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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-10-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek planes ordered back, as Turkish fighters block them in Destined Glory exercise
  • [02] Premier sacks Athens 2004 board member
  • [03] Stephanopoulos briefed by Simitis; oil prices' impact on economy discussed
  • [04] Ecumenical Patriarchate arrives in Athens
  • [05] Greek minority says Albanian parties and government responsible for election irregularities
  • [06] FM Papandreou and Cyprus party leader Vassiliou discuss Cyprus issue
  • [07] Alternate FM Papazoi leaves for Seoul to attend Asia-Europe summit
  • [08] Israeli envoy to brief Greek government on Middle East developments
  • [09] Spokesman Reppas says former Yugoslav President Milosevic has no assets in Greece
  • [10] Samaras responds to former ND premier's interview
  • [11] Modernization of public administration is on going process, Vasso Papandreou says
  • [12] Gov't tax bill offers across-the-board tax relief
  • [13] Papoutsis urges passenger shipping sector deregulation
  • [14] Laliotis unveils legal framework for consolidation in the construction sector
  • [15] Indicative petrol prices post hefty increase
  • [16] IKA loses hundreds of billions due to unpaid contributions
  • [17] Consumer group in lawsuits against Greek banks
  • [18] Greek stocks fall to seven-week lows
  • [19] Greek-Yugoslav business group holds first meeting
  • [20] Standard & Poor's gives OTE upgrade
  • [21] Papandreou says government should take action to defend refugees from "merchants of pain"
  • [22] Archbishop meets visiting Russian pressmen
  • [23] Turkish Cypriots demonstrate against Denktash in occupied areas
  • [24] Central Bank Governor dismisses reports on Milosevic's accounts
  • [25] Greek vessels to participate in Cyprus defense exercise

  • [01] Greek planes ordered back, as Turkish fighters block them in Destined Glory exercise

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    Greek war planes did not complete their scheduled mission in NATOs Destined Glory 2000 military exercise on Wednesday as Turkish fighter planes were launched to block the corridor Greek planes were using, according to press reports.

    The Greek planes returned to base without completing their mission and the Greek defense ministry requested clarification from NATOs highest administrative levels, in order to act in securing Greek national interests.

    The Greek planes flew over the eastern Aegean Greek island of Limnos and entered the Flight Information Region (FIR) of Ankara to simulate a planned bombing run in the exercise, which is taking place in Turkey.

    When, however, the Greek planes entered Turkish FIR space, Turkish planes were launched to intercept them, at that point the US sub-commander of the 6th CAOC based at Eski Sehir, contacted via the AWACS patrol aircraft in the region and requested of the Greek planes to turn back, the reports added.

    Last week Greece issued an ultimatum, threatening to leave the exercise all together, if Ankaras demand for changes in pre-determined flight corridors, that passed over two strategically placed Greek islands, Limnos and Ikaria, was met.

    Greece, however, on Tuesday accepted a NATO proposal to rescind its ultimatum issued last Thursday to the NATO command for a reinstatement of the agreed to planning for the alliance exercise based and managed in neighboring Turkey.

    According to the Greek general staff, the flight corridors in which NATO fighters were planned to operate during the maneuver, code-named Destined Glory 2000, had been agreed upon during the planning stages of the exercise without any objection.

    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.

    Greek Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, on Tuesday evening said that with negotiations, Greece achieved a new framework of participation in the exercise.

    It secured that with the responsibility of the National Commander of Greece, Greek aircraft would participate in the exercise, making full use of the initially agreed upon corridors and in addition of all other corridors, Tsohatzopoulos added.

    Government criticized: The government was strongly criticized on Wednesday by opposition parties over its handling of problems that appeared during the NATO "Destined Glory" exercise executed in Turkey.

    Main opposition New Democracy deputy Dora Bakoyianni, responsible for the party's foreign affairs and defense department, said Greece should confront NATO with its responsibilities and demand that issues agreed should be observed, particularly after the PASOK party agreed to the abolition of headquarters' regions of responsibilities.

