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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-06-13
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 British attache - Widow - London Statement13/06/2000 22:47:56
The widow of Britains slain defence attache to Greece flew back to Britain on Tuesday, accompanying the body of Brig. Stephen Saunders to his homeland.
Two ?November 17? assassins gunned down Saunders on Thursday morning as he was driving alone on a congested Athens highway. The terrorists were riding a motorcycle that subsequently sped away through morning rush-hour traffic.
During her arrival at Londons Gatwick Airport, Heather Saunders made a brief statement, which was earlier released by the British embassy in Athens.
?I would like to thank all those people from all over the world who have filled my home with messages of sympathy and love for my kind and gentle soldier.
?Stephen was very much a peace-keeping soldier, a man who had a deep belief in all things good in life. But foremost, Stephen was my darling beloved husband and father of our wonderful girls, Nicola and Catherine. He was a true family man who has been ripped from the very heart of his family by evil, wicked and cowardly men who have achieved nothing for themselves but wide condemnation."
 Athens 2004 - PM13/06/2000 21:10:49
National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Tuesday the cost of the Athens 2004 Olympiad would exceed two trillion drachmas.
Presenting the overall budget for the events during a session of the responsible ministerial committee, chaired by the Prime Minister Costas Simitis, he detailed that the cost of the necessary sports projects, security and hospitality would reach 1,150 billion drachmas, organisational expenses would approach 700 billion, while a further 300 billion drachmas would be required for peripheral Olympic projects.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Wednesday13/06/2000 18:27:37
Following are indicative rates for commercial banks released by the central bank for the next working day.
Wednesdays rates (buying)
U.S. dollar 348.291
German mark 170.623
 Weather Forecast-Wednesday13/06/2000 18:14:07
Sunny weather is forecast throughout Greece on Wednesday. Winds northerly, light to strong, turning very strong in parts of the Aegean.
 Gov't - Olympics - Terrorism - Reward13/06/2000 18:05:05
The Greek government on Tuesday flatly rejected press reports claiming a connection between the Athens 2004 Olympics and the recent attacks by a notorious urban terrorist group.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said last weeks deadly attack by the elusive ?November 17? group provided certain ?individuals biased against Greece with the opportunity to dispute the countrys ability to organise the Olympiad.?
Two November 17 assassins gunned down Britains defence attache to Greece Thursday morning as he was driving alone on a congested Athens highway. The perpetrators were riding a motorcycle that subsequently sped away through morning rush-hour traffic.
Asked by reporters about recent widely publicised statements by former US intelligence officials regarding terrorism in Greece, Reppas called on anyone ?who knows anything that will assist in overcoming delays and ineffectiveness to provide the evidence they claim they know about, in order to help succeed in a common goal, which is the eradication of terrorism?.
The spokesman added that such former intelligence service officials should exploit the chance to speak ?reliably and responsibly, otherwise, the common effort (against terrorism) is damaged with the hurling of such accusations against Greece??
The British officer's body was flown out of Athens on Tuesday, accompanied by Heather Saunders and the couple's two children. The plane is expected to reach London's Gatwick airport at around 5:30 p.m. (local time).
As the spokesman addressed reporters, the government also announced a one-billion-drachma ($2.83 million) reward for anyone providing information leading to the apprehension of Saunders killers. A public order ministry news release also noted that witnesses or informants would be provided with complete anonymity and protection.
 Electra SA-Marfin-deal13/06/2000 16:59:46
Electra SA on Tuesday announced an agreement in principle between its major shareholder, Mihalis Saridis and his family, and Marfim Securities for the sale of their stock holdings and the transfer of the company's control.
The deal has to be ratified by a Electra's general shareholders' meeting.
The deal envisages carrying out a full accounting and legal inspection of the company and plans for a share capital increase, to be fully covered by Marfin.
 Interamerican-Athens Medical-renegotiation13/06/2000 16:53:47
Interamerican and Athens Medical Group will renegotiate a deal to build a Medical Park in Athens and a share swap, seven months after its announcement.
Dimitris Kontominas, chairman of Interamerican Group, on Tuesday said that the deal was under review, dismissing recent press reports that the deal broke off.
The deal envisages building of a Medical Park in east Athens, occupying an area of 150,000 square metres, with a capacity of 350 beds, a maternity house with 150 beds and a conference room.
