|Saturday, 18 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-06-03
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Simitis: Globalization unstoppable, strict monitoring the keyBERLIN 03-06-2000 (ANA - G. Papachristou)
One cannot halt globalization or the markets, and talk about the need to put a rein on globalization is "outside the realm of reality", Prime Minister Costas Simitis said Friday just hours before the beginning of an international summit in the capital of a united Germany.
Simitis also confirmed that he would meet with US President Bill Clinton and other world leaders on the sidelines of an international conference focusing on the center-left movement and on alternatives to traditional liberal and conservative approaches to government.
"What is being said about the need to put a halt on globalization is outside the realm of reality, as is talk that a halt can be placed on the markets. There is a network of markets that operates supra-nationally and it is not possible to place it under control," Simitis said during a press conference.
What could be done, he added, was to establish structures with which to monitor them. "There is no need for bogey-men. We must see and face these things as they are."
Simitis said there could not be just one single view on confronting phenomena such as globalization. "But there must be a common view," he said, citing constant discussions in that direction.
"We will go ahead with everyone, because a discussion that concerns the major issues of our times must embrace as many ideological trends and tendencies as possible," he explained.
He added that it was significant that Greek leadership take part in the Berlin conference, because Greece was a small country and had not contributed substantially to such issues. "We are here due to our economic success and because we are an active member of the European Union," he noted.
The Greek PM said efforts for achieving a common view would continue, and a new meeting such as the current one in Berlin would be held soon.
"We are at a stage of searching, because the end of ideologies has not come, but rather the end of solutions founded on a single rule, such as the class struggle, for example," the premier continued.
Simitis said the conference would discuss the repercussions of globalisation and keeping them in check, economic stability and growth in a new economic environment, the information society, education, social cohesion and justice.
He said there were issues being pondered, such as the new quality of life and the authorities developing -- for example those of the mass media and information, and referred to the international financial concerns that were taking decisions on the people's standard of living -- genetically modified products and biotechnology... things that the people were not asked to approve.
"We need more autonomy for the citizens, and unobstructed development. And it is very positive that we sit together, share our experiences and exchange views in order to find a common stance on the problems that concern everyone," the premier said.
He said Europe needed to strengthen its position, since "only if you are strong can you meet the world competition".
"We are at the beginning of a stage of showdown, and everything will depend on how strong we, as Europe, will be."
Simitis said the issues being examined at the Berlin conference were totally different from those discussed by the Davos Forum, with which he disagreed.
"I do not agree with Davos, and I believe there should be a Da-vos (process) for society," Simitis said.
The premier said it was very useful that leaders from different political and ideological systems -- such as from South Africa and Sweden, the United States and New Zealand -- to take part in the Berlin conference.
 US President calls for 'de-Balkanisation' of southeastern Europe, Turkey's accession to EUBERLIN, 3-6-2000 (ANA - P. Stangos)
US President Bill Clinton on Friday called on European policy makers to give priority to "de-Balkanising" southeastern Europe and Turkey's accession to the EU in their strategy for the region's European integration.
Clinton was speaking at Aachen, after being awarded the Charlemagne Prize.
According to the US president, if the aim of the Stability Pact for the Balkans was the full incorporation of the region in Europe, Turkey had to be included. He applauded the EU's decision to consider Turkey a candidate-member, expressing the hope that they would continue the process toward accession.
"This would be good for Turkey, good for southeastern Europe, good for a faster reconciliation between Greece and Turkey and for a solution to the Cyprus problem..." he said. He also urged Europeans to keep the door open to Russia.
The Charlemagne Prize is Germany's most prestigious political distinction, first introduced in 1950, and this is only the third time it has been awarded to an American politician. Among its past recipients was late Greek president and prime minister Constantine Karamanlis.
According to the committee awarding the prize, the US president was chosen because of "his contribution to the cooperation with European countries, to the maintenance of peace, freedom and human rights in Europe, and for his support of the expansion of the European Union."
 British Museum invites Greek FM Papandreou to tour new hallLONDON, 3-6-2000 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)
The British Museum's leadership has invited Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou to tour a new museum hall on Sunday as well as to "discuss issues of common interests."
The invitation by the museum's top officials comes a few days before the Greek FM's scheduled testimony to a House of Commons bipartisan committee examining the issue of the Parthenon Marbles.
The London museum has for decades exhibited the exquisite classical friezes in a special wing, touted by many as the spacious British Museum's top draw. Museum trustees have also remained steadfastly against any idea of returning the Marbles to Greece despite increasing international pressure of late.
