|Wednesday, 29 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-06-01
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM Simitis optimistic over successful organizing of 2004 Athens OlympiadAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
Prime Minister Costas Simitis emphasized the link between the country's social modernization and the successful organizing of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games in an address in Parliament on Wednesday during an off-the-agenda debate on the course of projects planned for the Olympiad.
Simitis rejected arguments set out by the opposition on delays in projects, speaking of a "nihilistic logic" and expressing certainty that objections would be dismissed in practice.
Appearing optimistic despite whatever delays, Simitis recalled the country's accession to Economic and Monetary Union, invoking it as an example of Greece's prospects and potential.
Commenting on the opposition's position, he spoke of a nihilistic logic which has been expressed by the opposition over the past four years on all issues.
"The same comments were made when the country was trying to undertake the games. This generalized and sterile criticism does not help anyone and Greece in particular," he said.
On the question of delays occurring which caused recently criticism by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Simitis said "we are not at the zero point" and rejected the logic that Greece was in danger of losing the games or of being under IOC supervision.
"None of us ever claimed that we would have built all the projects as of 1998 or 1999," he said.
Simitis said some delays occurred due to inexperience and because there was no sense of urgency, adding that the effort made so far also shows, in parallel, the need to further promote social modernisation.
"The Olympic Games constitute a commitment and a precondition for social modernisation. We should operate with cooperation, methodically, with planning and consensus. The Olympic Games have such an impact on our society as our accession to EMU has. We should use them for changes in the city of Athens and to activate Greek rural areas for Olympic reality. It is not Athens and Greece who are serving the games but the latter who should serve the development of Greece," he said.
 ND leader Karamanlis accuses government of delays in Olympiad projectsAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
Addressing Parliament during the off-the-agenda debate on the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis said the previous address by Prime Minister Costas Simitis was an "insipid essay on ideas", adding that "Greek society cannot be blamed every time the government is culpable."
Karamanlis said that three years after the undertaking of the 2004 Olympic Games by Greece nothing has been done, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has criticised the country, while nobody knows what the cost and final account will be, since the cost from one trillion drachmas will exceed one and a half trillion.
Karamanlis placed responsibility on Simitis personally, saying that there was intense government preoccupation and direct involvement by the premier. "Did the prime minister make mistakes or is he obliged to change people and policies by other factors. Let him reply himself," he said.
Outlining problems in organising the Olympic Games, Karamanlis pointed to radio and TV coverage of the games, informatics projects, hospital treatment for athletes and visitors, their hospitality, the building of the Olympic Village, the creation of a tram network and a suburban railway to link the airport to the Metro station at Stavros the issue of traffic and added that the IOC also raises the issue of security.
Karamanlis further referred to the issue of the Cultural Olympiad, making remarks on the work of the International Cultural Olympiad Foundation and raising questions on its manpower, expenses, studies, organisation and operation.
Calling on the government to make a "new start", Karamanlis proposed the creation of a National Olympic Council under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic, upgrading the role of the National Olympic Games Committee and briefing Parliament every four months on preparation for the games.
 Papariga and Constantopoulos warn of high cost of 2004 OlympiadAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
The main question that should be of concern to the Greek people regarding the 2004 Olympiad is whether it would be worth to make so many sacrifices only to host the event for 15 days, Communist Party Secretary General Aleka Papariga said in her address during Wednesday's parliamentary debate on the issue.
"The Olympic Games have long become adulterated and have no relation to the ideals and the values of sport, democracy and peace. They are fully identified with international politics and profit-making," she said.
She claimed that the Games would provide the opportunity and excuse to the state to activate a host of authoritarian laws.
Coalition of the Left leader Nikos Constantopoulos in his address called for self-financing schemes for the Games in order to prevent the burdening of the public purse.
"The Olympiad must be self-financed, but not through the method of conceding privileges at the expense of the environment and the cultural character of Attica. The gigantism of the expenses which the International Olympic Committee has imposed must not trap the government in an illusion of a revenue surplus," he said.
"The economic and commercial operation of the Olympic Games is steadily being converted in a political adventure for the country," he warned.
 Environment minister briefs premier, committee, on progress of public works for 2004 Olympic GamesAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
During a meeting on Wednesday chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, a biministerial committee examined the progress of public works being carried out in preparation for the Athens Olympics in 2004. These included the building of new roads around Attica and a suburban railway and tram network.
The meeting was also attended by the president of the Olympics Organising Committee, Gianna Angelopoulou, and its managing director Costas Bakouris.
As he left the meeting, Environment Minister Costas Laliotis made it clear that public works for the Olympics would not be contracted out directly, as certain publications had claimed on Wednesday, and that everything would be above board and absolutely transparent.
Earlier, Laliotis had briefed the committee on progress in major public works, such as the Athens Ring-road and a suburban railway line that will link Stavros with the airport and the Olympic Village in Menidi. The committee also discussed extending the Athens Metro from Stavros to Spata, site of the new Athens Airport, and building tram lines to connect the city centre with the southern suburbs and the coast.
Deputy Press Minister Tilemachos Hytiris, however, pointed out that all the above projects would be discussed again by a government committee for major public works.
 Greek Church head charges gov't with breaking promise over IdsAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
The powerful prelate of Greece's Orthodox Church on Wednesday continued his highly publicised campaign against the Greek government's intention to exclude religious affiliation from new state-mandated ID cards, charging that the government "violated a gentlemen's agreement" over the matter.
