|Wednesday, 29 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-10-13
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Russian FM: Moscow pleased with partial lifting of EU sanctions against Belgrade
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on Thursday expressed Moscows satisfaction with the European Unions decision this week to lift several sanctions leveled against Yugoslavia by the 15-country bloc.
Ivanov, who arrived in Greece one day after originally scheduled in order to continue efforts at mediation in the West Bank, held talks on developments in Yugoslavia, the long-standing Cyprus problem and the situation in the Middle East with his Greek counterpart George Papandreou.
Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Papandreou, Ivanov stressed that he carried no conditions from his government to either new Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica or deposed strongman Slobodan Milosevic during the pivotal hours prior to the bloodless transition of power in Belgrade.
On his part, Papandreou reiterated that the Kostunica government must now be supported in order for democratization and reconstruction of Yugoslavia to proceed, saying a smooth democratic transition is the priority.
Before meeting with Papandreou, Ivanov ascended to the top of the Acropolis for a brief but solemn flag-raising ceremony amid a blue Mediterranean sky to mark the 56th anniversary of the liberation of Athens from Nazi occupation.
Terming Greek-Russian relations excellent, Ivanov said only a date remains to be fixed for an official visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Greece.
Cyprus, Mideast situation: Regarding the Cyprus issue, Ivanov noted that Russia remains in favor of bicommunal talks leading to a viable solution based on UN resolutions, whereas Papandreou thanked the Russian FM for Moscow's stance on the issue and called for a continuation of Russia's "productive" involvement towards a Cyprus solution.
Referring to the situation in the Middle East, Ivanov said the developments were "surely, not the best", while expressing his support for a restart of the peace process based on UN Security Council Resolutions.
Papandreou warned that instances of religious fanaticism have never helped solve problems, whereas Greece - as a country in the wider region influenced by such developments - is ready to assist in any way it can.
Ivanov was scheduled to meet with main opposition leader Costas Karamanlis and Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis in the afternoon.
Kaklamanis and Ivanov discuss Cyprus, Yugoslavia and the Middle East: Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov ascertained the common positions of Greece and Russia on major international issues, such as Cyprus and the situation in Yugoslavia and the Middle East, in talks on Thursday.
Kaklamanis thanked Ivanov for Russia's steadfast support on the Cyprus issue, saying "the solution to the Cyprus issue is a necessary condition for stability and peace in the wider region."
He said the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions is a necessary precondition for a viable solution to be found, which is being impeded by the occupation regime, with the support of Turkey, and the inconsistent position of the US, as well as of certain European governments.
Ivanov said full support enjoyed by the two governments from their countries' legislative bodies constitutes a guarantee for the steadfast and dynamic development of relations between Greece and Russia.
Confirming the identity of positions on issues of principle, he underlined the common conception on resolving international problems, such as the issue of Cyprus, the Middle East question and the situation in the Balkans.
"We are closely coordinating our cooperation on the international scene," Ivanov said, adding that "I think this meets the sentiments and interests of our peoples regarding security and stability."
Ivanov meets Karamanlis in Athens: Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov met the leader of main opposition New Democracy Costas Karamanlis on Thursday, prior to his departure from Athens.
During the meeting, Karamanlis and Ivanov discussed foreign policy issues, particularly developments in Yugoslavia, Cyprus and the Middle East.
In statements after the meeting, Karamanlis asked for sanctions against Yugoslavia to be fully lifted and for its relations with the European Union to be fully restored.
He also expressed concern over the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, asking for a resolution to the problem based on peace, cooperation and the inviolability of borders, while he stressed the need for all international problems to be solved on the basis of UN resolutions.
Finally, he stressed the historic ties of friendship linking the Greek and Russian peoples.
During the meeting, Karamanlis was accompanied by top ND cadres Dora Bakoyianni, Yiannis Valinakis and Petros Molyviatis.
 President Stephanopoulos stresses hope Yugoslavia will become an element of peace and stability in the Balkans
TALLINN, 13/10/2000 (ANA - N. Megadoukas)President Stephanopoulos on Thursday expressed the hope the patriotism of the Serb people and the need to pass into a period of "absolute" democratic governance will be the safe guide allowing them to handle current difficulties and enabling Yugoslavia to become an element of peace and stability in the Balkans.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Estonian President Lennart Meri, President Stephanopoulos stressed the fact we did not witness tragic events "during the change in the political situation" occurring in Yugoslavia and expressed the hope this will not happen in the future as well. He conceded that "uncertainty" exists and is caused by the fact the neighboring country is experiencing a "transitional period."
