Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-11-17
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 17/11/1997 (ANA)
- Police on standby for Athens Polytechnic march
- Bulgarian minister in Athens for energy talks
- PM makes surprise visit to IKA
- Athens awaits more on Holbrooke initiative
- Moroccan arrested for German woman's murder
- Drainage workers find ancient Greek jewellery
- Laliotis: Athens 2004 won't drain resources from provincess
- Int'l conference for public administration in Thessaloniki
- Interest rate hikes hurt sentiment
- Greek First Division soccer results
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Police on standby for Athens Polytechnic march
Three-day celebrations marking the November 17, 1973 student uprising at
the Athens Polytechnic against the military junta then ruling Greece began
on Saturday and will climax this afternoon with a customary protest march
through downtown Athens to the US embassy.
More than 3,500 policemen will be on hand to avert any violence during the
march, Public Order Minister George Romeos told the ANA yesterday.
A makeshift bomb made of gas canisters exploded outside the political
bureau of National Economy and Finance Minister Yannos Papantoniou in a
fifth floor apartment opposite the Athens Polytechnic this afternoon,
according to informed sources.
Fire brigade and police officers that rushed to the scene were attacked by
groups of masked anarchists throwing rocks, pieces of wood and Molotov
cocktails. Police countered the attack with tear gas. Two men carrying
electric saws dropped them and ran off when chased by police.
There have been no problems within the Polytechnic itself, where events
commemorating the anniversary of the 1973 uprising against the military
junta culminate in a march to the American Embassy late this afternoon.
Mr. Romeos said the entire Attica police force was on standby to deal with
any eventuality, and that there had been constant contact between his
ministry and the police force over the weekend.
Mr. Romeos said the entrances to the Polytechnic grounds would be closed
and buildings evacuated, while student groups had undertaken the guarding
of the building. A strong police force has been deployed around the
Polytechnic and in the surrounding areas.
The three days of celebrations have often been marred by pitched street
battles between police and masked youths over past anniversaries, many of
whom are self-styled anarchists.
Polytechnic authorities have recently fortified the school buildings
against possible vandalism by youths who take refuge from police in the
school grounds, an asylum where law enforcement authorities are barred from
One of the buildings burned down during the anniversary six years ago and
has now been almost completely restored. The mayhem during the anniversary
in 1991 resulted in the wholescale destruction of the school's premises and
Police said they were concerned by a proclamation by a group calling itself
"Anarchic Initiative" calling for an "open and dynamic" celebration.
Bulgarian minister in Athens for energy talks
Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Regional Development and Public Works
Minister Evgenii Bakurdjiev arrived in Athens on a three-day visit for
talks on infrastructure and energy.
On the agenda are a slow-moving project involving the two countries to
build a pipeline carrying Russian oil from Burgas to the northern Greek
port of Alexandroupoli, natural gas, and Bulgarian electricity exports to
Bakurdjiev, who is due to have talks with Development Minister Vasso
Papandreou and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis, is responsible for
energy, public works, transport, telecoms, the environment and cross-border
Reporting some progress in the oil project in the last six months, he said
the exact route the pipeline would take through Bulgaria would be presented
at a meeting of the two countries in Athens in December.
"There is a very serious problem, in that the Russian side still has not
guaranteed the required minimum quantity of crude oil to ensure operation
of the pipeline," Bakurdjiev said.
He also called on companies participating in the Caspian consortium
including Chevron, AGIP and Mobil also to commit themselves to quantity.
He said it was "fair" that Bulgaria should have a 25% share in the company
operating the pipeline, a share considered by some to be "excessive".
"I don't think that someone should propose percentages to the states, but
that the states should propose those percentages," he said.
"When the Russian side cannot guarantee the percentages, on what basis can
it demand 50%?...In this way Bulgaria, by insisting on a large share, will
not be investing on its own but will have the opportunity to distribute
part of those shares to other major international companies. Possibly
Greece will do the same with Latsis and Copelouzos. These are issues which
need to be discussed in detail," said the Bulgarian minister.
