Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-02-04
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 04/02/1998 (ANA)
- Three New Democracy deputies expelled, three suspended
- Kranidiotis winds up successful African tour
- Athens charges Turkish campaign against ethnic Greeks
- President watches Parthenon restoration work
- Pangalos to inaugurate Greek cultural centre in Panama
- Gov't announces programme to combat unemployment
- Greek stocks end five-day fall with sharp rebound
- Helexpo says 1998 a landmark year
- ELBE signs agreement to buy off German clothes firm
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Three New Democracy deputies expelled, three suspended
Three leading deputies of the main opposition New Democracy party who
failed to abide by the party line against a government provision changing
relations between workers and management at state-run public utilities,
were expelled from the party early this morning, while another three were
suspended for a year as party members.
The party's disciplinary committee, which met last night to take action
against seven deputies, acquitted one of them. The decision was unanimous.
Those expelled are George Souflias, Stephanos Manos and Vasilis Kontoyiannopoulos.
Former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis, ND's honorary chairman, was
exempted from the decision to refer the ND deputies, taken at an extraordinary
meeting chaired by ND leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday, due to his "long
presence and contribution to political life." Mr. Mitsotakis has the right
"to express views which may not necessarily express the party's positions,"
according to an announcement by Mr. Karamanlis.
Mr. Souflias, unsuccessfully challenged Mr. Karamanlis for the leadership
of the party last year.
The seven deputies abstained from the parliament vote. The amendment was
approved early yesterday by Parliament by a vote of 141 to 121.
A total of 35 deputies - from both opposition and ruling party - were
absent from the roll-call vote.
Hours before the convening of the disciplinary committee, Mr. Mitsotakis
expressed his opposition to the disciplinary action against the seven ND
Mr. Mitsotakis also said that he was not called to preside over the
disciplinary committee, which if it met in his absence, it would do so in
violation of the charter of the party.
Former minister Vasilis Kontoyiannopoulos in a letter to the disciplinary
committee and the party leader, stressed that "New Democracy is obliged to
make clear its liberal choices, particularly on purely qualitative issues,"
and that his stand was in positive response to the party's options, as
expressed by Mr. Karamanlis, as a party whip had never been officially
Former national economy minister Stephanos Manos did not appear before the
disciplinary committee, saying he did not understand why the party should
say 'No' even when it agreed with a government initiative which "follows
our own programme".
Also former minister George Souflias appeared particularly vexed with the
party leader, whom he accused of "opting to lead the country to adventures
in the first decision of his term, instead of deciding on the country's
crucial and substantial issues," and of reviving old party methods of
persecuting positions and ideas.
The ND party is moving along general principles, an inappropriate method of
solving problems, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said while commenting on
developments in the main opposition party.
He further ascribed these developments to the ND's lack of policy and a
wise political direction.
Kranidiotis winds up successful African tour
Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis' tour of Eastern and South
African countries has been described as exeptionally successful, as far as
Greece's promotion of bilateral relations with these countries.
Mr. Kranitiotis' last stop in the six-day tour, which wound up yesterday,
was Ethiopia, where the foreign underesecretary met the country's Prime
Minister Meles Zenawi, as well as National Economy Minister Girma Biru and
counterpart Tekeda Alemu.
Discussions with all officials were friendly and focused on bilateral
relations, while it was decided that a number of already prepared
agreements be signed in the future.
Mr. Kranidiotis told his interlocutors that Greece will increase the number
of scholarships granted to Ethiopian students, while it will aslo provide
food aid of 5,000 tons of wheat and medical aid.
Greece will further participate in educational and training programmes of
Ethiopians, as well as in the contruction of school buildings.
Referring to Greece's candidacy for the United Nations Security Council for
the two-year term of 1999-2000, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi threw
his support, saying the request was rightful and should be backed, since
Greece had only been on the Security Council once since the international
Visiting Pretoria, the official capital of South Africa Monday, the Greek
foreign undersecretary met Minister to the Vice President's Office Essop
Pahad, who is a close associate of the country's vice president and leader
of the African National Congre ss Tambo Mbeki, and Deputy Foreign Minister
A review of current political developments and an exchange of views on the
wide range of bilateral relations took place during talks, which also
touched upon investments, shipping and aviation agreements unilaterally
signed between the two countries.
Mr. Kranidiotis announced Greece's participation in South African
development programmes in the areas of housing and education.
The Greek official extended an invitation to Tambo Mbeki to visit Greece,
as another visit by South African leader Nelson Mandela is still pending.
South African officials spoke in favourable terms on Greece's candidacy for
the Security Council, saying that Greece had strong arguments.
