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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-04-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Unprecedented Greek-Turkish Mideast peace initiative commences
  • [02] EU okays sale of Hellenic Shipyards to HDW, Ferrostaal
  • [03] Greek Balkan Reconstruction Plan beginning from Yugoslavia
  • [04] Education minister meets with Chinese leadership, discusses relevant
  • [05] Protest march to Israeli Embassy held on Thursday evening
  • [06] Police chief outlines police priorities for 2002
  • [07] Weather Forecast: Unsettled on Friday
  • [08] Decision on bid for Hellenic Petroleum by end-May
  • [09] Alpha Bank posts lower Q1 profit
  • [10] Athens stock, derivative markets shut on May 1, May 7
  • [11] Foreign Exchange Rates - Friday
  • [12] Weather Forecast: Unsettled on Thursday
  • [13] Greek bourse follows European markets lower

  • [01] Unprecedented Greek-Turkish Mideast peace initiative commences

    25/04/2002 23:24:19

    JERUSALEM (ANA - A. Podimata/D. Constantakopoulos) An unprecedented Greek-Turkish initiative to promote international efforts at defusing the raging Mideast crisis brought the two countries foreign ministers to Yasser Arafats tank-besieged headquarters in Ramallah and Ariel Sharons Cabinet room on Thursday.

    The Greek and Turkish foreign ministers, George Papandreou and Ismail Cem, respectively, met with Palestinian leader Arafat for more than an hour in Ramallah, following the approval by the Israeli side.

    According to reports, Arafat was accompanied by just one aide during the meeting after the Israelis reportedly refused other Palestinian negotiators to attend.

    In brief statements to state-run Greek television Arafat said he ?appreciated? the Greek-Turkish initiative and hoped that the other side (Israel) would do the same.

    Asked whether the Greek-Turkish presence would help, Arafat said that this depended on the Israeli side.

    ?We signed a peace of the brave with my colleague Yitzhak Rabin and this peace has been cancelled and destroyed.''

    Regarding what the next step would be, Arafat said this question should be put to the Israelis and Washington. He again stressed, however, that there would never be peace in the Middle East unless there was a peace agreement for the Holy Land.

    Athens and Ankara have stressed the symbolism of the joint Greek-Turkish initiative for the troubled region, pointing liberally to the continuing rapprochement between Athens and Ankara on various fields as an example of traditional foes choosing a ''different road'', as Papandreou recently said.

    At a later joint press conference, Papandreou noted: ?We want a secure Israel, we condemn the killings of innocent civilians ... and a security Israel means a secure and viable Palestinian state.?

    Finally, it was announced that following the two FMs talks with Sharon, the Israeli premier allowed the chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat to travel to Tel-Aviv for further contacts with Cem and Papandreou.

    Following a working lunch with their Israeli counterpart Peres, the latter praised the Greek-Turkish initiative, while noting that Greece and Turkey represent countries that have developed historic civilisations in the Middle East, and that have faced serious problems in their bilateral relations over years.

    Peres added that simply the fact that both countries foreign ministers are in the area ranks as a ?message of peace?.

    [02] EU okays sale of Hellenic Shipyards to HDW, Ferrostaal

    25/04/2002 23:21:44

    BRUSSELS (ANA/M.Spinthourakis) - The European Union's executive Commission on Thursday approved the sale of Hellenic Shipyards to Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) AG with Ferrostaal AG, both of Germany.

    In a statement, the Commission said that regulatory approval had been given as the acquisition of Hellenic, formerly known as Skaramangas, by the two corporations did not breach rules of fair competition.

    [03] Greek Balkan Reconstruction Plan beginning from Yugoslavia

    25/04/2002 23:20:44

    Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos said on Thursday the Greek Balkan Economic Reconstruction Plan will begin from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the wider region of Kosovo and Albania will follow immediately afterwards.