Just days after declaring over media airwaves an "unrelenting struggle" to force the government to allow the voluntary entry of religious affiliation, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos stressed that the government has taken an "amoral decision" that flies in the face of "the vast majority of Greek citizens represented by the Church".
The "ID card" furor erupted in earnest this month throughout the predominately Orthodox nation of 11 million after a state-appointed committee, the Authority for the Protection of Personal Data, gave its opinion to the Simitis government.
Christodoulos, a charismatic speaker who regularly tops opinion polls as the most popular public figure, was the keynote speaker at a luncheon organised by the Foreign Press Association (FPA) at a downtown Athens hotel. The ongoing furor and the government's insistence in pushing ahead with what Greek Prime Minister Simitis has called as imperative to "protect citizens' sensitive personal data" resulted in a packed house for the Archbishop's address.
The question of whether "we are firstly Greek or firstly European is a false and non-existent dilemma," Simitis said on Tuesday during a press conference with his visiting Belgian counterpart, adding: "Greece is Europe because Europe is Greece ... We are Europe because Europe is based on ideals and values that our country has always held," he said.
Simitis' response came in reply to more stinging remarks this week by Christodoulos, including the aforementioned rhetorical question that has been the top story on local TV newscasts and newspaper front pages for several days.
In reply to press questions after his speech, Christodoulos said that although the government has the final word on the matter, "procedures for dialogue and understanding with the Church" were ignored. "The Church was scoffed at ... There's also a trend of trying to marginalise a highly respected institution (the Church of Greece) within the state," he stressed.
As Christodoulos addressed a packed auditorium of journalists, politicians and academics, among others, the government also appeared unwavering in its decision, while again emphasising that the ID issue falls outside the broad confines of Church-State relations.
"We're not dealing with any other issue ... The government has taken its decisions vis-a-vis the implementation of the law concerning sensitive personal data, something that doesn't deal just with identification cards but with every state document. This issue doesn't deal with State-Church relations but exclusively with relations of the state and its services towards citizens," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stressed.
In his earlier comments, Christodoulos said, among others: "... Europe is going through a deep spiritual crisis, determined by religious comparison or relativism and philosophical fatigue, the absence of new ideologies. Some of the things happening today in the West give rise to melancholy thoughts about the future of western civilisation. When 'Christian' nations forbid public prayer in schools so as not to offend dissenters, when 'Christian' universities teach theology alongside satanism, when one sees the extent of child pornography in our 'Christian' societies, when racism finds room to grow in them, then the need to deal with the situation immediately becomes evident.
"The clergy of the Orthodox Church, during our 2000-year presence at the forefront of history, have never belonged and do not belong to classes, have not become involved in worldly power and have not sought to turn the Church into a worldly institution. We have kept our distance from political goals and shared the fate of our people. Our Church has, over its history, suffered great trials and persecution, especially during the 20th century.
"For Greeks, to be an Orthodox Christian is a defining attribute of their identity. For us Europeans, this is our Christian identity. And it is this that all our friends advise us to keep.
"In our country there is religious freedom, which is expressed through the unhindered worship of every known religion, as decreed by the Constitution and Law. It is forbidden, of course, to proselytise. In other words to compromise conscience using illegal and unethical means, through the use of trickery and methods taking advantage of others' needs. This ban applies to the Orthodox Church as well.
"... Finally, I would like to stress that our Church condemns violence with disgust as being contrary to the will of the God of peace, and converses with all in a spirit of compromise, understanding and humility, is interested in peace, ecology, bioethics, the great problems of our time and has a European orientation, as does our country. "We are useful to Europe not only through our participation in development programmes but also when we can offer something spiritual. And religion for European Greeks is a support that is powerful and unmoving, one which we wish to stay strong and redeeming - not just for the sake of each one of us individually but also for all our sakes, for the sake of society, the people and our nation."
 Crowd marches to Parliament to protest new IDs, Schengen TreatyAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
Organisations of Christian groups headed by the "Greek-Orthodox Salvation Movement" staged a large rally on Wednesday evening in central Athens and marched to Parliament in protest against the new identification cards and the Schengen Treaty. The Greek-Orthodox Church leaders did not attend the rally, but several bishops sent representatives who addressed those attending the event, staged to protest the new IDs containing electronically implanted information and omitting religious beliefs.
The crowd, holding banners and chanting "no to the electronic filing of personal data", "Greece, Religion, Orthodoxy", "we are united and decisive" and "no to the new IDs", marched to Parliament, where they sang the Greek national anthem and chanted religious hymns in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The crowd was mostly composed of monks and citizens, but was dominated by "Old Calenderists" - a splinter group of Orthodox Christians who are not under the auspices of the mainstream Greek Orthodox Church.
The "Old Calenderists" consider the Greek Orthodox Church "heretical" for its acceptance of the new Gregorian calendar. This group should not be confused with the Slavic Orthodox Churches that still use the Julian Calendar but are still under the auspices of the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul.
 Archbishop, former ND leader discuss Church-State relationsAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece met Wednesday morning with former leader of the main opposition New Democracy party (ND) and discussed the problems that have arisen in Church-State relations, particularly the IDs issue.
"The country does not have the luxury of becoming dividid, at a time when our country is facing national dangers and our people have huge social and economic problems," Evert said after the half-hour meeting.
"If that happens, the responsibility will be the government's," he added.
Asked his opinion on how the tension between Church and State could be resolved, Evert said the only way out was for the government to suspend its decision to delete religious preference from the police-issued state IDs and invite the Church to a dialogue "on all the matters".
