|Tuesday, 21 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-05-11
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Angelopoulou-Daskalaki tapped as new 2004 president; PM says Games a pre-eminent nat'l undertaking
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)The Greek government on Tuesday replaced the president of the Athens 2004 organizing committee with the prominent figure that spearheaded the 1997 campaign to bring the Olympics to the Greek capital in the first place.
The replacement, announced by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis during an expanded inter-ministerial meeting, comes after last month's sharp criticism aimed at Greek organizers by powerful IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch.
Former Parliament deputy from Crete and attorney Yianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki, the wife of a well-known local shipping magnate and industrialist, was appointed as 2004 president in place of Panayiotis Thomopoulos.
In late April, Samaranch had issued clear warnings to Greece that delays in several areas of Olympic preparations endangered the 2004 Games' smooth running.
In addition, Simitis - re-elected early last month to a new four-year term as Prime Minister - added that he will "personally oversee the national undertaking entailed in the 2004 Olympic Games." Along those lines, the Greek PM said he will chair a newly established "Olympic preparations coordinating committee" that will also include the Cabinet's top ministers and the 2004 organizing committee's leadership, namely, Angelopoulou-Daskalaki and managing director Costas Bakouris.
Without mincing his words, the Greek premier said one of the high-ranking government committee's main tasks, besides strategic coordination and overseeing, will be to offer "immediate solutions" to any problems related to the Games, a direct reference to the thick bureaucracy and "red tape" the IOC's leadership has criticized in the past.
Simitis said his government would from now on treat the 2004 Olympics issue in the same urgent manner that it treated mobilizations and initiatives that followed a destructive Sept. 7 earthquake that struck the greater Athens area last year.
Finally, Simitis said Thomopoulos had tendered his resignation after the April 9 general elections.
IOC's Rogge in Athens: Simitis is scheduled to meet with visiting IOC Deputy President and the chairman of the international organizations coordinating committee for the 2004 Games, Jacques Rogge, in the afternoon.
According to reports, Greek Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Thomopoulos as well as Angelopoulou-Daskalaki will participate in the meeting - with the latter to officially assume her duties on Monday.
Athens mayor praises selection of Angelopoulou-Daskalaki: Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos on Wednesday praised the selection of Yianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki as president of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games' Organizing Committee.
"Being the mayor of the city of Athens, I express my satisfaction over the correct choice of Yianna Angelopoulou as president of the 2004 Organizing Committee, a proposal which I had made in Lausanne two and a half years ago. The successful course of contesting is continuing with the wish for a successful course of the tournament which will result in the best Olympic Games to have ever been organized," he said
 Sun creates glitch in Olympic Flame ceremony in Ancient Olympia
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)A grand cloud covered the sun at the site of Ancient Olympia on Wednesday morning making it impossible to light the Olympic Torch bound for Sydney, Australia, where the 2000 Olympic Games will take place next September.
The flame lit on Tuesday, during the grand rehearsal of the ceremony saved the day
"The cloud was too great and we would have had to wait a long time for the lens to light (the torch)," Greek Olympic Committee President Lambis Nicolaou said, adding "Mrs. Maria Horsch, who was responsible for the ceremony, decided to light to Flame from the Lykithos (special pottery guarding the flame), which contained the flame lit during yesterday's rehearsal. This has happened for the first time ever".
Also for the first time the Olympic Torch will visit almost all of Greece before being delivered to Australian athletes on May 20.
The torch will travel a total of 1,695 kilometers on land and 475 nautical miles, visiting Greek islands, carried all the while by a relay of 550 long distance runners to finally reach Zappeion Hall on May 20, where it will be handed over to Australian runners.
The Australian press, however, discussed of another cloud, a metaphoric one, regarding the Olympic Torch, as the Greek Olympic Committee decided that the first Australian to carry the torch will be 11-year-old Sophia Gosper, the daughter of International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice-president Richard Kevan Gosper.
This announcement came to change the previous decision under which 16-year-old Greek-Australian Yianna Soulele would have been the first Australian to carry the torch. The Australian press noted that "the change took place to satisfy Gosper", who is one of the candidates to replace IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch.