    She said that Greece should withdraw all forces participating in the exercise and raise the issue with NATO, which should either impose observance of processes agreed or stop the exercise.

    "If, in fact, today's press reports are true that during their flight over Limnos Greek fighter planes were threatened with interception by Turkish aircraft, then the failure of Mr. (National Defense Minister Akis) Tsohatzopoulos' moves is absolute," she said.

    Replying to Bakoyiannis' remarks, Tsohatzopoulos later said: "I repeat, just as I have stressed in Parliament, that Greece, insisting on the basis of what was initially agreed, imposed the cancellation of all plan changes announced by NATO in past days and secured a framework of operation for the NATO exercise which gave the Greek Air Force the possibility to use the initially planned air corridors, as well as every other alternative course in the Aegean."

    Tsohatzopoulos added that Greek aircraft participating in the exercise on Wednesday followed the corridor initially planned and flew over the island of Limnos and reached the Dardanelles.

    "The fact that this development led to reactions against NATO by the Turkish side is an issue concerning the Alliance and, of course, it met with Greece's immediate reaction and protest at NATO's relevant levels," the minister said.

    On its part, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in an announcement that the cause of differences between countries was imperialistic policy and its planning.

    "Developments in the NATO exercise make one thing clear. That in the framework of 'NATO's new structure' the major NATO powers, and the US in particular, are obtaining more weapons to intervene and utilize for their benefit whatever differences arise between countries, although the cause of differences is imperialistic policy itself and its planning. It has also been confirmed that the implementation of 'NATO's new doctrine' provides more opportunities and greater pretexts for the Turkish government to promote its aggressive designs against Greece's sovereignty," the announcement said.

    [02] Premier sacks Athens 2004 board member

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday dismissed a senior Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee member, for allegations he made against a minister.

    A press release said that Kostas Liaskas' "appointment was recalled because his public statements were not befitting his responsibilities in such a high position".

    The release was issued shortly after a meeting between the prime minister and Liaskas in the afternoon.

    On her part, Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki said in a statement that "ATHOC Executive Director Kostas Liaskas, without notifying me, made personal remarks in an unacceptable manner concerning Environment Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis".

    "Neither 'ATHENS 2004' nor myself share those views. Therefore, I have asked today for Kostas Liaskas' resignation," Angelopoulou-Daskalaki said.

    She stressed that the ministry had total responsibility for the projects it has undertaken, and the consultants following the progress of projects for the Olympic Games do not undertake the responsibilities of the ministry for the completion of such projects.

    Liaskas wished success in organizing the Games, but made no further statements on his way out of the prime minister's office at the Maximos Mansion.

    Earlier in the day Liaskas, speaking to Flash radio station said that Laliotis "acts on his own terms, and not on terms befitting a minister," adding that the minister did not wish to allow controls over the projects his ministry had undertaken to complete.

    Responding to Liaskas, Laliotis said, "I am indifferent to Liaska's role and his work in the 2004 committee."

    [03] Stephanopoulos briefed by Simitis; oil prices' impact on economy discussed

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos was briefed by Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday at the former's office, with talks mostly revolving around the Greek economy within the light of skyrocketing oil prices and a strengthened US dollar.

    Regarding oil prices, Simitis said EU leaders at a recent summit in France as well as ECOFIN ministers ascertained that negative repercussions aren't expected for the Union from the latest international developments.

    Regarding an upcoming summit meeting of SE European leaders, set for Skopje, Simitis said the latest developments in Yugoslavia and the greater region confirmed the correctness of Greece's policy, a policy he said promotes "peace and cooperation".

    The Greek PM also said that Yugoslavia would enter European institutions with its present leadership.

    Regarding the all-important inflation rate, Simitis said it should remain at low levels, something he said is also demonstrated by the economy's robustness.

    Other domestic and international issues were discussed in the meeting, including the situation in the Middle East.

    [04] Ecumenical Patriarchate arrives in Athens

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos arrived at Athens airport on Wednesday in a private plane to begin an unofficial visit to Greece.