 Hellenic Air Force signs jet engine deal with Pratt & WhitneyAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
Hellenic Air Force on Wednesday signed an agreement with Pratt & Whitney of the US-based United Technologies group for the procurement of 56 F100-PW-229 jet engines for its F-16 Block Plus fighters.
The defence ministry managed to obtain a discount of $63 million from the original cost of $203 million and a number of offset benefits.
Specifically, the agreement signed provides for the granting of $18 million by the American company to Hellenic Aerospace (EAB) for the construction of infrastructure and a further $18 million for equipment to the consortium to be formed.
EAB has secured subcontracts representing 60 percent of the value of the engines, including making engine parts, machines, and the maintenance and repair of civilian and military aircraft.
The deal also provides for $145 million worth of shipbuilding contracts for Hellenic Shipyards.
Speaking at a press briefing, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos noted that it was the first time that the specific engine would be installed on Greek F-16s and the deal held the prospect of collaboration between EAB and Hellenic Shipyards in the maintenance of jet engines.
The F100-PW-229 engine is used in jet fighters of the US, Korea, Israel, Singapore and Saudi Arabia.
 Apostolakis notes Greece's high defence spending, urges partnerships in armaments industryAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
Greece's spending on armaments programs until 2005 will exceed by far the average of EU and NATO members, as its main security problem remained Turkey's threats, Deputy Defence Minister Dimitris Apostolakis said on Wednesday.
"Greece's main security threat is the threat from the east, from neighbouring and allied Turkey ... Turkish leaders should reach consensus on the need for a different permanent policy towards Greece, in harmony with international law and existing treaties. Otherwise a policy of detente and dialogue will not be reliable," he said in his address at the opening of a conference co-organised by the British and Greek defence manufacturers' associations.
Apostolakis said partnerships in the defence industry had become necessary in the new era, and urged the two countries' manu-facturers in this sector to explore the possibility of ventures in the Balkans and further afield.
"The defence industry is moving in the direction of an integrated armaments system in all European countries of NATO or partners of the EU. Greece, which hold the presidency of the WEAG, has provided clear signs of political will to participate in this deeply political process which will boost European cohesion There is considerable potential for cooperation, provided the two sides submit mutually profitable proposals in all sectors," he said.
 Greek president hands donation of US$ 300,000 to Ontario MuseumTORONTO (ANA - N. Voulelis, I. Frangouli) (ANA)
The Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Wednesday handed a US$300,000 to the president of Ontario's Royal Museum, toward the creation of a wing to house the Greek antiquities of the Bronze Era.
The new wing was planned to be completed by the fall of 2003 and it will be an extension to the already existing wing of the museum housing other Greek antiquities.
The funds were gathered by efforts of Greek Ambassador to Canada Ioannis Thomopoulos for the creation of a mobile museum, but were finally donated for the construction of the new wing, while part of the funds donated will be allocated to the Greek art history, archaeology and culture seminar programme.
In an unrelated development, on Tuesday night, the Greek community in Montreal held a dinner in honour of Stephanopoulos, also attended by the mayor of the city and the governor of Quebec.
 Reppas confirms reported visit by Aznar to AthensAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas confirmed on Wednesday that Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar would be visiting Athens on June 6-7. He promised to give more details over the next few days.
 Greece, Cyprus say CoE member states obliged to implement European Court rulingsAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
Greece and Cyprus on Wednesday underlined that all Council of Europe (CoE) member states have the legal obligation to implement the European Court of Human Rights rulings, otherwise the international organisation looses its credibility and shatters its principles.
The positions of the two countries were underlined at a meeting between Greek and Cypriot officials in Athens to coordinate efforts so that the Court decision in the case of Greek Cypriot Titina Loizidou against Turkey is implemented.
"All CoE member states have a legal obligation to fully implement the European Court of Human Rights decisions," a press release issued by the Greek Foreign Ministry reads.
It adds that "in the opposite case the convention on human rights and relevant international law regulations are violated and as a result a huge problem is created because the principles, the institution and the credibility of the CoE is shattered." Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi and Cyprus Attorney General Alecos Markides chaired the meeting. All aspects of the Loizidou case were examined, also in view of a reply letter sent by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem to the CoE Committee of Ministers in which he claimed that his country's compliance would have serious repercussions on the UN-led Cyprus peace process and claiming that Ankara has neither the competence nor the jurisdiction to execute the ruling.
The European Court ruled in December 1996 that Turkey is guilty of violating Loizidou's human right to enjoy peacefully her property in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus and be allowed access to it. It also said Turkey through the presence of its armed forces exercises effective control in the areas it occupies since 1974 and stipulates that Loizidou is and remains the legal owner of her property. The Court also said Loizidou is and must be regarded the legal owner of her property and ordered Ankara to pay some 900.000 US dollars in compensation.
 KKE congress to be held in DecemberAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) announced on Wednesday that its next party congress will be held in December.
Already the Central Committee of the party has been assessing the results of the April 9 general elections, while planning for the future was underway, party sources noted.
According to the KKE Central Committee, the party leadership "became the recipient" of concerns over weaknesses in guidance of both party officials and voters.
In addition, it was noted that KKE lost 15 to 20 percent of its voters in rural areas, while it gained 15 to 20 percent in urban centres, thus equalising its gains and losses for no net growth.
 PASOK Central Committee secretary speaks on freedom of the pressAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
PASOK Central Committee secretary Costas Skandalidis gave a press conference on Wednesday on the issue of protection of freedom of the press and of expression, with the participation of composer Mikis Theodorakis and the director of the Athens daily Eleftherotypia Serapheim Fyntanidis.