Veteran French film director Jules Dassin, representing the Melina Mercouri Foundation, is set to testify before the same committee on Saturday. Dassin's widow, noted Greek actress turned politician, spearheaded a revitalized campaign throughout much of 1980s to gain the return of the Marbles, dubbed the "Elgin Marbles" over the past century and a half.
The 5th century BC friezes were irreparably damaged in the late 1930s by British Museum staff, as revealed by British historian and author William St. Clair two years ago.
The Marbles were removed from the Parthenon by British diplomat Lord Elgin in the early 19th century with tacit permission of local Ottoman administrators then ruling in the area. Elgin removed the friezes and other parts of the impressive Parthenon temple, dedicated to the ancient goddess Athena.
 Greek FM Papandreou addresses Bildeberg club on EU enlargement and the BalkansBRUSSELS, 3-6-2000 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)
Foreign Minister George Papandreou addressed a meeting of the Bildeberg club here on Friday, focusing on European Union enlargement, developments in the Balkans and problems created often by the lack of a specific strategy, primarily on the part of the major powers, and stressing the need to keep borders as they are.
Papandreou was speaking during a discussion on developments in Europe.
Personalities attending the meeting included former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and the owner of the FIAT automobiles company Agnelli.
Discussions will continue on Saturday, while the main topic of conversation will be the upsurge of the far-right in Europe.
Papandreou left for London by rail on Friday night.
 Karamanlis lashes at "unofficial centres of power"Athens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
Main opposition leader Costas Karamanlis charged on Friday that his New Democracy party had become the target of unofficial centres of power attempting to undermine it as the country entered a period when very significant economic deals were being hatched.
"New Democracy will resolutely resist such attempts that adversely affect the quality and substance of democracy," he said. He claimed that the attackers had provocatively and shamelessly enlisted even a Turkish newspaper in their campaign.
He was referring to an article in the Turkish newspaper "Hurriyet" about a "political and sexual scandal in Greece," containing insinuations about his relationship with party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos.
"Mud-slinging and slander do not touch us. This party must prove to its opponents that it does not waver in the face of blackmail," he said.
Karamanlis reiterated his party's claim to the middle ground of politics which former socialists worldwide today were attempting to usurp it. "The middle ground does not exclude anyone. It is open to the whole of society," he said.
 Former premier offers support for building mosque in AthensAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
Former premier Constantine Mitsotakis expressed his support on Friday for the opening of a mosque in the greater Athens area, an issue that strung onto the national limelight recently following the Greek government's announced intention to allow construction of an Islamic place of worship.
Although dozens of mosques currently operate in Greece, primarily in the northeast province of Thrace -- which is home to several thousands of Muslims -- the Greek capital lacks an official mosque. Efforts to allow the construction of such a temple in a suburb east of Athens and near the capital's under-construction international airport have been promoted by several government ministers over the past week, with backing also coming from Greece's powerful Greek Orthodox Church leadership.
However, criticism of the proposal has also been lodged from certain political quarters in the predominately Orthodox country of 11 million.
Mitsotakis stressed that even a public debate over whether to allow a mosque to open near the Athens capital is inexcusable, and in itself exposes the country.
"As a people of the diaspora, par excellence, we build Orthodox Churches from Australia to America and even South America and Korea," Mitsotakis, the honorary president of the main opposition New Democracy, said.
In earlier comments this week, the government spokesman said conditions are ripe for building a mosque in the capital.
Dimitris Reppas said the government had reached this decision independently of preparations for the 2004 Olympics, saying it was inconceivable for Muslims residing or travelling through Athens not to have a place of worship.
Commenting on statements by former ruling PASOK public order minister and current MP Stelios Papathemelis, who said that he would only agree to the building of a mosque in Athens if Turkey turned over the keys of Haghia Sophia to Greece, Reppas said deputies are free to express their opinions and that PASOK would not make party discipline an issue on this particular vote.
Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos also spoke in favour of the opening of a mosque.
 Landing exercise in Kyparissia completed on Friday afternoonAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
A landing exercise in the region of Kalo Nero, near Kyparissia in western Peloponnese, started in the early hours of Friday with the arrival of eight landing craft carrying 2,500 marines backed by NATO ships and aircraft and was completed late in the afternoon.
The operation was part of the NATO exercise codenamed Dynamic Mix. The undertaking was delayed for two hours after an American landing craft ran aground in shallow waters, while half an hour was required to free the vessel. National Defence General Staff sources attributed the problem to the exercise's realism.