    He was received by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, the chief prelate of the Autocephalus Greek Orthodox Church, and a delegation from the Holy Synod, as well as Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Education and Religious Affairs Minister Petros Efthymiou and Deputy Foreign Minister Angeliki Laiou.

    Another member of the reception committee was Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, whom the Patriarch is scheduled to meet during his visit, a number of academics and clergy.

    Immediately upon his arrival, Vartholomeos warmly greeted each of the waiting Greek prelates, while he told journalists that his one-week visit would be friendly, informal and that there would be no discussion of outstanding issues in his meetings with Greece's political leaders.

    Vartholomeos then left the airport for the Intercontinental hotel, where he will be staying, and for a dinner arranged by the Council of Greek-Turkish Business Cooperation at the Athens Club.

    On Thursday morning he will inaugurate the Patriarchal offices in Athens at a ceremony that will be attended by Archbishop Christodoulos.

    Vartholomeos' visit was described as private earlier on Wednesday by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanar, Istanbul, which said that numerous meetings with the Greece's political leadership had been added on to the original itinerary.

    Among these are meetings with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, a meeting and dinner with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, a meeting with Parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis, as well as meetings with the leaders of the political parties and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.

    The Patriarchate referred to attempts by "circles in Greece" to present obstacles to the Ecumenical Patriarch's visit, but that these had been swept away.

    The same sources also stressed that Vartholomeos would definitely not become embroiled in the identity card dispute between the Greek Church and the state on whether religion should be recorded on identity cards and that he would not be making any statements, apart from the speeches and addresses at the various functions he would attend.

    The Holy Synod had written to Fanar in September asking the Patriarch to postpone his visit, on the grounds that an ongoing identity-card crisis would create an "inappropriate climate."

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos attends event in memory of late PM Andreas Papandreou: Visiting Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos attended an event in memory of the late Prime Minister and PASOK founder Andreas Papandreou late on Wednesday night.

    The Andreas Papandreou Foundation at the Goulandris Foundation in Plaka organized the event.

    Addressing the event, Vartholomeos underlined the respect shown by the deceased to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and congratulated his children for their initiatives.

    Also present were intellectuals, politicians and the family of Andreas Papandreou.

    [05] Greek minority says Albanian parties and government responsible for election irregularities

    GJIROKASTER, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    The ethnic Greek minority organization in Albania "Omonoia" said on Wednesday Albanian political parties and the government, and the Central Supervisory Committee in particular, were fully responsible for not taking necessary measures to ensure "a fair and calm election in the second round of elections for mayor of Himara", despite representations made for violations in the first round of local elections held in Albania on October 1.

    An announcement by the organization criticizes strong nationalism prevailing during the Socialist Party's election campaign, leading to the rallying of all Albanian parties and becoming the moral support for violations and violence by the police, intelligence and the military police during the run up to the elections with the purpose of averting a turnout of voters and creating a feeling of panic.

    "Omonoia" said violence and adulteration applied reached inconceivable dimensions, culminating in the beating of the son of mayoral candidate Vassilis Bolanos a day after the elections.

    [06] FM Papandreou and Cyprus party leader Vassiliou discuss Cyprus issue

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou met on Wednesday with Cyprus United Democrats Movement leader George Vassiliou.

    The meeting, part of Papandreou's contacts with Cypriot party leaders, focused on latest developments in the Cyprus issue, in light of the 5th round of UN-led inter-communal proximity talks due to begin in Geneva on November 1.

    Papandreou said later he also discussed with Vassiliou Cyprus' European Union accession course which "has changed the map of all negotiations and rapprochements for a solution to the Cyprus issue".

    Papandreou also congratulated Vassiliou as the head of Cyprus' negotiating team with the EU for his work and "the fact that Cyprus is currently ahead in negotiations compared to all the other candidate countries for accession."

    On his part, Vassiliou said that he sees and feels on a daily basis that in the effort to achieve Cyprus' accession in the Union "we depend on Greece, not in words but in deeds."

