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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-10-12
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Rhodes-Greek-Turkish FMs-Meetings12/10/2000 22:05:34
Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem will meet in Marmaris and Rhodes on Sunday for talks expected to be extremely important in the wake of problems appearing in relations between the two countries on Wednesday during a NATO exercise in Izmir, Turkey, while efforts will certainly be made to maintain the atmosphere of mutual trust.
Delegations from the two countries will also be meeting in Rhodes and Marmaris in this context and will be discussing issues related to cooperation in various business sectors and tourism in particular.
According to reports, an agreement will be reached during the meetings on a settlement concerning the issue of passport visas required for Turkish tourists wishing to travel to Greece.
The first meeting between the two ministers and delegations will take place in Marmaris on Sunday morning, while the two ministers and their delegations will be coming to Rhodes at about 4 p.m. At the end of the talks Cem will return to Marmaris and Papandreou to Athens.
 Soccer-Postponement of all league matches12/10/2000 21:50:49
The board of the Greek Soccer Federation (EPO) on Thursday decided the postponement of matches from all of the divisions for two weeks in protest against a bill which was tabled in Parliament by Deputy Sports Minister Giorgos Floridis and which is expected to become law on Friday.
The postponement of national league, first, second and all other division matches on October 15 and 22 was approved by the federation's board by 12 votes to one.
The main issue of the bill that concerns the federation is that if it becomes law, it will automatically result in the overthrow of the president of the Greek soccer league (EPAE), Victor Mitropoulos, who is also the vice-president of the soccer federation, because he is charged with embezzlement.
Under the present law, only those who have been convicted cannot have posts in sports bodies. The new law, however, will extend this prohibition even to those who are charged without yet being convicted.
 Marshall - Statue - AHEPA12/10/2000 21:20:55
The statue of 20th century American statesman George C. Marshall was unveiled in the courtyard of the US embassy in Athens on Thursday -- a symbolic day, as the event coincided with the 56th anniversary of the liberation of Athens from Nazi occupation and the discovery of the Americas by Columbus.
The unveiling of the statue of Marshall, the US top general and later secretary of state and defense secretary who conceived of and managed the massive US aid programme for war-ravaged western Europe the heralded ?Marshall Plan? -- capped off a three-year fundraising effort by the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), and following an initiative by US ambassador Nicholas Burns and his wife Elizabeth Baylies-Burns.
??He put together and trained some seven million soldiers in the service of democracy and freedom against totalitarianism ... he was a true architect against fascism. With the Marshall Plan western Europe overcame the destruction from WWII,? Archbishop of Athens and All Greece said after offering a benediction.
?He did the most positive good for Greece in the 20th century,? Burns said in his address, referring to the five billions dollars of US aid that poured into Greece in the years following WWII and the catastrophic Greek Civil War (1946-49). ?He was also among the most selfless and dignified Americans in public service?.
Burns also stressed the more than 150 years of Greek-American relations as well as the friendship and common struggles shared by the two peoples, as he said.
 Estonia-Stephanopoulos-Visit12/10/2000 21:15:09
TALLINN (ANA - N. Megadoukas) - President Stephanopoulos on Thursday expressed the hope the patriotism of the Serb people and the need to pass into a period of "absolute" democratic governance will be the safe guide allowing them to handle current difficulties and enabling Yugoslavia to become an element of peace and stability in the Balkans.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Estonian President Lennart Meri, President Stephanopoulos stressed the fact we did not witness tragic events "during the change in the political situation" occurring in Yugoslavia and expressed the hope this will not happen in the future as well. He conceded that "uncertainty" exists and is caused by the fact the neighbouring country is experiencing a "transitional period."
President Stephanopoulos also stressed the need for a "peaceful" and "correct political life" to be restored in Yugoslavia, adding that Belgrade will certainly need the assistance of the West and of other countries.
He further said a treaty of "eternal friendship" has been signed between Greece and Estonia and that friendship and cooperation between the two peoples is very important.
On his part, Meri thanked Greece for its support to his country to join the European Union and NATO and expressed his "vision" of a "world in which small countries will have a say in problems and not just major powers."
President Stephanopoulos, will be given a guided tour of the port of Tallinn on Friday and is expected back in Athens in the evening, thus winding up his three-day visits to Latvia and Estonia.
 Secondary Bond Market-Close12/10/2000 20:13:25
Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Thursday finished mixed in light to moderate trade.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.959 percent from 5.92 percent a day earlier.
The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 78 basis points from 75 basis points in the two previous sessions.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 72 billion drachmas from 144 billion drachmas in the trading day before.
Of the total, sell orders accounted for 40 billion drachmas of trade.
 Foreign Exchange Market-Close12/10/2000 20:13:18
The drachma on Thursday ended lower against the euro and the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.
At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 339.490 drachmas from 339.440 drachmas in the previous session.
Also at the fix, the dollar was set at 392.810 drachmas from 388.950 drachmas a trading day earlier.
 Derivatives Market-Close12/10/2000 20:13:10
Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished mixed on Thursday, roughly in line with the indices on which they are based.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 1.84 percent down, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 1.82 percent lower.
Turnover was 15.4 billion drachmas.
A total of 2,940 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 with turnover at 12.9 billion drachmas.
On the FTSE/ASE 40 index, 1,304 contracts changed hands on turnover of 2.4 billion drachmas.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Friday12/10/2000 19:07:49
Indicative rates released by the central bank for the next working day.
Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar 389.668
German mark 172.189
French franc 051.341
Pound sterling 568.495
Irish punt 427.614
Belgian franc 008.348
Luxembourg franc 008.348
Dutch guilder 152.822
Italian lira (100) 017.393
Austrian schilling 024.475
Danish kroner 045.221
Swedish kroner 039.244
Finnish mark 056.641
Spanish peseta 002.024
Portuguese escudo 001.679
Japanese yen (100) 362.030
Swiss franc 222.818
Norwegian kroner 041.827
Cyprus pound 587.244
Canadian dollar 258.059
Australian dollar 206.435
 Weather Forecast-Friday12/10/2000 19:07:42
Warm, humid weather is forecast throughout Greece on Friday, with light cloud in the west and north. Visibility will be restricted in the morning. Winds variable, moderate to strong. In the north temperatures will range from 14C to 26C; on the rest of the mainland from 16C to 29C; and in the islands from 18C to 27C. Sunny weather in Athens with temperatures between 17C and 28C. Light cloud in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 16C to 26C.
 Greece-Capital Markets' Committee report12/10/2000 16:49:56
Greek listed companies have earmarked 73.5 percent of the capital raised on the Athens Stock Exchange to fund their investment programmes in the period from January 1, 1999 to June 30, 2000, but the remaining 26.5 percent was "missing" probably used for other purposes, Capital Markets' Committee said in a report on Thursday.
Greek companies raised a total of 5.25 trillion drachmas from the primary capital market in the 18-month period, 4.46 trillion through share capital increase schemes and 787.35 billion through initial public offerings.
The Committee's report said that around 2.0 trillion drachmas have been earmarked to fund companies' expansion plans, through equity holdings, takeovers and creation of new companies, while another 1.1 trillion drachmas were spent for the continuation and implementation of their investment programmes.
The two categories absorbed 80 percent of total earmarked capital, or 7.5 percent of the estimated gross domestic product of the country this year. Investments and other spending totalled 1.096 trillion drachmas (20.88 pct of the total), takeovers and equity holdings totalled 1.984 trillion (37.80 pct), reducing debt totalled 436.446 billion drachmas (8.32 pct) and increasing operating capital totalled 343.583 billion drachmas (6.52 pct).
 ASE-close12/10/2000 16:04:03
Equity prices remained under pressure for the fourth consecutive session this week to end sharply lower on Thursday, pushing the general index near the 3,800 level on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Traders said a disappointing debute of CosmOTE's shares in the market, its share price fell below its listing price on the first day of trading in market, combined with sharp declines in international markets deteriorated a prevailing negative sentiment in the Athens bourse.
Bank shares were particularly hit with Commercial Bank, Eurobank and Alpha Bank losing more than two percent.
The general index ended 1.93 percent lower at 3,808.30 points, off the day's lows of 3,798.95 points. Turnover was an improved 144.27 billion drachmas, buoyed by transactions worth 85 billion drachmas in CosmOTE's shares.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.84 percent lower at 2,168.59 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 1.82 percent to 469.20 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 484.46 points, off 3.71 percent.
 Greece - Russia - Ivanov12/10/2000 15:56:59
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on Thursday expressed Moscows satisfaction with the European Unions decision this week to lift several sanctions leveled against Yugoslavia by the 15-country bloc.
Ivanov, who arrived in Greece one day after originally scheduled in order to continue efforts at mediation in the West Bank, held talks on developments in Yugoslavia, the long-standing Cyprus problem and the situation in the Middle East with his Greek counterpart.
On his part, Greek FM George Papandreou reiterated that the Kostunica government must now be supported in order for democratisation and reconstruction of Yugoslavia to proceed, saying a ?smooth democratic transition? is the priority.
Before meeting with Papandreou, Ivanov ascended to the top of the Acropolis for a brief but solemn flag-raising ceremony amid a blue Mediterranean sky to mark the 56th anniversary of the liberation of Athens from Nazi occupation.
Following a meeting with main opposition leader Costas Karamanlis, Ivanov departed Greece.
 Greece-budget revenues12/10/2000 15:46:52
Greece's regular budget revenues rose 7.3 percent in September, compared with the same month last year, raising the budget's surplus to 627 billion drachmas in the January-September period, the finance ministry said on Thursday.
Budget revenues were up 11.6 percent in the first nine months of 2000 compared with the same period last year, exceeding a 3.4 percent annual target growth.
The finance ministry expects that budget surplus could surpass 700 billion drachmas by the end of the year.
Tax office revenues were up 6.6 percent in September and up 14.9 percent in the first nine months of the year. Custom revenues increased by 8.3 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively, while VAT revenues rose 3.1 percent in September and 11.2 percent in the January-September period.
 Thessaloniki Water-flotation12/10/2000 14:46:48
The Greek government on Thursday decided the flotation of Thessaloniki Water and Drainage Company in the first half of 2001.
The decision was taken during a meeting chaired by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou with the participation of Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Pashalides and other ministry officials.
The meeting also decided to strengthen the company's investment programme with funds from a public investment programme.
A national economy ministry statement said the flotation will be based on a model followed in the flotation of Athens Water aiming to improve the company's operation, to upgrade its services and to ensure workers' rights.
 Greece-harmonised inflation12/10/2000 14:32:46
Greece's harmonised consumer price index rose to 2.4 percent in September (annualised figure) from 2.3 percent in August and 2.2 percent in July, National Statistics Service said on Thursday.
The harmonised CPI figures are not comparable with the national CPI figures because of products, population and geographical differences.
Harmonised figures are used to assess the convergence criterion and price stability in EMU.
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