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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-02-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 04/02/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Three New Democracy deputies expelled, three suspended
  • Pangalos off on tour of Central America
  • US official did not ask for Greek assistance with Iraq
  • Macedonia-Thrace bank strike
  • Gang arrested for transporting illegal immigrants
  • Prince Charles to be patron of British Archaeology School
  • Government 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
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Three New Democracy deputies expelled, three suspended

Crisis loomed over the main opposition New Democracy party after its Disciplinary Council expelled three senior deputies and suspended three others following their abstention from a parliamentary vote on a controversial amendment restructuring over-indebted public sector corporations and utilities, collectively referred to as DEKO.

"With their stance, they effectively placed themselves outside the party," ND leader Costas Karamanlis said after the roll-call vote Monday night, during which six high-profile party MPs abstained, disregarding the party line of voting against the amendment.

The Disciplinary Council convened urgently on Tuesday by Karamanlis early this morning decided the expulsion of George Souflias, Stephanos Manos and Vassilis Kontoyannopoulos from the party, and a one-year suspension for Petros Tatoulis, Nikos Kakkalos and Anastasis Papaligouris. It took no disciplinary action against a seventh MP, George Panayotopoulos, who did not show up for the parliamentary session due to illness.

George Souflias, 56, who held several ministerial posts under the ND governments, including the national economy, tourism and education portfolios, had contested the party leadership at ND's last Congress last March.

Stephanos Manos, 59, also held several ministerial posts, including the national economy, finance, industry and energy, and town planning and environment portfolios. Manos had initially contested the party leadership, but eventually threw his support behind Souflias.

Vassilis Kontoyannopoulos, 55, a former education minister, also supported Souflias' candidacy.

All three abstained from the vote, while Tatoulis and Kakkalos walked out of the vote and Papaligouras did not show up. Tatoulis, Kakkalos and Papaligouras, too, had supported Souflias' candidacy.

George Panayotopoulos, 68, who served in the past as minister of transport and minister of commerce, had backed Karamanalis' candidacy.

Commenting on the expulsions and suspensions, ND honourary president and former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis said "a small group of would- be guardians prepared and executed persecutions in a manner alien to our democratic party. The great liberal party of the 47 percent should not and will not be shrunken to the limits of that small group. I want to believe that the new party leader, whom no has undermined mor disputed, will comprehend this reality".

Pangalos off on tour of Central America

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos leaves today on a 10-day tour of Central American countries to promote Greece's candidacy for a non- permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 1999-2000 and to promote bilateral relations.

Pangalos will tour Bermuda, Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, and Barbados and the western African country of Senegal before returning to Athens on February 14.

Pangalos arrives in Bermuda this afternoon after a brief refuelling stopover in Portugal, before going on to Mexico on Thursday.

On Friday, Pangalos will hold separate meetings with Mexican Trade and Commerce Minister Heminio Blanco, Foreign Minister Rosario Green and chairman of the Congressional Committee on Foreign Relations Fernando Solana Morales. He will also be received by President Ernesto Zedillo, while in the afternoon Pangalos and Ms. Green will sign a Memorandum of Political Consultations and attend the signing of the Final Act of the Third Conference of the Joint Greece-Mexico Educational and Cultural Committee.

Pangalos will spend the weekend in Mexico on a private itinerary including visits to archaeological sites and museums, before going to Costa Rica on Monday where he will told talks with Foreign Minister Dr. Fernando Naranjo Villalobos.

On Tuesday, February 10, he will go to Nicaragua for talks with counterpart Emilio Alvarez Montalvan and to attend the 9th EU-San Jose Ministerial Conference comprising representatives from the EU member states, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador and Colombia aiming at clooser cooperation between the EU and Central America.

On Wednesday he flies to Panama where he will attend the 8th Ministerial Conference of the EU-Rio Group comprising representatives of the EU member states, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay aiming at closer cooperation between the EU and Latin America.

Pangalos will also inaugurate a Greek cultural centre in Panama on Wednesday evening.

The Panamanian government last April donated a 50-hectare plot in the "City of Knowledge" to the Greek Community for the construction of a Hellenic Cultural Centre.