The landing operation was carried out by two battalions, a US-Turkish one under US command and a Greek-Spanish one under Greek command. A multinational artillery battery under Greek command also participated.
The American marines landed first and were followed by the Greeks in their own landing craft. Turkish marines landed at 3 p.m. in an American landing vessel, followed by the Spaniards in an American helicopter.
The operation was attended by National Defence General Staff Chief General Manousos Paragioudakis. The final phase of the exercise will be held in the region of Askos Profitis in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on June 5.
 De Palacio and Papazoi discuss EU affairsAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
European Commission vice-president Loyola de Palacio and Alternate Foreign Minister Elisavet Papazoi in Athens on Friday discussed issues related to the Intergovernmental Conference on reviewing EU treaties prior to enlargement and relations between the European Commission and the European Parliament.
Papazoi is leaving for London on Monday and will be in Dublin on Tuesday for talks with her respective counterparts ahead of the EU summit in Feira, Portugal later this month.
Meeting with Kaklamanis
The hopes of European citizens for a social, as well as economic, Europe Union presuppose greater powers for the EU's institutions of representation and greater cooperation between them, said Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis on Friday, during a meeting with the EU Commission's Vice-President in charge of parliamentary relations, Loyola de Palacio.
Kaklamanis and De Palacio discussed the relations of European national assemblies with the European Parliament.
Kaklamanis pointed out that the greatest danger was a sense among European citizens that they cannot participate in this process, noting the need for better information and for a European defence mechanism that will cover the whole of Europe. De Palacio agreed with the views of the parliament speaker, and she expressed joy that the Greek Parliament always displays a spirit of cooperation and avoids creating friction with the European assembly.
 Greek community in Toronto gives enthusiastic welcome to President StephanopoulosTORONTO, 3-6-2000 (ANA - N. Voulelis/I. Frangouli)
Over 2,000 Greeks living in Canada created an atmosphere of enthusiasm during an official dinner provided by the Greek community in Toronto for President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Thursday night.
President Stephanopoulos addressed the event, attended by the prime minister of Ontario and the mayor of Toronto, while local young people re-enacted scenes from the history of Greek migrants with reference to Greece, Cyprus and Canada.
President Stephanopoulos referred to the era of Greek migrants, modern-day Greece and the need for overseas Greeks to safeguard their ties with the motherland.
He further referred to the contribution of overseas Greeks to Greece's struggles and to their contribution to the development of countries to which they have emigrated.
Commenting on modern-day reality in Greece, President Stephanopoulos stressed the fact that the constitution is functioning impeccably, foreign policy principles are steadfastly abided by in relation to national sovereignty and sovereign rights are inalienable, while efforts are being made to restore good relations with all neighbouring countries and which are producing results.
Deputy Foreign Minister Angeliki Laiou also made a brief address, referring to the first Greek communities abroad and stressing the contribution of overseas Greeks to the development of Canada.
President Stephanopoulos visited York University in Toronto on Thursday morning, where a modern Greek studies faculty will be established, and addressed a large audience including many of the 400 Greek students studying there. President Stephanopoulos will conclude his visit to Canada on Friday with a tour of Niagara Falls and a visit to the city of Hamilton.
 No new proposal on FYROM nameSKOPJE, 3-6-2000 (ANA-Marina Vichou)
The FYROM foreign ministry has not decided on any new proposal regarding the country's name, FYROM foreign minister Alexander Dimitrov said in an interview with the local private newspaper Dnevnik appearing Friday.
Dimitrov also said that the name issue was not on the agenda of his expected talks next week with Greek foreign minister George Papandreou in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.
Dimitrov expressed the view that a "solution to the problem of the name should be sought within the framework of the United Nations", and said his talks with Papandreou would focus on improving bilateral relations, on the situation in the region and on progress on the Stability Pact. Meanwhile, FYROM's representative at the UN-sponsored talks in New York on the name issue, Vania Tosefski, also told Dnevnik that she had no new proposal on the name issue.
 Parliament's Permanent Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee President Papoulias holds talks with MilosevicBELGRADE, 3-6-2000 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)
Greek Parliament Permanent Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee President Karolos Papoulias, currently on a three-day official visit to Belgrade, held talks with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic on Friday.
According to an announcement by the office of Milosevic, Papoulias conveyed to the Yugoslav president the Greek people's feelings of support and congratulated him over the successes achieved by the people of Yugoslavia in the reconstruction process following NATO's raid. Papoulias said the policy of pressures exerted on Yugoslavia is mistaken and contrary to the common aims of peace and stability which the two friendly countries support.