The press conference was given on the occasion of an open letter addressed to the prime minister by Theodorakis several days ago on the issue of lawsuits filed against journalists by the "Network 21."
Skandalidis criticised organised groups of "self-styled defenders of the concept of the nation or zealots of our faith and tradition."
Referring to the lawsuit filed by main opposition New Democracy party Deputy Aris Spiliotopoulos against journalists of the Flash radio station, Fyntanidis said Spiliotopoulos should have filed a lawsuit against former ND Deputy George Karatzaferis first and then against anyone else and noted that both Spiliotopoulos and Karatzaferis enjoy parliamentary immunity.
 Coalition says Dynamic Mix exercise is part of NATO's 'new role' in BalkansAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
The Coalition of the Left and Progress said in an announcement on Wednesday that the Dynamic Mix exercise is part of the "new role" of NATO's presence in the Balkans, inaugurated with last year's war against Yugoslavia, which does not promote stability in the region but, on the contrary, undermines it.
The Coalition also accused NATO of watching ethnic cleansing being carried out against the Serbs in Kosovo with indifference.
The Coalition accused the government of aligning itself with American options, as was shown by recent support for a Serb opposition meeting in Thessaloniki. It further said the government is out of line concerning the priorities and the stabilising peaceful role the country should play in the wider Balkan region.
 Papandreou, Diamantopoulou discuss Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish relationsAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
Foreign Minister George Papandreou met on Wednesday with Greek European Employment and Social Affairs Commis-sioner Anna Diamantopoulou and discussed issues related to the Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish relations and developments in the Balkans.
Diamantopoulou briefed the foreign minister on the results of her recent visit to Cyprus and reiterated the European Commission's will to finance intercommunal programmes for rapprochement between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
On his part, Papandreou briefed Diamantopoulou, who is to visit Turkey soon, on Greek-Turkish relations and on Athens' contribution towards the acquisition by Ankara of European Union know-how.
The commissioner also discussed with the minister ways of cooperation between Greece and the European Commission on issues concerning the reconstruction of the Balkans within the framework of the Stability Pact.
 Greece shows biggest rise in imports, exports in EUBRUSSELS, 01-06-2000 (ANA-B.Demiris) (ANA)
Greece showed the highest rate of increase in exports and imports in the 15-nation European Union in January to February against the same period of last year, Eurostat, the EU's statistics agency, said on Wednesday.
In the two-month period, Greek exports rose by 41 percent and imports by 36 percent, Eurostat said in a statement. Greek exports totalled 1.8 billion euros, up half a billion euros from January-February 1999. Imports were worth 4.2 billion euros, up by 1.2 billion euros, the statement said. As a result, Greece's trade deficit widened to 2.4 billion euros in January-February from 1.7 billion euros in the same period of 1999, Eurostat said.
 Greek taxpayers' income totals 15.9 trillion drs in 1998Athens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
Greece's 4,585,287 taxpayers declared a total income of 15.9 trillion drachmas in 1999, finance ministry's figures showed on Wednesday.
Real estate income totalled 1.4 trillion drachmas, non-fixed assets' income was 2.0 trillion, trading and industrial companies' income totalled 2.6 trillion drachmas, agricultural companies' income was 350 billion, while salary earners' declared income totalled 10.85 trillion and another 674.5 billion drachmas was the declared income of self-employed taxpayers. Total tax paid was 1.3 trillion drachmas with salary earners accounting for the biggest part, paying a total tax of 583.2 billion drachmas, against 294.4 billion in taxes paid by merchants and industrialists.
 Unnamed Greek investors buy stake in Hungarian retailerAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
A group of unnamed Greek investors purchased a 9.0 percent stake in Hungarian retailer Fotex through the Budapest stock market, the Vilaggazdasag newspaper reported.
Fotex is one of the central European country's largest retailers, excluding foodstuffs, Reuters news agency on Wednesday quoted the newspaper as saying.
 Papoutsis to meet with shipowners, seamen to discuss competitivenessAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
The Greek flag was one of the top in the world, merchant marine minister Christos Papoutsis said Wednesday, adding that in the next few days he planned to hold meetings with Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) president Yannis Lyras and Panhellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) secretary Yannis Halas to discuss the competitiveness of Greek shipping.
"The composition of crews is not the only matter that needs to be discussed. There must be a combination of many parameters, such as taxation, institutional framework and marine training. I believe the solutions will be found through a dialogue of substance," Papoutsis said.
Papoutsis noted that marine training was provided by the State to young people. "Greece needs Greek seamen able to weather the present and the future. It needs an upgrading of marine training, which must, however, maintain its public sector status," the minister said.
Papoutsis also said the ministry had on Tuesday submitted to premier Costas Simitis its plans concerning the Athens 2004 Olympics, that included more personnel and equipment for the Harbour Corps.
 Fuel prices hikedIndicative fuel prices for the coming week were raised by the government on Wednesday, as the price of crude oil conti-nued its upward spiral on international markets.
Specifically, super increased by 3.7 drachmas per litre, unleaded jumped by 3.8 drachmas, while diesel posted a minor increase of 0.6 drachmas per litre.
Out-of-season heating oil fell by 0.3 drachmas per litre.
As of Wednesday and for one week the retail sales price for super stands at 277.6 drachmas per litre in the greater Athens area and Thessaloniki prefecture. Unleaded will sell for 261.3 drachmas per litre.
