Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-02-27
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 27/02/1998 (ANA)
- Concerns over Aegean to be directed to Turkey - Reppas
- Archbishop's condition unchanged
- Greek central bank leaders sworn in for new term
- Former Albanian president released from hospital
- Unlucky gambler dies
- U.S. ambassador goes on line
- Floating exhibition to promote Crete
- Government submits forecast for 1998 to EU
- Equities rebound in last session
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Concerns over Aegean to be directed to Turkey - Reppas
Anybody concerned about increasing tension in the Aegean should intervene
and seek a solution with those causing the problem, in other words, with
Turkey, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today.
Reppas was commenting on statements by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State
Mark Grossman, who called the situation in the Aegean "dangerous".
It is Ankara's behaviour that is maintaining the tension, Reppas said.
Archbishop's condition unchanged
A bulletin issued this afternoon by doctors treating Archbishop Serapheim
of Athens and All Greece in Athens' Laiko Hospital gave the prelate's
condition as essentially unchanged, although he was apparently in good
spirits after today's dialysis treatment.
The 85-year-old Archbishop was taken to hospital last Tuesday with a heavy
viral infection, complicated by a kidney disease that has plagued him for
the last few years.
Doctors say they are "neither optimistic nor pessimistic" about the
archbishop's condition, although they are concerned that the cause of the
infection has not yet been pinpointed. The results of more pathological
tests are expected today and tomorrow.
Today's visitors to the archbishop included the main opposition New
Democracy party's honorary leader Constantine Mitsotakis and Political
Spring leader Antonis Samaras.
Greek central bank leaders sworn in for new term
Bank of Greece governor Lucas Papademos and his two deputies were sworn
into a six-year term of office, remaining at the helm of the country's
The bank's two deputy governors are Panayotis Thomopoulos and Nikolaos
Garganas, both of whom will sit with Papademos on the Monetary Policy
Council, a body being created to forge policy.
The renewal of their term coincides with moves to allow the central bank
autonomy under the terms of European Union economic and monetary union.
The swearing-in ceremony was held before President of the Republic Kostis
Stephanopoulos. Also attending was National Economy and Finance Minister
Former Albanian president released from hospital
Albania's former president Ramiz Alia was discharged from a Thessaloniki
hospital today after recovering from quadruple by-pass surgery.
Alia had been in intensive care in a Tirana hospital following a heart
attack a month ago and was transferred to Thessaloniki's George Papanikolaou
Hospital two weeks ago, his expenses were paid for by an anonymous
Doctors told the ANA that the former Albanian leader was in good health and
that he left the hospital accompanied by two relatives.
The former Albanian leader suffered his first heart attack six years ago
while in an Albanian prison.
He had been sentenced to an eight-year prison sentence in 1992 for abuse of
power and violation of the people's rights after taking power after the
death of Enver Hoxha in 1985.
He was later freed by an appeal court ruling only to be rearrested and
charged with killing or ordering the deportation of dissidents who tried to
flee the country illegally.
He escaped from jail along with hundreds of others during an armed uprising
in March last year and was finally cleared of all charges in October.
Unlucky gambler dies
A Thessaloniki businessman who shot himself in the stomach 10 days ago has
died in hospital.
Panayotis Binomakis allegedly shot himself after incurring massive debts to
finance his gambling habit, prompting an outcry over casinos and loan shark
Official figures released last week showed that the amount spent by Greeks
on legal gambling last year was up 23 percent from 1995.
The lion's share went to casinos, which raked in 425.6 billion drachmas, up
from 273.8 billion drachmas the previous year.
Development Minister Vasso Papandreou told parliament Wednesday that the
government would be reviewing the operating regulations for casinos.
U.S. ambassador goes on line
The US Embassy in Athens has announced that it now has an on-line service
with direct access to Ambassador Nicholas Burns by e-mail (amb.burns&usisathens.gr).
According to an embassy announcement, the ambassador hopes to be able to
respond to all inquiries and comments directly. He will also conduct a
special monthly program "Ambassador On-Line" to answer foreign policy
questions. The first of these sessions will be held on Thursday, March 5,
The U.S. Embassy Homepage (www.usisathens.gr) provides e-mail access to the
embassy as well as hundreds of links with US government and other
General information on other issues, including visas, web browsers can make
inquiries at: usembassy&usisathens.gr.
Academic or general research information can be accessed from the
Information Resource Centre at: irc&usisathens.gr.
