In Brief

Market traders to stick with strike plans for next week Street market producers and traders will stick with plans for strike action as of Tuesday, unionists said last night just a few hours after claiming to have been satisfied by pledges made by Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos during a meeting earlier yesterday. The minister had promised to embark on talks with traders, aimed at drafting a framework to regulate the operation of street markets within the next two months. The traders mainly object to being required to introduce cash registers at market stalls and pressure to reduce prices. Environment Ministry conference on sustainable development Environment and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou and Foreign Minister George Papandreou will open a one-day conference on «The Environment and Sustainable Development» at the Park Hotel, 10 Alexandras Avenue, at 9.30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 2. The event aims to provide an account of the UN-sponsored World Conference on Sustainable Development which took place in Johannesburg a month ago, and to help define the strategic options which the Greek presidency of the EU will promote for sustainable development next year. Consumer’s basket The Greek consumer’s «basket» of goods, including foodstuffs and tobacco, stands at 83 percent of the EU average, Eurostat said. In terms of individual items, the Greek index stands at 72 percent for meat and 93 for fish, but rises to 102 for milk, cheeses and eggs, above most partner countries. Fruit and vegetables appear cheap at 66, but are still above Portugal’s 64. Olive oil stands at 92. Pastry and cakes are at 112, alcoholic beverages at 95 and non-alcholic beverages at 97. Coastal shipping Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Anomeritis yesterday met the board of the Coastal Shipowners’ Association (EEA) under its new chairman, Stelios Sarris, for a long discussion on certain provisions of the industry deregulation – due to start on November 1, 2002 – with which the operators have expressed disagreement. The two sides agreed to start a process of dialogue with a view to arriving at improvements. «These will be in the direction of deregulation for the benefit of the consumer, through healthy and fair competition,» said Anomeritis. Deregulation will abolish the barriers to the entry of foreign operators. Syndicated loan The Commercial Bank of Greece has organized and managed an 8.8-million-euro, five-year, syndicated loan to Emphasis Information Systems company, with the participation of Hellenic Bank, First Business Bank, General Bank and Laiki Bank. Emphasis posted 33-percent pretax profit growth to 2.4 million euros and 57-percent turnover growth to 11.5 million euros in the 12 months to June 30. Market shakeup Rules forcing investors to buy and sell shares through stock exchanges only would be scrapped across the European Union under a proposal to shake up the EU’s financial markets, the Financial Times reported yesterday. The European Commission hopes to let investors trade shares directly with other shareholders and banks in the 15-nation bloc, bypassing national stock exchanges, the FT said. (AFP)

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