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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-02-03

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

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>


Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
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  • [01] Parliament approves controversial provision on public utilities
  • [02] ... Karamanlis
  • [03] ... GSEE
  • [04] ... Mediation effort
  • [05] Royaumont Initiative' session in Athens March 31-April 1
  • [06] Tsohatzopoulos meets Grossman
  • [07] Simitis, Skandalidis discuss selection of election candidates
  • [08] Gov't expresses hope farmers will refrain from blocking highways
  • [09] ... Business reaction
  • [10] Revelations about mass graves "a major issue"
  • [11] Reppas says Imia crisis is history
  • [12] ... Lymberis reaction
  • [13] Companies to face olive oil fraud charges
  • [14] Washington justifies termination of aid
  • [15] Albanian party delegation holds talks in Athens
  • [16] Greek parliamentary delegation in Sofia
  • [17] Inflation expected to drop below 4.5 pct
  • [18] Criminal proceedings to be initiated over sinking of the 'Dystos'
  • [19] Albanian illegals sent back home
  • [20] Celebration of the Three Hierarchs in New York's Greek community
  • [21] Greece's industrial production by 0.4 pct Jan/Nov 1997
  • [22] Finance ministry sees positive economic outlook
  • [23] Greece to auction 250 bln Dr. T-bills
  • [24] Greek stocks end lower in reluctant trading
  • [25] Greece attracts Spanish tourists
  • [26] State treasury bills
  • [27] Singular awarded quality certificate ISO 9001
  • [28] Eurobank announces profits, to increase interest rates
  • [29] 'Mitilineos' plans to invest in Serbian mines
  • [30] ETANE projects in Albania
  • [31] Greek pasta sector aims at increasing sales abroad

  • [01] Parliament approves controversial provision on public utilities

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament approved early this morning the government's controversial amendment bringing about changes in labor relations in public utilities and enterprises (DEKO), in the face of strong objections by trade unions.

    The amendment was carried by 142 votes in favor and 121 against. Two deputies -former New Democracy ministers Vassilis Kontoyiannopoulos and Giorgos Souflias- abstained, while 35 were absent -20 of them including prominent members of the ruling party.

    The controversial amendment, whose debate in parliament was regarded as a test to the major parties' (PASOK, ND) inner cohesion, is actually a reformulation of Clause 31 in the taxation bill giving the government the power to intervene by legislative arrangements in the personnel regulations of four ailing DEKO - Hellenic Post Offices (ELTA), Olympic Airways, Greek Railways Organization (OSE) and the Urban Transport Organization (OASA). The roll-call vote in parliament was requested by all opposition parties.

    Earlier, during the debate, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said public utilities had a slim chance to survive unless they underwent restructuring. The minister said the government was giving employees with ailing DEKO the chance for six months of dialogue and negotiations.

    He stressed, however, that if these failed, then the state could not remain indifferent to "the self-destructive course" of public utilities. Mr. Papantoniou said he agreed with a seven-point proposal made by the main opposition ND party, but invited ND leader Costas Karamanlis to expand out on whether his party would bring in legislation, as did the government, on changing labor relations. He further described public utilities in pessimistic terms, explaining that some of them had huge debts, such as OASA with a deficit of 88 billion Dr., OSE with 116 billion Dr. and ELTA with 20 billion Dr.

    The leader of the Coalition of the Left (SYN) Nikos Constantopoulos requested the amendment on DEKO labor relations -which he described as "makeshift"- be withdrawn, while he held both PASOK and ND responsible for the public utilities' bad shape.

    Demetris Tsovolas, leader of the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI), described the controversial amendment as anti-constitutional, accusing the government of attempting to give over non-ailing public utilities in the hands of specific entrepreneurs.

    [02] ... Karamanlis

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis termed the controversial clause "sudden, hypocritical, improvised, unstudied and fragmentary which fails to touch the overall problem of DEKO." He analyzed his party's seven-point proposal, saying that it is a "program for the real upgrading of an ailing public sector."

