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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-05-30

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

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

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 30/05/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • FBI to help in search for shipowner's murderers
  • 'November 17' claims responsibility for Greek shipowner's murder
  • 127 kilos of marijuana found on beach
  • Greece urges even further enlargement of NATO
  • Gov't presents bill for central bank autonomy
  • Athens, Belgrade accord abolishing double taxation
  • Eurocourt to consider excessive tax on used cars
  • Bank of Greece supports drachma
  • EIB to issue more bond loans in Drachmas
  • ANA Mediterranean agencies' seminar begins tomorrow
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

FBI to help in search for shipowner's murderers

A meeting was held at the Public Order Ministry yesterday between FBI officials and senior Greek police officers investigating the murder of shipowner Costas Peratikos, who was killed by the November 17 terrorist group on Wednesday as he left his office in Pireaus.

Police sources say American police are to make state-of-the-art electronic equipment available to Greek police to assist in the investigation.

Meanwhile, the counter-terrorist unit said today that Peratikos was shot by two of the three men who ambushed him, as ballistics tests show both a .45 calibre gun and a .38, both of which had also been used in other attacks by the urban guerrilla group, had been used in the attack.

'November 17' claims responsibility for Greek shipowner's murder

The 'November 17' terrorist organisation has claimed responsibility for the murder of Greek shipowner Costantine Peratikos in an eight-page letter sent to the Athens daily Eleftherotypia published today.

The elusive urban guerrilla group said it had tried to assassinate Peratikos twice in the past but without success.

Peratikos was accused by the group of mismanaging the troubled Elefsis Shipyards, near Piraeus, which the family took over in 1992 and closed it in 1995 accumulating a debt of an estimated 27 billion drachma.

The gurrilla group described the sale as a "major scandal". It said that their "action (to kill Peratikos) had been planned since June 1995 when the Elefsis Shipyards were operating under the ownership of the Peratikos shipping group."

'November 17' has killed 21 Greek and foreign politicians and diplomats ever since it emerged in 1975.

Meanwhile, police continued their investigation into the murder without any solid leads.

For the moment, they are concentrating their efforts on the depositions of 20 eyewitnesses to the attack, five of whom literally came face-to-face with the assassins. According to police sources, however, the sketches of the suspects made on the basis of the descriptions given by the witnesses differ from "identikit" pictures made up in the past following similar attacks.

The same sources said the police were concerned that the shadowy organisation November 17 may have recruited new, relatively younger members.

127 kilos of marijuana found on beach

A joint police and army patrol today found nine sacks containing 127 kilos of marijuana on the Drepanos beach near Igoumenitsa, northern Greece.

The police believe that the marijuana was smuggled into Greece by Albanians and left to be picked up by accomplices.

Joint police and army patrols have been set up to guard Greece's northern borders against a recent massive influx of illegal immigrants, mainly from neighbouring Albania.

Meanwhile, two Albanians were arrested at the Kakavia border post after customs officers found two kilos of marijuana in their car.

The couple, identified as Leonard Mertiri and Peta Eleftheria, were due to appear before a public prosecutor in Ioannina later today.

Last night, police in Katerina, northern Greece, arrested two illegal immigrants from Albania who tried to sell 32 kilos of marijuana and a Kalashnikov to two undercover policemen for 5 million drachmas.

The two were named as Aeron Tabako, 27 and Ingris Tabako, 40, residents of Elbasan. During questioning, the two refused to tell the police anything, not even whether they were related.

Two Albanian travelling grocers who had diversified their wares to include marijuana were also arrested early this morning at the 10th kilometre of the main Larissa-Thessaloniki highway.

Police in Thessaloniki had received information that the two Albanians - Gianni Rapti, 24 and Medor Vila, 21 - temporarily residing in Larissa, central Greece, were using their grocery business as a cover to sell marijuana in the villages of the area.

They were arrested early this morning after arranging to meet two prospective buyers who managed to evade capture.

Drug squad officers found 14 ''balls'' of marijuana weighing a total of 15 kilos hidden between fruit and vegetables in the Albanians' van.

The pair were due to appear before a public prosecutor in Larissa today.

Greece urges even further enlargement of NATO

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos called yesterday for an even larger NATO expansion that is currently being proposed, citing Bulgaria and Slovakia as potential candidates.

Mr. Pangalos, who was speaking on the sidelines of the NATO alliance's foreign ministers conference in Lisbon, explained why Greece wants an even further enlargement of NATO.

"We have stressed that there are two countries which would be difficult to stay outside enlargement. Slovakia is one, and Bulgaria is the other which must be supported now that a serious effort has been undertaken to restructure its economny and it appe ars that the possibility exists, as was shown in the elections, for Bulgaria's democratic structures to function and allow for a smooth changeover in power," he said.

Mr. Pangalos also said that the NATO alliance was faced with a problem in organising its defence structure.

Commenting on earlier statements by US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns, Mr. Pangalos said Greece had repeatedly tried to have the Cyprus issue internationalised with the largest possible involvement of international factors and, of course, the US is one of them. He said that if the US approached the issue on the basis of UN resolutions and pursued their implementation, because the Cyprus problem lay there, this would be a very positive development.

"We do not want others to resolve our problems. We want to resolve these issues, which have appeared in our relations with Turkey, provided that both countries agree to abandon every threat of war and force and accept the internationally valid legal framework and process for resolving differences, which cannot be resolved with discussions between them, namely, resorting to third factors to resolve differences, such as the International Court at The Hague," he added.