    [07] Alternate FM Papazoi leaves for Seoul to attend Asia-Europe summit

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi left for Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday to represent Greece at the Asia-Europe summit (ASEM III) on October 20-21. The 15 European Union member-states and 10 Asian countries will attend it.

    The summit will focus on strengthening cooperation between the two sides, both in the economic and political sectors as well as in cooperation issues in general in the framework of the UN, the restriction of regional conflicts, the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and human rights protection.

    Speaking to the Athens News Agency (ANA), Papazoi said "the widening of economic cooperation between the EU and Asia constitutes a great 'challenge' to which we should respond", adding that "prospects presenting themselves for Europe are considerable and the same applies to Asia."

    [08] Israeli envoy to brief Greek government on Middle East developments

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    A special envoy of the Israeli Prime Minister will visit Greece on Thursday and Friday to brief the Greek government on latest developments in the Middle East following the Sharm el-Sheikh conference in Egypt, an Israeli Embassy press release said on Wednesday.

    Dalia Itzhik is the current Environment Minister in the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and is also a member of Israel's security and foreign affairs cabinet.

    During her stay in Athens, Itzhik will meet Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou, PASOK secretary general Costas Skandalidis and former Prime Minister and main opposition New Democracy party Honorary President Constantine Mitsotakis.

    [09] Spokesman Reppas says former Yugoslav President Milosevic has no assets in Greece

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Wednesday no indications exist anywhere that former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has any assets in Greece.

    Reppas said a list of assets possibly belonging to Milosevic was examined but nothing was found verifying relevant reports.

    [10] Samaras responds to former ND premier's interview

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    Political Spring (POL.AN) leader Antonis Samaras accused former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis of slander during a televised interview on Wednesday.

    Mitsotakis, honorary president of main opposition New Democracy party, and despite strong criticism from an ND deputy over his interview slamming Samaras, reiterated on Wednesday that Samaras' actions in 1993 were "another instance of vested interests at work."

    Mitsotakis maintains that Samaras was "instrumental in overturning" his 1990-93 ND government to serve vested interests.

    He added that, "since the debate on corruption and vested interests in public life had been opened, it doesn't hurt the party to make this reminder."

    Samaras, however, said in his interview that Mitsotakis' motives for issuing such statements were based on the ambitions of his daughter Dora Bakoyianni, who is an ND high-ranking cadre. He added that the former ND leader does not want ND to gain ground.

    He also proposed that his party and ND to cooperate in a front against Prime Minister Costas Simitis, noting that he supported the main opposition party before the April elections, without receiving anything in return.

    ND deputy Yiannis Kefaloyiannis, who accused Mitsotakis of assisting Simitis with his statements against Samaras, on Wednesday, called once again on Mitsotakis and Bakoyianni to clarify whether they support ND.

    [11] Modernization of public administration is on going process, Vasso Papandreou says

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Vasso Papandreou said on Wednesday "the modernization of public administration is a continuous process of seeking and no momentary issue. It is a difficult undertaking aimed at improving the quality of services provided for the citizen."

    Speaking at a conference on quality in public administration, organized by the magazine ECO-Q, Papandreou said administrative reform primarily requires a change in mentality and philosophy and the consolidation of a climate of confidence between the citizen and public administration.

    Papandreou further said that with its accession to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), public administration is expected to play a decisive role in preserving the achievements of the economy.

    [12] Gov't tax bill offers across-the-board tax relief

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Wednesday released a government tax bill that offers wide-ranging relief to the public and to businesses.

    The bill, which contains 40 relief measures and the abolition of many duties, is destined for parliament next week. It will ease the tax burden by 345 billion drachmas in 2001-2003.

    Next year's budget, due to be sent to parliament in the first week of November, will foot 165 billion drachmas of the tax-break total.

    Papantoniou told a news conference that the bill contains government pledges made before national elections the ruling PASOK party won on April 9, and also aims to help simplify the tax system.

    Among groups to benefit from the tax cuts are companies, farmers, large families and people on low incomes.

    On the basis of the bill, wage earners and pensioners with two children will pay less tax in a range of 18,600 drachmas on income of 3.5 million drachmas and 89,050 on income of 10 million drachmas in 2001.