President Stephanopoulos also stressed the need for a "peaceful" and "correct political life" to be restored in Yugoslavia, adding that Belgrade will certainly need the assistance of the West and of other countries.
He further said a treaty of "eternal friendship" has been signed between Greece and Estonia and that friendship and cooperation between the two peoples is very important.
On his part, Meri thanked Greece for its support to his country to join the European Union and NATO and expressed his "vision" of a "world in which small countries will have a say in problems and not just major powers."
President Stephanopoulos, will be given a guided tour of the port of Tallinn on Friday and is expected back in Athens in the evening, thus winding up his three-day visits to Latvia and Estonia.
Deputy Foreign Minister Angeliki Laiou, who accompanied President Stephanopoulos on his visit, termed results of contacts by President Stephanopoulos, herself and Deputy National Economy Minister Yiannis Zafeiropoulos in Latvia and Estonia as being positive.
Laiou reiterated Greece's support for the two countries' bid for EU and NATO membership, adding that the Greek side made it clear to its interlocutors that Greece is sensitive regarding Russia's objections to NATO enlargement.
Referring to political issues discussed in the two countries, Laiou said both the Estonian and Latvian sides were briefed on Greek-Turkish relations and the issue of Cyprus, as well as Cyprus' accession course towards the EU. She said both Riga and Tallinn are positive towards Greek positions on its national issues since the safeguarding of peace and stability is of paramount importance for them.
 Greece pulls out of NATO exercise after Turkey requests changes to flight plans
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Greece on Thursday temporarily ordered six warplanes participating in a NATO exercise based in Turkey to withdraw after Ankara requested changes in pre-determined flight corridors and the exclusion of two passing over strategically placed Greek islands.
According to the Greek general staff, the flight corridors in which NATO fighters were to operate during the maneuver, code-named "Destined Glory 2000", had been agreed upon during the planning stages of the exercise without any objection.
At press time, Athens was awaiting a final decision by the commander of NATO's southeastern wing air command.
Athens has vehemently criticized past attempts by Ankara over the years to exclude Greek territory, airspace and territorial waters from NATO planning, saying such actions aim to undermine Greek sovereignty in the Aegean.
The eastern Aegean islands of Limnos and Ikaria were the focus of objections by Ankara.
 Papandreou, Cem to meet in Marmaris and Rhodes on Sunday
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem will meet in Marmaris and Rhodes on Sunday for talks expected to be extremely important in the wake of problems appearing in relations between the two countries on Wednesday during a NATO exercise in Izmir, Turkey, while efforts will certainly be made to maintain the atmosphere of mutual trust.
Delegations from the two countries will also be meeting in Rhodes and Marmaris in this context and will be discussing issues related to cooperation in various business sectors and tourism in particular.
According to reports, an agreement will be reached during the meetings on a settlement concerning the issue of passport visas required for Turkish tourists wishing to travel to Greece.
The first meeting between the two ministers and delegations will take place in Marmaris on Sunday morning, while the two ministers and their delegations will be coming to Rhodes at about 4 p.m. At the end of the talks Cem will return to Marmaris and Papandreou to Athens.
 Reppas announces probable meeting between Simitis and Kostunica
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis will probably be the first European leader to meet new Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica after Jacques Chirac, who holds the European Union's rotating presidency.
According to government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, Kostunica expressed a desire to meet Simitis in France, where he will be attending a working dinner with the 15 EU leaders on Saturday.
 Government spokesman denies that deportations were made on the basis of a list from Turkey
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Commenting on the recent deportation of Kurds from Greece, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas on Thursday denied rumors that Greek authorities were acting on the basis of lists given to Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou by his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem.
The relevant authorities are acting on the basis of the information they have, Reppas said, stressing that Greece "accepts no lists from any foreign agent."
All actions by Greek authorities, he added, are carried out on the basis of rules for the protection and security of the country and its citizens and are guided by the country's interests.
 Papazoi briefs Commissioner on environmental issues
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Visiting EU Commissioner for environmental affairs Margot Wallstrom was briefed Thursday by alternate foreign minister Elisabeth Papazoi on Greece's implementation of EU legislation concerning environmental policy.
During their hour-long meeting, Papazoi told the Commissioner that Greece comprehended the importance of environmental protection and was making every effort to take the appropriate measures, in accordance with the specifics in the relevant Community directives, press sources said.
They said that Papazoi told the Commissioner that implementation of the measures was frequently difficult due to the involvement of many sides, particularly in the provinces, and chiefly due to reactions by the local societies.