    Loverdos, who was speaking in Thessaloniki where he arrived to participate in the 1st meeting of the Reconstruction Plan's Monitoring Committee, said a Greek delegation headed by Prime Minister Costas Simitis will visit Belgrade on May 8-9 and the relevant development cooperation agreement will be signed between the two countries.

    Greece will initial the agreement during this meeting while Belgrade will sign it from the moment the projects and actions to be included in the Plan's funding programme are determined.

    Yugoslavia will receive the lion's share from the funding package, amounting to about 180 billion drachmas (550 million euros), since it will be absorbing about 95 billion drachmas, while Albania's share will be 24 billion drachmas.

    [04] Education minister meets with Chinese leadership, discusses relevant affairs

    25/04/2002 23:16:50

    Education Minister Petros Efthymiou, who is visiting China, on Thursday met with Chinese Vice-President Lanqing Li, who will arrive in Greece in May for an official visit.

    Lanqing is of the most important government officials of the vast Asian country with responsibilities in educational, cultural, economic and foreign trade issues.

    Efthymiou also met with China's Education Minister Zhili Chen.

    During his talks with the Chinese officials a new educational agreement resulted, which will be signed during 2002 and will be in force after this year, expanding already existing agreements in educational exchanges between the two countries.

    During his stay in China, Efthymiou visited the Greek Language Center at the University of Beijing, which was established in 2000, with the help of the Greek education ministry and the support of Greek shipowner V. Konstantakopoulos.

    [05] Protest march to Israeli Embassy held on Thursday evening

    25/04/2002 23:15:40

    About 500 Palestinians and members of various organisations held a protest march to the Israeli Embassy in Athens on Thursday evening.

    The demonstrators assembled at Freedom Park in central Athens and then marched to the Israeli Embassy where they chanted slogans against the Israelis and the Americans.

    They dispersed peacefully.

    [06] Police chief outlines police priorities for 2002

    25/04/2002 23:15:32

    Attica police Chief George Angelakos said on Thursday the main priorities of the police in 2002 are combatting drug trafficking, organised crime, terrorism and the trafficking of people in the form of the illegal trafficking of women with the purpose of sexual and economic exploitation.

    Angelakos, who was outlining the Greek Police's counter-crime policy for 2002, added that other priorities are dealing with petty crime, illegal immigration, cases of corruption and preparation for the assumption of the European Union's presidency in the first half of 2003.

    According to data provided on crime, homicides decreased by 12.96 percent over the past three years, robberies by 8.23, thefts and burglaries 20.8 and car thefts 19.

    In the sector of illegal immigration a total of 37,898 people were sent back in the past two years, while on the question of road safety, 10,772 traffic accidents occurred in 2001, compared to 11,660 in 2000, meaning a decrease of 7.6 percent.

    [07] Weather Forecast: Unsettled on Friday

    25/04/2002 23:14:20

    Unsettled weather is forecast in all parts of the country, with cloud, rain and storms, chiefly on the mainland. Limited visibility due to mist is expected early in the morning. Winds variable, light. In the north, temperatures will range from 7C to 18C; on the rest of the mainland from 10C to 21C; and in the islands from 13C to 20C. Unsettled in Athens, with temperatures between 12C and 20C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 9C to 18C.

    [08] Decision on bid for Hellenic Petroleum by end-May

    25/04/2002 20:56:23

    Evaluation of a bid for a stake in Hellenic Petroleum by Lukoil, Russia's largest oil producer, with the international Latsis energy, banking and shipping group, should be completed by the end of May, Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Thursday.

    The consortium submitted a binding offer for a 23 percent stake in Athens-quoted Hellenic Petroleum and its management in early April.

    Yukos Oil, Russia's second largest petroleum company, had previously withdrawn from the tender.

    The three firms that had originally expressed non-binding interest were Lukoil with Latsis; OMV Aktiengesellschaft of Austria; and Yukos.

    The Latsis Group bid through a subsidiary, Paneuropean Oil & Industrial Holding SA, the main shareholder of Athens-quoted Petrola Hellas.

