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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-11-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


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
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


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 entering.

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 facilities.

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 Greece.

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 cooperation.

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 appointments.

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 EU.

"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 neck.

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 dwelling.

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 goldsmithy.

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 down.

    Trading was moderate with turnover at 16.9 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 216 to 14 with another 5 issues unchanged.

    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, 950.

    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 between 4-10C.


    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


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