PM makes surprise visit to IKA
Prime Minister Costas Simitis surprised staff at the state Social Security
Foundation (IKA) medical centre in Neos Kosmos this morning, where he
arrived for a spot-check on the operation of the centre only to find delays
and absent doctors.
According to government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, the prime minister
commented on delays caused by the failure of doctors to turn up for
Simitis called for less bureaucracy and more punctuality on the part of
staff, although he characterised the centre's operation as "satisfactory".
Reppas said he would not call Simitis' visit a "raid", but "practical proof
of (Simitis') interest in the problems of Greek citizens".
Athens awaits more on Holbrooke initiative
The Greek government views with interest the initiative undertaken by US
presidential emissary on the Cyprus issue Richard Holbrooke, its spokesman
Dimitris Reppas said today, adding that the particular initiative would
come into its own after the Cypriot presidential election in February.
Reppas said that Holbrooke's initiative, while a positive development,
would also acquire "positive elements" if it corresponded to the spirit and
the substance of relevant UN Resolutions.
Asked to comment on US interest in upgrading Turkish-European Union
relations, Reppas said the EU had passed specific resolutions (on July 15
1996 and April 29, 1997).
Reppas said the interest expressed by various circles was in fact the same
as preaching to the converted, since Greece also wanted an improvement in
EU-Turkey relations, although based on the framework established by the
"The question is whether Turkey also wants this, in which case it should
act accordingly," said Reppas.
Commenting on statements by German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel that
Cyprus could not join the EU without a resolution of the political problem,
the government spokesman said:
"Statements are made from time to time, but the issue remains that we have
to intensify our efforts based on the EU's resolution according to which
negotiations for the accession of Cyprus to the European Union will begin
on April 2, 1998."
Moroccan arrested for German woman's murder
A 24-year-old Moroccan man has been arrested for the murder of a German
woman in Crete, police announced today.
They said Abrut Sikham was taken into custody Saturday afternoon by Hania
police at an intercity bus station as he was trying to leave the island.
Sikham admitted killing Line Vember, 64, who had lived in Kissamo village,
near Hania, for the past 23 years.
The young Moroccan told police interrogators that "I did not know what I
was doing because I was drunk". He was quoted as saying that he raped the
women and then strangled her with her panty hose and then stepped on her
A coroner's report said the victim, who was discovered by a local resident
on Saturday morning, had been raped and then strangled to death between
midnight Friday and 3:00 a.m. Saturday.
Sikham told police that after he killed Vember, he went to the apartment he
shared with a Moroccan roommate and packed his belongings before taking the
early morning bus to Hania, where he was picked up later by the police.
Drainage workers find ancient Greek jewellery
Workers digging a drainage tunnel near a railway station at Thebes, east of
Athens, have uncovered a vase containing hundreds of bronze and silver
coins and gold jewellery dating back to the Hellenistic period.
Archaeologist Elena Kountouri, who examined the find, said the 457 coins
and the jewellery were inside an urn under the floor of an ancient
She said 50 of the coins dated to the period between 288-146 B.C. when
southern Greece was under Roman rule.
Kountouri said the jewellery were excellent examples of ancient Greek
Laliotis: Athens 2004 won't drain resources from provinces
Assurances that the 2004 Olympiad would not lead to a trans fer of funds to
Athens from the provinces were reiterated by Environment, Public Works and
Town Planning Minister Costas Laliotis, speaking at the "Money Show '97"
conference in Athens on Saturday.
The benefits to Attica, he said, not only from the Olympic Games but from
the "cultural Olympiad" and the environmental protections programme, which
were to begin in 2000, would also benefit other regions of Greece.
He stressed that projects such as the Spata airport, the natural gas
network and the unification of Athens' archaeological sites should not be
linked with the Games, as they had been scheduled to go ahead irrespective
of Athens' candidacy. The differenc e now was that "a definite time limit
for their completion" had been set, he added. Technical Chamber of Greece
president Costas Liaskos also downplayed the effect of the Games on
construction in Athens, saying that the Olympic Village amounted to only 1
per cent of annual construction activity in Attica.