President Milosevic, after expressing satisfaction for meeting Papoulias again, said "relations between Yugoslavia and Greece will develop with success, in accordance with the friendship between the peoples of the two countries, despite the pressures to which Greece is exposed on the part of the US administration," the announcement said.
 Greek parliamentary delegation to attend WEU assembly session in ParisAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
A delegation of Greek MPs representing all parties in Parliament will leave for Paris on Sunday to participate in the fourth session of the Western European Union (WEU) parliamentary assembly.
The assembly will discuss issues related to the Lisbon initiative for a "parliamentary dimension to European security and de-fence," the consequences of transferring WEU responsibilities to the EU, the new European security architecture and implemen-ting the new Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe.
WEU delegates will be addressed by the organisation's secretary-general, EU high representative for foreign policy and defence Javier Solana, Portuguese Defence Minister Castro Caldas and French Deputy Defence Minister Jean-Pierre Masseret.
 Chinese delegation to visit CreteAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
Deputy Constructions Minister of the People's Republic of China Ye Rutang will visit Irakleio, Crete, on Monday together with nine mayors of his country's biggest cities.
The members of the Chinese delegation will arrive at Nikos Kazantzakis airport in Irakleio at 8:30 a.m. on Monday on board an Olympic Airways flight.
The Chinese delegation will be visiting Knosos, the archaeological site at Knosos, the traditional village of Arolithos, the Irakleio prefecture, the museum and the municipality of Arhanes.
 International tender for 20 percent stake in OA to be called after British Airways declines optionAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
British Airways' new management does not intend to take up its option to bid for up to a 20 percent stake in Greek national carrier Olympic Airways, and an international tender would be called to find a buyer, national economy and finance minister Yannos Papantoniou said Friday.
The announcement came after a half-hour meeting in Athens between Papantoniou, transport and communications minister Christos Verelis and the new BA management. Papantoniou said the tender consultant would be announced next week.
The winner of the tender would also take on the ailing Greek carrier's management, the national economy minister added. British Airways subsidiary Speedwing was in late June 1999 awarded a concession to manage the ailing national carrier for 30 months in order to shape up its finances and operations. Rod Lynch was appointed as the OA managing director.
The contract, which expires on December 31, 2001, gave British Airways the option of bidding for up to a 20 percent stake in the Greek national carrier.
 Papoutsis calls for measures to boost European shipping sectorAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
Greek Merchant Marine Minister, Christos Papoutsis, on Friday called for measures to ensure the European shipping sector's competitiveness and said that current proposals needed more consideration.
"We should not be afraid of changes. Let's not forget that they move on regardless. We need, though, to prepare ourselves properly to deal with them effectively and transform them into opportunities," Papoutsis said addressing a "Posidonia 2000" conference in Athens on "Regulatory environment in internatio-nal shipping".
Referring to the Erica tanker accident, he said "the Erica accident unveiled in a dramatic way the need for protecting the sea environment, coasts and for more safety sea transports."
Papoutsis said that all steps towards improving the international shipping sector should be taken cautiously and after close consideration.
He also urged for better training of seamen and for measures to support employment in the sector.
 European Energy Conference delegates sign memorandumAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
Energy ministers from Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovi-na, Romania, FYROM and Greece on Friday signed a memorandum aiming to form a competitive regional energy market in southeast Europe.
The memorandum was signed on the last day of a European Energy Conference held in Athens.
Dominique Ristori, the European Commission's general affairs director at the energy and transport directorate, ended the two-day conference presenting its results.
Rising energy needs combined with the liberalisation of the energy market are dramatically changing the environment and the energy structure, Ristori told delegates.
"At this critical point we must be very careful, as a gradual liberalisation of global energy market should not put a brake on relations between states," he noted.
"We are witnessing a rapid increase in oil prices, from April 1999 to March 2000. We must take this fact under serious consideration to predict short-term prospects in natural gas prices," Ristori said.
He urged for an organised dialogure, at a global level, on energy issues and acknowledged the need for the formation of a competitive regional energy market in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea region.
The conference also urged for the use of funds to finance projects for the protection of the environment from energy transport risks.
 Record Greek-Bulgarian trade seen in 2000Athens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Pashalidis on Friday received Bulgarian Deputy Economy Minister Christo Michailovski, currently visiting Greece, at his office in Thessaloniki.
The two men discussed bilateral relations and cooperation between Greece and Bulgaria, and the economic results of this cooperation.
In statements made after the meeting, the Bulgarian minister said that in the first quarter of 2000, trade between the two countries had increased significantly and he estimated that bilateral trade transactions could reach record levels. According to Michailovski, infrastructure was the sector in which both sides had expressed most interest in cooperation.
