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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-07-23

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, 23/07/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Three firefighters, one volunteer die in Kareas fire
  • Greece will not tolerate Turkish provocations indefinitely
  • V. Papandreou letter to EU Commission over Kozloduy
  • Tzoumakas talks with Austrian counterpart
  • Two herds destroyed in Evros following variola outbreaks
  • One ND deputy expelled, another placed on 9-month suspension
  • Reversal of dictionary ruling ordered
  • Prosecutor says 090 toll numbers fraught with fraud
  • Three arrested in antiquities smuggling scam
  • Greek stocks drop in correction, just hold 2,800 points
  • Major engineering contractors to merge
  • Apostolopoulos Group buys new clinic
  • New general director appointed to Greece's Macedonia-Thrace Bank
  • Latest OSE operational plan eyes restructuring
  • Petrol prices down, diesel rises
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Three firefighters, one volunteer die in Kareas fire

Three firefighters and a civilian volunteer died yesterday while trying to contain a forest fire in the area of Kareas on Mount Hymettus, overlooking Athens.

The three firemen were reported missing after their fire-engine was engulfed by flames while they were dispatched to fight the blaze, which destroyed one of the last areas of forest land near the capital and threatened the Aghios Ioannis Monastery.

They were identified as Theodoros Mavroeidis, Dimitrios Malouchos and Alexandros Diavolis. Malouchos was said to be near retirement age, while Diavolis was said to be a radioman in the fire brigade, without adequate previous experience in firefighting.

It appeared that the three tried to escape when flames engulfed their fire- engine but were trapped by the blaze. They were found 150 metres from their abandoned vehicle where they died huddled together, according to reports.

Fifteen fire-engines and 70 firefighters immediately rushed to the blaze, backed by six fire-fighting aircraft.

Meanwhile, the body of the dead civilian was found near the charred remains of the three dead firefighters, fire brigade officials said.

The man had apparently tried to help the three escape the blaze, authorities said.

Prime Minister Costas Simitis cancelled a scheduled reception for press members upon receiving news of the incident, and issued a statement expressing his regrets.

Another blaze which broke out at 1:50 p.m. in Saronida, along the coast south of Athens, forced the authorities to evacuate a number of holiday homes.

Forty fire-engines and 350 firemen, assisted by two fire-fighting aircraft and a Chinook helicopter, took part in battling the blaze which spread quickly, fanned by strong winds.

Greece will not tolerate Turkish provocations indefinitely

President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos warned yesterday that Greece cannot remain impassive forever in the face of Turkish provocations.

Addressing 40 expatriate deputies composing the World Hellenic Interparliamentary Union at the Presidential Mansion, Mr. Stephanopoulos called on the expatriate deputies to promote principles of respect for international law and UN resolutions in their respective Parliaments.

"Countries, no matter how much they desire peace also have national dignity, national pride, and they have national prestige, which cannot be offended by someone else with threats of war. Therefore, these threats might reach realisation at some moment despite Greece's contrary desire. If it is supposed that the Turks strike Cyprus, what do you imagine that Greece can do? Is it possible for it to tolerate such a behaviour without protest as we did in 1974, due to the situation prevailing then and our weak ness at the time?" he asked.

Mr. Stephanopoulos called on the deputies to become apostles of peace and preachers for the implementation of principles of the UN "either this concerns Greece or concerns whatever other country in the world. We do not request the implementation of thes e principles for the sake of Greece but for the sake of world peace."

V. Papandreou letter to EU Commission over Kozloduy

Development Minister Vasso Papandreou has addressed a letter to European Union President Jacques Santer, EU Energy Commissioner Christos Papoutsis and the energy ministers of other EU member-states, calling for immediate intervention by the Commission in order to end operations of the reactors (No. 1 to No. 4) at the nuclear plant at Kozloduy in Bulgaria.

Tzoumakas talks with Austrian counterpart

Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas held talks yesterday with his Austrian counterpart and president of the council of EU Agriculture Ministers, Wilhelm Molterer, on issues of Greek concern as well as issues concerning general agricultural policy (GA P).

Mr. Tzoumakas, who termed the meeting "positive", briefed Mr. Molterer on Greece's request for an increase in the milk production quota.

On the issue of investments for the environment, Mr. Tzoumakas said that funds to be provided for this purpose must not be deducted from support for producers' income.

He also raised the issue of an increase in funds for forests and fishing with his counterpart.

On his part, Mr. Molterer said that during the Austrian presidency substantive steps must also be taken in the agricultural sector, as by March 1999 decisions must be taken on the "Agenda 2000" as agreed at the Cardiff summit.

Two herds destroyed in Evros following variola outbreaks

Two herds of sheep and goats, 244 animals in all, have been destroyed over the last few days following instances of variola outbreaks in the Orestias district of the Evros border region.