In Namibia, Mr Kranidiotis was warmly received by President Sam Nujoma, who
referred to his people's national liberation struggle and to the support he
had personally had in the past by the PASOK party.
The foreign undersecretary handed the Namibian president a letter by Prime
Minister Costas Simitis, which contained an invitation to visit Greece.
According to sources, Mr. Kranidiotis is said to have been impressed by Mr.
Nujoma's knowledge and concern over the Cyprus problem.
Mr. Kranidiotis' visit to Mozambique, the first visit to that country by a
Greek minister, was equally important.
A meeting was held here with Foreing Minister Leonardo Simao, during which
the Greek official made proposals on providing funding to programmes in the
sectors of child healthcare and education.
Mr. Simao, who was invited to visit Greece, expressed his estimation for
Greece's concern, stressing that his government would very carefully
examine Greece's Security Council candidacy.
Mr. Kranidiotis's tour to seven African countries gave the chance to the
Greek delegation to ascertain the existence of significant potential for
development of bilateral relations with the whole of Africa, as well as
that continent's concern and warm welcome of Greek positions and initiatives.
Athens charges Turkish campaign against ethnic Greeks
Greece will raise the issue of Turkish attempts to alter the Greek
character of the eastern Aegean islands of Imvros and Tenedos, the foreign
ministry said yesterday after reports that holy relics had been stolen from
a church housing a concentration of them from all over the island.
The stolen items included 20 old icons of great value and three Bibles.
"This act constitutes the culmination of a series of plunders and pillages
of churches on Imvros, and comes in the wake of the hideous murder of a
Greek sexton in a Greek church in Istanbul," the ministry said in a
It further stressed that the culprits of all attacks remain at large, and
this cultivates the impression that attacks against ethnic Greeks, their
property and their cultural heritage are acts which do not constitute
The impression is also created that Turkey is attempting to eliminate all
traces of Greek cultural presence on the two islands, the statement
According to an ANA dispatch from Istanbul, unknown assailants broke into
the church of Agridion on Imvros on Sunday and stole at least 15 icons,
sacred vessels and the church's epitaph cloth.
News of the theft reached the Patriarchate yesterday, since the assailants
had cut the telephone wires to the town of Agridion.
The metropolitan of Imvros and Tenedos will go to the island to assess the
The Patriarchate decided some time ago to transfer icons from isolated
churches of the island to the Agridion church which was considered best for
safe keeping of these items.
This theft was the latest in a series of violent acts against churches in
Turkey, while none of the culprits were ever apprehended.
President watches Parthenon restoration work
President Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday attended the first lowering of an
authentic part of the Parthenon's frieze, which has been damaged by rusting
iron couplings placed during restoration work in 1932.
A total of eight parts will be lowered, and will be kept in the Acropolis
museum after the middle of the month. The rest are in the British
"The work on the Sacred Rock is difficult and time-consuming, as not only
the temple is under reconstruction, but the whole of the Acropolis area,"
said the president.
The current restoration work is being carried out on the basis of a study
by architect Demosthenes Ziros.
Pangalos to inaugurate Greek cultural centre in Panama
A new centre to promote Greek culture in one of the world's most important
trade channels, the Panama Cannal, has been founded by the Greek Culture
The centre, The Greek Educational Centre, will be inaugurated on February
11 by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos during an official visit to
Seventy replicas of ancient Greek antiquities will be on a permanent show
at the centre, while other forms of exhibitions will be staged periodically.
The centre's building was donated by Panama's government to the Culture
Ministry and the Greek Cultural Centre.
It is located on Pacific Ocean end of the cannal, near the City of Panama,
while the initiative to house the Greek Educational Centre belongs to
Panama's education minister of Greek descent Pavlos Thalassinos.
Gov't announces programme to combat unemployment
Labour and Social Security Minister Miltiades Papaioannou announced
yesterday that the government would spend 108 billion drachmas in 1998 to
combat unemployment and create 68,000 new jobs.
Of this amount, 81 billion drachmas would come from the European Social
Fund (ESF) while national participation would total 27 billion drachmas.
Mr. Papaioannou said there would be two principal programmes to combat
unemployment, the first directed at young people without jobs between the
ages of 20 and 27 and the second aimed at assisting people aged between 28
and 64 who have been out of work for a long time and whose prospects of
finding a job are not good.
The minister said there would also be smaller, more specific programmes,
for example in the case of mass dismissals and intervention in problem
areas, which are however not included in the 108 billion drachmas.