    Mr. Karamanlis said his party is committed to tabling an integrated draft law on restructuring the public sector in a month's time and called on the government to respond, withdraw the amendment and attend an "explicit and sincere" dialogue.

    Replying to Mr. Karamanlis, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said that with law 2414 the government has already completed the legal conversion of DEKO into S.A. companies and the process of selecting management on the basis of merit and is now proceeding with the restructuring of 31 enterprises which includes a change in personnel regulations.

    Among others, Mr. Karamanlis called on the government to commit itself on promoting denationalization, the speedy abolition of monopolic privileges of DEKO and the abolition of staff regulations following a dialogue, while the responsibility will lie with the government if it fails.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary-General Aleka Papariga said the government conducts dialogue with lies and defamation, adding that it is shameful for the government to speak of working people's privileges.

    Ms. Papariga said the government's target is to create different "tiers" of working people and spoke of the effort to create an "elite" of working people.

    [03] ... GSEE

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, General Confederation of Workers of Greece, GSEE, President Christos Polyzogopoulos had said the ratification of the amendment will be considered a "hostile act" by trade unions.

    Mr. Polyzogopoulos was summing up a speech at the end of yesterday's labor rally in Syntagma Square at the time when the debate on the controversial clause was starting.

    The massive participation of DEKO employees, primarily Olympic Airways and urban transport, created one of the biggest labor rallies in recent years.

    Mr. Polyzogopoulos warned that the amendment is leading to a confrontation which will last for many months, adding that GSEE will not allow the running down of DEKO to make their privatization easier. He stressed that no federation will be left to tackle consequences alone, adding that the possibility of generalized strike action is visible.

    [04] ... Mediation effort

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Economic and Social Committee (OKE) yesterday hinted it may undertake a mediation effort between the government and the labor unions over the controversial provision on labor relations.

    OKE accused the government undervaluing the social dialogue process by tabling the bill before submitting it to OKE.

    OKE President Ioannis Koukiadis said that according to the opinion of the committee the provision has created many problems. Industrialists' representative Nikos Analytis said that there is a possibility that the public utilities and enterprises will be led to a dead end, and although legislation is a solution, there is also a need for a consensus.

    Labor representative Demetris Hatzisocratis said that the unions are annoyed by the government's tactic not to ask OKE for its opinion before tabling the taxation bill.

    [05] Royaumont Initiative' session in Athens March 31-April 1

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    The European Union-led "Royaumont Initiative for Stability and Good Neighborliness in SE Europe" will hold its forthcoming session in Athens March 31-April 1, it was announced yesterday, while a related conference for journalists and media representatives of the initiative member countries will proceed on March 30-31, it was announced yesterday.

    The Royaumont Initiative, named after the Paris suburb where the first session was held in December 1965, groups together the 15 EU member states, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYROM, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey and Yugoslavia, as well as Russia and the United States, envisaging a broad "European family" based on democratic principles, peace, stability and co-operation.

    The conference for journalists and media representatives, to be organized by the Union of Athens Journalists (ESHEA) under the Aegis of the Greek Press Ministry, will examine steps that could contribute to free expression and movement as well as to elimination of hostile stereotypes in the region, according to Panayotis Roumeliotis, who was named Coordinator of the initiative last November by the EU for a three-year term.

    Mr. Roumeliotis, a former minister and Europarliamentarian, told a press conference at the Zappion Hall yesterday that the conference would also draft a "Code of Ethics and Conduct" that would be signed by the delegates.

    The Initiative aims to mobilize all sides of the Community of Citizens of the region wishing, under the aegis of their respective governments, to contribute to cementing relations of good neighborliness and establishing stability in the region, overcoming social and ethnic prejudices, he said.

    It focuses on improving relations among the countries of the region and the signing of good neighborhood pacts, consolidating free expression and movement in the region, and on regional co-operation and deepening of the society of the citizens.

    The targets would be achieved through regional co-operation programs and exchanges of views among the various social groups (doctors, journalists, lawyers, local government members, members of religious organizations, youth organizations, athletes, for example), aiming at overcoming stereotypes and ethnic prejudices in the region, and through mobilizing the resources of the EU, the member governments and the private foundations active in the region.