 Mailis group buys out German packaging company Sanders GmbhAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
The Athens based Mailis group announced the buyout of the Sanders Gmbh, headquartered in Wuppertal, Germany, spe-cialising on the research, development, production and sale of binding machines, plastic packaging tapes, special binding tapes, protective corners and air bags for the transport of products in containers.
The German company has two factories and a developed sales network in Germany, a subsidiary in Belgium and a branch office in the Netherlands. Its consolidated turnover amounts to 10 billion drachmas and its customers number 6,000.
 Fourlis announces 50 pct rise in 1st quarter salesAthens, 01-06-2000
Fourlis Group on Wednesday announced a 50 percent jump in its 1st quarter consolidated sales to 33 billion drachmas from 22 billion the same period in 1999, while pre-tax profits totalled 4.0 billion drachmas from 700 million last year, a rise of 458 percent.
Fourlis Group retains the management in 18 companies in Greece and abroad.
An annual general shareholders' meeting, due June 23, is expected to discuss a share capital increase plan, worth 11 billion drachmas, aimed at expanding activities.
 Alpha Trust launches new investment fund companyAthens, 01-06-2000
Alpha Trust on Wednesday said it had won approval by the Capital Markets' Committee for the operation of a new investment fund, called Alpha Trust Andromeda AEEX.
The new company, a member of Alpha Trust group, will take over the management of the group's two investment funds, Alpha Trust Orion and Alpha Trust Andromeda, with assets at 43 billion drachmas and 11 billion drachmas, respectively.
The investment fund company will invest in medium- and large-capitalisation listed growth companies in all market sectors.
The company will offer a full range of investment capital management services to social security and insurance companies.
 Grigoris Snacks IPO 63.5 times oversubscribedAn inital public offering by Grigoris Snacks ABEE was 63.5 times oversubscribed raising more than 273.1 billion drachmas, a company statement said on Wednesday.
Grigoris Snacks seeks listing on the parallel market of smaller capitalisation stocks of the Athens bourse.
A total of 111,491 investors subscribed in the IPO offering 207.6 billion drachmas while 492 institutional investors subscribed raising 65.5 billion drachmas.
From a total 4.4 billion drachmas drained, the biggest part will be used to expand the company's network in Greece to a total of 110 by the end of the year.
Grigoris Snacks plans an investment programme worth 5.4 billion drachmas for the next five years.
 Ideal Group to launch internet portal in CyprusIdeal Group, a listed member of Levendis Group, on Wednesday announced plans to expand in new markets through the creation of an internet portal and an internet service provider company in Cyprus.
Ideal signed an alliance agreement with Panafon, Hellenic Bank and Lanitis Group.
The new company will use Ideal's international expertise in the internet sector, a result of the company's participation in internet services in Greece and abroad.
 Athens Chamber, Mexican embassy hold seminar on EU trade dealAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
The Mexican embassy on Wednesday held an informative meeting on business opportunities stemming from a free trade agreement between the European Union and central American country.
The meeting, held in conjunction with the Athens Chamber of Trade and Industry, was to provide Greek enterprises with information on doing business in Mexico.
 Naftemboriki shareholders OK Dr 45 dividendShareholders of the listed Naftemboriki daily financial newspaper on Wednesday approved a management proposal for a 45 drachma dividend per share on 1999 profits, the company said in a statement.
The company's earnings in 1999 jumped by 98 percent to one billion drachmas from 541 billion drachmas a year earlier, the statement said.
 Athens bourse OKs supermarket chain's IPO prospectusBourse authorities have endorsed a prospectus for the Atlantic supermarket chain to enter the main market of the Athens Stock Exchange, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
Atlantic, which has 114 stores throughout the country, is now awaiting approval for its prospectus from the capital markets commission, the statement said.
The supermarket chain hopes to sell 25 percent of its share capital to retail and institutional investors in an initial public offering.
It will issue 4,458,000 new shares, of which 212,000 are destined for a private placement to company staff and the remainder to investors through the IPO, Atlantic said.
 OTE reports lower Q1 profitsThe state-controlled Hellenic Telecommunications Organisa-tion (OTE) on Wednesday reported a 17.3 percent fall in its consolidated first-quarter net pre-tax profits, from 79.5 billion drachmas in the same period last year to 65.7 billion drachmas. Turnover was up by 14.7 percent.
The utility attributed the fall to successive reductions in rates, increased financial expenses and an early retirement scheme.
The profits of the parent company of the group fell by 27 percent to 56 billion drachmas, while those of its mobile telephony subsidiary (CosmOTE) rose from two billion to 7.4 billion drachmas.
 Panafon telecom increases turnover by 21.8 percentThe Panafon telecommunications company increased its turnover by 21.8 percent during the 12-month period ending on March 31, 2000, compared to the corresponding period last year, amounting to 270.1 billion drachmas.
An announcement by the company on Wednesday said the increase in turnover reflects the development of the Greek mobile telephony market which is developing rapidly and had reached 40.7 percent at the end of March, 2000 compared to 23 percent during the same period last year. Panafon accounted for 41.5 percent of mobile telephone users in Greece at the end of March this year.
The number of the company's subscribers amounted to 1,773,000, increasing by 49 percent compared to the previous year. The development of the company's customer base during the past 12 months was primarily the result of card mobile telephony. Card mobile telephony customers represented 61.6 percent of Panafon's total customer base, compared to 50.4 percent as at March 31, 1999.