Pashalidis spoke of good bilateral economic relations and referred to the importance of Balkan reconstruction. He underlined Greece's interest in this, as expressed through the Greek plan for reconstruction in the region that is being promoted by the national economy ministry with the support of the Macedonia-Thrace ministry.
"We have in common a vision for the Balkans: peace, democracy, cooperation. On this we are agreed. We will move forward on the common European path," he said.
 Greek-Turkish infotech venture set upISTANBUL, 3-6-2000 (ANA- A. Kourkoulas)
Despec Hellas and Turkish entrepreneur Erol Bilecik on Friday announced the setting up of an infotech, home entertainment and multimedia company on a 50-50 basis.
The new concern, with an initial capital of $8.75 million, will also be active in retail and e-commerce.
Bilecik said at a press briefing that the investment was one of the largest in the sector in Turkey, while Despec Hellas president Fotis Gyliadis announced that the new company would follow a very aggressive sales policy. He also said that the decision behind the move was the result of a careful study of recent political developments between the two countries and the prospects for Turkish business. It was also part of Despec's expansion plans in southeastern Europe, he added.
Bilecik also has a 50 percent stake in Despec Turkey.
 Greek and Turkish businessmenmeet in IzmirISTANBUL, 3-6-2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)
The second economic meeting between Greek and Turkish businessmen from the regions of the Aegean, Turkey and the Greek islands, organised by the Mytilene Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Izmir Chamber of Commerce, is taking place in Izmir, Turkey.
"Considerable cooperation has started quite some time ago between the Chambers of Commerce of Mytilene and Izmir," said Greece's consul in Izmir Christina Angelopoulou in her inaugural address, adding that "this cooperation can turn the Aegean into a bridge of friendship between the two countries."
The President of the Mytilene Chamber of Commerce and Industry Panayiotis Mathiellis said cooperation between Greece and Turkey is developing more and more every day and that the politicians of the two countries should continue efforts to further develop Greek-Turkish relations.
The meeting, due to last until June 4, is attended by 150 businessmen, journalists and scientists from Greece and Turkey.
 Greek business delegation visits Bursa at invitation of the local Chamber of CommerceISTANBUL 3-6-2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)
A group of Greek businessmen, headed by the President of the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry Dimitris Bakatselos, has arrived in Bursa, Turkey, at the invitation of the local Chamber of Commerce.
Bakatselos reminded that the two chambers have signed a twinning protocol, adding that "the businessmen of the two countries can activate themselves with joint investments in the Balkans."
He said that Turkey is the safest country in the region for investments and that the purpose of contacts is to promote joint investments by Greek and Turkish businessmen.
 Public Power Corporation gets new boardAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
The names of the Public Power Corporation's new board were announced on Friday by the development ministry, which oversees the state electricity utility.
The new board members are as follows:
To be appointed on Monday are three worker representatives for the board, and a representative of the Federation of Greek Industry, the country's main employers' association. The new board is to meet next week to elect a general director for the company, which is slated for part-privatisation on the Athens Stock Exchange this year.
 Bulgarian PM cites damage to nat'l economy if telecom utility sale falls throughSOFIA, 3-6-2000 (ANA - B. Borisov)
Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov on Friday called on the country's parliament to support the government's year-long efforts at selling Bulgaria's state telecoms utility to a Greek-Dutch consortium.
Kostov warned that the Sofia government's failure to succes-sfully follow through on the sale by "mid-year" would have "serious repercussions for the country's economy."
"In order to achieve our goal of attracting foreign investment to Bulgaria, which must top the one billion dollar mark this year, we must definitely finalise the sale of BTC," Kostov said, adding:
"The government expects parliament to support this sale and not block it under the pretext of a 'hidden threat' for the country's national security or unsubstantiated arguments claiming a lack of transparency in negotiations."
The Bulgarian premier was quoted as recently as mid-April in the local press as saying negotiations for the sale of the Bulgarian Telecoms Organisation (BTC) to OTE/KPN were "almost finalised".
The two international firms - a consortium made up of state-owned Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation and KPN Telecom of the Netherlands -- were the sole bidder in an international privatisation tender whose resolution has been severely delayed by disagreements with Sofia, among others, over terms of the sale contract. Initial talks began in March 1999.
 Greek commerce needs to prepare for euro, seminar toldAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
Speakers at a seminar on the euro on Friday said that Greek commercial enterprises had to move swiftly to ensure that they were ready for introduction of the European Union's single currency.
