Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-10-08
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 08/10/1998 (ANA)
- September inflation rises to 5.2%
- Stocks take drubbing on Athens bourse
- Government meeting on arms procurements on Friday
- Athens reiterates political solution for Kosovo
- Cyprus Speaker meets with Pangalos
- Greek, South African defence ministers meet
- Second quake recorded off Zakynthos
- European health spending needs review
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
September inflation rises to 5.2%
Year-on-year inflation stood at 5.2 per cent in September, up from 5 per
cent in August, according to an announcement by the National Statistics
Service (NSS) on Thursday. The NSS statement said that rising food prices,
particularly in fresh food, helped push consumer prices up in the previous
month. The NSS, however, remained confident that inflation could drop below
5.0 percent in October following a special fuel and heating oil tax and a
government-sponsored food price freeze in supermarkets.
Stocks take drubbing on Athens bourse
Greek equities plunged 5.23 percent on the Athens Stock Exchange, hit by
renewed turmoil in international markets and a surprise increase in the
inflation rate in September. The general index lost 101 points to end to 1,
829.55, in thin turnover of 28.8 billion drachmas. Volume was 7,276,000
shares. Sector indices ended lower led by a 6.2 percent drop in banks.
Insurance fell 1.90 percent, Investment ended 3.36 percent off, Leasing
fell 2.56 percent, Industrials plunged 4.67 percent, Construction eased
4.23 percent, Miscellaneous dropped 5.93 percent and Holding fell 5.48
percent. The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 3.14
Government meeting on arms procurements on Friday
The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) will meet on
Friday to examine progress in the government's multi-million dollar five-
year armaments programme, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today.
There was speculation earlier this week that the scheduled meeting might be
postponed. The spokesman clarified today that the meeting had been prepared
following numerous telephone contacts by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos. There is also a possibility
that other issues will be discussed at the meeting, including the crisis in
the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, Reppas said.
Athens reiterates political solution for Kosovo
Replying to questions about developments in the Kosovo crisis, Reppas said
the government had "nothing new" but was following ongoing consultations
with interest. Simitis, he continued, had been in contact with other
European leaders and had ascertained the "common perception" that the
solution must be sought through political dialogue, although there were
some doubt as to the willingness of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic
in this respect. Asked whether the Greek government intended to issue a
travel advisory for Yugoslavia or withdraw its diplomatic mission, as other
European countries have done, Reppas replied that there was no need for
such a step.
Cyprus Speaker meets with Pangalos
Cyprus House of Representatives Speaker Spyros Kyprianou on Thursday
expressed satisfaction at the unanimous decision of EU foreign ministers in
Luxembourg earlier this week to commence substantive negotiations for the
accession of six candidate countries, including Cyprus, on November 10.
Kyprianou, who had talks here today with Foreign Minister Theodoros
Pangalos, said the Greek government was eagerly promoting Cyprus' accession
bid. He attributed the positive outcome of efforts in particular to
Pangalos' "strong stance".
Greek, South African defence ministers meet
Prospects for expanding cooperation between Greece and S. Africa were
examined today during a meeting between Greek national defence minister
Akis Tsohatzopoulos and his visiting S. African counterpart Joe Modise.
Tsohatzopoulos said after the meeting that cooperation could be extended to
encompass many fields, such as the social, political and economic sectors
in addition to the defence industry, where "there will be better initiatives
in the immediate future". Modise expressed appreciation for Greece's
support in S. Africa's struggle for democracy, and for the role of the
large Greek community in S. Africa in the country's economic development.
Second quake recorded off Zakynthos
A strong earthquake registering 5.2 on the Richter scale rocked the island
of Zakynthos this morning, but no damages were immediately reported.
According to the Athens Geodynamic Institute, the quake struck at 6:58 a.m.
in the Ionian Sea west of the island, 300 kilometres west of Athens. The
quake was also felt on Cephalonia island and the prefectures of Ilia and
European health spending needs review
Europe must concentrate on rationalising the funds it allocates to health
ahead of the growing needs of an ageing population and the costly
overdependence by some EU member-states on pharmaceuticals, health experts
said on Thursday. Spending on health as a percentage of GDP over the past
30 years has doubled and today ranges between an average 5-10 percent in EU
member states, according to the European Commission's latest report on the
health of Europeans. The report was presented on Thursday at a news
conference by the Federation of Self-managed Health Funds ahead of
an international conference on the effectiveness of pharmaceuticals.
Cloudy weather will prevail in most parts of Greece on Thursday with the
possibility of scattered showers in the northwest in the morning. Winds
will be variable, moderate to strong. Mostly fair in Athens where
temperatures will range between 17-29C. Overcast in Thessaloniki where
temperatures will be from 15-26C.
Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 278.058
British pound 470.803 Japanese yen (100) 223.200
French franc 51.501 German mark 172.668
Italian lira (100) 17.465 Irish Punt 430.746
Belgian franc 8.368 Finnish mark 56.746
Dutch guilder 153.140 Danish kr. 45.414
Austrian sch. 24.542 Spanish peseta 2.033
Swedish kr. 35.591 Norwegian kr. 37.984
Swiss franc 210.339 Port. Escudo 1.685
Aus. dollar 171.998 Can. dollar 184.611
Cyprus pound 581.312