She cited as an example the case of the Kouroupitos landfill in Hania, Crete that resulted in an unprecedented Eurocourt decision against EU member-state Greece in July.
In early July the Eurocourt imposed a daily fine of 20,000 euros on the Greek government over its failure to comply with a 1992 European Court decision to stop dumping toxic wastes at the Kouroupitos landfill, following delays in applying the decision due to reactions by the locals.
The sources said the two women discussed matters concerning the EU's "Natura" program, urban waste, and the Kouroupitos landfill.
They said Wallstrom touched on such issues as the incorporation of Community environmental legislation in Greek legislation, the management of water resources, and the implementation of a recently adopted EU directive on water, matters related to genetically modified crops, and marine pollution.
 KKE, Coalition express concern over Middle East crisis
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) in announcements on Thursday expressed their concern over the crisis in the Middle East and denounced the action of the Israeli armed forces against the Palestinians.
"The KKE denounces the criminal military attack by Israeli imperialism in Ramallah and Gaza, which heightens the murderous attacks against non-combatants, even against young children."
The announcement added that the KKE stood at the side of the Palestinian people "who are conducting a just and heroic struggle to gain their own independent state."
The Coalition in its announcement expressed its "deep concern" over the worsening of the situation and called on Israel to stop its attacks "which fuel a vicious circle of violence."
The Coalition added that the recent developments show that "there can be no peace and stability in the region if the peace process is not successfully completed through the founding of an independent Palestinian state."
The KKE organized a rally in Thessaloniki on Thursday night to protest the Israeli action. Demonstrators also marched to the US Consulate where they expressed their strong opposition to US and Israeli policies.
Israeli Ambassador: Israeli Ambassador to Athens Ran Curiel, commenting on the current crisis in the Middle East, said in a statement on Thursday that "the lynching of two Israeli soldiers with the participation of the Palestinian Police constitutes further proof of where the Palestinian Authority is leading its people."
He said "the violence which we have witnessed these past few days is not a natural catastrophe. It is being directed by the Palestinian leadership which incites violence, despite the repeated appeals by Israel for it to stop."
The Israeli ambassador added that during the past days, the Palestinian leadership, through the mass media, has encouraged the murder of Israelis and "released members of the Hamas terrorist organization."
Concluding, Curiel said that Palestinian President Yasser Arafat "is unfortunately leading his people on the path of violence, a move which will not be rewarded. Israel will do all it can for the violence to stop, in one way or the other."
 Reppas rejects allegations of improper appointments by education ministry
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas on Thursday rejected allegations by main opposition New Democracy that the education ministry had illegally appointed teachers to state schools without following the proper procedure.
Reppas said that the proposal in question concerned eight sociologists that were being hired without having a teaching degree from SELETE, but these individuals were appointed because there were no candidates that did have the specific teaching certificate. Their appointment, he added, was fully legal.
 Statue of George Marshall unveiled at US embassy in Athens
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)The statue of 20th century American statesman George C. Marshall was unveiled in the courtyard of the US embassy in Athens on Thursday -- a symbolic day, as the event coincided with the 56th anniversary of the liberation of Athens from Nazi occupation and the discovery of the Americas by Columbus.
The unveiling of the statue of Marshall, the US top general and later secretary of state and defense secretary who conceived of and managed the massive US aid program for war-ravaged western Europe - the heralded "Marshall Plan" -- capped off a three-year fundraising effort by the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), and following an initiative by US ambassador Nicholas Burns and his wife Elizabeth Baylies-Burns.
"...He put together and trained some seven million soldiers in the service of democracy and freedom against totalitarianism ... he was a true architect against fascism. With the Marshall Plan western Europe overcame the destruction from WWII," Archbishop of Athens and All Greece said after offering a benediction.
"He did the most positive good for Greece in the 20th century," Burns said in his address, referring to the five billions dollars of US aid that poured into Greece in the years following WWII and the catastrophic Greek Civil War (1946-49). "He was also among the most selfless and dignified Americans in public service".
Burns also stressed the more than 150 years of Greek-American relations as well as the friendship and common struggles shared by the two peoples, as he said.
On his part, Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos initially lashed out at those he said practiced "blind terrorism", before noting that the Marshall Plan did much to help his generation survive, as well as to reconstruct Greece following the conflicts of the 1940s. He also called for Marshall Plan-type mobilization today to help the Third World break the bonds of crushing debt and poverty.
"This statue reflects a common belief in democratic ideals, international law and respect for human rights ... George Marshall reflects the western alliance's fight against fascism," he added.