    At the initial stage, the group will take advantage of opportunities provided under the EU's PHARE program, but, Mr. Roumeliotis said, he would seek a specific fund earmarked for the Initiative's activities in the EU budget.

    [06] Tsohatzopoulos meets Grossman

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday received the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Mark Grossman, the Vice-chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff Joseph Ralston and ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns.

    According to press reports, the minister and the US officials exchanged views and information on the recent crisis with Iraq, while the US government did not ask Greece for its support or to facilitate its actions.

    The same press reports state that Mr. Grossman said that the US is awaiting for the diplomatic initiatives to defuse the crisis and Mr. Tsohatzopoulos pointed out to Mr. Grossman that all diplomatic efforts must be exhausted for a peaceful settlement of the crisis.

    [07] Simitis, Skandalidis discuss selection of election candidates

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister and PASOK President Costas Simitis and Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis yesterday discussed interparty processes over the selection of candidates for the municipal and prefectural elections, during a 90-minute meeting.

    Mr. Skandalidis said that the prime minister will raise at the PASOK Executive Bureau meeting today issues concerning the party, but gave no further details.

    Press reports state that Mr. Simitis will discuss matters of cohesion within the government an d the efforts to showcase the government's achievements.

    [08] Gov't expresses hope farmers will refrain from blocking highways

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas yesterday expressed the hope that protesting farmers would not eventually block main highways as in the past, "since then we have all become wiser".

    Mr. Reppas also expressed regret that farmers' representatives had not entered into talks either with the Agriculture Ministry or the Agricultural Policy Council, adding that their protest action was aimed solely at harming the government.

    The spokesman once again rejected farmers' calls for direct talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, saying there were specific bodies for this, while the Agriculture Ministry was "always open".

    Mr. Reppas said it would be "a very good idea" for Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas to meet opposition party leaders "if this is what they want".

    Compared to last year, Mr. Reppas said there were not more problems (in the agricultural sector) but simply the same restrictions imposed by the European Union "and therefore there is no justification for protest action".

    Meanwhile, farmers protesting the government's agricultural policy yesterday blocked the road leading into Preveza for 30 minutes. They said yesterday's protest, without the use of tractors, was a warning and that further action would follow in the coming days. Columns of tractors from all over Thessaly began to appear yesterday afternoon on the outskirts of Larissa, central Greece, gathering at the "Viocarpet" junction on the Athens-Thessaloniki motorway.

    According to the estimates of the farmers' Panthessaly Coordinating Committee, about 2,000 tractors were expected to take part in the protests. The committee was scheduled to meet in Larissa yesterday evening to decide on the form which the protests will take today.

    [09] ... Business reaction

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    The country's business world considers new mobilizations by farmers in their present form a mistaken tactic with serious consequences for the Greek economy and production.

    An announcement issued yesterday by presidents of Chambers of Commerce, Federations and Confederations of Greek commerce stresses that "it is not permissible for the Greek economy to be used as a hostage by groups deciding to exert pressure on the state , violating laws and preventing citizens and enterprises from continuing their activities smoothly."

    The announcement added that it is the duty of the state to explain to all that the strengthening of agricultural products' competitive position can no longer be based solely on the continuation of subsidies and debt write-offs for cooperatives but requires immediate and important structural changes.

    [10] Revelations about mass graves "a major issue"

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    The government yesterday described as "a major issue of a humanitarian nature" the revelations of a former soldier in the Turkish army about mass graves in the occupied northern part of Cyprus.

    According to a report in the pro-Kurdish daily "Ozgur Politika", some 100 Greek Cypriot civilians, mostly old people and children, were killed and buried near Nicosia during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

    A 45-year-old Kurd, Mustafa Ongan, told the paper he was serving with the Turkish army at the time of the invasion and was sent to Cyprus with his regiment.