 Prime Minister says Greece will contribute actively to further promoting Europe
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)Greece will contribute actively to further promoting Europe with strong citizens' societies, with democratic and unifying institutions, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said in a message on Tuesday on the occasion of Europe Day.
"We are aiming at unification with full respect for cultural diversity and national temperaments, with active employment policies, with genuine and continuous interest in the protection of the environment and with global active action for peace, stability and security. It is not enough for tomorrow's Europe to be the addition of national forces or quantitative sizes. We are envisaging and struggling for Europe of individual and collective development, creativity in the modern-day multicultural reality, for Europe of prosperity and social justice," the message said.
 Prime Minister and Foreign Minister discuss foreign policy planning
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday discussed foreign policy guidelines over the next four years with Foreign Minister George Papandreou, developments in the Balkans, bilateral relations with Balkan countries, Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue.
According to well-informed sources, Papandreou briefed Simitis on discussions he had with his European Union counterparts in the Azores, Portugal, over the weekend on the situation in the Balkans and the need for the EU's more active presence in developments. The sources said complete agreement was reached at the meeting on all moves the Greek side will be making on this issue.
On the question of bilateral relations with Balkan countries, the need was pointed out regarding relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) for a continuation and strengthening of negotiations under UN sponsorship for the settlement of the pending issue of the state's final name. In this context, the sources said that Greece reassures its readiness for a mutually acceptable solution to the issue.
Developments over the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations accounted for the largest part of discussions during which policy guidelines to be applied in the immediate future and the medium term were agreed. Confirmation was offered once again that the issue of Cyprus remains the main target of Greece's foreign policy.
The issue of Cyprus' accession course to the European Union was also discussed and the need was underlined for the greatest possible utilization of the framework set at the EU's Helsinki summit.
A large part of discussions on Greek-Turkish relations was devoted to the issue of confidence-building measures, which was one of the main issues discussed earlier in the day by Papandreou and National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.
Papandreou briefed Tsohatzopoulos on the results of his visit to the US, his talks with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and on discussions held at the informal Council of Foreign Ministers in the Azores.
 Burns and Schifter meet Paschalidis
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)US ambassador Nicholas Burns and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's special adviser Richard Schifter met with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Giorgos Paschalidis on Tuesday and discussed the role of Thessaloniki in the Balkans.
After the meeting Burns said the US Consulate in the city would play an active part in the process.
"We wish to support the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair in which we shall have a dynamic presence, both entrepreneurial and cultural," he said.
Discussion also included the presence of three American institutions in the city, the Agricultural School, Anatolia College and Pinewood School.
The two American officials also attended the sessions of the 7th Economic Forum, jointly organized by the Association of Northern Greek Industries and the Greek-American Chamber.
Later in the day, Burns paid a courtesy visit to Alternate Foreign Minister Elisavet Papazoi in Athens and exchanged views on the Cyprus issue, EU-Turkey relations and other issues of common interest.
He addressed an invitation to Papazoi to visit the United States for contacts with officials of the State Department and Congress.
 Greek honored for helping Jews escape the Holocaust
WASHINGTON, 11/05/2000 (ANA - T. Ellis)The Adas Israel, Washington's largest Jewish Synagogue, awarded on Wednesday a 91-year-old Greek for his contribution to the rescue of Jews from the hands of the Nazis and helping them escape to the Middle East.
Vassilis Persidis was awarded the "Righteous Gentile" title for his successful efforts at rescuing Jews during Greece's occupation by the Nazis in the early 1940s and his name was inscribed on a tablet placed in the synagogue's garden.
Persidis, under the alias Avgerinos, was a member of the resistance movement in Greece during that time.
"I only did my duty, it was my obligation and an obligation does not require payment," Persidis said, adding "in my country we forgive, but we do not forget".
Poems written in honor of the one time resistance fighter were read during the award ceremony and Athens' ambassador to Washington Alexander Philon noted the contribution of the Greek Orthodox Church and Greek police officers in rescuing thousands of Jews during that time, among them the father of former Israeli prime minister Simon Peres.
 British envoy for Cyprus holds Athens talks with Greek Foreign Minister
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)British government envoy for Cyprus Sir David Hannay said on Tuesday there is a historic opportunity today to settle the Cyprus question and added that all core issues should be addressed in the new effort to reach a settlement on the island, divided since Turkish troops occupied 37 percent of its territory in 1974.