Floating exhibition to promote Crete
A floating exhibition promoting the island of Crete is to sail on March 16
for a 10-day cruise along the Rhine to ports in four European countries -
France, Germany, Belgium and Holland.
The exhibition, organised by the Hotelier's Association of Crete will
include daily presentations for travel agencies and receptions for local
authorities and the press.
Government submits forecast for 1998 to EU
The Greek government submitted its economic forecasts for 1998 to the
European Union ahead of a decision by European leaders in May on candidates
to participate in the single currency next year.
The general government's deficit is forecast to fall to 855 billion
drachmas this year from 1.3 billion in 1997, or 2.4 percent of the
country's gross domestic product from 4.0 percent last year.
Greece's public debt is forecast to rise to 37.9 trillion drachmas at the
end of 1998 from 35.8 trillion last year, or 106.7 percent of GDP.
Germany, Italy, France and Finland announced better-than-expected 1997
deficit figures on Friday that should ensure a timely launch of EMU with 11
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the last surviving architect of the 1991
Maastricht Treaty still in office, said the news showed the euro would be
as stable a currency as the deutschemark and would start on time on January
Analysts say the figures announced by 10 countries this week showed a
remarkable pattern of control of public borrowing and inflation, especially
in southern European economies with a history of chronic deficits.
Even Greece, which will not qualify for the first wave of EMU, has slashed
its deficit and inflation in a race to catch up with the founders by the
time euro banknotes and coins come into circulation in 2002.
Perhaps the most impressive effort has been Italy's last-minute dash for
fiscal rectitude, launched at a time when Rome was widely considered a non-
starter for EMU. Rome has cut its deficit to gross domestic product ratio
from 10 percent to 2.7 percent in just four years.
Equities rebound in last session
Greek equities rebounded during the last trading session of a volatile week
on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Traders said that renewed bargain-hunting and other speculative buying for
issues in the banking sector and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation's
shares led the market higher after its two-day decline.
Analysts noted that the market remained wary in the aftermath of Moody's
decision to place Greece under surveillance for a possible downgrade of its
credit rating and news of massive liquidation in Greek bonds by foreign
However, a wave of very positive 1997 results by the country's commercial
banks and higher profits by large industrial groups for the previous year
helped in the recovery of the market.
The general index closed 1.20 percent higher at 1,419.22 points, to show a
0.63 percent fall in the week.
Sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 2.12 percent, Insurance was 0.16
percent up, Leasing increased 0.86 percent, Investment was 0.59 percent
higher, Constructions rose 0.07 percent, Industrials edged 0.24 percent up,
Miscellaneous increased 1.13 percent and Holding was 0.54 percent
The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 0.46 percent for a
weekly gain of 6.61 percent, while the FTSE/ASE index rose 1.73 percent to
788.41 points. It was 0.22 percent down from last Friday.
Trading was extremely heavy with turnover at 32.7 billion drachmas
reflecting a transaction of 1.3 million shares in Mortgage Bank. The week's
turnover totalled 99.5 billion drachmas for a daily average of 19.9 billion,
up from 13.3 billion last week.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 132 to 84 with another 23 issues
Benroubi, Allatini, Papoutsanis and Ergas scored the biggest percentage
gains at the daily 8.0 percent upper volatility limit, while Singular,
Balkan Export, Doudos and Pairis suffered the heaviest losses.
National Bank of Greece ended at 20,500 drachmas, Ergobank at 14,350, Alpha
Credit Bank at 15,400, Delta Dairy at 2,845, Titan Cement at 13,600,
Intracom at 14,340 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 5,
Partly cloudy weather is forecast in most parts of Greece today with local
rain in the Cycladic islands, the islands of the Dodecanese and Crete.
Winds will be northerly, northeasterly, moderate to strong, turning gale
force in the Aegean Sea.
Mostly fair weather in Athens where temperatures will range between 7-15C.
Scattered clouds in Thessaloniki where temperatures will be from 5-
Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 285.845
Pound sterling 468.879 Cyprus pd 534.787
French franc 46.886 Swiss franc 194.288
German mark 157.177 Italian lira (100) 15.940
Yen (100) 223.329 Canadian dlr. 201.297
Australian dlr. 191.942 Irish Punt 389.955
Belgian franc 7.617 Finnish mark 51.782
Dutch guilder 139.445 Danish kr. 41.243
Swedish kr. 35.466 Norwegian kr. 37.617
Austrian sch. 22.346 Spanish peseta 1.855
Port. Escudo 1.535