Among others, former top US diplomat and one-time ambassador to Athens Monteagle Stearns was on hand, along with Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) president Andrew Athens, Education Minister Petros Efthymiou and other dignitaries.
 ND deputies to observe Albanian municipal elections
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)A six-member parliamentary delegation from the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party will visit Albania over the weekend to observe the holding of the second round of municipal elections in the neighboring country, an ND press release said on Thursday.
 Metropolitan claims Europe will soon be overrun by Moslems
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Metropolitan Anthimos of Alexandroupoli on Thursday called for the establishment of religious identity cards in Europe "so as to put an end to the uncontrolled influx of Moslems in European countries" and thus safeguard the continent's Christian identity.
Metropolitan Anthimos was addressing the Holy Synod, which discussed the problems of emigration and the Church's contribution to the confrontation of racism in Europe.
The metropolitan claimed that if measures were not taken, Moslems would soon overrun Europe.
His proposal was met with a negative response, with a number of metropolitans arguing that such action was against Greece's cultural and spiritual tradition.
The Metropolitans proposal echoed a similar stand recently adopted by the Cardinal of the Italian town of Bologna.
 Capital Markets' Committee publishes market report
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Greek listed companies have earmarked 73.5 percent of the capital raised on the Athens Stock Exchange to fund their investment programs in the period from January 1, 1999 to June 30, 2000, but the remaining 26.5 percent was "missing" probably used for other purposes, Capital Markets' Committee said in a report on Thursday.
Greek companies raised a total of 5.25 trillion drachmas from the primary capital market in the 18-month period, 4.46 trillion through share capital increase schemes and 787.35 billion through initial public offerings.
The Committee's report said that around 2.0 trillion drachmas have been earmarked to fund companies' expansion plans, through equity holdings, takeovers and creation of new companies, while another 1.1 trillion drachmas were spent for the continuation and implementation of their investment programs.
The two categories absorbed 80 percent of total earmarked capital, or 7.5 percent of the estimated gross domestic product of the country this year. Investments and other spending totalled 1.096 trillion drachmas (20.88 pct of the total), takeovers and equity holdings totalled 1.984 trillion (37.80 pct), reducing debt totalled 436.446 billion drachmas (8.32 pct) and increasing operating capital totalled 343.583 billion drachmas (6.52 pct).
Naoussa Spinning (5.17 pct), Pouliadis (6.03 pct), Themeliodomi (17.17 pct), Attica Bank (21.09 pct), Goody's (23.34 pct), Hermes (25.15 pct), Intralot (25.16 pct), Xylemporia (25.91 pct), Ekter (28.74 pct), Agricultural Insurance (31.71 pct), Unisystems (31.88 pct), Lambrakis Press (31.94 pct), Kekrop (35.64 pct), Metka (37.53 pct), Hadzikranioti (41.76 pct) and Varagis (46.33 pct), recorded the lowest rates in absorbing raised capital during this 18-month period.
On the other hand, Mevaco, Plaisio Computers, Bitros, Kleeman, Electra, DIS, Alpha Investment, National Fund, Chipita, Orion, Papahellinas, Papafilis, Fieratex, Endysi, Seafarm Ionian, Aspis Investment, Commercial Investment, Alpha Bank, Fourlis, Aeoliki, Eurobank, Exelixi, Piraeus Invest, Mohlos, Ergas, GEK, Everest, AEGEK, Attikat, Danielidis Clinic, Frigoglas, National Insurance, Telesis, Thrace Plastics and Development Investment, scored the highest grades in earmarking all raised capital to fund their investment programs.
Vioter, Intrasoft, Imperio, Akritas, Proodos, Iaso, Aspis Insurance recorded the lowest rates in absorbing raised capital in the first six months of 2000, while Loulis, St. George Mills, National Fund, Ergo Invest, Commercial Invest, Shelman and Vision-Sound, all spent 100 percent of their raised capital to fund their investment programs.
 Draft bill publicized on "managing, monitoring and controlling 3rd CSF
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)A draft bill publicized on Thursday on "managing, monitoring and Controlling the Community Support Framework", expected to be tabled at a Parliament plenary session for ratification soon, anticipates the creation of new apparatuses on which the managing, programming, monitoring and controlling of the 3rd CSF will be based.
The bill also settles relations between the new apparatuses, as well as their relations with the European Commission, which will have the final control over the legality of expenditures for projects included in planning covering the 2000-2006 period.
