Stocks Tumble in Athens

Sept. 12 -- The general index fell an unprecedented 7.74% to close at 2,358,05 points on Wednesday. 356 stocks had losses, 3 recorded gains, and 19 remained unchanged. A bomb scare forced evacuation of the Stock Exchange building at 1:10 pm, but trading continued normally from computer terminals at brokerage offices. The session was held later than usual, from noon to 4:30 pm. Like other markets throughout Europe, the Exchange held a moment of silence for those killed during the attacks on New York and Washington.

Greece Shows Support for U.S., Tightens Security in Wake of Terrorist Attacks

Sept. 12 -- Greece has joined other European nations in expressing support for the United States following a wave of terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. The American embassy in Athens issued a press release thanking the Greek people for their expressions of solidarity following the attacks, the worst in U.S. history. Early on Sept. 11th, hijackers commandeered four passenger airplanes, crashing them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. A jet that was apparently headed for Camp David crashed in Somerset Country, Pennsylvania.

"We are shocked and horrified at the events unfolding in the United States. As President Bush said, this is a national tragedy. Prime Minister Simitis has expressed his sympathy and he sent a message to President Bush expressing the sympathy of the Greek people and of his government," the release stated.

"Private Greek citizens have been calling our Embassy to express their outrage against this heinous crime. The Greek authorities have also promised their full support. We are grateful for their show of solidarity," it concluded.

Following the attacks, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis sent a telegram to the White House, expressing his condolences. "Greece categorically condemns these horrific actions," Simitis said. "We hope that the culprits will be found and brought to justice immediately."

New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis, in Boston to inaugurate a Greek Studies program at Tufts, also sent a telegram of condolences to President Bush expressing solidarity with the American people and extending his sympathy to the victims' families.

Meanwhile, reports indicate that Greece is tightening security around American diplomatic missions, businesses, schools, and other possible targets of terrorist activity. At the International Trade Fair in Thessaloniki, the U.S. pavilion is open, but visitors are being searched.

Authorities of the Athens Stock Exchange will meet at 8.30 Wednesday morning to decide whether or not to hold the day's trading session. A decision will be taken after the response of markets elsewhere in the world has been gauged, a statement issued on Tuesday said. The Athens stockbrokers trade group has recommended closure of the domestic market due to fears of panic selling. Other European markets dropped on Tuesday in reaction to events in the U.S.

Wall Street is to remain closed on Wednesday.

(Athens News Agency, Macedonian Press Agency, and other reports)

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