Hannay was speaking after a meeting in Athens with Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who said that Athens and London have decided to cooperate closely to promote a settlement in Cyprus in view of the proximity talks, which opened last year.
"We are very conscious there is a historic opportunity here not just for Cyprus," Hannay said, adding that all foreign envoys involved in the peace effort "do what we can without interfering in any way beyond what is proper to do".
"We have a delicate balance to achieve," he said.
Asked if he believes the territorial aspect of the Cyprus question should be addressed first, Sir David expressed the view that the core issues should be addressed together.
"I think that if we try to promote one of the core issues ahead of the others we are not getting anywhere. So we have to address them all," he concluded.
The UN has set out four core issues that are being addressed in the talks, namely, territorial adjustments, security, refugees and the constitutional aspects.
Two rounds of UN-led proximity talks, separate meetings with the two sides, have been held so far, closely monitored by foreign government envoys for Cyprus.
A third round was scheduled to begin in New York on May 23, but plans appear to be changing after Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides underwent surgery to remove a polyp from his large intestine last Friday and will need at least six weeks to recover.
 Karatzaferis becomes member of parliamentary group of independent deputies
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis on Wednesday announced that Parliament deputy Giorgos Karatzaferis became a member of the parliamentary group of independent deputies.
This development was based on a letter from main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis informing the Greek Parliament president that Karatzaferis no longer belonged to ND's Parliament group.
During an interview to a private television channel on Monday, Karamanlis said Karatzaferis "surpassed all limits of civilized behavior", saying that statements of his appearing in an interview to an Athens daily are "opposed to ND's values and constitute reason enough for a party official to be expelled".
Tensions rose within the main opposition when Karatzaferis -- the owner and midday anchor of the small Athens-based "Telecity" TV station -- attacked ND spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos a month ahead of a special ND party congress, calling him a "Salome who wants heads on platters" prior to ND's push toward a more centrist political landscape.
Karatzaferis also indirectly attacked the party's leadership for the April 9 election results, which ND lost by a slight margin to ruling PASOK.
The expelled deputy, however, on Tuesday was quoted as saying he stood by his comments.
Earlier on Wednesday, former ND leader Constantine Mitsotakis said that if the party ceases to be a democratically organized and representative of a wide political spectrum it may not achieve to govern the country.
"If ND ceases to be a democratically organized party, it has no hope of achieving to govern," Mitsotakis said of the Tuesday expulsion of a high-profile New Democracy (ND) deputy and television station owner, following the latter's stinging remarks against the party's spokesman, among others, this past week.
Following Kaklamanis' notification, Karatzaferis said "I am outside ND based on the typical procedures, while based on the essence of the matter I am within ND and I remain one of its deputies".
"I will vote against PASOK, even in cases were ND fully supports bills of the government," he said adding, "I support the president of the party (Karamanlis), who is undergoing a difficult time".
 Simitis and Skandalidis meet ahead of key party meeting
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis and PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis met on Wednesday ahead of the meetings of the party's Executive Bureau on Thursday and of the Central Committee on Friday and Saturday.
Sources said that the two men finalized the reports to the party on the election result of April 9 and the party's future policy in the context of the new situation.
"We discussed plans aiming for a political upgrading of the movement, its renewal and enlargement to include all those forces which joined us in the last electoral contest and to utilize the new potential," said Skandalidis.
"As a result, the Central Committee meeting has a political character par excellence and signals our will to proceed to the implementation of goals and commitments which the prime minister entered into, both before and after the election," he added.
He said that any of the numerous figures and forces that joined sides with the ruling party in the last election may be further integrated through procedures which will be decided by the Central Committee. At a separate level, the organ will also make recommendations on constitutional revision regarding political modernization, Skandalidis added.
Referring to the main opposition New Democracy party's claim to represent the "middle ground", he said that such efforts seemed extremely tortuous given the undoubted presence of extreme right wingers in the party.
 Greek Parliament President promises quick ratification of pacts involving Slovakia
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)Greece's Parliament president on Tuesday assured visiting Slovakian President Rudolf Schuster that the country's legislature would support the central European nation's inclusion in Euro-Atlantic alliances.