The Centre is part of an ambitious project called the "City of Knowledge" comprising an international centre of top-level training, promotion of scientific and technological research, and innovation in areas considered strategic for the development of the sciences, economy, culture, sustainable development and democracy.

The mega-project is considered promising for progress not only in Panama but also all of Latin American, the Carribean and other regions of the world.

After the conclusion of the two-day EU-Rio Group conference on Thursday, February 12, Pangalos will fly to Barbados for a one-hour stopover before embarking on the last stop on his tour in Senegal on Friday morning on a private itinerary.

He leaves Senegal at noon, Saturday (February 14) for the return flight to Athens, where he is due to arrive at 10:30 p.m.

US official did not ask for Greek assistance with Iraq

The government said today that Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Mark Grossman had not requested Greek assistance in any military operations which may be carried out against Iraq.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Greece was in favour of the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions, was opposed to the use of weapons of mass destruction and desired a peaceful solution to the crisis with Iraq.

Grossman had talks here yesterday with National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who stressed that all diplomatic efforts must be exhausted for a peaceful settlement of the Iraq problem.

Macedonia-Thrace bank strike

Employees of Greece's Macedonia-Thrace Bank launch a 48-hour strike tomorrow protesting the government's plan to partly privatise the Thessaloniki-based bank by selling 27.5 percent of its stock.

Bank employees will stage a demonstration outside the bank's headquarters in downtown Thessaloniki and hold a press conference.

Employees union spokesman George Gougoilis told the ANA that the bank's 1, 600 employees "will in no instance accept its privatisation", and stressed the bank's "importance for the development of Thessaloniki and northern Greece and its contribution to economic cooperation among the Balkan countries".

Gang arrested for transporting illegal immigrants

Three men, including a tourist bus owner and driver, have been arrested and another three are being sought in connection with the transportation of illegal immigrants.

Thomas Tsiliopoulos, 43, was arrested as he passed through the Elefsina toll post on his way to the port of Igoumenitsa with 13 illegal immigrant Kurds in a coach owned by Stylianos Kambouridis. Mihalis Abdul, 34, was arrested with him.

The Kurds had each paid one thousand dollars for the transportation.

Kambouridis, arrested later, had apparently brought the coach into Greece illegally, using false number plates.

Police are still searching for Anastasios Markos, 45, another tourist coach owner who is believed to be the leader of the gang, driver Leonidas Kokosis and an Indian national known only by the name of Marios.

Prince Charles to be patron of British Archaeology School

Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, has agreed to become Patron of the British School at Athens, in succession to the Duke of Edinburgh, Patron since 1952, the British Embassy in Athens announced today.

It quoted Gerald Cadogan, Chairman of the School, as welcoming the news as "a wonderful boost to the School that will give it new vigour now that it is 111 years old", while addressing the School's Annual Meeting.

The Prince also agreed to be the Patron of the School's forthcoming Appeal for financial reinforcement, to be launched in Athens and London later in the yar.

British Ambassador to Athens Sir Michael Llewellyn Smith, who is vice- president of the British School at Athens, warmly welcomed "this development which will encourage and hope the School in realising its development plans".

School Director David Blackman reported to the Annual Meeting on developments in Greece, which included the conservation of important Roman mosaics at the Villa Dionyssos at Knossos, considered among the best in the 2nd century AD Roman world, being carried out in partnership with the Greek Archaeological Service, and the University of Cyprus.

Other developments included the School's new scheme, funded by the Butrint Foundation, to bring younger Albanian archaeologists to study and research in Greece under the School's aegis, and the School's return, after 40 years' absence, to field research in Chios, again in collaboration with the Archaeological Service.

"Working together with our Greek colleagues is the way forward. We are privileged to be allowed to study on the spot the extraordinary contribution of Greece to mankind," Mr. Blackwell said.

The British School at Athens, founded in 1886, is the UK's oldest research institution abroad. Members study all aspects and all periods of the life and culture of Greece, including archaeology, in which the School has made a substantial contribution.

Government 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 economic convergence.

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 unchanged.

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 heaviest losses.

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, 575.

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 Vilnius, Lithuania.

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.

WEATHER

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.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

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

(M.P.)


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