Profits before taxes, interest and depreciation amounted to 116.1 billion drachmas, increasing by 30.7 percent compared to the corresponding period last year when they had amounted to 88.8 billion drachmas.
 Verelis to meet EU transport commissionerTransport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis is to meet European Union Energy and Transport Commissio-ner Loyola de Palacio for talks in Athens on Thursday, the ministry said.
The two will discuss Olympic Airways, Greek railways and other transport issues, said the statement, released on Wednesday.
In addition, De Palacio, who is also a deputy president of the Commission, is responsible for the Commission's relations with the European Parliament.
 Small caps lead Greek bourse to recoveryA wave of buying in small capitalisation stocks helped the Athens Stock Exchange to a modest recovery on Wednes-day, after a two-day decline of prices.
Dealers said blue chip stocks remained weak and said that an improved picture of international markets and better-than-expected corporate results encouraged sentiment in the Greek bourse.
The general index ended at 4,608.24 points, up 0.83 percent, but off the day's highs of 4,640.97 points. Turnover was an improved 190 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.58 percent higher at 2,554.78 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index jumped 1.41 percent to 672.70 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocke ended at 998.15 points, up 1.94 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 283 to 49 with another eight issues unchanged.
Hellenic Telecoms, Lambrakis Press, Naoussa Spinning, Klonatex and Ridenco were the most heavily traded stocks.
 Derivatives prices end mixed on ADEXDerivatives prices ended mixed on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday following a similar close in the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40. Turnover was a moderate 9.2 billion drachmas in volume of 2,639 contracts.
A total of 1,086 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, worth 5.3 billion drachmas. The June expiring contract ended at 2,527.50 points, the July ata 2,528.75 and the August contract at 2,540 points.
A total of 1,553 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, with a turnover of 3.9 billion drachmas. The June expiring contract ended at 661.75 points, the July at 657.50, the August at 656 and the September contract at 662 points.
 Bonds nose up in light tradeBond prices in the domestic secondary market edged up in light to moderate trade on Thursday with buyers active in the market.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.067 percent from 6.074 percent in the previous session; and the yield on the equivalent German bund was 5.217 percent.
The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 84-86 basis points from 85-86 basis points a session earlier.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 42 billion drachmas from 96 billion drachmas in the previous session.
Buy orders accounted for 38 billion drachmas of turnover and sell orders the remaining 4.0 billion drachmas
 Drachma up vs euro, down vs dollarThe drachma on Wednesday rose against the euro and dropped versus the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market. At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 336.930 drachmas from 337.100 drachmas in the previous session. Also at the fixing, the US dollar was set at 362.130 drachmas from 359.780 drachmas a day earlier.
 IKA, unions agree on cost-cutting through prescriptionsAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
The president of the Social Security Foundation (IKA), Miltiades Nektarios, and leaders of the General Confederation of Greek Labour (GSEE) on Wednesday agreed on the need for IKA's costs to be cut through systematic checks on prescriptions issued by doctors.
Nektarios told the trade unionists that IKA dealt with around 25 million prescriptions annually for a total of 5.5 million people insured with the state fund, at an annual cost of 180 billion drachmas.
GSEE president Christos Polyzogopoulos said implementing the controls would strike at vested interests.
 Acclaimed Byzantine scholar dies of lung diseaseAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
Highly acclaimed Byzantinist Nikos Economides, president of the Hellenic Institute of Culture, died in hospital on Wednesday at the age of 66 due to an inflammation of the lungs. Economides was a professor at Athens University and until recently director of the Byzantine Studies Institute at the National Institute for Research (EIE).
Born in 1934, Economides studied history and archaeology at Athens University and did post-graduate studies in Paris, where he received his doctorate in 1961. After working as a researcher at the Byzantine Studies Centre in Athens until 1969, he accepted a post teaching Byzantine history at Montreal University in Canada, where he stayed until 1989. During that time, as well as having a distinguished academic career, he was also highly active in opposing the 1967-1974 junta in Greece.
In 1987 he was elected professor of Byzantine history at Athens University's department of history and archaeology. In 1995 he was appointed director of the EIE's Byzantine Studies Centre for five years, while in May 1997 he was elected vice-president and acting president of the EIE's board of directors.
A highly regarded researcher and teacher, Economides' work on Byzantium had been published in the most respected periodicals in his field and he had received many international distinctions. He had acted as visiting teacher at many universities and research institutes, including Washington's famous Dumbarton-Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, where he was a consultant on Byzantine seals.
 Greece will give priority to four issues at UN General Assembly on 'Women 2000'Athens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
Greece will give priority to four issues at the UN General Assembly on "Women 2000: Equality of genders, development and peace for the 21st century", to be held in New York on 5-9 June.
Five years after the Beijing Assembly, the finalised Procla-mation, for which all the delegations of the 180 member-states to be represented at the Assembly, is being shaped now.
Equality secretary general Efi Bekou gave a press conference on Wednesday, together with the head of the UN's Information Centre Mirka Gontika, and said "Greece has participated in preparatory discussions on the text of the finalised Proclamation and is harmonising itself with the other EU countries."
Consequently, issues it insists on being included in the finalised proclamation are the strengthening of institutions on promoting equality, the adoption of equality in every policy, unemployment among women which amounts to 70 percent of the total percentage of unemployed and the handling of violence against women which has taken on dimensions of an epidemic, while the situation does not differ greatly from one continent to another.