In receiving Schuster, Apostolos Kaklamanis thanked the Slovakian president for what he called Bratislava's standing support on the issue of Cyprus' invasion and occupation.
Kaklamanis also added that the Greek parliament would ratify any EU-Slovakia pacts and bilateral agreements that come before its docket "as soon as possible".
Finally, Schuster invited Kaklamanis to visit his country.
Slovakia's head of state was received by Greek leadership this week as part of an official visit to the Mediterranean country.
 Two Egyptian warships to participate in Greek-Egyptian exercise in Cyclades
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)Two Egyptian warships will dock at the port of Piraeus on May 22 to participate in the Greek-Egyptian exercise code-named "Alexandroupolis 2000" to be held in the region of the Cyclades islands between May 22-24.
The two warships are the frigates El Nasser and Sagm Rasid. The former is also conducting a training voyage for the Egyptian Navy Cadets Academy.
El Nasser has a crew of 210 officers and 91 sea cadets, while Sagm Rasid has 43 officers and 195 seamen.
The former will stay in Greece until May 25 and the latter until May 27.
 Greece offers humanitarian aid to Serb refugee families
BELGRADE, 11/05/2000 (ANA-M. Mouratidis)A Greek non-governmental organization has shared out humanitarian aid worth 40 million drachmas to 2,800 refugee families in three municipalities of Serbia.
The "Greek committee of international democratic solidarity", implementing a program of the Greek foreign ministry, handed out a total of 5,600 parcels, two for each family, of food and hygiene products.
The recipients of the aid were Serb refugees from Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.
The aid was delivered through local branches of Serbia's Red Cross.
 EPP will vote in favor of drachma incorporation to euro
BRUSSELS, 11/05/2000 (ANA- M. Spinthourakis)The Parliamentary Group of the European Peoples' Party (EPP) on Wednesday unanimously decided to vote in favor of a European Parliament report approving the drachma's incorporation to the euro, a main opposition New Democracy (ND) party statement said.
"The EPP position was adopted unanimously following a compromise proposal by ND Eurodeputies which aimed to curb certain reservations expressed by German Christian-Democrats and British Euro-skeptics... According to the proposal, EPP deputies will vote in favor, registering their opinion that the Greek government has to faithfully adhere to the recommendations of both the European Commission and the European Central Bank regarding the promotion of substantive structural changes in order to ensure that Maastricht Treaty criteria are maintained, to pay particular emphasis and attention to the issue of inflation and seek a reduction in public debt at a speedier pace," said the statement.
The ND Eurodeputies said the role of the Greek main opposition was to continuously remind the government of a need for a long-term policy for real -not just nominal- convergence with the other European economies.
 Greek, Turkish businessmen call for speed in concluding bilateral economic agreements
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)The Greek-Turkish Business Cooperation Council President Panayiotis Koutsikos called on the governments of Greece and Turkey on Wednesday to rush the resolution of outstanding issues on bilateral agreements regarding double taxation and detail regarding the protection of investments.
Addressing the 7th Economic Forum of Thessaloniki Koutsikos said that the singing a relevant agreement is of a great importance as the current state of affairs functions as an obstacle to cross border investments by businessmen in either country.
He appeared optimistic of future joint ventures between Greek and Turkish businesses, aiming at operations in Central Asia and the Black Sea, in such sectors as construction, tourism, transport and produce packaging.
Speaking on Turkish European Union prospects he said "the question of great importance, which Turkey is called upon to answer by actions, is whether and to what extend it (Turkey) will achieve to align with the European measures and rules, granted the fact that the course, which it agreed to follow with its acceptance of its own candidacy to the EU is an one way street.
"The aim of Greece and Turkey and the wish of the business communities of the two countries, is to disassociate to trade and economic relations from their dependence of political conditions," Koutsikos added.
On his part, Turkish businessman ENKA Holdings President Sarik Tara stressed his expectation that the volume of bilateral economic relations could reach up to 25 to 30 billion dollars over the next five years.
He called tourism the sharp point of bilateral economic cooperation, adding that "if we cease to divide the Aegean in Greek and Turkish and promote the 'tourism of the Aegean', we could claim a percentage up to 10 points from the annual tourist arrivals to Italy, Spain and France.