    According to Mr. Ongan, Turkish and Turkish Cypriot officers ordered the killing of fleeing civilians who were later buried in mass graves. Government spokesman Demetris Reppas said the account provided by Mr. Ongan must be investigated, noting that the issue in question "does not coincide with details which have been provided to date".

    Underlining that Athens and Nicosia were collaborating closely, Mr. Reppas said this "movement" may lead to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan changing his position and appointing a representative for the issue of the hundreds of persons missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island republic.

    [11] Reppas says Imia crisis is history

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Commenting on a controversy which is erupted as a result of Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos' statements to the newspaper "Ethnos" on Sunday, regarding the behavior of former armed forces chief Admiral Christos Lymberis during and after the night of the serious Greek-Turkish stand-off in the eastern Aegean two years ago, government spokesman Demetris Reppas said yesterday history had been written, the events are known and Mr. Lymberis is no longer at his post.

    He said the government's handling was absolutely successful because it had averted a major crisis, adding that it was left to history to assess it, while one should look forward to the present and the future.

    Mr. Reppas clarified that Mr. Pangalos had simply replied to questions raised and that irrefutable and unshakable evidence existed to back his claims.

    "There was no proposal by anyone for a violent confrontation with the initiation of hostilities on our part," Mr. Pangalos said in the interview, countering the admiral's claim that his proposal for the undertaking of military action the night of the crisis had been ignored.

    [12] ... Lymberis reaction

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    At a press conference yesterday, Mr. Lymberis described the government a party of people which did not give priority to issues of national defense, did not have elementary knowledge of dealing with a crisis situation and low resistance to US pressure.

    Communist Party of Greece General Secretary Aleka Papariga said that the problem lies at the government policy, which is a policy of adherence to the new NATO structure, all else is just a fig leaf.

    [13] Companies to face olive oil fraud charges

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    "Styl T. Shipping Company SA," "Katerina T" and "Marral II" companies will face fraud charges at a Piraeus court.

    All three are accused of allegedly importing olive oil from Tunisia, Gibraltar and Turkey, which they then "baptized" it into Greek and sold it in the European Community, thus receiving subsidies and avoiding taxation, damaging both the EU and Italy.

    The alleged fraudulent gains are 7.3 billion drachmas.

    [14] Washington justifies termination of aid

    Washington, 03/02/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    A decision by the Clinton administration to terminate foreign military aid to Greece and Turkey is actually a result of the maturing in relations between those two counties, according to the Director of the Office for Resources, Plans and Policy of the US State Department, Graig Johnstone during a press conference here yesterday given on the State Department's budget.

    The US official stressed there was now no "need for the same levels of assistance that we have had in the past in order for these countries to continue to play active roles in NATO". He added the US had had consultations with both countries on the issue.

    Mr. Johnstone further said that Greece and Turkey had now "graduated" away from an assistance relationship and were much more like the other NATO member-countries. "I think it is part of a normal process", he said, adding that "this is the right moment to do it, and we have gone ahead and done it".

    [15] Albanian party delegation holds talks in Athens

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday received a delegation of deputies from Albania's Human Rights Union party for talks on the restoration of order and normality in the neighboring country, the promotion of Greek investments and institutional changes for the restoration of democracy in Albania.

    The Human Rights Union draws most of its support from the ethnic Greek minority in Albania. In statements after the talks, Mr. Pangalos stressed that the Greek government was closely following the issue of the restoration of order in Albania and making every effort to contribute to economic reconstruction in the neighboring country while supporting Tirana's bid to participate in European Union procedures.

    While describing the current situation in Albania as "not perfect", Mr. Pangalos said it was nevertheless better than before and assured the delegation, headed by its president, Vassilis Melos, that Greece would continue to support Albania as far as possible and in all sectors.

    Mr. Melos thanked the Greek government for its support in helping Albania overcome its problems and noted that Greece had been closer than any other country at the most difficult times of the crisis.

    The Albanian delegation, which included Health Minister Leonard Salis and the Undersecretaries of Education and Labor, was received earlier by President Kostis Stephanopoulos and the President of the Greek Parliament, Apostolos Kaklamanis.

