prefect.

    This year's action programme envisages inspections in doctors, lawyers, accountants, consumer goods distribution, ports, road tolls, heavy trucks, gas stations, restaurants and bars, hotels, clothing and footwear, foodstuff, jewelry and securities firms.


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