It further anticipates the manning of National Economy Ministry departments where the so-called Fiscal Control Committee will be set up with the purpose of conducting checks both of the managing and payment authorities (to be created at the National Economy Ministry), as well as of the ultimate beneficiaries.
 Papoutsis blasts coastal shippers over planned strike
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Merchant marine minister Christos Papoutsis on Thursday accused coastal shipping companies of being "provocative" at a time when the entire country was "shaken" by last month's "big maritime tragedy" in which 80 people were killed after a ferry sank off Paros island in the Aegean, adding that "no blackmail will be accepted".
He was commenting on a decision by 18 domestic passenger shipping companies not to sail their vessels on October 27 in protest of what they called "unjust criticism and defamation of coastal shipping", and following the temporary suspension of 65 coastal passenger vessels for not meeting safety standards.
Eighteen shipping companies, with the exclusion of Strintzis Lines, issued a press release noting that "through the abuse endured by Greek passenger shipping, new investments are discouraged and thus the modernization and renewal of the passenger fleet is blocked".
The announcement also said that 103 ships over the age of 27 years ply the seas of the European Union, while 22 of those are over 35 years of age and one serving the Naples-Capri route is over 64 years of age.
Under Greek law, coastal shipping vessels are withdrawn when they reach 35 years of age.
The announcement came in the aftermath of the Minoan Lines' "Express Samina" shipwreck in September that cost the lives of 80 people.
Papoutsis called the coastal shipping companies' announcement "provocative, particularly at a time when the Greek people are shaken by the big maritime tragedy".
"Society demands that all the necessary measures proceed that aim at the modernization of the coastal shipping fleet, reinforcement of safety and the quality of Greek coastal shipping," the minister said.
"Everyone must realize that we are in a new era and rise to the circumstances. No blackmail will be accepted. We are determined to move ahead. No disorientation effort will succeed," he added.
Papoutsis said that all outstanding vessel licenses would be examined in the coming week based on the criterion of the best possible facilitation of the islands and citizens, adding that no shipping line should be considered the "exclusive privilege' of any company.
He also noted that next month, in accordance with a Cabinet decision, the government would table a bill in parliament outlining the new institutional framework for the early liberalization of coastal shipping in the year 2002 "ensuring healthy competition and protection of the public interest". The bill would also provide for a reduction in the maximum vessel age, the minister added.
 Greek stocks end sharply lower, CosmOTE disappoints
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Equity prices remained under pressure for the fourth consecutive session this week to end sharply lower on Thursday, pushing the general index near the 3,800 level on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Traders said a disappointing debut of CosmOTE's shares in the market, its share price fell below its listing price on the first day of trading in market, combined with sharp declines in international markets deteriorated a prevailing negative sentiment in the Athens bourse.
Bank shares were particularly hit with Commercial Bank, Eurobank and Alpha Bank losing more than two percent.
The general index ended 1.93 percent lower at 3,808.30 points, off the day's lows of 3,798.95 points. Turnover was an improved 144.27 billion drachmas, buoyed by transactions worth 85 billion drachmas in CosmOTE's shares.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.84 percent lower at 2,168.59 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 1.82 percent to 469.20 points.
Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: 7,941.97
-1.81% Leasing: 581.02 -1.42% Insurance:2,047.35
-2.01% Investment: 1,503.02 -1.37% Construction: 1,867.70 -1.57% Industrials: 2,200.47 -2.01% Miscellaneous: 3,516.39 -3.88% Holding: 4,160.79
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended at 484.46 points, off 3.71 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 310 to 34 with another 11 issues unchanged.
CosmOTE, Hellenic Telecoms, Alpha Bank, Intracom, Panafon and National Bank were the most heavily traded stocks.
Leading shares' closing prices (in Drs): National Bank: 14,890 Titan Cement (c): 13,700 Alpha Bank: 13,995 Hellenic Telecoms: 7,120 Commercial Bank: 17,455 Panafon: 3,430 Hellenic Petroleum: 3,700 Eurobank: 10,500 Attica Enterprises: 2,925 Piraeus Bank: 6,190 Intracom: 10,785 Lambrakis Press: 6,900 Minoan Lines: 2,260 Heracles Cement: 5,670
Hellenic Bottling: 5,015
Equity futures end mixed: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished mixed on Thursday, roughly in line with the indices on which they are based.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 1.84 percent down, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 1.82 percent lower.
Turnover was 15.4 billion drachmas.
A total of 2,940 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 with turnover at 12.9 billion drachmas.
On the FTSE/ASE 40 index, 1,304 contracts changed hands on turnover of 2.4 billion drachmas.