    In his talks with the eight-member delegation, Mr. Kaklamanis underlined that respect for minorities and individual and human rights was the most effective way to consolidate democracy and strengthen relations between the Balkan countries.

    Also discussed were ways in which the Greek Parliament could contribute to efforts for the establishment of a modern parliamentary democracy in Albania.

    Mr. Melos thanked the House Speaker for the willingness with which the Greek Parliament was providing every possible assistance to the Albanian Parliament in its first steps and conveyed greetings from Mr. Kaklamanis' Albanian counterpart.

    [16] Greek parliamentary delegation in Sofia

    Sofia, 03/02/1998 (ANA - M. 1)

    A delegation of the Greek Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, headed by its chairman, Eleftherios Veryvakis, yesterday began a three-day visit to Bulgaria, according to an ANA dispatch from Sofia.

    Mr. Veryvakis was due to have talks yesterday evening with Bulgarian Parliament President Yordan Sokolov and with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mihailova.

    During the delegation's stay in Sofia , Mr. Veryvakis will also have talks with Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov, Prime Minister Ivan Kostov, Deputy Premier Alexander Bozkov and the ministers of defense and interior.

    [17] Inflation expected to drop below 4.5 pct

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Finance Under-secretary Nikos Christodoulakis said that "inflation will drop below 4.5 per cent in the coming months, while in the current year we will also achieve a decrease in deficits."

    Mr. Christodoulakis, who was speaking in Kavala, said that the country increased its national product by 3.5 per cent, a level which, as he said, had not been seen in 10 years.

    "This year jobs increased in our country by about 60,000. We are one of few European countries to achieve to develop its economy, while at the same time employment is increasing," he said.

    [18] Criminal proceedings to be initiated over sinking of the 'Dystos'

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Piraeus Public Prosecutor Aristides Frangiadakis is expected to initiate criminal proceedings today over the sinking of the Greek-flag dry bulk carrier "Dystos" in which 17 Greek sailors and three relatives were drowned.

    Mr. Frangiadakis told reporters yesterday that he had received a summary of the expert report on the cause of the tragedy, containing the unanimous replies of the four experts to 15 questions put to them two weeks ago.

    According to Mr. Frangiadakis, t he replies focus mainly on the standard of maintenance and the class of the "Dystos", while referring also to the captain of the ill-fated vessel, Yiannis Tsitsirikis. The main burden of responsibility however appears to have been attributed to the Hellenic Shipping Registry and the owner of the vessel, "Herakles", a subsidiary of the AGET cement company.

    Mr. Frangiadakis said that the experts' final report, which is expected to shed light on the cause of the sinking, was being typed up and would be given to him in the next few days. The "Dystos" sank in rough seas off the island of Evia on December 28, 1996 while sailing from Volos to Piraeus with a cargo of 5,300 tons of cement.

    [19] Albanian illegals sent back home

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    The number of Albanian illegal immigrants trying to cross the border into Greece illegally is increasing rapidly. Police in the Epirus region arrested 541 Albanians over the past three days and sent them back to their country through the Kakavia border post.

    In another development, police arrested Spyros Katsimardos, 38, on the Ioannina-Kozani motorway for carrying five Albanian illegal immigrants. The car was confiscated and Katsimardos was brought before a prosecutor in Ioannina.

    The illegal immigrants were sent back to Albania through Kakavia.

    [20] Celebration of the Three Hierarchs in New York's Greek community

    New York, 03/02/1998 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    Yesterday's religious celebration of the Three Hierarchs holiday in New York's Greek community became the focal point of exhibiting the Byzantine tradition and heritage.

    In fact, New York Mayor Rudolf Giulianni proclaimed Feb. 1st, as the day of Greek Letters and Art for the City of New York, and reconfirmed his support for a just solution of the Cyprus issue.

    Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America Spyridon said that the visit of the Orthodox Patriarch Vartholomeos and the exhibition the "Glory of Byzantium" reminded the west of its Greek cultural and philosophical roots.

