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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-04-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 25/04/1998 (ANA)


  • Statesman Karamanlis buried in private ceremony
  • Olympic Airways calls on pilots to end overtime ban
  • Police investigate two prison deaths, suspect drugs
  • Protesters demand recognition of Armenian genocide
  • Memorial service for Thessaloniki Jews
  • Ionian Bank target of new bomb attack
  • State telecom to sell shares abroad
  • Umbrella trade union may call nationwide strike
  • Greek stocks slump on fears Commercial Bank to remain state-owned
  • International shipping fair begins in Piraeus in June
  • National Bank of Greece to launch Romania branch
  • Athens to host EU exhibition on Euro
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Statesman Karamanlis buried in private ceremony

Constantine Karamanlis, the statesman who marked Greece's political scene in the second half of the 20th century, was laid to rest in Athens yesterday afternoon in a private ceremony attended only by a restricted number of political leaders, relatives, close friends and former aides.

The funeral service, attended among others by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides, and former French president Valery Giscard d' Estaing, took place in Karamanlis's favourite small church of Aghia Philothei, in the Athens suburb of the same name.

The former president was buried, according to his own wish, in the courtyard of the Karamanlis Foundation, located in the same area, in a grave he had himself designed. Also according to his wish, no speeches were made and no military honours were presented.

Karamanlis died early Thursday morning, at the age of 91, after being hospitalised for seventeen days.

Olympic Airways calls on pilots to end overtime ban

Olympic Airways today urged its pilots to end an overtime ban that has led to daily flight cancellations and delays, crippling the ailing national carrier's finances.

OA's management said in a statement that it had no wish to formally reduce the airline's operations, but continuing disruption meant that a new flight schedule would have to be drawn up based on commercial and financial criteria.

The pilots' union has so far indicated it will stick to its original strike plan and order one or more stoppages during the week, probably on Wednesday or Thursday.

Also today, Transport and Communications Minister Tasos Mantelis told the pilots at a meeting that the government would not intervene in the airline's operational and commercical plans.

The airline's flight attendants union has reportedly withdrawn its threat to start work stoppages on Monday.

Yesterday, Olympic Airways again blamed trade unionists for the daily flight cancellations and delays.

OA's management said in a statement that part of the airline's flight personnel, supported by trade unionists, had refused to work, disrupting schedules.

Management alleged that some trade unionists were acting on vested interests, and their tactics could jeopardise jobs.

Olympic Airways' image and credibility had been badly hit and business had slumped, aiding OA's competitors at home and abroad, the statement said.

It called on workers to support the drive to save the airline through a five-year restructuring plan approved by parliament that includes a three- year wage freeze and cutbacks in benefits.

Police investigate two prison deaths, suspect drugs

Police are conducting a preliminary enquiry into the deaths today of two cell mates at Korydallos prison, near Piraeus, apparently from a drug overdose.

The two inmates were identified as Giorgos Saridakis, 32, imprisoned for drug trafficking and use, and Apostolis Topouzis, 44.

A prison warder found Saridakis dead when he entered the two men's cell for a routine early morning check.

Topouzis, who lay beside Saridakis in a coma, was rushed to the prison's hospital but died soon after arrival.

The enquiry is being conducted by Nikea police department.

Protesters demand recognition of Armenian genocide

Representatives and friends of the Armenian community in Greece organised a protest march to the Turkish Embassy in Athens yesterday and demanded recognition of the Armenian people's genocide on the 83rd anniversary of the killing of about one and a half million Armenians by the Turkish hordes.

The protesters hung up a resolution outside the Turkish Embassy after a delegation was denied entry to the premises to deliver the resolution to the Turkish ambassador. They dispersed after singing the national anthems of Greece and Armenia.

Parliament has officially recognised April 24th as a day dedicated to the genocide of the Armenians.

Memorial service for Thessaloniki Jews

The Israelite Community of Thessaloniki will honour the memory of about 50, 000 Jews from Thessaloniki tomorrow who died in Nazi concentration camps during the 1943-1945 period.

The annual memorial service will take place, as always, at 12 noon at the Holy Monastirioton Synagogue, where the few survivors will light six candles symbolically in memory of the six million European Jews exterminated by the Nazis.

The Jewish population in Thessaloniki numbered 49,000 people according to a census carried out in 1940. Five years later, and following the Nazi pogrom, Thessaloniki Jews were not more than 1,950. The percentage of losses was the highest in Europe and amounted to 96.5 per cent.

In a statement in Paris yesterday, the European Jewish Congress yesterday called for "vigilance against enemies of peace, freedoms and human rights," in condemning a bomb attack on Thursday against the offices of the Jewish Council in Athens.

