Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-02-10
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 10/02/1998 (ANA)
- Greece submits non-paper to NATO on Turkish provocations
- No U.S. request concerning Iraq
- Imported blood by-products confiscated
- Organisation of 2004 Olympics a challenge, but poses no fears
- Buildings in Kavala seriously damaged by floods
- EU Commission to take action against Greece on spent mineral oils
- IKA revenue losses may spell trouble in years to come
- Protesting farmers' representatives to meet gov't officials
- Greek stocks surge on falling inflation, interest rates
- Greece to change law on overdue loans
- Gov't to create incentives for withdrawal of old cars
- Greek exports rise in value in 1994-1996
- Italian company wins OTE tender
- Premier meets Gavras, Dalaras
- Iordanescu given greek light to coach Greece's national team
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece submits non-paper to NATO on Turkish provocations
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday confirmed a report that
Greece had sent a non-paper to NATO refuting Turkish claims that Greece was
giving support to Turkey's Kurdish minority.
The report, which appeared in Sunday's issue of the Athens daily "Kathimerini",
said the non-paper also presented NATO with data indicating that Turkey was
undermining the normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations through, firstly
specific mechanisms in Greece's northeastern province of Thrace with a view
to promot ing destabilisation and separatist views, secondly, through
arsons in forests and other forms of sabotage in Greece by members of
the Turkish underworld linked with unofficial power centres in the
neighbouring country and thirdly, by Turkish authorities showing "tolerance"
in the massive flow of illegal immigrants to Greece and drug trafficking
from Turkey towards Europe through Greece.
The report said the submission of the non-paper was part of a broader
strategy on the part of the Greek government, according to which the de-
escalation of tension between the two countries should be accompanied by
shedinglight on Turkish provocations so that the international community
acquires a clear picture of the ways in which Turkey's aggressiveness is
According to the report, sources said the government considered that these
tactics minimised the dangers of 'spasmodic' -and with unforeseeable
consequences- moves by Ankara in Thrace, where its strategy has been led to
an impasse through Greece's policy of equal political and legal rights for
the Moslem minority in recent years, as testified, among other things, by
the abolition of Article 19 of the Citizenship Code.
Such an approach is also considered to reduce the likelihood of a 'hot'
incident in the Aegean. The latest briefing of EU ambassadors on Turkish
violations of Greek airspace in the Aegean was accompanied by a video
showing to better illustrate Turkish provocative behaviour.
No U.S. request concerning Iraq
"Greece has had no message from the United States concerning a possible
request from Washington for the use of (military) bases on Greek territory
in the event of an intervention in Iraq," government spokesman Dimitris
Reppas said yesterday in reply to press questions.
Imported blood by-products confiscated
The Greek Pharmaceutical Organisation (EOF) yesterday announced that it
confiscated more than a month ago a large number of imported blood by-
products, which could be tainted.
EOF President G. Kavadias said that two pharmaceutical products imported
from Germany were pulled off the shelves of two pharmacies in the Athens
area to be tested for viruses.
The samples tested to date did not contain infectious diseases but the
testing at the "Laiko Hospital" will continue, Mr. Kavadias said.
EOF's announcement came after a report yesterday that a Lichtenstein lawyer
revealed that tainted blood by-products and human organs were illegaly
imported from eastern European countries and Russia and exported to
The illegal trade, which begun in 1996, used blood of cancer patients and
people with a weak immune system.
Mr. Kavadias noted that the case has already been assigned to a public
prosecutor, since these products were promoted in public hospitals in
Athens and Patra by university doctors without the quality seal of
Mr. Kavadias said that at least two doctors are allegedly involved in
prescribing the blood by-products, and it is probable that they received
large commissions for promoting the products.
The EOF president noted that all products with the EOF seal of approval may
be used without fear by all patients.
Organisation of 2004 Olympics a challenge, but poses no fears
Newly appointed president of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games organising
committee Stratis Stratigis yesterday said the organisation of the Games,
while a "considerable challenge", posed no fears.
Speaking at a joint press conference yesterday with Sports Undersecretary
Andreas Fouras after returning from the opening ceremony of the Winter
Olympics in Nagano, Japan, Mr. Stratigis said of his meeting with
International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch:
"The IOC president believes that the Athens Olympics will combine sports
with culture linked with history. Mr. Samaranch rightly believes that the
2004 Games will be the best ever held."
With regard to the 2004 budget, Mr. Stratigis stressed that the final
budget would be submitted after the Sydney Olympiad in 2000.
