Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-02-04
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 04/02/1998 (ANA)
- 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
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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