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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-02-27

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


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
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


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 central bank.

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 Yiannos Papantoniou.

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 Thessaloniki businessman.

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 operations.

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&

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, at 16.30.

The U.S. Embassy Homepage ( provides e-mail access to the embassy as well as hundreds of links with US government and other information pages.

General information on other issues, including visas, web browsers can make inquiries at: usembassy&

Academic or general research information can be accessed from the Information Resource Centre at: irc&

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 founding members.

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 1, 1999.

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 institutional investors.

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 up.

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 unchanged.

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, 700.


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- 14C.


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


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