    Tax relief will rise with the number of children in a family. Wage earners or pensioners with four children will pay up to 169,050 drachmas less tax on income of 10 million drachmas.

    Among taxes to be abolished is a banking transactions tax, known as the EFTE.

    A reduction of the tax on real estate will come into effect early in 2001 in the wake of a rise in state-determined property values under a zoning arrangement, offsetting the repercussions.

    Finally, the minister said the government was considering a heating oil allowance for people on low incomes following a sharp rise in world fuel prices.

    A decision would be announced in the first week of November, he added.

    [13] Papoutsis urges passenger shipping sector deregulation

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    Greek Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis on Wednesday urged for the deregulation of the domestic passenger-shipping sector and said that the government would submit a new draft bill in parliament next month.

    "The invitation is open to everyone to bring new ships in passenger shipping. We give equal opportunities to all. No one has the privilege of exclusive operating rights. All shipping lines are free and the rules of the game are credible and transparent," Papoutsis told reporters.

    He said that competition among shipping companies would benefit passengers with lower prices and better services.

    Papoutsis said that the government would submit a draft bill on deregulating the passenger-shipping sector in parliament in November. "Now is the time for political parties. They must contribute in an effort for a better future of the shipping sector," he said.

    He also stressed the need for an improved on harbor facilities in the country to become more competitive.

    [14] Laliotis unveils legal framework for consolidation in the construction sector

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    Greece's Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis on Wednesday unveiled a long-awaited draft bill on the consolidation of the country's construction sector, offering significant growth, tax and institutional incentives to companies in the sector.

    "The ministry has to and is determined to face new challenges by promoting a legal framework to streamline and protect the construction sector from monopoly trends," Laliotis said.

    He said the new bill envisaged a new rating system for contractor companies based on transparency and objective criteria and according to companies' financial conditions, its experience and viability.

    Laliotis said the ministry's proposals were not aiming to violently impose new rules in the market and said that it was open to a dialogue with companies in the sector.

    He said that a total of 11,854 companies were active in the production of public works in the country.

    The draft bill is expected to be submitted in parliament next month.

    [15] Indicative petrol prices post hefty increase

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    Skyrocketing international prices and a rising US dollar will lead to hefty increases in suggested retail fuel prices for the coming week in Greece, with super rising by 14 drachmas per liter, unleaded by 15 drachmas and diesel by 13 drachmas per liter.

    With only a few weeks until winter arrives, heating oil prices shot up 10 drachmas per liter.

    Specifically, for the greater Athens area and Thessaloniki prefecture, indicative prices as announced by the government on Wednesday stood at 278.7 drachmas per liter for super; 262.7 for unleaded; 257.1 for diesel and 157.4 per liter for heating oil.

    One US dollar equals about 400 drachmas.

    [16] IKA loses hundreds of billions due to unpaid contributions

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    Social Security Foundation (IKA) loses 400 billion drachmas a year in contributions due to uninsured employment, while another 410 billion drachmas is lost due to failure to pay contributions, a panel of IKA union representatives said on Wednesday.

    During a conference in Rhodes, IKA union representatives also noted that the state is the single largest institution that owes money to IKA, as it has an outstanding obligation of 1.3 trillion drachmas to IKA accrued since 1975.

    [17] Consumer group in lawsuits against Greek banks

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    A Greek consumers and borrowers group said it would file lawsuits against several commercial banks on Thursday on alleged usury against borrowers.

    The move is supported by several business groups from the manufacturing and hotel sectors and by the commission of Greek Chambers' Union.

    N. Christodoulopoulos, chairman of Greece's Consumers and Borrowers Group, told reporters on Wednesday that the first lawsuit on alleged usury would be filed against Constantine Georgoutsakos and Ioannis Stournaras, the former and present governors of Commercial Bank of Greece.

    A lawsuit will be filed against Bank of Greece's governor Lucas Papademos and several auditors on alleged cover-up charges.

    Christodoulopoulos said the Commercial Bank benefited almost four billion drachmas annually from illegal practices on evaluating interest on savings and mortgages.