    Nevertheless, the most important aspect of the Archbishop's speech was the fact that he delivered it in English alone.

    Irine Pappas, the famous actress, noted that Byzatium was "the fort, which held the barbarians away from Europe" and urged the American born Greeks to "learn our language. Otherwise we will be forgotten."

    Educator Stella Kokkoli received the Three Hierarchs award for her hard and multi-level work in advancement of the Greek Letters and Arts in the US, including the organizing of the yearly banquet of Greek Letters for the last 10 years.

    History college Dean of the Southern Methodist University Annemarie Weyl Carr during a lecture on Byzantium said that while "we are ready to step into the new millennium (we must realize) how valuable and eternal are the gifts, the heritage, which Constantinople, Byzantium gave us, its art, its civilization, Christianity, Orthodoxy."

    The proceeds of the banquet will become scholarships for the students at Holy Cross Orthodox School of Theology, the only US accredited Orthodox institution, which is based in Brookline Mass.

    [21] Greece's industrial production by 0.4 pct Jan/Nov 1997

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's industrial output rose by 0.4 percent in the first 11 months of 1997 compared with the corresponding period in 1996, national statistics office said yesterday. Industrial production was unchanged in November from the same month in 1996.

    The statistics office said that total output in electricity, mines and manufacturing increased by 1.0 percent in the period January-November.

    [22] Finance ministry sees positive economic outlook

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Inflation was expected to drop below 4.5 percent in the next few months, and deficits would be further reduced this year, Finance Under-secretary Nikos Christodoulakis said yesterday.

    Speaking on the country's economy in Kavala, northern Greece, Mr. Christodoulakis said that GNP growth reached 3.5 percent for the first time in a decade.

    He also said 60,000 new jobs had been created in 1997, and stressed: "We are among the few European countries that succeeded in improving its economy while at the same time increasing employment." "We are also among the few EU countries in which although unemployment remains, it is not on the rise but is falling, albeit not as fast as we would like. But we are trying," Mr. Christodoulakis added.

    [23] Greece to auction 250 bln Dr. T-bills

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Bank of Greece will auction interest-bearing state bonds in electronic form today, with an issue date of February 5, 1998 and a one-year maturity.

    Bonds valued at 250 billion dr. will be auctioned, while the interest earned on the bonds is subject to 10 percent tax. Individuals and private-law legal entities may submit tenders via credit institutions, while public-law legal entities, social security funds and brokers may submit offers directly to the central bank.

    Tenders will be accepted for a nominal value of at least 100 million dr., in multiples of one million dr., while each investor is allowed to submit up to two competitive offers.

    [24] Greek stocks end lower in reluctant trading

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities moved lower yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange with investors remaining on the sidelines ahead of a Treasury bills auction today and developments in a dispute between the government and trade unions over changes in the labor market.

    The general index closed 0.21 percent down at 1,398.39 points. Sector indices were mixed. Banks rose 1.02 percent, Insurance eased 0.36 percent, Leasing increased 0.58 percent, Investments fell 0.22 percent, Constructions dropped 2.11 percent, Industrials rose 0.36 percent, Miscellaneous was 0.59 percent off and Holding was 0.27 percent down.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies surged 2.63 percent up, while the FTSE/ASE ended 0.67 percent higher at 766.51 points.

    Trading was moderate with turnover at 13 billion drachmas. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 127 to 75 with another 19 issues unchanged. Thrace Plastics, Sysware, Viokarpet, Allatini and Desmos scored the biggest percentage gains while Ippotour, Nafpaktos Mills, Bank of Athens and Elmec suffered the heaviest losses. National Bank of Greece ended at 19,370 drachmas, Ergobank at 13,800, Alpha Credit Bank at 14,750, Delta Dairy at 2,780, Titan Cement at 13,195, Intracom at 14,730 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 5,260.

    [25] Greece attracts Spanish tourists

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Tourist arrivals from Spain to Greece are expected to rise by 7-8 percent this year, repeating last year's performance, Hellenic Tourism Organization president Giannis Stephanidis said yesterday.