The area has been put into quarantine, while authorities consider it likely that the animal disease was transmitted from Turkey, where it is endemic.

Reports from the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, meanwhile, said that the country's agriculture ministry was planning restrictive measures against the importation of live animals from Greece following the outbreak of the disease.

One ND deputy expelled, another placed on 9-month suspension

The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party yesterday expelled Halkidiki area deputy Varsamis Giovanoudas for behaviour unbecoming a member of Parliament and of harming the party.

The decision was taken by the party's disciplinary council. Mr. Giovanoudas has admitted to having an extra-marital relationship with a 25-year-old woman, but has denied allegations that he assaulted her when she tried to end their affair.

The woman, Maria Katavati, recently appointed to the Corfu tax bureau after February's nationwide exams, has filed a lawsuit against the deputy.

The council was more lenient with a second deputy, Gerasimos Giakoumatos, who recently brandished a pistol inside Parliament and threatened Public Order Minister George Romeos, after the former's house was burglarised.

Mr. Giakoumatos was expelled from the party for a period of nine months, after the council took into consideration the fact that he had shown remorse after the incident. The disciplinary council meeting lasted four hours.

Fighting back tears, Mr. Giovanoudas reacted angrily to the council's decision.

The deputy said he was the victim of "expediencies" arising from his behaviour in the past, in an apparent reference to the fact that he had supported former party leader Miltiades Evert against present ND leader Costas Karamanlis in party elections for ND's leadership.

Mr. Giovanoudas also said he would take recourse to justice, "where I will be vindicated... and then we'll see what Mr. Karamanlis, who is always going on about justice, will do".

ND spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said the only victim was New Democracy and its thousands of supporters "who want to see the party in power and which is harmed by such behaviour".

By contrast, Mr. Giakoumatos said he accepted and respected the decision.

Reversal of dictionary ruling ordered

Supreme Court prosecutor Panayiotis Demopoulos yesterday requested the reversal of a Thessaloniki first instance court ruling ordering the removal of one of the explanations related to the word "Bulgarian", published in a recently released Greek-language dictionary. Specifically, Mr. Demopoulos said the lower court ruling obliging Prof. Georgios Babiniotis, a noted Greek linguist, to remove a derogatory connotation of the word "Bul-garian", in reference to northern Greece football fans, especially Thessal oniki's PAOK, was unconstitutional. He noted that the ruling was in contridiction to freedom of speech and scientific licence, as prescibed by the Greek Constitution.

Prosecutor says 090 toll numbers fraught with fraud

An Athens first instance court prosecutor yesterday filed a lawsuit against all responsible for fraud, following a lengthy investigation of the 090- prefix toll telephone numbers. After a lengthy preliminary investigation, prosecutor Spyridoula Presveia co ncluded that there is evidence of fraud in cases where these numbers were used for illegal gains by individuals claiming to provide various services - lotteries, games, fortune telling or phone dating, etc.

According to her findings, the state-run Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) has awarded 090 connection rights to nine private firms, which in turn leased them to various other concerns and individuals, without however, implementing controls or regulations regarding their use or charges.

Three arrested in antiquities smuggling scam

Police in Thessaloniki yesterday arrested three persons found in possession of 43 valuable ancient earthenware artefacts of the Mycenaean and Classical periods.

The arrests were made after police stopped a car driven by Ioannis Goglis, 28, in the area of Asvestochori, in which they found the antiquities.

Goglis told the police he had received the artefacts from Anestis Toundas, a resident of Malesina, Fthiotida, and intended to deliver them to Michail Soundourlis and Dimitrios Maganaris in the area of Nea Kerdyllia, Serres.

Goglis, Soundourlis and Maganaris have been arrested and a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Toundas.

The police initially estimated the value of the artefacts at about 10 million drachmas.

Greek stocks drop in correction, just hold 2,800 points

Greek equities fell yesterday in a technical correction to a surge spanning several sessions, and the market kept a tenuous hold on the 2,800-point barrier.

The Athens general share index ended 0.77 percent lower at 2,803.85 points, and the FTSE/ASE 20 index lost 0.58 percent to finish at 1,716.96 points.

Trade was moderate with turnover at 62.1 billion drachmas, slightly down from 63.9 billion drachmas in the last session.

The market had gained 7.10 percent in the previous five trading days.

Buying interest was again reported in construction stocks with the sector index finishing 1.67 percent higher in the wake of jumps of 6.58 percent and 5.96 percent in the last two sessions.

Other sectors indices finished mixed. Banks fell 1.21 percent, Leasing rose 0.69 percent, Insurance slumped 1.65 percent, Investment dropped 1.68 percent, Industrials lost 0.30 percent, Holding shed 0.59 percent, and Miscellaneous sank 2.37 percent.

The parallel market index for small cap companies finished 0.22 percent down.