    The group will also file lawsuits on alleged usury against the former and current boards of Eurobank (on CretaBank's policies) and General Bank.

    The consumers and borrowers group also unveiled a package of 25 demands to be submitted in the European Union, the European Parliament and other European agencies, asking for improved banking services by Greek banks.

    [18] Greek stocks fall to seven-week lows

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    Equity prices continued losing ground on Wednesday pushing the general index to its lowest levels since September 1st on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Traders said share prices were extremely vulnerable to more pressures because of lack of buying interest and a shrinking liquidity in the market.

    Analysts said they were unable to predict a short-term recovery in the market.

    Shares in the smaller capitalization sector were particularly hit, while the publication by the government of long-delayed a draft bill on the consolidation of the domestic construction sector was largely ignored by investors.

    The general index ended 2.60 percent lower at 3,627.55 points, with turnover a low 51.81 billion drachmas.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 2.09 percent to 2,083.64 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index ended at 444.08 points, off 3.17 percent.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: 7,621.84

    -2.15% Leasing: 552.27 -2.12% Insurance: 1,904.44

    -2.88% Investment: 1,379.34 -1.85% Construction: 1,854.53 -2.40% Industrials: 2,067.92 -3.85% Miscellaneous: 3,284.80 -4.29% Holding: 4,054.22


    The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended 4.43 percent lower at 447.04 points.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 316 to 33 with another eight issues unchanged.

    Hellenic Telecoms, Alpha Bank, National Bank, Intracom and AB Vassilopoulos were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Leading shares' closing prices (in Drs): National Bank: 14,130 Titan Cement (c): 13,400 Alpha Bank: 13,460 Hellenic Telecoms: 6,955 Commercial Bank: 16,900 Panafon: 3,140 Hellenic Petroleum: 3,490 Eurobank: 10,175 Attica Enterprises: 2,960 Piraeus Bank: 5,920 Intracom: 10,000 Lambrakis Press: 6,500 Minoan Lines: 2,320 Heracles Cement: 5,010

    Hellenic Bottling: 4,630

    Equity futures end down, tracking Athens bourse: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Wednesday, in line with the indices on which they are based.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 1.47 percent down, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 1.96 percent lower.

    Turnover was 14.0 billion drachmas.

    A total of 2,701 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 with turnover at 11.6 billion drachmas.

    On the FTSE/ASE 40 index, 1,254 contracts changed hands on turnover of 2.3 billion drachmas.

    Bond prices nose up in lackluster trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Wednesday finished higher in light to moderate trade.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.945 percent from 5.969 percent a day earlier.

    The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 78 basis points from 74-75 basis points in the two previous sessions.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 78 billion drachmas from 43 billion drachmas in the trading day before.

    Of the total, buy orders accounted for 50 billion drachmas of trade.

    Drachma down vs. euro, up vs. dollar: The drachma on Wednesday ended lower against the euro and higher versus the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.

    At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 339.420 drachmas from 339.360 drachmas in the previous session.

    Also at the fix, the dollar was set at 397.350 drachmas from 399.430 drachmas a trading day earlier.

    [19] Greek-Yugoslav business group holds first meeting

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    The Greek-Yugoslav Business Union held its first plenary meeting, addressed by Alex Rondos, the Greek foreign minister's special advisor.

    The union's corporate members said they were ready to pursue their investment plans in Yugoslavia following political changes in the neighboring country and the lifting of sanctions.

    The union will open an office in Belgrade shortly and its representatives are to accompany National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on a trip to Yugoslavia in November.

    The non-profit-making union was created in September 1998 to promote social and business ties between the two countries.

    Its founding members were Delta SA, National Bank of Greece SA, Hellenic Bottling SA, Intracom SA, Mytilineos SA, Hellenic Telecommunications Organization SA and Titan Cement Company SA.

    [20] Standard & Poor's gives OTE upgrade

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    International ratings agency Standard & Poor's has revised its outlook on state Hellenic Telecommunications Organization to positive from stable.