Within the framework of the new measures, the Labour Ministry will draw up
a National Action Plan to combat unemployment which each European Union
member-state must submit to the Community as a prerequisite for the smooth
flow of funds from the ESF and, indirectly, as yet another prerequisite for
Greek stocks end five-day fall with sharp rebound
Greek equities yesterday rebounded spectacularly after a five-day decline
on the Athens Stock Exchange. Traders said sentiment was encouraged by a
parliament vote on new tax reform legislation covering public enterprises
and a record rally in internat ional markets.
Also, reports of capital inflows totalling 250 million US dollars in the
domestic foreign exchange market at the day's drachma fixing helped
sentiment. The Greek currency was stronger against most foreign currencies.
The general index closed 2.49 percent up at 1,433.17 points reflecting a
3.64 percent surge in the banks index. Most other indices scored gains.
Insurance rose 2.02 percent, Investment ended 0.51 percent up, Constructions
increased 1.02 percent, Industr ials were 0.83 percent higher, Miscellaneous
rose 0.87 percent and Holding was 2.18 percent up. Leasing bucked the trend
to end 0.52 percent down.
The parallel market index for small cap companies increased 1.04 percent up,
while the FTSE/ASE index soared 3.33 percent to 792.09 points.
Trading was heavy with turnover at 16.7 billion drachmas.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 126 to 87 with another 26 issues
Bank of Athens, Eteva, Ergodata, Chalyps Cement and Viokarpet scored the
biggest percentage gains at the day's 8.0 percent upper limit, while Balkan
Export, Nafpaktos Mills, Mochlos and Agrinio Metaplastic suffered the
National Bank of Greece ended at 19,900 drachmas, Ergobank at 14,445, Alpha
Credit Bank at 15,280, Delta Dairy at 3,035, Titan Cement at 13,490,
Intracom at 14,880 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 5,
Helexpo says 1998 a landmark year
1998 will be a landmark year for Helexpo as it seeks expansion to
neighbouring Balkan countries and in central and east European markets.
Helexpo's new strategy started last December with the co-organisation of an
international trade fair in Skopje.
The Greek trade fair company has planned partnerships and participation in
several Balkan and east European trade fairs this year, including Plovdiv
in Bulgaria, Vilnius in Lithuania, Kiev in Ukraine, Belgrade in Yugoslavia,
Tirana in Albania,Bucarest in Romania and Riga in Latvia.
Some of these fairs will be a continuance or expansion of Helexpo's recent
initiatives, while most of them held for the first time and some will be a
cooperation with foreign companies, like a deal with Suricom Consultants
Ltd of Cyprus for the organisa tion of a City '98 trade fair in Nicosia
April 29-May 3.
Helexpo's first participation this year will be in Plovdiv. It will
organise Greek participation at a consumer goods fair in early May. Next
stop is Kiev. Helexpo will co-organise with a Greek-Ukrainian chamber two
exhibitions in June.
During the same month, Helexpo will organise a Greek-Cypriot trade fair in
A Greek trade fair will be held in Belgrade September 9-12.
Bucharest is followed by a Greek trade fair November 11-14.
Helexpo will close the year with a Greek-Cypriot fair in Riga, Latvia.
ELBE signs agreement to buy off German clothes firm
The administration of the ELBE company recently signed an agreement to buy
off the German clothes firm Heinze Berlin which has a prolonged presence in
the German market. The agreement includes the production of Heinze Berlin
clothes at ELBE's units in Greece and Bulgaria. They will be distributed in
Greece, France, Switzerland and Austria. The German company's turnover is
estimated at two billion drachmas.
According to the company's President Mr. Til. Kitsikopoulos, ELBE's
activity is based on the triptych: planning in France, production in
Bulgaria and distribution in European Union countries.
Sales in the first half of the 1997-1998 fiscal year amounted to 1.83
billion drachmas as against 1.3 billion drachmas last year and the
prediction for the entire fiscal year is 3 billion drachmas.
Clouds and rainstorms starting from western Greece will spread to the rest
of the country, with snow in the northern mountainous regions. Winds
southerly, moderate. Athens will be overcast with with the likelihood of a
rainstorm in the afternoon and temperatures from 10-15C. Same in Thessaloniki
with temperatures from 5-9C.
Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 285.369
Pound sterling 467.470 Cyprus pd 535.680
French franc 46.866 Swiss franc 193.787
German mark 157.068 Italian lira (100) 15.908
Yen (100) 226.751 Canadian dlr. 196.257
Australian dlr. 195.226 Irish Punt 394.221
Belgian franc 7.611 Finnish mark 51.913
Dutch guilder 139.331 Danish kr. 41.224
Swedish kr. 35.401 Norwegian kr. 37.877
Austrian sch. 22.323 Spanish peseta 1.854
Port. Escudo 1.536