The statement underlined that the attack was made on the day commemorating the Holocaust.

Ionian Bank target of new bomb attack

An anonymous caller to the radio station Flash claimed responsibility on behalf of the organisation "Autonomous Cells of Rebel Action" for an arson attack on a branch of the Ionian Bank in central Athens early yesterday morning. No injuries were reported.

The new group had also claimed responsibility for a similar attack on an Ionian Bank branch in the Athens suburb of Ilioupolis late Sunday night.

According to initial reports, the anonymous caller told Flash that the attack was carried out to press for the release of Nikos Maziotis and as a show of solidarity with the inmates of Korydallos prison.

Maziotis, a self-proclaimed anarchist, was arrested earlier this year and charged with involvement in several bomb attacks in the Athens area.

State telecom to sell shares abroad

The National Bank has decided to provide 16 million shares of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) in the international market with the block trading method next week. These shares are in the possession of the Public Mobile Assets Corporation (DEKA).

National Bank Deputy Governor Mr. Karamouzis chaired a meeting on this issue yesterday which was attended by representatives of the brokerage companies Sigma, Devletoglou, Midland-Pantelakis, Telesis and Alpha Chrimatistiriaki.

International brokerages also taking part were Salomon Brothers, H.S.B.C., Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, First Boston and SBC.

Umbrella trade union may call nationwide strike

The General Confederation of Workers of Greece, GSEE, will consider a new 24-hour nationwide strike if employers fail to improve their proposals concerning the General Collective Labour Agreement (EGSSE) for 1998. The next meeting for negotiations with employers is expected after May Day celebrations.

Yesterday's board plenary authorised GSEE's Executive Committee to assess the situation which will develop and call a strike in May, if it is considered necessary.

GSEE's board also called a 24-hour strike on May 1, as customary, and decided to celebrate May Day with a rally at Pedio tou Areos Square.

Greek stocks slump on fears Commercial Bank to remain state-owned

Speculation that the government will not privatise Commercial Bank of Greece hit sentiment on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday and pushed share prices sharply lower across the board. The general index ended 5.52 percent off at 2,473.98 points although it showed a net gain of 1.04 percent in the week.

Despite the plunge in sentiment, the market had already begun a minor technical correction this week.

Sector indices lost ground across the board.

The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 3.43 percent.

Trading was still heavy with turnover at 84.07 billion drachmas.

International shipping fair begins in Piraeus in June

Companies and organisations from 69 countries will take part in Posidonia '98, an international shipping trade fair to be held on June 1-5 in the port of Piraeus.

More than 1,350 exhibitors have booked to take part in the event, and 18 national stands. The trade fair will cover 19,500 square metres.

A strong presence is expected by exhibitors specialising in software applications and computer consultancy applied to ISM Code compliance and shipping office management systems.

International maritime organisations to be represented include Amver (US Coastguard), Bimco, Helmepa, Intertanko, the International Bunker Industry Association, the Salvage Association, the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, and the Institute of London Underwriters.

Posidonia '98, the 16th in the series of international shipping exhibitions, will be held at the waterfront Exhibition Centre of the Piraeus Port Authority.

National Bank of Greece to launch Romania branch

National Bank of Greece, the country's largest bank, will inaugurate a branch in Bucharest, Romania on May 14. Theodoros Karatzas, the bank's governor, will lead a group of Greek bankers and businessmen attending the inauguration ceremony.

National Bank of Greece already operates branches in Albania and plans to open new ones in Serbia.

The bank is likely to run its own network in Bulgaria if its bid to acquire Bulgaria's Postbank is rejected.

Athens to host EU exhibition on euro

Athens will host a major exhibition on the euro organised by the European Union's Executive Commission next month.

Entry is free to the exhibition at the Zappion Hall on May 8-27.


Overcast weather is forecast throughout the country tomorrow, often turning to rain. Storms are expected in the eastern and southern islands until late afternoon, when the weather will improve. Winds variable, strong to gale force. The temperature in Athens is expected to range from 12C to 19C, and in Thessaloniki from 8C to 18C.


Friday's closing rates (buying): U.S. dollar 310.794 British pound 517.784 Japanese yen(100) 239.528 French franc 51.584 German mark 172.920 Italian lira (100) 17.502 Irish Punt 436.480 Belgian franc 8.388 Finnish mark 56.990 Dutch guilder 153.700 Danish kr. 45.378 Austrian sch. 24.587 Spanish peseta 2.037 Swedish kr. 40.319 Norwegian kr. 41.614 Swiss franc 208.464 Port. Escudo 1.686 Aus. dollar 202.829 Can. dollar 217.228 Cyprus pound 591.351


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