    It also simultaneously affirmed its A-long-term corporate credit and senior unsecured debt rating on OTE.

    The outlook reflected that of the Hellenic republic at A-/Positive/A1, S & P said.

    OTE is a heavily traded stock on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    [21] Papandreou says government should take action to defend refugees from "merchants of pain"

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou said Wednesday the government should take action and defend refugees from the "merchants of pain", who aim at profiting by "offering them access to the door of paradise."

    In message read at an event organized by the Greek Council for Refugees, Papandreou also said the issue of refugees moves him deeply "not only because I lived in such conditions, but also because I am being a human being whose conscience has roots in a culture having hospitality as an inviolable rule and also a politician who can contribute with his work to a better human tomorrow."

    [22] Archbishop meets visiting Russian pressmen

    Athens, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Wednesday received a group of Russian publishers and journalists from Russia, currently on a visit to Greece.

    The Archbishop underlined to his visitors the importance he attributed to religious and cultural ties between Greece and Russia.

    On their part, the Russian journalists expressed their particular interest on the stance of the Greek Orthodox Church vis-a-vis Islamic fundamentalism. Christodoulos said all kinds of fanaticism, and especially religious fanaticism, were unacceptable, underlining that Orthodoxy was the faith of tolerance and love.

    While in Greece, the Russian journalists will be received in the coming days by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and visit the city of Trikala, central Greece.

    [23] Turkish Cypriots demonstrate against Denktash in occupied areas

    NICOSIA, 19/10/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Some 15.000 people demonstrated on Tuesday against Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in the Turkish-occupied areas of the Republic, calling for his resignation and chanting: "This is our country and we will rule it".

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot women marched to the Nicosia checkpoint and delivered a petition to the UN Peace-keeping force (UNFICYP), denouncing the violence and poverty experienced by Turkish Cypriots under Rauf Denktash's regime. They asked that the petition be conveyed to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

    The demonstration, organized by 40 Turkish Cypriot organizations, along with the general strike declared in the Turkish-occupied areas was a front-page story in the Turkish Cypriot newspapers. It was noted that this was the biggest demonstration ever to take place in the illegal entity in the northern part of the island.

    The illegal regime, unilaterally set up in the areas Turkey occupies since its invasion of the island in 1974, declared itself an "independent state". It is recognized by no other country but Turkey.

    According to the Turkish Cypriot press, barricades were set up in front of the building of the so-called "parliament" of the illegal regime. The crowd was addressed by Turkish Cypriot trade unionists.

    In a press release, the organizers of the demonstration stressed that it is Ankara and not the Turkish Cypriots, which is in control of what goes on in the northern part of the island.

    [24] Central Bank Governor dismisses reports on Milosevic's accounts

    NICOSIA, 19/10/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus Central Bank Governor Afxentis Afxentiou described on Wednesday as "fairy tales" reports that former president of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic had accounts in local banks.

    Anyone who possesses such evidence should present it to the Central Bank for investigation, Afxentiou said, pointing out that it was not the first time such reports had appeared.

    "Those who talk about Milosevic's accounts, should go and look in other countries", he pointed out, noting that the Central bank had carried out investigations at the request of The Hague International Court and that "nothing was found".

    [25] Greek vessels to participate in Cyprus defense exercise

    NICOSIA, 19/10/2000 (ANA)

    Greek naval vessels are expected to arrive at the port of Larnaca on Saturday as part of an ongoing military exercise on Cyprus by the island republic's National Guard.

    The Hellenic Navy frigates "Salamis" and "Aegaio" (Aegean), along with the submarine "Okeanos" (Ocean) and the missile boats "Stavrakis" and "Blessas" will take part in the naval portion of the maneuvers, codenamed "Nikiforos".

    The vessels are expected to remain in Cypriot waters until next week.

    Roughly 37 percent of the Cyprus Republic's territory is occupied by Turkish troops, with UN peacekeepers patrolling a precarious cease-fire line since a Turkish invasion of the island in July 1974. Nicosia, in fact, remains the only divided capital in Europe.

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