Gontika referred in particular to the problem of inequality among genders around the world and to individual problems, with poverty being the foremost problem. She said it has been assessed that the extremely poor all over the world amount to 1.2 billion and 70 percent of them are women, while the women's percentage is increasing continuously.
 Court appeal by Roussel postponed for NovemberAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
An Athens court on Wednesday postponed until November 10 an appeal by the father of the 15-year-old Onassis heiress to overturn a five-year jail sentence for slander, perjury and filing a false lawsuit.
Thierry Roussel was initially convicted in December 1998 after he lost a case in which he accused the four Greek trustees of the Onassis Foundation who were overseeing the shipping fortune, for mismanagement.
The appeal was postponed because Roussel's lawyer, Alexandros Katsandonis, had to be present at another trial, concerning illegal sale of state land in Attica following the destructive fires at Penteli Mountain, court officials said.
Following the postponement, Roussel said "I am only interested in Athena's welfare, because she is my daughter. I will definitely come to Greece next November to appear in court and I hope that the truth shall prevail".
Athina Roussel, granddaughter of the late shipping mogul Aristotle Onassis, will inherit an estimated US$600 million fortune on her 18th birthday.
Athina lives in Switzerland with Roussel and his Swedish wife as well as the couple's three children.
 Two explosions shake Athens in early morning hours - police investigating bomb attack on cafeAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
An explosion caused by a home-made device, planted in the garden of a west Athens cafe in Bournazi, took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning at 4:30 a.m. The blast damaged a consignment of drinks and sodas but caused no injuries since the cafe was closed at the time.
According to press sources, the bomb was planted by members of the Grigorakou gang.
An hour earlier, police in central Athens had been called out to investigate a blast near Syntagma Square, caused by a leaky gas canister in a jewellery workshop. The explosion occurred in the workshop owned by Michail Zamit, 38, in an arcade off Xenophontas Street, causing extensive damage to nearby shops but no injuries.
Police are also investigating an attack with a home-made bomb that occurred in the early hours of Tuesday morning in Kato Patissia, causing extensive damage to nearby buildings and six parked cars.
 Court sentences self-styled Mufti to seven months in jailAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
A self-styled Muslim Mufti was sentenced to seven months imprisonment by a Lamia, central Greece, court on Wednesday, on charges of impersonating the legal religious authority by issuing bulletins of a religious nature. Mehmet Emin Aga issued religious statements despite the fact that he was not the official Mufti in the Xanthi region.
According to international treaties between singed by Greece and Turkey in the 1920s appointment of religious officials of Islam in Thrace, northern Greece and Orthodox Christianity in Istanbul, Turkey are subject to validation by state authorities.
The unofficial Mufti was given the right to buy off his sentence at 1,500 drachmas per day, a sentence that was lower than the initial 20 month imprisonment term.
Present at the hearing was a five-member delegation from the Turkish parliament, a team of Greece Amnesty International chapter and one hundred followers of Aga.
 Two French women arrested for pimpingAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
Two French women have been arrested in Athens on charges of pimping for immigrant women, police said Wednesday.
They said the two French nationals -- identified as Dominique Zenat, 48, and Isabelle Fabrion, 42 -- were arrested Tuesday night for running a prostitution ring from a rented office on the third floor of an apartment on Digeni Akrita street in Athens. Police said Fabrion manned the telephone in the office and set up appointments for clients with the women "in accordance with the customer's preference" and sent the women to the rendezvous points designated by the client, and on occasion at the office.
In its five years of operation, the office supplied women to an average 6-7 clients daily, and had six prostitutes in its service, who were also arrested, police said.
Police said the restricted clientelle comprised former customers of Zenat, a former prostitute herself, and the office did not place advertisements for its services.
Police further arrested two Greek men -- Nikos Beramidis, 24, and Constantine Boutagof, 22 -- employed by the office to drive the prostitutes to and from appointments.
The prostitutes were allowed to keep half of the 20,000 drachma fee charged for their services, with the remaining 10,000 dr. going to the office, police added.
 Mediterranean environmental group donates funds for Chernobyl childrenAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
The Mediterranean SOS environmental group on Wednesday donated one million drachmas to the Foundation for the Children of Chernobyl, in solidarity to the young victims of the world's worst nuclear power disaster.
Irina Grousevaya accepted the check on behalf of the foundation and the International Organisation for Humanitarian Coopera-tion, both working to alleviate the health problems of children, who suffered after the explosion at Chernobyl.
 Construction projects encroaching on wild bird reservesAthens, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
The Greek Ornithological Society (EOE) on Wednesday called attention to the protection of the environment as a vehicle for the survival of birds in the wild in Greece, stating that despite ambitious plans and studies conditions were at a marginal state.
Officers of EOE, in light of the June 5 International Environment Day, noted that actions by the government aiming to protect wild life reserves have remained on paper and were not applied.
They cited specific cases around the country, mostly however in the least developed northern parts of the country, where construction projects were encroaching on wild bird reserves.
 Kavala prefecture requests 150 million for beach "face-lifts"Kavala, 01-06-2000 (ANA)
Kavala prefectural authorities announced on Wednesday that they have asked the Environment ministry for 150 million drachmas in order to clean up Kavala's beaches before the tourist season.
According to the head of a local government committee for tourism, Costas Efthymiadis, the request must first be granted ministry approval before funds are released.
Judging by the ministry's past record, however, local officials are prepared for a considerable delay. Last year's clean-up operation began in mid-July, right in the middle of the tourist season, while the year before that beach-cleaning efforts began at the end of the summer season in September.