 Interest rate cuts highly unlikely in June, Bank of Greece says
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)Interest rate cuts are highly unlikely in June and their adjustment - in the framework of EMU convergence - towards an EU average of 4.0 percent is expected to be completed in the second half of the year, Bank of Greece governor, Lucas Papademos said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Papademos said that the rate of interest rate cuts would be in line with the inflation course in the current year.
The country's central bank remains cautious over inflation trends despite a fall in the yr./yr. rate to 2.6 percent in April from 3.1 percent in March, because of the impact of a rising US dollar over the euro currency and the Greek drachma.
Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou reassured that no further measures were needed to combat inflation.
The Bank of Greece predicts that a recovery of the euro/dollar exchange rate is only a matter of time.
The central bank also dismissed talk of a realignment of the drachma's central parity against the euro ahead of the currency's participation in EMU.
 Kalafatis underlines Greek contribution to Balkan reconstruction
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)Deputy Development Minister Alexandros Kalafatis said on Tuesday that Greece's action plan to advance reconstruction in southeastern Europe would not solve the region's problems, but constituted a significant symbolic and practical step in that direction.
Addressing the final day of a Balkan business forum in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, Kalafatis urged the international community, especially countries with developed economies, to try to assist the Balkans.
"They have a duty to contribute to the improvement of living conditions in countries of the region, and to design and implement investment programs for infrastructure in all sectors of the economy," Kalafatis said.
He added that the 15-nation European Union should set as a strategic goal membership for the countries that make up southeastern Europe.
"The much-troubled Balkans must evolve into modern European states. And initiatives by the EU and other developed countries need to be more substantive, bold and decisive," Kalafatis said.
 Banker urges banking ties between Greece, Turkey
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)Greek and Turkish banks should pursue cooperation in the wake of rapprochement between the two countries, Agricultural Bank of Greece deputy governor Dimitris Santixis said on Tuesday.
Agricultural Bank had taken part in loan arrangements to six Turkish banks over the past two years, worth 35 million US dollars, Santixis added.
He was addressing the second and final day of a Balkan business forum held in the northern port city of Thessaloniki.
Mehmet Sahin, the deputy general director of Turkey's EGS Bank, told the conference that his country's banking sector was in a state of transition as structural changes were being implemented.
 Detailed engineering due for extension of Egnatia Highway to Istanbul
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)Extension of the Egnatia Way, a key road being built to link the country's northeast and northwest, to Istanbul will go ahead as scheduled with only detailed engineering needed to complete the project, a government official said on Tuesday.
Transport Ministry Secretary General Yiannis Maniatis said that broad studies had already been carried out and only detailed work remained following signature of a cooperation protocol between Greece and Turkey two months ago allowing the extension.
The Egnatia Way would cross into Turkey at the northeastern border post of Kipi, Maniatis said.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a Balkan business forum held in the northern port city of Thessaloniki.
 Investment funds companies' assets fall 120 bln Drs in April
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)Greek investment funds companies' net assets fell 120 billion drachmas in April from the previous month to 1.257 trillion drachmas, the Union of Institutional Investors said on Tuesday.
A report said that the investment funds market showed a mixed appearance in April with several company shares trading on a premium while others on a discount.
The Investment sector index on the Athens Stock Exchange fell 11.5 percent in April, in line with an 11.3 pct fall of the general index. It stands 35.6 percent down from the start of the year, against a 23.2 percent fall of the general index.
 Greek long-term bond yields fall to 6.37 pct
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)Long-term bond yields fell substantially during Tuesday's regular auction of state securities by the Public Debt Management Organization.
The average weighed yield in a 20-year state bond, worth 200 billion drachmas and paying an annual coupon of 6.50 percent, fell to 6.37 percent from 6.46 percent in the previous auction of similar bonds.
Bids submitted by the market's primary dealers totalled 298.5 billion drachmas, 1-1/2 times more than the asked sum. The organization finally accepted bids totalling 212 billion drachmas. The average weighed price of the issue was set at 101.358 points.
 Canadian trade delegation due
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)A Canadian trade delegation of representatives of 24 Canadian companies arrives in Athens next Monday for talks designed to further strengthen Canadian-Greek bilateral commercial, economic and political relations, it was announced on Tuesday.