Bond prices end mixed: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Thursday finished mixed in light to moderate trade.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.959 percent from 5.92 percent a day earlier.
The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 78 basis points from 75 basis points in the two previous sessions.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 72 billion drachmas from 144 billion drachmas in the trading day before.
Of the total, sell orders accounted for 40 billion drachmas of trade.
Drachma down vs. euro, dollar: The drachma on Thursday ended lower against the euro and the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.
At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 339.490 drachmas from 339.440 drachmas in the previous session.
Also at the fix, the dollar was set at 392.810 drachmas from 388.950 drachmas a trading day earlier.
 Greek harmonized inflation 2.4 percent in September
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Greece's harmonized consumer price index rose to 2.4 percent in September (annualized figure) from 2.3 percent in August and 2.2 percent in July, National Statistics Service said on Thursday.
The harmonized CPI figures are not comparable with the national CPI figures because of products, population and geographical differences.
Harmonized figures are used to assess the convergence criterion and price stability in EMU.
 Budget revenues up 7.3 percent in September, yr/yr
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Greece's regular budget revenues rose 7.3 percent in September, compared with the same month last year, raising the budget's surplus to 627 billion drachmas in the January-September period, the finance ministry said on Thursday.
Budget revenues were up 11.6 percent in the first nine months of 2000 compared with the same period last year, exceeding a 3.4 percent annual target growth.
The finance ministry expects that budget surplus could surpass 700 billion drachmas by the end of the year.
Tax office revenues were up 6.6 percent in September and up 14.9 percent in the first nine months of the year. Custom revenues increased by 8.3 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively, while VAT revenues rose 3.1 percent in September and 11.2 percent in the January-September period.
 PASOK party organ invites major unions to join 'open dialogue' on health system reform
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)An invitation to all major unions in the labor relations and health sector - including those representing vulnerable social groups - to join an open dialogue on modernizing the country's national health system was extended on Thursday by PASOK's social policy sector.
On the guest list are the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), the country's largest workers' union, the civil servants' union ADEDY, hospital workers' union EINAP, an association for 'large families' (more than four children) and others.
In its letter to the above unions and other organizations, the PASOK party organ invites them to take part in dialogue on October 19-26 in order to exchange views, concerns and proposals on crucial health related issues in view of two major PASOK conferences that will take place in Athens and Thessaloniki.
 Technical Olympic buys out listed US firm
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Technical Olympic, an engineering contractor quoted on the Athens bourse, announced on Thursday that it had wholly acquired Engle Homes, a housing developer listed on New York's Nasdaq exchange.
It said the deal totalled 465 million dollars, including Engle's debts of 250 million dollars, which Technical pledged to clear immediately.
Engle's advisor in the deal was Salomon Smith Barney with Bank of America Securities working for Technical.
 Technical Olympic investing in Porto Carras complex
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Technical Olympic, a listed developer, has embarked on an investment program in the Porto Carras complex in northern Greece that will involve spending of 100 billion drachmas over the next five years.
The bulk of the sum has been earmarked for construction of a third luxury hotel on the site, a second golf course and a thalassotherapy center.
The Technical Olympic Group also plans to build a villa complex and a conference center at Porto Carras to house more than 2,000 delegates.
 Verelis speaks of the danger of Olympic Airways' demerit and bankruptcy
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis underlined on Thursday the danger of Olympic Airways' demerit and bankruptcy unless private capital is found immediately.
Verelis was speaking in Parliament during a discussion on a proposal by the main opposition New Democracy party on the creation of a fact-finding committee to probe possible responsibilities for the situation prevailing in the country's national carrier.
ND leader Costas Karamanlis accused the government of making repeated failed efforts to restructure the airline, which have cost the state hundreds of billions of drachmas. ND's proposal was rejected by 141 votes to 121.
 GNTO to embark on Olympics-linked projects
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) is to embark on a series of projects in Attica and the regions ahead of the 2004 Olympic Games that Athens will host, it announced on Thursday.
The GNTO schemes include the following:
Greek Tourism Real Estate, a GNTO subsidiary, will undertake the projects.
Also on Thursday, GNTO Secretary General Evgenios Yiannakopoulos announced measures that form part of a European Union funded program to boost competitiveness in the sector.
The program, which falls under the Third Community Support Framework package of funds, is budgeted at 208.5 billion drachmas.
It aims to assist mainly small and medium sized businesses in the sector.
 Union of Greek Banks elects new board
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)The Union of Greek Banks on Thursday elected a new board.