"We aren't afraid of anything. The IOC's accumulation of technical know-how
and our efforts to adapt the Games to new technology are a guarantee that
the Games will be organised successfully," he said.
Questioned with regard to Greece's proposal for a world truce during the
2004 Games, Mr. Fouras said the proposal had become "flesh and blood" in
Nagano and had been enthusiastically received by all IOC members.
Buildings in Kavala seriously damaged by floods
Over 250 homes and businesses were seriously damaged in last week's
flooding in Nea Peramos, Kavala, according to a statement by its mayor
Iraklis Karaberidis yesterday.
Dozens of holiday-home owners visited the region over the weekend to survey
the damage to property, while a team of engineers is inspecting all flooded
buildings for structural damage.
Regional Director for eastern Macedonia and Thrace Stavros Karatziotis is
to visit Nea Perama tomorrow to announce measures to assist the flood
victims and allocate compensation from national and European Union
EU Commission to take action against Greece on spent mineral oils
The European Commission has decided to take action against Greece for not
announcing plans for the management of spent mineral oils, Environment
Commissioner Ms Ritt Bjerregaard said in reply to a question by Greek Euro-
MP Michalis Papayiannakis.
"Greece has not submitted data concerning the implementation of Directive
87/101/EOK, regarding spent mineral oils, amending Directive 75/439/EOK on
the disposal of spent mineral oils," she said in a reply dated February
"In Greece, only 9 per cent (5,000 tonnes) of used mineral oils are
gathered through legal procedures and undergo renewal. The remaining part
is gathered by illicit small traders, who sell the untreated waste as fuel,
" she added. As a result the Commission was considering referring Greece to
the European court for ill application of the Directives, she concluded.
IKA revenue losses may spell trouble in years to come
The President of the Social Security Foundation's, IKA, Staff Federation
Mr. G. Perifanos told a press conference yesterday that an increase in
contributions evasion and loans can lead IKA to a crucial position and even
to inability to guarantee, five years later, pensions and medical care for
those insured with it.
The POS-IKA union has called a 24-hour strike today and has announced a 48-
hour strike in the next few days. Trade unionists warned that they will
consider the period until Easter as "strike time" and called on the
government to evaluate the foundation's revenue losses and inconvenience
caused for the insured.
Their main claim is an incentive bonus for pursuing contributions evasion,
totalling six billion drachmas, given to them last year but withdrawn this
year by decision of Finance Undersecretary Nicos Christodoulakis. They also
want the hiring of more staff.
More than 3,000 vacant jobs cost IKA a great deal. Mr. Perifanos predicted
a decrease in contributions receipts by 5-7 per cent a year, leading to a
loss of 300 billion drachmas over the next three years.
Protesting farmers' representatives to meet gov't officials
Protesting farmers yesterday continued a week-long blockade of national
highways in northern Greece as the government set up a team of troubleshooters
in a bid to end the standoff.
The team, headed by Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas and comprising
Finance Undersecretary George Drys, agriculture undersecretaries Dimitris
Sotirlis and Vassilis Geranidis, and the governor of the Agricultural Bank
of Greece, Petros Lambrou,invited protesting farmers' representatives to
the ministry for talks on Thursday.
The farmers have said they will intensify blockades this week and continue
their protest until their demands are met for state subsidies and cheaper
petrol for agricultural use. Farmers are blocking the national road at
several points in the prefectu res of Thessaloniki, Pieria and Imathia,
causing serious disruption to traffic and forcing drivers to use side
Greek stocks surge on falling inflation, interest rates
Greek equities yesterday shot to their highest levels in more than a month
on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Traders said market sentiment was encouraged by a fall in inflation, a
gradual drop in domestic interbank interest rates and positive news on a
government sponsored amendment for bank penalty rates on overdue loans.
The general index closed 3.09 percent up at 1,509.31 points reflecting a
5.12 percent surge in the banking index.
Other sector indices scored gains. Insurance rose 4.02 percent, Investment
increased 0.86 percent, Construction ended 4.75 percent up, Industrials
rose 1.92 percent, Miscellaneous ended 3.55 percent higher, Holding was
1.74 percent up but Leasing bucked the trend to end 0.52 percent off.
The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 0.68 percent. The
FTSE/ASE index surged 3.85 percent to end at 843.09 points.
Trading was extremely heavy with turnover at 29.2 billion drachmas.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 147 to 76 with another 20 issues
St.George Mills, Esha, Hellenic Textiles and Bank of Athens scored the
biggest percentage gains at the daily upper 8.0 percent limit, while Vis,
Halyps Cement, Mouzakis and Benroubi suffered the heaviest losses at 8.0
percent limit down.