Gov't presents bill for central bank autonomy

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday released the details of a bill that will grant Greece's central bank autonomous status.

Under the terms of the bill, a five-member monetary policy council will be created including the Bank of Greece's governor and its two deputy governors.

The three officials will have a six-year term of office.

Athens, Belgrade accord abolishing double taxation

Representatives of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's finance minister and the Greek finance ministry initialled an agreement here on Wednesday concerning the avoidance of double taxation.

An announcement by the federal press secretariat said the agreement will contribute to developing economic cooperation between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Greece because it settles an important issue concerning the double taxation of private persons and legal entities of the two countries. The agreement also secures common criteria for determining the right to tax certain categories of income and property.

Eurocourt to consider excessive tax on used cars

The European Court's hearing in Luxembourg against Greece for excessive taxation of imported used cars from other European Union member-states was concluded yesterday.

The European Commission accuses Greece of violating Article 95 of the Treaty for taxing imported second-hand cars from EU countries more strictly than second-hand cars in Greece.

The article rules that no member-state can impose, either directly or indirectly, internal taxes of whatever nature on the products of other member-states above those which burden, either directly or indirectly, similar national products and which taxes lead indirectly to the protection of other products.

According to reports, the general prosecutor will publicise his proposals at the end of June and the European Court is expected to issue its final decision on the case in about mid-October.

Bank of Greece supports drachma

The Greek drachma remained under pressure for the third consecutive day in the domestic money market with foreign currency outflows totalling 825 million US dollars on Thursday as the Bank of Greece intervened to support the ECU/drachma rate.

Outflows in the drachma's three-day fall were estimated at 1.5 billion dollars.

According to market sources, the drachma's slide was not linked to developments in the Greek economy but reflected negative developments abroad after the German central bank rejected a plan to revalue gold reserves in order to cover a huge budget gap th is year.

The tension could undermine the creation of European Economic and Monetary Union, analysts said. Also, political worries in France ahead of the second round of general elections and currency turmoil in Thailand and the Czech Republic had contributed to the negative impact on the Greek currency.

EIB to issue more bond loans in drachmas

The European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a two-year lending programme with the Hellenic Investment Bank for Industrial Development (ETEBA) for a drachma bond issue worth 200 billion drachmas.

According to the agreement, signed by EIB's vice-president Panayiotis Yennimatas and ETEBA's managing director Dimitris Pavlakis, EIB will issue a debt paper including floating rate notes, fixed interest issues and zero coupon bonds, providing investors with a variety of options.

ETEBA, Hellenic Industrial Development Bank (ETBA), HSBC Midland, Eurobank, Bayerische Vereinsbank, National Bank of Greece, ABN-AMRO, Alpha Credit Bank, Barclays and Citibank will act as intermediaries in the offerings.

The framework agreement provides EIB with an improved legal status for future drachma bond issues by simplifying procedures and helping to integrate the Greek capital market into the European financial sector. Speaking after the signing, EIB's vice-president said that Greek interest rates would continue to fall, a development necessitating the provision of new medium-term quality, risk-free solutions for investors.

EIB has already issued four Marathon bond issues in drachmas maturing in March 1999 and 2000, totalling 85 billion drachmas.

ANA Mediterranean agencies' seminar begins tomorrow

A seminar for members of the Mediterranean News Agencies' Alliance, held by the Athens News Agency, begins tomorrow morning at the Divani Caravel Hotel. It will be opened by Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas.

The seminar will explore new services and the changing needs of subscribers, the use of Internet by media organisations, satellite and on-line services, photo exchanges and marketing in the new era.

Speakers from abroad include AFP Deputy Technical Director Stephane Guerillot, ANSA Technical Director Ettore Franzini and commercial Director Arduino Mancini, LUSA President Manuel Pedro Marques, Prof. Bernd-Peter Lange, General Director, European Institute for the Media, APA Marketing and Sales Director Konrad Tretter, MENA Chief Consultant Mohamed El Biali, Reuters Regional News and TV Manager Nikola Antonov, Dr. Wlodzimierz Gogolek, Professor, Member of the Polish Telecommuncations Organisation Board and EFE International Relations Director Indalecio Diaz.

Greek media representatives who will address the seminar include Athens University Professor Stelios Papathanasopoulos, the editor in chief of Ta Nea, Pantelis Kapsis, university professor Manolis Heretakis, OTEnet board member Antonis Lyrantonakis and ANA Technical Director Takis Mantis.

The seminar, sponsored by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) and its subsidiary OTEnet, ends on Sunday morning at 11.30.

WEATHER

Scattered cloudiness and a further drop in temperatures is forecast for most parts of Greece today with the possibility of intermittent rain in the northern regions. Winds will be northerly, light to moderate. Athens will be partly cloudy with temperatures between 14-24C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 13-20C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 270.737 Pound sterling 443.424 Cyprus pd 532.704 French franc 47.033 Swiss franc 191.029 German mark 158.918 Italian lira (100) 16.052 Yen (100) 232.664 Canadian dlr. 196.158 Australian dlr. 207.477 Irish Punt 408.248 Belgian franc 7.698 Finnish mark 52.675 Dutch guilder 141.276 Danish kr. 41.733 Swedish kr. 35.057 Norwegian kr. 38.232 Austrian sch. 22.587 Spanish peseta 1.878 Port. Escudo 1.569

(M.P.)


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