    Mr. Stephanidis represented Greece's tourism authorities at the Madrid International Tourism Fair. More than 167 countries and 4,000 exhibitors participated in the fair, with visitors numbers totaling 95,000 (35,000 professionals and 60,000 consumers).

    [26] State treasury bills

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Auctioning for state treasury bills of a one-year duration with a date of issue February 5, 1998 will take place at the Bank of Greece today. The treasury bills will be provided with the process of competitive bids' auctioning, while the amount to be made available was set at 250 billion drachmas.

    Bids will be accepted which will have a face value multiple the amount of one million drachmas and not less than 100 million drachmas, while every investor is entitled to submit up to two competitive bids.

    [27] Singular awarded quality certificate ISO 9001

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Informatics company Singular acquired a certificate of quality certificate ISO 9001-TickIT by Bureau Verltas Quality International (BVQI).

    The certificate covers the entire range of Singular's activities, such as design and development of software products, installation and support service of computer systems, as well as its activity in the construction of major projects.

    [28] Eurobank announces profits, to increase interest rates

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Eurobank announced yesterday it will increase its loan interest rates for most types of loans as of Wednesday by one percentage unit.

    At the same time the increase in interest rates on deposit and savings accounts will vary according to category, with the maximum increase at 0.75 percentage units.

    Meanwhile, in the past fiscal year Eurobank recorded an increase in profits as compared with 1996, with gross profits amounting to 8.5 bill ion drachmas. An announcement by the bank said results were good despite augmented expenses resulting from its merger with Interbank and investments in new technology systems.

    The bank is also optimistic that its profits will further increase in 1998, while it is planning to raise its share capital by 15 billion dr. within February, in a move designed to assist its development program.

    [29] 'Mitilineos' plans to invest in Serbian mines

    Belgrade, 03/02/1998 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)

    "Mitilineos" industrial group has began efforts to invest on the Serbian "Bor" mines at the border of that country with Bulgaria, looking at a long term 2- billion-dollar plan.

    The Stasinopoulos group HALKOR is also interested in investing at the "Bor" mines, in effect re-starting the co-operation, which stopped due to the embargo against Serbia.

    [30] ETANE projects in Albania

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    Projects carried out in Albania by the construction company ETANE, through its subsidiary ETAN OVERSEAS SA amount to four million dollars.

    The company recently received approval from the National Economy Ministry to construct a unit for the production of concrete ingredients in Tirana.

    The investment amounts to 70 million drachmas and is subsidized by 35 per cent. At the end of 1997, ETANE delivered the new Hieratic Academy to the Orthodox Autocephalus Church of Albania worth 400 million drachmas.

    [31] Greek pasta sector aims at increasing sales abroad

    Athens, 03/02/1998 (ANA)

    The pasta sector in Greece, given that the local market is relatively replete, is relying on the widening of sales through exports activities.

    The competitive presence of Greek products in the international market, having great prospects for development, can be achieved with the creation of big production plans and a decrease in production costs, as well as through the development of exports marketing by enterprises.

    These comments on the pasta sector were made in the latest sector study by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE). The study points out that the consumption of pasta products in Greece amounts to about 90,000 tons, showing a small increase in the region of 2-3 per cent a year in past years.

    The value of this market approaches 45 billion drachmas and represents about one per cent of the total consumption of foodstuffs. Consumption per capita is among the highest in the world and amounts to 8.5 kg a year, the highest being Italy's 27 kg.

    In the supply sector, the local sector is composed of a group of eight big enterprises which cover 80-90 per cent of the market.

    The production of pasta products remained stable at around 80,000 tons throughout the 80s, while in 1996 it increased to 122 ,000 tons due to modernization and expansion investments carried out by some of the enterprises. Exports in 1996 amounted to 44,000 tons, showing an increase in the region of 28 per cent a year since 1988.

    The biggest quantities have been absorbed since 1995 by eastern European countries and primarily Albania and Russia, while the most traditional markets are located in European Union member-states and primarily The Netherlands and Britain.

    End of English language section.

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