Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-02-08
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 08/02/1998 (ANA)
- Floods in Evros, one missing
- New Democracy leader says ready for more expulsions
- Greek consumer price inflation drops to 4.4 pct in January
- Greek stocks jump on declining inflation
- Greece's stance on ongoing crisis in Iraq
- New Turkish theory disputes Greek sovereignty of islets
- Tsohatzopoulos tours DASA facilities in Germany
- EU asked to urgently discuss Greek olive oil producers' problems
- Alumil activity in Romania
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Floods in Evros, one missing
Flooding in the border region of Evros has caused extensive damage to
farmland in the area, regional officials said late on Saturday.
A full estimate of the damage will be made as soon as waters from the
swollen Evros River recede, Eastern Macedonia-Thrace secretary-general
Stavros Kambelis said.
Some 10 families in the Lavaron region which have lost their homes will
receive 200,000 drachmas in emergency aid, he added.
Macedonia-Thrace ministry secretary-general George Lyssaridis, who visited
the region, said the "excellent" level of coordination between emergency
services had averted more damage from the adverse weather.
Evros Prefect George Dolios told reporters that damage had centred on
cotton crops but that agriculture generally would be affected in the region
as farmers would not be able to collect crops in time, if at all.
He said efforts to locate a hunter missing in the Evros River since
Saturday evening would be continuing, but added that authorities had issued
notices about the dangers of hunting and fishing in the region during the
Spyros Galatsidas, 28, from Trikala in the Imathias prefecture, was swept
away by the raging Evros waters in the Kornofolias area while hunting for
wild ducks with his father-in-law and another relative. He disappeared
after their boat overturned.
Rescue efforts have been hampered by the high levels of the Evros'
New Democracy leader says ready for more expulsions
The turmoil in the ranks of opposition New Democracy continued over the
weekend with ND leader Costas Karamanlis laying down the law today and
saying he would not tolerate any more "backstabbing".
Speaking in Egio, Karamanlis said that the three leading New Democracy
deputies expelled from the party on Tuesday had "provided the government
The three deputies were expelled from the party for failing to toe the
party line against a government provision changing relations between
workers and management at state-run public utilties.
The amendment was approved early on Tuesday by a vote of 141 to 121. A
total of 35 deputies - from both opposition and ruling party - absented
themselves from the vote.
One of the three, George Souflias, is a former national economy minister
and had run unsuccessfully against Karamanlis for the party leadership at
ND's Congress last March. The other two, former ministers Stephanos Manos
and Vassilis Kontoyannopoulos had also supported Souflias's run for ND
leader, as had another three ND deputies suspended for a year.
The fall-out from the expulsions and suspensions dominated the weekend's
news, with Dora Bakoyianni, another former minister, breaking her silence
and criticising Karamanlis's move against the dissenters.
Bakoyianni, the daughter of former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis,
whose failure to vote with the party on the provision was "excused" by
Karamanlis, said that she would propose initiatives to ensure the unity of
She assured Karamanlis that nobody questioned his position as leader of the
In an interview published in Sunday's Eleftherotypia, Karamanlis said he
would not hesitate to expel others from the party and that he "could not
occupy a chair that was continually being shaken".
Souflias, meanwhile, told To Vima, that changes on the political stage were
in the pipeline but that it was too early to talke about a new party. He
said his aim was to "revive the liberal movement" in Greece.
Greek consumer price inflation drops to 4.4 pct in January
Greek consumer price inflation continued its decline in January, dropping
to 4.4 percent year-on-year from 4.7 percent a month earlier, the National
Statistics Service (ESYE) said yesterday.
The average inflation rate for the 12-month period of January 1997 to 1998
stood at 5.3 per cent, compared to 8.1 per cent for the corresponding
period of January 1996 to January 1997.
Commenting on the fall in inflation down to 4.4 per cent, National Economy
Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told a press conference in London, where he is
on a visit, that the government had succeeded where all its predecessors
"We are strict, a little unpleasant, but we have finally succeeded where
all other governments in the last 25 years failed," he said.
He added that the government was resolved to continue implementation of its
economic programme, and that the emphasis in coming years would fall on the
rehabilitation of public utilities. He stressed that the effort would be
crowned with success, as it enjoyed broad popular support.
Greek stocks jump on declining inflation
Greek stocks ended sharply higher yesterday as the Athens Stock Exchange
celebrated a fall in the inflation rate to its lowest in almost three
The general index closed 2.45 percent up at 1,464.12 points, showing a net
gain of 4.92 percent on the week. Traders said investors had regained
confidence after turmoil in the domestic money market seemed to evaporate
and state institutional investor s decided to intervene to support the
market ahead of a public offering of investment firms on February 17-
Most sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 2.84 percent, Insurance
increased 1.03 percent, Investment ended 0.74 percent up, Construction
soared 2.59 percent, Industrials rose 1.66 percent, Miscellaneous ended
0.79 percent higher and Holding jumped 3. 27 percent. Leasing bucked the
trend to end 0.04 percent down.
The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 2.51 percent. The
FTSE/ASE index of blue chips ended at 789.41 points, up 0.96 percent, to
show an increase of 6.26 percent on the week.