The speakers told the two-day seminar held by the EU's executive Commission and National Confederation of Greek Commerce that firms in the sector had a key role to play in the transition as they were the direct link between the euro and consumers.
They added that the benefits to commercial enterprises from the switch to the euro included improved terms for supplies, a drastic reduction in the cost of transactions, parity stability, direct price comparison, free access by companies to the European market, and a fall in interest rates.
 Greek stocks steady in subdued tradeAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
Equity prices ended the week with minor changes on the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday in subdued trade reflecting investors' reluctance to take positions in the market ahead of the weekend.
The general index ended at 4,534.83 points, up 0.02 percent, after moving within the 4,582-4,510 range throughout the session. Turnover was a low 138 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.16 percent higher at 2,513.53 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index ended at 663.22 points, off 0.68 percent.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 968.98 points, off 2.17 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 204 to 134 with another nine issues unchanged.
Sidenor, Intrasoft, Naoussa Spinning and General Warehouses were the most heavily traded stocks.
 Equity futures finish down in higher turnoverAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
Equity futures finished lower on Friday, roughly tracking the two indices on which they are based.
The FTSE/ASE 20 closed 0.16 percent higher, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 0.68 percent down.
Turnover in derivatives was 7.9 billion drachmas from 4.8 billion drachmas a day earlier.
A total of 838 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index with turnover at 4.2 billion drachmas.
Changing hands on the FTSE/ASE 40 were 1,410 futures on turnover of 3.7 billion drachmas.
 Bonds sold, discounting EU decision on euro-zone entryAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
Bond prices in the domestic secondary market were mixed in heavy trade on Friday with profit takers discounting approval next week by European Union foreign ministers of Greece's bid to join the euro zone.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.06 percent from 6.047 percent in the previous session; and the yield on the equivalent German bund was 5.05 percent.
The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 101 basis points from 86-88 basis points a day earlier.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 220 billion drachmas from 86 billion drachmas in the previous session.
Buy orders accounted for 160 billion drachmas of turnover and sell orders the remainder.
 Drachma down vs euro, up vs dollarAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
The drachma on Friday fell against the euro and rose versus the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.
At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 337.050 drachmas from 336.980 drachmas in the previous session.
Also at the fixing, the US dollar was set at 360.180 drachmas from 361.260 drachmas a day earlier.
 Bank of Piraeus/Macedonia-Thrace Bank merger gets go aheadAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
A Macedonia-Thrace Bank's general shareholders' meeting in Thessaloniki approved a one-to-one share swap deal with Bank of Piraeus on Friday, paving the way for a merger between the two banks with Xiosbank by the end of the month.
The new bank's network will total 157 branches with the aim to exceed 185 by the end of 2000. Its assets will total four billion drachmas and it will have a market of 8.0 percent.
 Public order minister outlines qualitative characteristics of Greek Police services' restructuringAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis outlined the qualitative characteristics of the Greek Police services' restructuring in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Friday and announced the start of a pilot programme for handling traffic accidents at four places along the Patras-Athens-Thessaloniki motorway network.
Speaking at a press conference, Chrysohoidis said the target of both the government and the ministry is "powerful, fighting-fit and numerous" police services which will be capable of meeting modern-day policing needs.
On the question of police services' sectors of responsibility, he said they will cover more than one municipality but will possess all means to enable the presence of police throughout the entire area on a 24-hour basis.
Referring to the effort to decrease the number of traffic accidents, Chrysohoidis announced the start of four pilot programmes which will start being implemented as of June 15 in the towns of Stylida, Lamia, Xylokastro and Aigio and whose results will be examined by the ministry to enable it to define its future policy on the issue.
 Laliotis and Avramopoulos open ecological exhibitionAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
Envinronment and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos on Friday
inaugurated the "Ecological Building" exhibition of construction products and technologies friendly to the environment at the Gazi exhibition centre.
Laliotis said that the cities of the 21st century must discard the environmentally harmful practices of the last century, while Avramopoulos said the quality of life would be improved through more environmentally friendly housing.
The exhibition is to last until June 5, which is World Environment Day.
 Greek, Bulgarian radio organisations discuss cooperationAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
A two-day Greek-Bulgarian working meeting on a level of national and regional radio organisations started on Friday in Nea Orestiada and Nea Vyssa Evros, northern Greece.
The discussions will enact forms of cooperation, both between the public radio stations of the two countries and between the Network of Eastern Macedonia-Thrace and Plovdiv Radio station.
Also to be examined will be the level of relations between Greece-Bulgaria and Turkey so that at the next phase heads of the Central and Regional Turkish Radio can also participate.