Of 267 stocks traded, declines led advances at 142 to 108 with 17 shares remaining unchanged.

The day's biggest percentage losers were Xylemboria, Dane Sea Line, Strintzis Lines, Britania, Tzirakian, Inerga, Balkan Export, Lesvos Shipping Company and Parnassos.

National Bank of Greece ended at 54,100 drachmas, Ergobank at 32,950, Alpha Credit Bank at 29,980, Ionian Bank at 16,740, Commercial Bank of Greece at 28,580, Delta Dairy (common) at 3,885, Intracom (common) at 14,000, Titan Cement (common) at 24,650, H ellenic Petroleum at 2,705 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 8,580 drachmas.

Major engineering contractors to merge

Hellenic Technodomiki SA and Volos Engineering Contractors (TEB) announced yesterday that they will merge into a single company.

Hellenic Technodomiki is to buy a majority bloc of shares in TEB owned by its president,Nikos Trihas, who, in turn, will participate in a share capital rise by Hellenic Technodomi and receive a seat on its board of directors.

According to Hellenic Technodomiki's vice president, Dimitris Kallitsandsis, the newly formed group will show a turnover of more than 45 billion drachmas and equity capital of around 30 billion drachmas.

The new group plans to expand both in the domestic market and abroad, Mr. Kallitsandsis told a news conference.

Both engineering contractors are members of a French-Greek consortium building the Rio-Andirrio bridge in western Greece, and another consortium building a ringroad for Athens.

Listed engineering contractors are repositioning ahead of the 2004 Olympic Games hosted by Athens and the prospect of a fresh round of infrastructure projects under the European Union's Third Community Support Framework funds.

Apostolopoulos Group buys new clinic

The Apostolopoulos Group has bought a new clinic that will bring the company's operational total in 1999 to five hospital units in Attica with a capacity of 750 beds.

The latest acquisition is Aghios Eleftherios, a general clinic in Daphni, which has 75 beds.

The Group recently bought another unit, the Nikolaou clinic in Peristeri, with 85 beds.

Both are to be fully operational in the first half of 1999 after refurbishing.

Athens Medical and Paleo Phaliro Clinic, which are listed on the Athens bourse, are the private group's best known units.

It has another hospital in Thessaloniki with a capacity of 425 beds.

New general director appointed to Greece's Macedonia-Thrace Bank

Stavros Lekkakos, who has held senior executive positions in Greek and foreign banks, was yesterday appointed general director of Macedonia-Thrace Bank, which is based in Thessaloniki and listed on the Athens bourse.

Mr. Lekkakos, 47, was until now deputy general director of Bank of Piraeus, whose group of companies he helped to develop.

He formerly held the posts of vice president and senior director at American Express in Athens, Macedonia-Thrace Bank said in a statement.

Among board positions currently held by Mr. Lekkakos are president of Tirana Bank and member of Sigma Securities' board of directors, the statement said.

Latest OSE operational plan eyes restructuring

The board of the Greek Railways Organisation (OSE) approved yesterday an operational plan to restructure the debt-ridden state-run organisation.

The plan envisions a reduction in the number of staff by more than 2,500 by the year 2001, as well as for investments of 1.75 trillion drachmas by 2007. The plan also provides for a rationalisation of train schedules, while retaining the number of sched ules to the Peloponnese, which was part of an earlier proposal. However, Dimitris Karapanos, OSE employees' representative and a former general manager of the agency voted against the plan.

Petrol prices down, diesel rises

The retail sales prices of gasoline will decrease as of today and for a week due to a change in international prices. The price of diesel will increase.

According to announcements by the Public Petroleum Corp. (DEP) and the development ministry, the retail sales prices of gasoline will be decreased by 1.10 drachmas per litre while, on the other hand, the retail sales prices of diesel will increase by 0. 30 drachmas per litre and those of heating oil will increase by 0.20 drachmas per litre.

As a result of the changes, super gasoline will cost 216.80 drachmas per litre in the Attica region and the prefecture of Thessaloniki and unleaded oil 200.90 drachmas per litre.

WEATHER

Fair weather with rising temperatures is forecast throughout the country today. Moderate to strong northerly winds. Athens, sunny with moderate to strong winds and temperatures between 22-35C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 20-33C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 294.118 British pound 483.104 Japanese yen (100) 208.846 French franc 49.104 German mark 164.652 Italian lira (100) 16.691 Irish Punt 413.664 Belgian franc 7.984 Finnish mark 54.175 Dutch guilder 146.047 Danish kr. 43.208 Austrian sch. 23.399 Spanish peseta 1.940 Swedish kr. 37.004 Norwegian kr. 38.920 Swiss franc 194.740 Port. Escudo 1.610 Aus. dollar 182.910 Can. dollar 197.110 Cyprus pound 559.290

(C.E.)


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