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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-07-05
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 President - Ireland visit05/07/2000 19:58:36
DUBLIN (ANA/N.Megadoukas) - President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, currently on an official visit to Ireland, on Wednesday attended a dinner given in his honour by Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, at which he spoke about the future course of European unification, saying that a true and powerful European Union with supra-national characteristics demanded important decisions and initiatives and a constructive spirit on the part of EU member-states.
Stephanopoulos also referred to EU expansion, and particularly the course of Cyprus' accession, while noting that Greece welcomed the decisions of the Helsinki summit in this context.
Earlier on Wednesday, Stephanopoulos visited the Dublin Town Hall and was shown around Trinity University and its famous library.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Thursday05/07/2000 19:21:16
Following are indicative foreign exchange rates released by the central bank for the next working day.
Thursdays rates (buying)
U.S. dollar 349.551
German mark 170.775
 Weather Forecast-Thursday05/07/2000 18:14:08
Temperatures are again forecast to rise on Thursday, hitting a sweltering 44C in parts of the mainland. Winds northerly, light to strong.
 Gov't - Albania - Criminal gangs05/07/2000 18:09:26
The government on Wednesday called on Albania to take immediate and effective action against criminal gangs in that country, following a barrage of gunfire aimed at a predominately ethnic Greek village in Gjirokaster prefecture throughout the early morning on Tuesday.
?Albanias authorities must understand that such incidents create a problem for Albania itself,? Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Wednesday during his regular daily press briefing. The mostly ethnic Greek inhabitants of Dervitsani, a village in southwest Albania, spent most of Monday night in shelters after receiving a barrage of gunfire from the neighbouring village of Lazarati over a five-hour period.
 Greek Cables-share capital increase05/07/2000 16:55:31
A Greek Cables extraordinary shareholders' meeting on Wednesday approved plans for a share capital increase worth 7.68 billion drachmas, a share split and an one-for-one free share offer to shareholders.
Wednesday's decisions was a re-approval of decisions taken during the annual shareholders' meeting, February 18.
The plans envisage a split of the company's nominal share price, from 350 to 175 drachmas per share, and the issuance of 9,610,000 new shares to be offered free to shareholders at an one-to-one ratio.
The meeting also approved plans for a share capital increase through the issuance of 7,688,000 new common nominal shares, worth 175 drachmas each, with an offer price of 1,000 drachmas each.
The new capital will be used to fund the company's investment programme both in Greece and abroad.
 Papantoniou-two currency pricing-(recasts)05/07/2000 16:54:11
The process to participate in the euro currency would help in containing inflation and keeping a lid on prices in the medium-term, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Wednesday.
Announcing a government decision that Greek companies would have to sell products and services both in drachmas and euros, Papantoniou urged the country's media to begin a campaign to inform Greeks on the euro currency, adding that an extensive information campaign would begin in September.
He said that preparations for the conversion to the euro currency were progressing satisfactorily and that certain problems, faced by municipal authorities mostly, would be delt with soon.
Papantoniou said that the government would submit a legislation to parliament in September covering all the legal aspects of the conversion from the drachma to the euro currency in the country's public sector.
 Greece-shipping register05/07/2000 16:31:38
Greece's shipping register rose significantly in June both in number and volume remaining on an expanding course for the fourth month in a row, official figures released by the Merchant Marine Ministry showed on Wednesday.
A total of 17 vessels were registered in the Greek registry last month, with a capacity of 450,420 tons, while four ships were struck off with a capacity of 69,239 tons.
The Greek shipping register has risen by 381,181 tons in the last four months.
Another significant aspect of this trend is the fact that incoming ships in the register had an average age of 10 years, while vessels outgoing the register had an average age of 20 years.
 Papantoniou-two currency pricing05/07/2000 16:14:39
Greek companies will be obliged to sell their products and services both in drachmas and euros from January 1, 2001, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Wednesday.
He noted that the conversion from drachmas to euros would be made free of cost with no extra burden added to the consumers.
Development Undersecretary Milena Apostolaki said that the two-currency pricing was necessary for the state to guarantee price transparency.
 ASE-close05/07/2000 16:06:27
A wave of bargain-hunting and other speculative buying for small and medium-sized capitalisation stocks helped the Athens Stock Exchange to a moderate rebound on Wednesday, reversing a five-day decline which pushed the general index 4.66 percent lower.
Dealers said the market was now pondering whether this change of direction was a sign of a more sustained recovery of the market or it was just a technical rebound.
Analysts said the next two sessions of the week were extremely crucial for the market's short-term outlook.
The general index ended ata 4,026.18 points, up 1.19 percent with turnover rising to 97 billion drachmas. The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.70 percent higher at 2,217.34 and the FTSE/ASE 40 index jumped 3.15 percent to 586.16 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks soared 7.16 percent to 783.48 points.
 Greece-merchant marine05/07/2000 15:47:30
Greek Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis on Wednesday announced the set up of an independent committee of respected personalities and experts to draft the framework of the country's coastal shipping deregulation.
Papoutsis said the committee would hear the views of all interested parties and after a dialogue with shipowners and sailors it would proceed with a new legislation.
He said a shipowners' demand for a 10 percent increase in sea fares was not well-timed, but noted the demand made sense due to an increase in international fuel prices and said it could be discussed in the future.
Papoutsis declined to comment on a recent decision by Minoan Flying Dolphins to raise a foreign flag on its ship servicing the Adriatic Sea.
He said that a ministerial committee decided the flotation of Piraeus Port Organisation on the Athens Stock Exchange and that the government was also considering the transformation of Alexandroupoli port into a public company.
 Olympic Airways-Hellenic Telecoms-privatisation05/07/2000 15:24:48
Procedures to find international strategic partners for Olympic Airways and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation were moving rapidly, a meeting held at the National Economy Minister agreed on Wednesday.
The Greek government has already hired international consultants Credit Suisse and Warburg to find a strategic partner for Hellenic Telecoms in the European telecommunications market. The government intends to offer a significant stake in Hellenic Telecoms' equity capital to a major European telecommunications group - a leader in the creation of a new telecommunications map in Europe - and expects this procedure to be completed by the end of the year.
The government's plan also includes finding a strategic partner for Hellenic Telecoms' Internet activities.
The meeting also discussed plans to privatise Olympic Airways. Credit Suisse, the government's consultant to the sale, is expected to present its proposals within the month after contacts with major international airlines.
National economy ministry sources said the government would seek to ensure that the national carrier's domestic operations remained unchanged, although special talks would be held regarding the company's staff.
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