 Greek organisers of New York festival honouredAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
The Greek organisers of a three-month festival of Greek culture, organised by New York State University, were honoured on Friday during a special ceremony at the residence of the US Ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns.
Spyros Merkouris, a board member of the Merkouri Institute and a member of the executive committee of the European Cultural Capitals Network, and Natasa Pavlopoulou, director of Prime Arts Ltd Cultural Productions of Greece, were honoured for their "dedication to high quality and determination to make the festival representative of all forms of cultural life in modern Greece."
Thousands of visitors from New York had visited the festival, which included seven theatrical performances, four exhibitions and numerous lectures. Among the highlights of the festival were a performance of Sophocles' Electra, with Lydia Koniordou as the lead, and a production of Medea.
 Queensland Millennium Award goes to Greek ECCQ chairmanMELBOURNE 3-6-2000 (ANA - S. Hadzimanolis)
The Millennium Award of the Australian state of Queensland has been awarded to the Greek chairman of the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland (ECCQ) Nikos Xynias for his 20 years of valuable service to the immigrant communities of the wider region, it was announced Friday.
Xynias, who was born in Egypt of Greek parents, has served on several advisory immigrant services in Australia.
The award was presented to Xynias by Queensland state premier Peter Beattie.
 Journalist Makis Triantafyllopoulos acquitted of slander chargeAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
An Athens appeals court unanimously acquitted journalist Makis Triantafyllopoulos of slander on Friday after he had been sentenced to eight months in jail with a three-year suspension in the first trial.
Triantafyllopoulos had been sued for slander after making revelations during a news bulletin of the Skai TV station in January 1998 against former justice minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos.
According to the charge, Triantafyllopoulos had presented a document by the then Social Insurances Foundation (IKA) governor Solomos on TV which had been sent to the justice minister for him to intervene in an upcoming trial in which Solomos had been accused of a misdemeanour.
 Two hashish 'plantations' raided in rural areasAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
Police raided a hashish plantation in a forest area near Messolonghi, western Greece, on Thursday and uprooted some 260 hashish plants and arrested one of the three persons suspected of cultivating the plants.
Police said that 264 hashish plants between 20cm and 1.20 metres tall were uprooted in the forest region of Chryssovergi.
The suspects were identified as Vassilis Kounadis, 35 of Aetoliko village, while Demosthenis Kalakos, 45, from Marathia village, as well as a Bulgarian woman, also residing in the same village, are wanted.
Meanwhile, on the island of Crete, police announced an ever larger haul, with more than 4,000 hashish plants discovered at the Mylopotamos site in Rethymno prefecture. No arrests were announced for the second incident.
 Woman axes husband to deathAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
A 61-year-old woman in the town of Kalambaka fatally injured her husband with an axe, police said Friday.
They said the woman, Sotiria Loutrioti, was suffering from psychological problems and had recently been released from prision, under restrictions, for killing her son the same way four years ago.
Police said Loutrioti attacked her husband, George Loutriotis, with an axe, fatally injuring him, in the Fteliada farming region of Kalambaka municipality, central Greece.
The woman was arrested and admitted to hospital in nearby Trikala, where she was under police guard.
Police said Loutrioti had recently been released, with restrictions, from prison after serving time for fatally injuring her 29-year-old son in May 1996, again with an axe.
 Quake jolts southwest GreeceAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
A mild earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale jolted southwestern Greece early Friday, without damage or injuries.
According to the Athens Observatory and the Patras University seismological Institute, the tremor was recorded at 07.18 local time and came from a distance of 185 kilometres southwest of Athens. Its epicentre was the prefecture of Ilia.
 Sunny in most parts of the country SaturdayAthens, 3-6-2000 (ANA)
Sunny weather is forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with scattered cloud in the east and south. Winds northerly, moderate to gale force. In the north, temperatures will range from 12C to 26C; in the west from 14C to 29C; and in the rest of the country from 17C to 27C. Scattered cloud in Athens with temperatures between 17C and 27C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 16C to 26C.
 Government describes EU/US Summit reference to Cyprus as 'positive approach'NICOSIA, 3-6-2000 (CNA/ANA)
The Cyprus government described as "positive approach" the reference to Cyprus in the conclusions of the EU/US Summit which took place in Queluz, Portugal on Wednesday. Its spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said the reference "shows the earnest interest of the EU and the US in Cyprus", adding that it is especially important because it talks about finding a settlement
consistent with UN Security Council resolutions.