 President Clerides 'prepared for substantial negotiations' at proximity talksNICOSIA, 01-06-2000 (CNA/ANA)
The Cyprus government will participate in July's UN-sponsored third round of proximity talks in all good will, but will take part in a fourth round only if next month's peace talks warrant for a continuation.
Replying to press questions on Wednesday, government spo-kesman Michalis Papapetrou said President Glafcos Clerides will go to the Geneva talks, beginning on July 5, "prepared for substantial negotiations, to discuss everything with good will and in a positive spirit".
"If the Turkish side has the same stance then there will be real prospects to continue," he added.
Describing the government position on the talks as "crystal clear", Papapetrou said "we will participate in a fourth round only if the third round of talks warrants for a fourth round."
"The government does not participate in a procedure for the sake of participating. The third round of talks must prove that there are real prospects to move forward on the problem," he added. The spokesman said President Clerides "is not prepared to continue what was done in the first rounds of talks, especially when no concrete prospects are created for this process to continue."
Two rounds of proximity talks, separate meetings with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides, were held in December and February, during which the two sides put forward their views and gave the UN clarifications.
Both the Cyprus government and foreign envoys involved in this process believe it must be upgraded and negotiations should begin to pave the way for a settlement on the island, divided since Turkish troops occupied 37 per cent of its territory in 1974.
Papapetrou said the process followed so far with the two sides giving clarifications on their positions has completed its course. "We are sending a political message regarding out intentions," he said, adding that "President Clerides and the National Council (his top advisory body on the Cyprus question comprising party leaders) will take their decisions in light of the situation created at every given moment."
 British Foreign Office denies reports concerning Loizidou caseLONDON, 01-06-2000 (CNA/ANA)
The British Foreign Office has denied reports in the Cyprus press claiming that London is wholly or partly behind an attempt to freeze the European Court of Human Rights ruling in the case of Greek Cypriot Titina Loizidou against Turkey.
A high-ranking Foreign Office official told CNA that the reports have no basis, adding that the British position is in favour of the implementation of the court judgment.
He said that in its contacts with Ankara, the British government is doing what it can to this effect.
On Tuesday, the Cyprus government said it will press on with its efforts to get the ruling against Turkey executed and intends to apply all legal and political means to achieve this objective.
Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou also indicated that the postponement of the execution of the Court decision is tantamount to a denial of the European principles by the Europeans themselves.
Loizidou challenged Turkey's continuing occupation of Cyprus'
northern part, since 1974, prohibiting her from peacefully enjoying and using her property there, as it contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Court ruled in December 1996 that Turkey, through the large presence of her troops exercises effective overall control in occupied Cyprus, something that entails responsibility for the policies and actions of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime in those areas.
The Court also said Loizidou is and must be regarded the legal owner of her property and ordered Ankara to pay some 900,000 US dollars in compensation.
 Communications minister gives speech on 'Cyprus - A Maritime Centre'NICOSIA, 01-06-2000 (CNA/ANA)
The harmonisation of Cyprus' legislation and administrative practices in the maritime sector with those of the European Union is well on its way and an action plan has been prepared and closely followed, Communications and Works Minister Averof Neofytou said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a panel discussion organised by the Cyprus Shipping Council, Neophytou also said the Cyprus maritime flag still faces image problems, even though the measures taken so far have brought results, and noted the need for better control on the ships.
He said the Cyprus maritime flag "still faces image problems, due mainly to being targeted in Europe and the US by port state control."
"The question now is how we can maintain and further develop the local maritime activities and improve the image of the flag, without losing its prominent position in terms of fleet size," he added.
In his speech on "Cyprus - A Maritime Centre", Neofytou said that the image of the Cyprus flag will improve by exercising better control on the ships and reducing their detentions by port state control.
However, he noted that measures taken in the last two years have brought encouraging results.
"These include a reduction of the number of casualties and a drastic reduction in the rate of detentions by the US Coast Guard during 1999," the minister said, expressing confidence this trend will continue.
Regarding the operation of locally based shipping companies, he said "our aim is to maintain the existing fiscal incentives and in this respect the laws of taxation have been amended so as to abolish discrimination and introduce a new tax based on tonnage for ship management services."
He said regulations for implementing this law have been prepared in cooperation with the Council and will soon undergo legal vetting to be submitted to the House of Representatives for final approval.
"We intend to start the implementation of this law this year," the minister added.
He also said that the efficiency and effectiveness of the Department of Merchant Shipping are expected to improve as a result of the Department's computerisation that will begin later in the year and its further strengthening with professional staff.
 Cyprus, Slovakia to sign cooperation protocolsNICOSIA, 01-06-2000(CNA/ANA)
Cyprus and Slovakia will soon sign cooperation protocols in the fields of education, culture and sports.
This was the outcome of Cyprus' Education and Culture Minister Ouranios Ioannides' official visit to Slovakia.
Ioannides had a working lunch with his Slovak counterpart Milan Ftacnik during which the two ministers agreed on the preparation and signing of a cooperation protocol in the fields of education and sports.
According to an official statement issued here the protocol is expected to be signed in Cyprus at the end of this year during Ftacnik's official visit to the island.
The Slovak education minister has accepted an invitation from his Cypriot counterpart to visit Cyprus.
Ioannides also had a meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture of Slovakia during which they agreed to sign a cooperation protocol in the field of culture.
The Cypriot minister had separate meetings with the Dean and Proctor of Comenius University in Bratislava with whom he discussed issues concerning the Cypriot students of the institution.