The delegation, led by Greek-born MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Industry John Cannis, will hold meetings and presentations in the northern Greek capital of Thessaloniki from May 15-16 and in Athens from May 17-19.
Private-sector participation on this mission is comprised of senior executives of Canadian firms active in a wide variety of sectors, including telecommunications, high-tech, aerospace and defense, environmental protection, construction and engineering, mining, financial services and others.
Participants include firms that are acknowledged worldwide leaders in their respective fields, such as SNC Lavalin (construction engineering), Bombardier Inc. (transport systems and aircraft) and Nortel Networks (telecommunications).
According to a Canadian embassy press release, bilateral trade between Greece and Canada increased again last year with Greek exports to Canada rising by 20 percent and Canadian exports to Greece by 23 percent.
 Greek stocks end on high note
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)A wave of purchasing pushed Greek equity prices higher on the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, reversing Tuesday's profit taking. The general index rose again closing at 4,500.06 point, gaining 46.05 points. Dealers said the reaction of the market was based on changes in the "Athens 2004 Olympic Games" leadership.
The general index ended 1.03 percent higher at 4,500.06 points, off the day's highs of 4,508.94 and the day's lows of 4,425.81 points.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.68 percent up at 2,497.77 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index rose 2.13 percent to 627.24 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended at 842.34 points, up 4.84 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 306 to 33 with another 8 issues unchanged.
Turnover reached 136.5 billion drachmas
Lampsa, Hellenic Telecoms, Water Utility EYDAP and Panafon were the most heavily traded stocks.
Derivatives prices continue moving higher: Derivatives prices continued moving higher on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday reflecting medium-term optimism for the Greek market in line with upward move of the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40.
Turnover was a moderate 7.2 billion drachmas with volume at 2,245 contracts.
A total of 802 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, worth 3.8 billion drachmas. The May expiring contract ended at 2,489.75 points, the June at 2,497.50, the July contract at 2,497 points and the September contract at 2,507 points.
A total of 1,443 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, worth 3.4 billion drachmas. The May expiring contract ended at 620.50 points, the June at 616. 50 and the July contract at 614.75 points.
Bonds end flat in moderate trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market finished in a positive note on Wednesday with low turnover.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.218 percent. The paper's yield spread over German bunds was 87 basis points from.
The German benchmark 10-year bund showed a yield of 5.341 percent
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 51 billion. Of Wednesday total, buy orders accounted for 20 billion drachmas of turnover.
Drachma noses up vs. dollar, drops vs. euro: The drachma on Monday edged up against the US dollar and dropped slightly against the euro in the domestic foreign exchange market.
At the central bank's daily fixing, the US dollar was set at 370.452 drachmas from 376.704 drachmas on Friday and 376.200 drachmas in the previous session
Also at the fixing, the euro was set at 336.280 drachmas from 333.180 drachmas a trading day earlier.
Indicative foreign exchange buying rates for commercial banks released by the central bank for the next working day.
 EU capitals mark 50th anniversary of Union's inauspicious first steps
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)European Union member-states on Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of the bloc's precursor - the European Community -- which was inaugurated with far smaller ambitions on May 9, 1950.
It was French minister and European unity architect Robert Schuman who first proposed on that date to his government a joint coal and steel pact with neighboring West Germany.
Greek EU Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou spoke at an event in Athens to commemorate "Europe Day."
 Dollar rise brings new fuel price increases
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)The increasing strength of the US dollar has brought new increases in fuel prices this week.
As of midnight Wednesday and for a week, prices of super gasoline will increase 6,8 per litre and unleaded gasoline will increase by 7 drachmas per litre, while the price of heating oil will increase by 0,7 drachmas per litre and the price of diesel will increase by 1.3 drachmas per litre.
Thus the suggested retail price in Athens and Thessaloniki for super gasoline at midnight will be 261.6 drachmas per litre and for unleaded gasoline 244.9 drachmas per litre.
 Holy Synod representative says listing of religion in identity cards a democratic right
Athens, 11/05/2000 (ANA)Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Wednesday chaired a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, while Holy Synod representative and Metropolitan of Piraeus Kallinikos said the Church is very preoccupied with the issue of religion being listed in new identity cards.