Kontominas urged for the full liberalisation of health services in the country, for stronger competition between state and private hospitals and for more state monitoring in the health sector.
 Halcor SA-1999 results13/06/2000 16:44:21
Halcor SA, a member of Viohalco Group, on Tuesday announced a 100 percent jump in its pre-tax profits last year to 12.995 billion drachmas from 6.497 billion in 1998, and a 9.6 percent rise in turnover to 69.071 billion drachmas from 63.067 bln over the same period.
The volume of sales rose 21.9 percent in the first quarter of 2000 with exports up 34.9 percent, the company's general manager Theodosis Papageorgopoulos told a general shareholders' meeting.
The meeting approved a 22 drachmas per share dividend payment to shareholders.
Halcor plans to invest more than 20 billion drachmas in the period 2000-2003 to upgrade its newest acquisition in Bulgaria aiming to double its production capacity.
 Greece-public debt-euro conversion13/06/2000 16:35:47
The conversion of Greece's public debt into the euro currency will be made in five phases, lasting from June 16 to December 31, 2000, Finance Undersecretary George Drys said on Tuesday.
Presenting the ministry's plan to bank officials, Drys said that the programme would be coordinated by a task force, including representatives from the State's General Accounting Office, the Bank of Greece and the Hellenic Bank Association.
The plan envisages that in the next 45 days all banks must adopt their computer systems to a pilot programme, expected to begin on the second or third Saturday of July with the participation of all domestic banks, the Bank of Greece and the finance ministry.
A second pilot programme is expected on the second or third Saturday of September.
The finance ministry will announced its detailed timetable in November and on the weekend of December 30-31, the General Accounting Office, the Bank of Greece and commercial banks will remain open to carry out the debt's conversion into the euro currency, under the supervision of a special task force.
The plan also envisages that no banking transactions will be made on Tuesday, January 2, 2001, in order to complete the conversion programme.
Drys said that the switch of the country's foreign debt in currencies participating in the euro zone would be made in a later time along with the debt of state organisations and enterprises.
 ASE-close13/06/2000 16:15:39
A Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's forecast that the general index should be 25 percent lower from current levels, around 3,400 points, undermined sentiment on the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday and pushed share prices sharply lower.
Market sources - and the government - expressed doubts over the credibility of that forecast which is based on dividends discount. They said that based on this method the Nasdaq composite index should be below 1,000 points currently.
The US investment firm said that current overvaluation of Greek stocks should keep foreign investors away from the market even after the country's entry in the euro zone.
The general index fell 2.39 percent to 4,274,72 points immediately after the report, only to recovery modestly helped by selective buying in blue chip stocks.
Finally, it ended at 4,316.70 points, off 1.43 percent. Turnover was an improved 146 billion drachmas. The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.35 percent lower at 2,389.39 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 1.93 percent to 626.55 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 874.86 points, off 2.24 percent.
 ASE-Morgan Stanley report13/06/2000 15:43:46
Greece's national ministry sources rejected a Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's report of an overvalued Greek stock market, saying that it was based on questionable suppositions and methods.
"Morgan Stanley's report is based on questionable suppositions and methodology and we cannot understand how Greece's EMU entry and a four-percentage-point decline in interest rates could push the Greek stock market lower," they told ANA on Tuesday.
 Budget spending-January-April figures13/06/2000 15:35:35
Greece's regular budget's primary spending rose 7.5 percent in the first four months of 2000, exceeding a budget target for an increase of 6.4 percent, while revenues increased by 11.2 percent, up from an annual target growth of 5.8 percent, finance ministry figures showed on Tuesday.
The finance ministry said that interest payment spending jumped 16.1 percent in the January-April period, from an annual target of a 3.0 percent decline, contributing to an increase in the budget deficit.
The budget's borrowing requirements totalled 758 billion drachmas in the first four months of the year, exceeding an annual target of 665 billion drachmas.
Interest spending totalled 1.576 trillion drachmas, up from 1.357 trillion last year, reflecting higher repayment needs in that period.
A 7.5 percent increase in primary spending is attributed to a change in the government's incomes policy.
 Industrial production-March figures13/06/2000 15:22:33
Greece's composite industrial index, including mining, manufacturing, electricity and natural gas, increased 11.2 percent in March compared with the same month last year, official figures showed on Tuesday.
The mining production index rose 14.7 percent, the manufacturing index was up 8.9 percent and the electricity-natural gas-water production index increased 17.6 percent.
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