National Bank of Greece ended at 22,580 drachmas, Ergobank at 15,600, Alpha
Credit Bank at 16,250, Delta Dairy at 3,000, Titan Cement at 14,295,
Intracom at 15,815 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 5,
Greece to change law on overdue loans
The Greek government will release a bill next week covering the imposition
of penalty rates on overdue loans by commercial banks.
Under the new regulation, penalty rates are to be imposed every six months,
down from the current three months, National Economy and Finance Minister
Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday.
Mr. Papantoniou told reporters after a meeting with bank governors that the
ministry wanted to benefit borrowers.
He stressed that the government would do its utmost to limit the cost of
the new regulation. It is being introduced following a Supreme Court
Gov't to create incentives for withdrawal of old cars
Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis plans to introduce incentives for car
owners to withdraw old vehicles from the market in order to help cut
pollution by 2004 when Athens will host the Olympic Games.
"There must be attractive incentives so that cars over 15 years old on
average can gradually be withdrawn ... and replaced by new cars with new
technology," Mr. Laliotis told journalists yesterday.
Declining to give details of the measures that have yet to be decided, he
said the import of cars up to five years old should be allowed so that
Greece would not become a graveyard for old vehicles.
Cars over 15 years old accounted for up to 40 percent of atmospheric
pollution, Mr. Laliotis said.
Greek exports rise in value in 1994-1996
Greek exports rose steadily in 1994-1996 in value but fell in the first
three months of 1997, an industry report said yesterday.
A Greek industry chamber report showed that exports jumped 87 percent in
1994 to slow to 16.9 and 3.1 percent in 1995 and 1996 respectively,
following declines of 11.6 percent in 1992 and 16.2 percent in 1993.
Exports, however, fell 3.2 percent in Ecus in the first quarter of 1997
compared with the corresponding period in 1996.
Exporters, businessmen and producers urged the government to take measures
to support the economy in order to improve competitiveness and promote
Greek exports abroad.
Exporters' representatives stressed that in 1992-1996 Greece's presence in
its traditional central European markets shrank to the benefit of emerging
markets in the Balkans and Eastern Europe.
At the same time, Greece's export share in the European Union market fell
to its lowest levels.
Exporters warned that the government's hard drachma policy was hurting
competitiveness and urged better coordination between government and
industry export agencies.
Italian company wins OTE tender
The Italian Maristel construction company has won a tender to procure and
install a 330 km submerged optical fibres cable connecting Yugoslavia with
The 3 billion drachma project is to be implemented on behalf of the
Telecommunications Organisation of Greece (OTE) and the Yugoslav counterpart
Premier meets Gavras, Dalaras
Mr. Simitis met yesterday with Greek film director Costa Gavras and singer
Mr. Gavras, who is here for the premiere of his new film 'Mad City', said
he had met Mr. Simitis before he became prime minister "and I just visited
him today to say hello".
He added that he told the prime minister that he felt the image of Greece
abroad was changing for the better since Mr. Simitis became prime
Iordanescu given green light to coach Greece's national team
The appointment of Romanian soccer coach Anghel Iordanescu to head the
Greek national team was approved yesterday by the board of the National
Soccer Federation (EPO).
Mr. Iordanescu has been recruited to help the team in its bid to qualify
for the finals of the Euro 2000 championships.
He has signed a two-year contract at a salary of 300,000 dollars per year,
with a bonus of 250,000 if the team reaches the finals.
EPO president Sotiris Alimisis said the federation reserved the
Fair weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today with local clouds,
light rain and snow in the western mainland, Thessaly and Evia island, the
Cyclades and Dodecanese islands. Gale force winds in the Aegean Sea. Partly
cloudy in Athens with sunny spells and temperatures from 4-10. Thessaloniki
will be overcast with temperatures between 3-6C.
Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 283.940
Pound sterling 465.050 Cyprus pd 533.081
French franc 46.834 Swiss franc 194.630
German mark 156.984 Italian lira (100) 15.892
Yen (100) 228.289 Canadian dlr. 198.380
Australian dlr. 190.295 Irish Punt 394.022
Belgian franc 7.606 Finnish mark 51.788
Dutch guilder 139.262 Danish kr. 41.198
Swedish kr. 35.097 Norwegian kr. 37.696
Austrian sch. 22.312 Spanish peseta 1.853
Port. Escudo 1.534