    Latsis holds a one-third stake in the consortium. Lukoil has the remaining two thirds.

    Advising the government in the tender are UBS Warburg, National Bank of Greece, and the National Investment Bank for Industrial Development.

    [09] Alpha Bank posts lower Q1 profit

    25/04/2002 20:10:27

    Alpha Bank, a blue chip on the Athens bourse, said on Thursday that its net profit before tax in the first quarter of 2002 fell by 65 percent to 32.3 million euros from 92.9 million euros in the same period a year earlier.

    Also down were the Alpha Bank Group's consolidated earnings after tax and minorities, which totalled 23.1 million euros from 62.6 million euros in the first quarter of 2001, the bank said in a statement.

    Management attributed the slump to a weak performance in securities markets against a robust picture in the first quarter of last year, when Alpha's earnings jumped 50 percent fuelled mainly by bond trades, coupled with a surge in net income from interest.

    At the same time, operational expenses fell in the first quarter of 2002, with wages and expenditure on personnel dropping by 10 percent despite a one-off 10 percent increase due to introduction of the euro.

    The outlook for 2002 was more stable for net income from interest, which was expected to settle at 2.3 percent as a proportion of average assets, the statement said.

    Also expected to fuel earnings were stronger retail banking operations, with mortgages posting an annualised rise of more than 115 percent at the end of March this year, and consumer loans a 55 percent increase.

    On April 2, Alpha Bank Group chairman Yiannis Kostopoulos had told shareholders that earnings would be comparatively weak in the first quarter, in line with other banks.

    He said profits in the rest of the year were likely to be stronger as there was leeway for improvement, but world market factors should also be taken into account.

    ''The Greek and global economy are not doing very well, with whatever adverse repercussions that entails,'' Kostopoulos added.

    [10] Athens stock, derivative markets shut on May 1, May 7

    25/04/2002 18:14:45

    The Athens stock market and derivatives exchange will be closed on May 1 and May 7, authorities said in a statement on Thursday.

    Although the Mayday holiday has formally been moved to May 7 in Greece due to the proximity of Orthodox Easter this year, European and domestic interbank clearing systems will be closed on that day, impeding trade, the statement said.

    In Greece, markets will again close on May 7 for the transferred holiday, it added.

    [11] Foreign Exchange Rates - Friday

    25/04/2002 17:55:51

    Indicative tourist buying rates per euro

    U.S. dollar 0.904

    Pound sterling 0.622

    Danish kroner 7.493

    Swedish kroner 9.304

    Japanese yen 116.1

    Swiss franc 1.476

    Norwegian kroner 7.645

    Cyprus pound 0.581

    Canadian dollar 1.414

    Australian dollar 1.660

    [12] Weather Forecast: Unsettled on Thursday

    25/04/2002 17:45:41

    Unsettled weather is forecast in all parts of the country, with cloud, rain and storms, chiefly on the mainland. Limited visibility due to mist is expected early in the morning. Winds variable, light. In the north, temperatures will range from 7C to 18C; on the rest of the mainland from 10C to 21C; and in the islands from 13C to 20C. Unsettled in Athens, with temperatures between 12C and 20C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 9C to 18C.

    [13] Greek bourse follows European markets lower

    25/04/2002 16:35:33

    Greek stocks ended Thursday's session lower in the Athens Stock Exchange following a decline in other European markets and a fall in National Bank's share price after a dividend cut.

    The general index fell 0.47 percent to end at 2,206.42 points, with turnover an improved 95 million euros.

    The Construction, Wholesale and IT Solutions sectors scored the biggest percentage gains (1.60 percent, 1.26 percent and 1.24 percent, respectively), while the Insurance, Banks and Holding sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (1.41 percent, 1.24 percent and 0.99 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.87 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 0.51 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.79 percent higher.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 208 to 101 with another 46 issues unchanged.


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