Trading was heavy with turnover at 20.8 billion drachmas. The week's total
turnover was 76.7 billion drachmas for a daily average of 15.3 billion, up
from 13.8 billion drachmas the previous week.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 174 to 49 with another 17 issues
Alumil, Agrinio Metalplastic, Viokarpet and Nafpaktos Mills scored the
biggest percentage gains at the daily 8.0 percent upper trading limit,
while Vis, Mouriades, Endisi, General Warehouses and Daring suffered the
National Bank of Greece ended at 20,930 drachmas, Ergobank at 14,800, Alpha
Credit Bank at 15,450, Delta Dairy at 3,005, Titan Cement at 13,700,
Intracom at 15,250 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 5,
Greece's stance on ongoing crisis in Iraq
Greece will not become involved in any military operations against Iraq
without a prior decision by the UN Security Council, Defence Undersecretary
Dimitris Apostolakis said in Parliament yesterday.
However, he said that although Greece would be "committed to obey" any such
UN decision, it would not be necessary for Greece to contribute its own
forces to any military operation.
Mr. Apostolakis was speaking in response to a question from Communist Party
of Greece deputy Haralambos Aggourakis regarding the possible use of the
Souda and Aktio military bases by US Air Force planes in any new action
With regard to a recent meeting in Athens between US Assistant Secretary of
State for European Affairs Mark Grossman and the leadership of the foreign
and defence ministries, the undersecretary commented that the US had made
"no request for Greek assist ance or facilities in the event that the US
decided to intervene in Iraq". Therefore, he added, Greece has undertaken
no commitment to the US government.
Mr. Apostolakis also said Mr. Grossman had been informed of Greece's
opposition to the trade sanctions against Iraq and their devastating
repercussions on the children of Iraq due to the lack of medicines and
New Turkish theory disputes Greek sovereignty of islets
A Turkey-based research foundation again raised claims disputing Greek
sovereignty of several small Aegean islands and rocky islets in a
publication entitled "The Basic Issue in the Aegean."
The edition, published by the "Turkish History Foundation" and compiled by
a Turkish naval officer, repeats exactly the arguments set out in a Turkish
military academy manual in May 1996.
The small, rocky islets "which are not mentioned by name in international
treaties in the Aegean continue to belong to Turkey, which constitutes a
continuation of the Ottoman state", according to the latest Turkish
The purpose of the theory, according to the publication, is "a new and
basic problem which will influence the overall status in the Aegean."
The "theory's major problem is that the Lausanne Treaty, by which the
modern Turkish state was created and its borders were delineated in detail,
explicitly states that Turkey in the Aegean is restricted to islands, small
islands and rocky islets etc, located at a distance of three nautical miles
from the Asia Minor coasts and the islands of Imvros and Tenedos.
The Turkish military staff has recently attempted to plan exercises or
restrict regions for exercises which would help the new theory to be
implemented in practice. In one case (Gavdos, May 1996) it opposed, on the
basis of this theory, the inclusion of the island, located south of Crete,
in a NATO exercise.
Turkish diplomatic circles, despite the fact they appear hesitant on the
correctness of the new theory, are systematically raising the issue of
"grey zones in the Aegean" lately, an expression leading directly to the
Tsohatzopoulos tours DASA facilities in Germany
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos visited facilities of the
German aerospace firm DASA near Munich yesterday, where he was briefed on
the progress of upgrading two Hellenic Air Force F-4 fighters.
Know-how will also be transferred to the remaining F-4s, which will be
upgraded in Greece.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos is in Munich to attend the "Political Security
Conference", starting this morning and with "Security and the Future" being
the first issue on the agenda.
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl will be the main speaker.
This year's event is being attended by more than 200 politicians, diplomats
and military officers, including US Defense Secretary William Cohen and
NATO Secretary General Javier Solana.
EU asked to urgently discuss Greek olive oil producers' problems
Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas has sent a letter to European
Union agriculture commissioner Franz Fischler asking for an urgent
discussion of problems facing Greek olive producers.
Mr. Tzoumakas asked for the issue to be included on the agenda of the next
olive oil administrative committee meeting in Brussels on February
The minister argued that although olive product prices have dropped
significantly sales were sluggish with products remaining in warehouses.
The situation was a cause of serious financial, social and political
problems in Greece, carrying a risk of disintegration for the country's
olive oil market, Mr. Tzoumakas stressed.
Meanwhile, olive producers continued protesting in Crete and farmers have
agreed to hold further protests along the country's national road
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas called on the farmers not to proceed
to blockades and called on them to hold talks with the agriculture
Alumil activity in Romania
The Alumil Mylonas company,recently registered on the Athens Stock Exchange,
has consolidated activities in Balkan markets, and particularly Romania, by
establishing the subsidiary Alumil Rom Industry SRL.
Alumil purchased the Bucharest installations of the Vulcan firm, aiming at
initially using its storage space to cover the Romanian market.
Clouds and rain in most parts of Greece with light snowfall in the
mountainous areas. Winds variable, moderate to strong, turning into gale
force in the Aegean Sea. Partly cloudy with spells of sunshine in Athens
and possible light rain in the afternoon with temperatures from 6-10C.
Thessaloniki will be overcast with temperatures from 2-7C.
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 282.164
Pound sterling 464.514 Cyprus pd 533.339
French franc 46.882 Swiss franc 194.635
German mark 157.113 Italian lira (100) 15.903
Yen (100) 227.158 Canadian dlr. 197.507
Australian dlr. 190.772 Irish Punt 393.665
Belgian franc 7.613 Finnish mark 51.802
Dutch guilder 139.386 Danish kr. 41.237
Swedish kr. 35.156 Norwegian kr. 37.706
Austrian sch. 22.333 Spanish peseta 1.853
Port. Escudo 1.535