"We are very preoccupied with the history of identity cards. There is a law, 1599/1986, which defines which elements are compulsory in identity cards. For example, only the listing of the blood group and the donation of body organs are provisional. There is no official decision by the Holy Synod. However, in no way will the Church leave the Greek people without information and unprotected," he said.
Kallinikos said the listing of one's religion is a democratic right, adding that laws do not bind the Church, which could be contrary to holy rules.
He said a meeting with Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis has been requested and the Holy Synod is waiting for a meeting to be set.
 Vassiliou doing well after operation to remove benign brain tumor
LONDON, 11/05/2000 (CNA/ANA)Everything went well during Wednesday's operation to remove a benign brain tumor from former Cyprus President George Vassiliou, according to the doctors, who express absolute satisfaction with the outcome of the surgery.
Doctors pointed out that the next few days Vassiliou will be closely monitored in the intensive care unit and is expected to stay in hospital for about ten days.
"I am absolutely and fully satisfied with the result, I would say the operation went exactly as we had hoped without any worries or any undue problems. I am delighted all went very well for such a brave man," Professor Allan Crockard of the National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery in London said after the three and a half hour long operation.
He said he was delighted that "Vassiliou has done very well after a very complicated operation on his brain," and explained the benign tumor was located at the place where the head joins the spine, it was deeply seated but it was removed.
Replying to questions, the professor said it was very early days yet to say when he would be able to leave hospital but noted that "we will have to watch him very carefully in the next few days, this is our routine after any complex spinal and brain surgery."
He said Vassiliou will be in the intensive care unit for two to three days and if all goes well, he will be out and about in about ten days but it would take a few weeks before he can return to his normal duties.
Commenting on the duration of the operation, which took less time than originally estimated, the professor explained that it is always exceedingly difficult to judge an operation like an airplane flying from Cyprus to London.
"There are always little things, sometimes some part goes quicker than the other," he added.
 Government satisfied with Hannay's statements and outcome of Kasoulides' contacts in Italy
NICOSIA, 11/05/2000 (CNA/ANA)The government has said it was pleased with statements by British envoy for Cyprus and the outcome of contacts Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has had in Italy.
The government has also said peace talks are carried out on the basis of UN Security Council decisions and stressed it is not discussing confederation, pointing out that any ideas about recognition of the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime jeopardizes efforts to break the current deadlock in efforts to find a settlement.
"We are pleased that Sir David Hannay felt the need to say that the next round of talks should be more substantive and more effective.
This is what we are seeking and hoping for," government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said here on Wednesday.
The spokesman said a meeting on Tuesday in Rome between Kasoulides and his Italian counterpart Lamberto Dini was very satisfactory in that discussions were within the spirit of the European Union decision to disconnect Cyprus' accession course from UN efforts to settle the political problem on the island and reunite the country.
Replying to questions, he said as far as the government is concerned the UN-led peace talks take place on the basis of UN resolutions and added "we are not talking about confederation, which cannot form the basis of a common approach."
The spokesman expressed hope that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will cooperate to find a settlement but added "if the Turkish Cypriot side goes to talks demanding recognition of its self styled regime, then nothing is going to come out of the third round of talks."
The UN has already chaired two rounds of proximity talks. A third round was scheduled to begin on 23 May but now seems certain it will be postponed to a later date because President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides has just undergone surgery to remove a polyp from his large intestine and according to his doctors he will need six to eight weeks to recover fully.
 Government to publicize list of missing persons since invasion by June 22
NICOSIA, 11/05/2000 (CNA/ANA)The government intends to publicize the list of missing persons since the 1974 Turkish invasion by 22 June, it was officially announced. The list has so far been kept confidential.
The government also said more identifications of remains of war dead or missing persons, exhumed from two local cemeteries last summer, will be announced this week.
Furthermore it said it has given all available information about 200 Turkish Cypriot missing persons but stressed that it cannot carry out any exhumations of Turkish Cypriots without the consent and the cooperation of the Turkish Cypriot side.
"This week more families of missing or war dead will be notified about the results of the identification process through DNA," Tasos Tzionis, Director of the Cyprus Problem Division at the Foreign Ministry told the House Committee dealing with the issue of the missing.
He also said the full list of missing persons will be made public by 22 June, adding that all necessary information about each missing person will be published and a committee will be set up to register and examine every objection by relatives of missing.