Eurobank managing director Nikos Nanopoulos stressed the importance of
cooperation between banks, the state and construction companies in
completing Olympic projects, including cooperative efforts and mergers,
such as in the manner of the Stavros-Elefsi na tollway project, where 12
companies are cooperating. v
Int'l conference for public administration in Thessaloniki
Ministers, diplomats and public administration officials from some 20
eastern and central European countries and the former Soviet Union will
begin meeting in Thessaloniki today on the role of public administration.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis will be the keynote speaker tonight at the
official dinner for the conference, entitled "Public Administration in
Transition: Reinforcing its Role, Professionalism and Ethical Bases".
The regional conference is being organised by Greece's interior, public
administration and decentralisation ministry and the United Nations'
development agency, UNDESA.
The European Commission, European Investment Bank, World Bank UN and OECD
are all represented at the conference.
Interest rate hikes hurt sentiment
Greek equities came under renewed pressure to end sharply lower on the
Athens Stock Exchange with market sentiment hurt after a wave of interest
rate rises by major commercial banks.
The general index closed 3.88 percent lower at 1,331.04 points, down 25.81
percent from its all-time high of 1,794.14 points two months ago. The index
however shows a net gain of 42.59 percent since January.
Traders said the Greek economy was now suffering the impact of a recent
international monetary turmoil.
They also cited as potentially negative factors an global trend of foreign
investors to massively leave emerging markets and press reports that the
Greek government was planning to implement a capital tax on stock
transactions and a tax on business reserves.
Banks fell 3.65 percent, Insurance eased 3.76 percent, Leasing plunged 6.23
percent, Investment was 5.13 percent off, Construction ended 7.57 percent
down, Industrials fell 3.71 percent, Miscellaneous dropped 3.71 percent and
Holding was 4.63 percent off.
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 4.80 percent
Trading was moderate with turnover at 16.9 billion drachmas.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 216 to 14 with another 5 issues
Heliofin and Macedonian Plastics (common and preferred) scored the biggest
percentage gains at the upper limit of 8.0 percent, while Sfakianakis,
Nikas, Singular, Karelias, Altec and Eteva suffered the heaviest losses at
the down limit.
National Bank of Greece ended at 25,700 drachmas, Ergobank at 13,990, Alpha
Credit Bank at 16,000, Delta Dairy at 3,295, Titan Cement at 11,400,
Intracom at 10,640 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 4,
Greek First Division soccer results
PAOK-Panathinaikos 2-1 Apollon-AEK Athens 3-4
Olympiakos-Heraklis 5-2 Pyrgos - Xanthi 4-3
Panionios - OFI Crete 3-0 Panahaiki - Athinaikos 4-1
Veria - Ethnikos 3-0 Kavala - Kalamata 5-1
Proodeftiki-Ionikos postponed Standings-points:
AEK Athens 25, Panathinaikos, Ionikos, Olympiakos 24
Apollon, Heraklis 17 PAOK 16, Xanthi 14
Panahaiki, Panionios 13 Pyrgos 12, OFI Crete 11
Cloudiness and light rain is forecast for most parts of Greece today. Winds
mild north to northwesterly. Temperatures in the north will range from 2-10
degrees Celsius and from 6-19C in the islands. Athens will be overcast and
rainy with temperatures from 9-16C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 270.003
Pound sterling 456.915 Cyprus pd 531.315
French franc 46.517 Swiss franc 192.423
German mark 155.789 Italian lira (100) 15.921
Yen (100) 214.728 Canadian dlr. 191.853
Australian dlr. 187.290 Irish Punt 406.918
Belgian franc 7.554 Finnish mark 51.792
Dutch guilder 138.205 Danish kr. 40.936
Swedish kr. 35.795 Norwegian kr. 38.142
Austrian sch. 22.130 Spanish peseta 1.848
Port. Escudo 1.528