Among the board's new members are Yiannis Stournaras, the new president of Commercial Bank of Greece, and Nikos Nanopoulos, managing director of EFG Eurobank Ergasias.
National Bank of Greece governor Theodoros Karatzas remains the union's president.
 Terrorist suspect given 17-year jail sentence for attempted murder of police officer
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)An Athens court on Thursday sentenced terrorist suspect Avraam Lesperoglou, 45, to 17 years in jail for the attempted murder of police officer George Psaroudakis in 1982. Other lesser charges concerning the illegal possession and use of firearms and creating a gang were dropped.
According to the indictment, Lesperoglou, together with another suspect who escaped arrest, attempted to break into a dentist's office in the Athens district of Kypseli in October 1982. However, he was detected by a police patrol car and in his effort to escape he fired and seriously wounded Psaroudakis.
Lesperoglou denied involvement in offences attributed to him and said on the night of the shooting he was not in Kypseli but in another Athens district, Pangrati. He also denied any participation in the pending issue of terrorist acts perpetrated by the "Anti-State Struggle" organization.
Speaking to reporters later, Lesperoglou reiterated his innocence, adding that charges filed against him had been planned in advance and that the outcome of the trial had been decided beforehand. He also said his conviction with a four-to-three vote showed there was great doubt as to his guilt.
Police have long suspected Lesperoglou of being a member of the leftwing Anti-State Struggle terrorist group. They are investigating possible links between that group and the more deadly November 17 terrorist organization.
Lesperoglou was arrested at Athens airport last December after being on the run in Europe for more than 17 years.
Anti-State Struggle has also been blamed by authorities for the killings of a public prosecutor, three police officers and two security guards.
Lesperoglou is already serving a four-year prison sentence for traveling on false documents.
 Kavala public prosecutor orders investigation into scientists' report of dangerous pollution levels
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)An announcement by three scientists of dangerously high levels of air pollution in the city of Kavala and the industrial regions that surround it - and the intense concern this has caused among the general public - prompted the Kavala public prosecutor to order an immediate investigation on Thursday to look into the claims.
University professors Theofilos Theofanidis, Christos Vasilakos and Ioanna Anastasopoulou have reported "unacceptable concentrations of aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene and toluene that cause leukemia and other serious diseases, such as heart disease and cataracts." They said the main sources of these air-borne chemicals were aromatic hydrocarbons, the transport and storage of fuels and exhaust fumes.
The high concentrations they reported prompted Public Prosecutor Dimitris Papageorgiou to order an immediate investigation, taking statements from all officials involved. These include the Kavala prefect, the head of the prefectural environmental department, the Kavala mayor and representatives of the industrial complexes in Kavala's Nea Karvali district. He has also asked for a copy of the research report by the three scientists and the measurements taken by Kavala prefecture for atmospheric pollution.
 Fishing Research Institute to inaugurate new Shellfish Station in Kavala
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)The Fishing Research Institute attached to the National Foundation of Agricultural Research is to inaugurate a Shellfish Station at its facilities in Nea Peramo, Kavala on October 22.
The first of its kind in Greece, the station is funded by the Eastern Macedonia-Thrace region and will be used for the scientific, technical and research needs of the shellfish-farming sector, with the collaboration of all the productive and administrative bodies involved.
Shellfish production is currently one of the most dynamic fish farming sectors in Greece. In northern Greece, especially, mussel farming is one of the most important and rapidly developing activities of the sector.
The facilities at the station will allow it to contribute to most aspects of scientific research related to shellfish farming, and to provide assistance and advice to shellfish farmers.
The stations' equipment will allow it to monitor oceanographic, physiological and microbiological parameters of shellfish producing areas, to monitor the quality of the shellfish they produce, assess the management of their reserves and test new technologies.
 Ceremony held on Acropolis on 56th anniversary of Athens' liberation from German occupation
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)A ceremony was held on the Acropolis on Thursday marking the 56th anniversary of Athens' liberation from German occupation forces in October 1944 and was attended by ministers and representatives of resistance organizations.
At 11 a.m. Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Justice Minister Mihalis Stathopoulos and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos arrived at the Acropolis to attend the ceremony and were accompanied by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov who has been visiting Greece since Wednesday afternoon.
Addressing the event, Avramopoulos said "our minds are with enslaved Cyprus" and expressed the wish that freedom will come for the island at some time.
 Greek Parliament buys five paintings at Sotheby's auction
LONDON, 13/10/2000 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)The Greek Parliament, represented by attache to London Constantine Bitsios, has bought five works of art by Greek and foreign artists at an auction at Sotheby's.
