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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-02-18

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, 18/02/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • PM chairs meeting on Greek-Turkish relations
  • Olympic denies press reports
  • Greeks spellbound by Lady Luck
  • Campaign under way to save wolves
  • Olive oil producers occupy local building
  • Stocks end lower on money market woes
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

PM chairs meeting on Greek-Turkish relations

Prime Minister Costas Simitis today chaired a meeting of the foreign ministry political leadership which focused on the Cyprus problem and developments in Greek-Turkish relations.

Informed sources said Greece's reply to a five-point proposal by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem was formulated at the meeting.

The sources added that Athens' reply, in the form of a verbal note, will underline that the Turkish proposals pertain to procedures which are already in progress, such as the talks on confidence-building measures in the Aegean currently being held within the framework of NATO.

It is also expected to reiterate Greece's positions on procedural aspects of the two countries' committees set up to examine ways of approaching bilateral problems.

On Cem's proposal for a high-level meeting of Greek and Turkish foreign ministry officials, the reply will point out that such meetings had always been held by ministers of the two countries and would continue in the future.

The reply will also attach particular importance to Greece's proposal that Turkey should accept the general jurisdiction of the International Court at the Hague.

Discussion of the Cyprus problem at the meeting was in the light of presidential elections in the island republic last Sunday and forthcoming negotiations on its accession to the European Union.

Taking part in the meeting were Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, the premier's adviser Nikos Themelis and the director of Simitis' diplomatic office, Christos Sotiropoulos.

Olympic denies press reports

Olympic Airways, Greece's national carrier, denied media reports that it was advertising in the European press to recruit seasonal staff from abroad.

Mananagement said in a statement that the reports were inaccurate, and betrayed hostility to the government's plan to revitalise the airline, whose survival is in jeopardy.

Greeks spellbound by Lady Luck

Greeks are not just flirting with Lady Luck. They're head-over-heels in love with her.

According to official figures released today, Greeks spent 836.2 billion drachmas on various forms of legal gambling in 1997, compared to 678.2 billion in 1995, an increase of 23.3 per cent.

The figure includes money spent at casinos on horseracing, football pools, weekly lotteries, instant lottery "scratch" cards and similar games of chance.

The lion's share went to casinos, which raked in 425.6 billion drachmas, up from 273.8 billion drachmas the previous year.

Campaign under way to save wolves

After a successful campaign to save the endangered "Ursus arctos" brown bear, Greece has launched a new programme to save the "Canis lupus" wolf, which is also threatened with extinction, under its Endangered Species Programme.

The campaign, launched by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with Greece's "Arktouros" ecological organisation with the support of the European Union, has begun with the establishment of a "Man and Wolf Conciliation Park" atop Mount Vitsi in north-central Greece.

Once found throughout central Greece and the Peloponnese, Canis lupus, which approached extinction in the 1940's, has retreated far into mountain ranges.

Its population, which has been dwindling dangerously in recent years due mainly to illegal hunting and to urbanisation, is estimated today at around 300, Ministry sources said.

The park will be situated near the 12,000 sq.m. brown bear reserve in Fano, Florina, at an altitude of 1,400 metres.

Ministry sources said a programme was commencing to record the remaining Canis lupus population. The carnivores would then be captured and taken to the new wolf reserve, where their behaviour would be monitored in a natural environment.

Visitors will be able to observe the wolves at a distance and be briefed by scientists on the living habits of the Canis lupus.

"Wolves are not man's enemy. They attack only when trapped," the sources said.

Two orphaned wolf pups found recently on Mt. Falakro in Drama have already been set free in the reserve, while several more wolves currently at a wild animal treatment centre in Aegina will also be transferred there.

Although hunting and killing wolves has been prohibited in Greece, animal breeders are waging an undeclared war on the carnivore.

The Ministry, under its programme, is examining the prospect of raising the reimbursement to farmers for animals lost from wolf attacks to 100 percent of the loss from the current 80 percent.

The recording operation is planned to take place on Mt. Pindos, in the Rhodopi mountain range and other areas where wolf packs are believed to live.

Arktouros hopes to launch another programme to save the sheepdog, which is also threatened with extinction in Greece.

Olive oil producers occupy local building

Olive oil farmers protesting low prices for their produce today occupied the offices of the prefectural local government authorities of Lesbos in the town of Mytilene.

Farmers were also obstructing the operation of the Mytilene public revenue department and the Agricultural Bank, while roadblocks set up at both ends of the town have cut Mytilene off from the rest of the island.

A delegation of olive oil producers from the island has meanwhile gone to Athens in the hope of having talks this evening with opposition party leaders.

Protesters occupying the prefectural offices said they would decide after the delegation's return from Athens whether or not to resume the occupation tomorrow morning.

Olive oil is one of the most important agricultural products of the eastern Aegean island.

Stocks end lower on money market woes

Greek equities came under strong pressure to end substantially lower on the Athens Stock Exchange.

Traders said market sentiment was hit by worries over developments in the domestic money market and particularly high yields in interbank rates.

Banks lost sharp ground as high interest rates were expected to hit the sector's profitability.

The general index closed 1.62 percent lower at 1,455.63 points with most sector indices losing ground.

Banks fell 2.36 percent, Insurance dropped 1.13 percent, Leasing was 0.93 percent off, Investment was stable, Industrials and Constructions fell by 1.12 percent respectively, Holding eased 0.35 percent and Miscellaneous dropped 1.61 percent.

The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 1.22 percent, while the FTSE/ASE index ended 1.86 percent lower to 805.14 points.

Trading remained thin with turnover at 13.7 billion drachmas.

Broadly, decliners led advancers by 141 to 64 with another 25 issues unchanged.

Giannoussis shares jumped 17.6 percent higher on the first day of transactions in the market. Papoutsanis, Oinerga, Athinea and Ergas scored the biggest percentage gains at the daily 8.0 percent upper volatility limit.

Dane, Hatzioannou, Boutaris, Kalpinis and Piraeus Leasing suffered the heaviest losses.

National Bank of Greece ended at 21,700 drachmas, Ergobank at 14,320, Alpha Credit Bank at 15,610, Delta Dairy at 2,910, Titan Cement at 13,595, Intracom at 15,020 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 5, 630.

WEATHER

Gale force winds and a drop in temperature will be the main characteristics of today's weather. Clouds and light rain in most parts of the country. Intermittent snowfall in the mountainous regions. Winds northerly, northeasterly, moderate to strong, turning gale force in the east of the country and the Aegean Sea. Light rain in Athens with temperatures between 8-11C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 5-8C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.208 Pound sterling 466.121 Cyprus pd 534.906 French franc 46.672 Swiss franc 194.268 German mark 156.433 Italian lira (100) 15.858 Yen (100) 226.206 Canadian dlr. 196.852 Australian dlr. 190.871 Irish Punt 388.864 Belgian franc 7.580 Finnish mark 51.626 Dutch guilder 138.786 Danish kr. 41.049 Swedish kr. 35.077 Norwegian kr. 37.508 Austrian sch. 22.233 Spanish peseta 1.847 Port. Escudo 1.528

(M.P.)


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