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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-10-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Simitis-Parliament-"Samina" shipwreck
  • [02] Stephanopoulos-Visits-Latvia-Estonia
  • [03] NET-IHT-Financial News
  • [04] Greece-transport safety
  • [05] Lyberis Publications-share capital increase
  • [06] Greece-budget-health
  • [07] Panafon-customer base
  • [08] ASE-close

  • [01] PM Simitis-Parliament-"Samina" shipwreck

    04/10/2000 23:21:01

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis, speaking in Parliament on Wednesday on the "Express Samnina" wreckage last week, said the government felt its responsibilities regarding the accident, but added that "no one can stand at a distance and say: only those above are to blame."

    He expressed his sorrow over the loss of 79 lives in the sinking off the island of Paros last week of the ferry.

    The "Express Samina" sank after hitting a reef near the island's port in rough seas shortly before midnight on September 26, while efforts are still being made to recover more bodies which might be trapped in the vessel's garage and lower decks.

    Simitis, speaking in Parliament during "Prime Minister's Hour" in reply to queries made by the leaders of the main opposition New Democracy party, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos), said "we feel our responsibility" regarding the accident in Paros and we shall work to change things, adding that "no one can stand at a distance and say: only those above are to blame."

    "We are all responsible and, of course, we are more responsible and I accept this. And since we are aware of this responsibility we shall work to change things," he said.

    Simitis further said "nobody said everything is fine. There are many inadequacies, but we have nothing to gain by saying that the one or the other is not to blame, the main responsibility lies with the government, there is no social responsibility, all our working perfectly and all the work is spoilt by the government."

    Replying to criticism by the opposition on an ageing passenger ship fleet, Simitis said that over the period covering 1996-2001 76 ships, either new or under the age of 10 years, will have been put into service, while over the 1990-1996 period this was the case for only eight ships under the age of 10.

    On the question of ships being unsafe, he said checks are carried out by nine certified experts from the Freighter Ships Inspection Department, in accordance with national, international and European directives. He further added that Greece is the sole European Union member-state which has set a 35-year age limit for ships, while in other countries there is no such limit.

    Simitis reiterated that Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis will propose at a cabinet meeting on Thursday the lifting of "cabotage" earlier than the time limit anticipated, namely 2002, without restrictive terms concerning the age of ships being lifted.

    [02] Stephanopoulos-Visits-Latvia-Estonia

    04/10/2000 19:47:38

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will start an official visit to the Baltic republic of Latvia and Estonia next week at the invitation of his Latvian counterpart Vaira Vike-Freiberga and his Estonian counterpart Lennart Meri.

    Stephanopoulos will hold three-day visits in each of the two republics beginning with Latvia on Monday and Estonia on Wednesday.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Angeliki Laiou and Deputy National Economy Minister Ioannis Zaphiropoulos will accompany the president.

    [03] NET-IHT-Financial News

    04/10/2000 19:47:25

    Greek state television, or NET, has made an agreement with the International Herald Tribune (IHT) newspaper to receive financial news broadcasts that will be aired weekly.

    Two international financial reporters will analyse the week's top ten financial and market stories in Greece and abroad, subtitled in Greek.

    The journalists are Alan Friedman, the IHT's financial correspondent, and John Defterius, a financial reporter for CNN television of the US.

    The hour-long broadcasts begin on October 14, and will be shown on NET each Saturday at 1800, with a repeat on Sunday at 1100.

    The producer of the series is Fact-Based Communications Ltd of the United Kingdom, whose managing director is Friedman. The company's programme director is Defterius.

    The first programme will feature an interview with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    [04] Greece-transport safety

    04/10/2000 17:06:15

    Greece's Transport and Communications Minister, Christos Verelis, on Wednesday signed a government decision for the harmonisation of Greek law to EU legislation over transport safety rules.

    The new legislation envisages new procedures on safety consulting for road, rail and sea transport of hazardous cargo. Under the new law, all companies with activities in transporting of hazardous cargoes, must employ safety consultants to prevent risks for the public, the environment and their products.

    "We must do our best to protect the environment from hazardous cargo transport risks," Verelis said.

    [05] Lyberis Publications-share capital increase

    04/10/2000 16:56:02

    A Lyberis Publications' general shareholders' meeting on Wednesday approved a share capital increase plan, worth 2.552 billion drachmas, capitalising of reserves and a share rights' issue.

    The company plans to issue 12,764,000 new shares of a nominal value of 200 drachmas each and a two-for-one rights' issue to shareholders.

    The new capital will be used to built the company's new facilities in eastern Athens.

    Lyberis Publications also plans to issue a new monthly magazine "Life and Style" by the end of 2000.

    The company said sales of its "Vogue" (in Greek language) magazine has exceeded prediction so far. Its circulation exceeded targets by 37 percent in the first 10 months of the year, while advertising revenues were 25 percent higher from targets.

    [06] Greece-budget-health

    04/10/2000 16:35:29

    Next year's budget will focus on health and education, with more spending provisions compared with other sectors, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Wednesday.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Health Minister Alecos Papadopoulos, Papantoniou described next year's budget as "the budget of Health and Education".

    Commenting on a truckers' decision to suspend their strike, Papantoniou said this decision showed that Greece has dealt efficiently with problems arising from higher oil prices.

    [07] Panafon-customer base

    04/10/2000 16:26:28

    Panafon, a list mobile operator, on Wednesday reported that its customer base grew by 38.4 percent in the third quarter of 2000, compared with the same period last year.

    Panafon's customers totalled 2,060,000 by the end of September, up 158,000 in the July-September period, for a rise of 22.5 percent from the previous quarter. A total of 48,000 were subscription contract customers while the remaining 110,000 were non-contract customers.

    [08] ASE-close

    04/10/2000 16:18:44

    Equity prices remained under pressure to end sharply lower for the second consecutive session on Wednesday, with the general index finding support at the 4,000 level.

    Traders said the market was vulnerable because of a shrinking liquidity and predicted further falls in share prices.

    The general index ended at 4,010.83 points, off 1.69 percent, with turnover a low 57.14 billion drachmas.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.79 percent lower at 2,275.07 and the FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 2.17 percent to 503.98 points.

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 555.43 points, off 2.8 percent.

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