The auction included paintings by Greek artists of the 19th and 20th Century, as well as by foreign artists of the same period with themes from Greece and the Middle East.
 Conference of Mediterranean twinned cities begins in Cretan city of Aghios Nikolaos
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)The three-day 8th Conference of Mediterranean Twinned Cities, focusing on the problems and possibilities of cooperation between municipalities in the Mediterranean area, got underway in the Cretan city of Aghios Nikolaos on Thursday.
The conference is being organized by the municipality of Aghios Nikolaos in cooperation with the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE), AICREE and the self-governed bodies of Mediterranean countries and is examining the role of local administration as a basis for cooperation in the Mediterranean area of tomorrow.
350 delegates are attending the conference from 12 Mediterranean countries, most of them mayors from Greece and Italy. Mayors from Spain, Slovenia, Turkey, Cyprus, Slovakia, Croatia, Tunisia, France, Malta and Belgium are also participating.
 Culture minister says 'important announcements' on Olympics will be made on Tuesday by PM
Athens, 13/10/2000 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis will announce important decisions concerning the 2004 Olympics in Athens next Tuesday, when a government meeting to discuss preparations for the Games is due to meet, according to Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos.
During a press conference to present the new board of directors for the Hellenic Festival on Thursday, Pangalos was also asked about his relations with the head of the "Athens 2004" Olympics Organizing Committee, Yianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki, and the possibility of creating an "Olympics ministry".
Citing differences between the governmental structures of Australia and Greece, Pangalos explained that creating an Olympic Games ministry, as proposed by the International Olympics Committee (IOC), would not work.
Pangalos, whose ministry has the overall supervision of the organizing body responsible for preparing and managing the 2004 Games, said that if the government were convinced by the arguments for setting up an Olympics ministry, then it will certainly give the matter serious consideration. IOC deputy president Jacques Rogge had raised the issue again on Wednesday, noting the Greek government's rejection of the IOC's proposal.
The Culture minister also claimed to be on very friendly terms with the "Athens 2004" chairwoman, in response to questions regarding a telephone conversation with Angelopoulou-Daskalaki on Thursday morning, and said that they spoke on the phone almost daily.
Reppas says preparations are going ahead as normal, denies any changes to organizing committee: Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas announced on Thursday that Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos had met earlier in the day to review the progress made in preparations for the Athens Olympics in 2004.
The spokesman said that preparations would go ahead as planned and that a government committee for the Olympiad would meet the following Tuesday.
In response to questions about rumored resignations from the "Athens 2004" Olympics Organizing Committee, he directed reporters to ask the committee members themselves. He also dismissed reports that Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos was the most likely candidate to head the organizing committee in the event of any changes as "nothing to do with reality" and denied that any meeting between the Athens mayor and the prime minister had taken place.
Asked about a meeting between Simitis and the managing director of "Athens 2004" Petros Synadinos, Reppas said they had discussed preparations for the Olympiad.
"He has not resigned," the spokesman, stressed. "He is continuing his work normally."
With respect to an outstanding contract for the broadcast rights for the Athens Olympics, Reppas refused to answer, saying that this fell within the competency of the organizing committee.
He also denied any plans for a meeting between the prime minister and the leadership of the International Olympics Committee (IOC).
 House to debate developments in Cyprus issue
NICOSIA, 13/10/2000 (CNA/ANA)The plenary of the Cyprus 56-seat House of Representatives will convene on Saturday, October 21, to discuss the latest developments in the Cyprus problem, Parliament President Spyros Kyprianou announced on Thursday after a meeting of parliamentary party leaders.
Kyprianou said all parties agreed on holding an open discussion under the title "The latest developments in the Cyprus issue", describing it as "particularly important".
Asked if a resolution will be adopted at the end of the discussion, he said this issue is still being discussed.
The House President said that other issues were also discussed at Thursday's meeting, including the possible increase of the number of MPs from the 56 they are today, the parliament relocation, the definition of what is a political party and other organization issues.
 Moses postpones visit to Cyprus
NICOSIA, 13/10/2000 (CNA/ANA)US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus Ambassador Alfred Moses has postponed his scheduled visit to the island, a spokesman for the American embassy here told CNA on Thursday.
"Ambassador Moses has postponed his visit to Cyprus until after the Geneva talks in November due to scheduling conflicts in the region," the spokesman explained.
Moses, who along with US State Department Cyprus envoy Thomas Weston monitor developments in the UN-led proximity talks, was planning to visit Cyprus and the region next week.
His visit is set to take place after the Geneva talks.