"They also refer to Turkey's (EU) accession course at the Helsinki European Council, therefore they substantially involve the Cyprus problem with Turkey's accession course", the spokesman said, adding that the reference was made in the chapter which talked about the priorities of the EU in the next six months.
Asked if this reference will play a role during the forthcoming summit of the Group of Eight most industrialised nations, Papapetrou said "if someone sees the composition of the G8, the countries involved are the US and mostly EU countries", therefore this has special significance.
The EU and US welcomed the second session of proximity talks which took place in Geneva from 31st January-8th February and said they fully supported, including through their special envoys, the third round of talks scheduled to resume on 5th July in Geneva.
"The Helsinki European Council's important decision granting candidate status to Turkey," the reference said, "reinforced that country's intent to meet its political and economic reform commitments including the conditions outlined in Helsinki, which will eventually lead it to implement a wide range of principles and values shared by the EU and the US", the reference added.
"We will continue to work closely together, including through our special envoys, to support the Cyprus proximity talks under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the UN", the reference said.
It added the US and the EU "will support efforts to facilitate a comprehensive settlement consistent with relevant UN Security Council resolutions".
 FM Kasoulides welcomes Israeli-Palestinian meeting in CyprusNICOSIA 3-6-2000 (CNA/ANA)
Diplomacy remains the sole tool for sorting out differences, Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides remarked on Friday welcoming Israelis and Palestinians NGO members meeting here to discuss the thorny issue of the status of Jerusalem.
In his speech Kasoulides told members of the Israel-Palestine Centre for Research and Information (IPCR) Cyprus was proud to act as a host for this meeting, proving that it could act as "a meeting place of a variety of cultures and civilisations".
Diplomacy "is a unique opportunity for diversified cultures, with different linguistic, ethnic and religious backgrounds to interact and act together decisively and vigorously for a noble purpose," Kasoulides said, pointing out that even though there are still many obstacles and difficulties to overcome in the Middle East peace process, "the alternative is simply too dreadful to contemplate".
"Your presence and your dialogue for peace is also an inspiration for us to continue our efforts to achieve the reunification of our
country and the full restoration of fundamental freedoms and basic human rights to all the citizens of Cyprus," Kasoulides added, stressing that "Turkish military occupation must end, in order for the forcible division of our country to end as well".
Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.
The meeting in Nicosia, which started on Friday, will conclude on Sunday.
 Relatives of missing persons express surprise over UN chief's reportNICOSIA, 3-6-2000 (CNA/ANA)
The Committee of Relatives of Missing Persons has expressed surprise with the UN Secretary General's reference to the issue of missing persons in Cyprus, in his report recommending the renewal of the UN peace-keeping force (UNFICYP) on the island, describing it as "unfortunate, in the least".
In a press release issued on Friday, the Committee calls on the government to react "immediately and concretely to the unacceptable attitude of certain circles at the UN in Nicosia dealing with the issue, who in the past few years appear to aim solely towards closing the matter by proclaiming all missing persons dead without proper investigation."
In his report to the Security Council on the UN operation in Cyprus, Annan said before proceeding to appoint the third member of the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP) he needs to ensure that "both sides had shown a genuine commitment to reaching a consensus for the
fulfilment of the five modalities contained in the letter of the Secretary-General of 4 December 1996."
The Committee of Missing Persons comprises a representative of the Greek Cypriots, the Turkish Cypriots and a third member appointed by the UN, who usually comes from the ranks of the ICRC (International Red Cross). The position of the ICRC representative has been vacant since January this year when Jean Pierre Ritter of the ICRC passedaway.
The relatives of the persons missing in Cyprus since the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 percent of the island's territory said one would have expected that the UN chief would go ahead with concrete suggestions and actions so that the issue comes out of the present deadlock.
The press release says that the absence of any developments in this issue is due to the inactivity of the Committee of Missing Persons.
The relatives of the missing persons say that the Secretary-General's stance "tends to create a dangerous retrogression on the issue."
 CNA, ANSA sign cooperation agreementNICOSIA, 3-6-2000 (CNA/ANA)
The Cyprus News Agency (CNA) and the Italian News Agency (ANSA) have signed a cooperation agreement.
The agreement was signed by CNA Board Chairman Anthos Lykavgis and ANSA Chief Executive Officer Giuseppe Cerbone.
The agreement provides for the exchange of new items and photographs and exchange of visits by officers, journalists and technicians of the two national agencies.
ANSA and CNA are active members of the European Alliance of Press Agencies and the Mediterranean Alliance of News Agencies within the framework of which they have developed friendly relations.