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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-08-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 15/08/1997 (ANA)


  • Exodus to the countryside for holiday weekend
  • Manhunt for killers of Kastoria fur dealers
  • Ecumenical Patriarch to visit US
  • Milutinovic assesses visit to Athens
  • Stephanopoulos to tour Peloponnese
  • Sariza mineral water withdrawn
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL Exodus to the countryside for holiday weekend

Thousands of Athenians headed away from the capital to spend the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in the provinces and the islands, making Athens virtually a ghost city during this key celebration in the Orthodox Christian calendar. The centre of festivities is the island of Tinos, where thousands of pilgrims visit the shrine of the Virgin.

The service on Tinos this year was attended by Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis.

Meanwhile, political parties and leaders issued messages on the occasion of Armed Forces Day, which coincides with the Feast of the Assumption.

New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis said in his message that "the armed forces provide a living guarantee of the independence, integrity and the honour of the nation," and that the responsibility of political forces is to formulate a single and long-term foreign and defence policy, which is the only one effectively capable of securing the country against any provocations and designs.

The Coalition of the Left stressed the importance of promoting a national strategy of peace and security, but also the need for transparency and control of armaments contracts and procurements.

Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas stressed that the state must contribute to further strengthening the armed forces through economic upgrading and meritocracy for officers, and the rational and transparent utilisation of funds for defence.

Manhunt for killers of Kastoria fur dealers

Police have launched a manhunt for three men sought in the murder of a fur trade dealer and his son in the northern Greek city of Kastoria yesterday.

Fur dealer Savvas Gilantzidis, 50, and his sons Anestis, 24, and Kostas, 21 were bound and gagged and buried under a pile of furs by three men who had entered the store as customers, then pulled our a gun.

The robbers got away with $7,000 and 900,000 drachmas in cash, along with 5, 000 furs valued at about 80 million drachmas.

The younger son managed to break free after three and half hours, but his father and brother died of asphyxiation.

The identity of the robbers is uncertain, although police suspect they could be members of a Eastern European gang, given the interest of Russian "mafia" in furs. Nevertheless, police say the crime did not appear to be the work of commmon criminals, but was committed by an organised gang.

All roads leading out of Kastoria are being watched by police and checking suspect vehicles. Witnesses say that around the time of the crime, a white Mercedes, a black Seat Ibiza and a red truck were parked near Gilantzidis' store.

Ecumenical Patriarch to visit US

Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Vartholomeos I, spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians, will visit the United States for one-month in October, a Patriarchate spokesman told the ANA yesterday.

A programme of his visit released to ANA said the Patriarch will begin the tour, his first to the US, on October 19 and returning to his See on November 17.

He will be welcomed on arrival at Andrews Air Force Base by Archbishop Spyridon of North and South America, Cabinet members, members of the diplomatic corps, Orthodox hierarchs, ecumenical leaders, senators, congressmen, clergy and laity throughout the U.S.

During his visit, the Patriarch will meet with Orthodox, Catholic, Jewish and Moslem leaders, and hold talks with U.S. President Bill Clinton, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

One of the highlights of the visit will be his meeting with Cardinal William Keeler as part of efforts to cement relations between the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches, which split in 1054.

He will also be the first Orthodox Patriarch to officiate at a service in a Catholic church in the U.S., when he presides over a prayer service at the Basilica of the national Shrine of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Baltimore, Maryland on October 23.

Other highlights will be a Patriarchal Divine Liturgy in New York's Madison Square Garden and a prayer service at the Martin Luther King Centre for Social Change in Atlanta.

On the first leg of his tour, in Washington D.C., the Patriarch will visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and hold talks with Jewish leaders. He will also address the first the First Orthodox-Muslim Dialogue in America at the Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University.

Other cities on his itinerary are New Jersey, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Des Moines, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Florence (Arizona) and Pittsburgh.

Milutinovic assesses visit to Athens

Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic characterised his talks in Athens with Greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos as "very constructive and comprehensive", according to statements he made to a Serb television station after returning from Greece this week.

Mr. Milutinovic believes the greatest progress in bilateral relations was made in the economic and investment sector. He also stressed Greece's support for the Yugoslav Federal Republic's return to the international community, particularly the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Mention was also made in Athens, he said, of a Balkan summit to be held in November on the island of Crete. Mr. Milutinovic's reference to the summit was interpreted by the Yugoslav press as a declaration that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was planning to attend.

The Foreign Minister expressed the hope that bilateral trade would increase, as great store is being set by commercial agreements expected to be signed.

The Yugoslav press yesterday focussed on the announcement of a loan from Greece for the construction of a national road network from Belgrade to Skopje, capital of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The "Nasa Borba" newspaper quoted a US State Department spokesperson's comment that it was up to Greece to make such decisions, which are not governed by the sactions which the US continues to impose on Belgrade. The US is demanding better cooperation from Yugoslavia with regard to the implementation of the Dayton accord and respect for minority rights in Serbia.

Stephanopoulos to tour Peloponnese

President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos is to visit Messinia on 27 August, according to informed sources. He is also to visit the prefectures of Laconia and Arcadia on 28 and 29 August, respectively.

Sariza mineral water withdrawn

The Health Ministry has ordered the withdrawal of "Sariza" bottled mineral and soda water after lab tests found enterococcus and pseudomonad micro- organisms in bottle samplings.

The infectious pseudomonad can resist even the strongest antibiotics. The bottling plant on Andros island was also shut down pending disinfection.

The Ministry said the problem was pinpointed at the plant, while the famed Sariza spring was given a clean bill of health.


Today's weather will be mostly fine, with some showers in mainland areas later in the afternoon. Winds light to moderate northerlies, turning stronger in some areas of the Aegean Sea. Athens and Thessaloniki will be mostly fine with some cloudy periods in the afternoon. Athens temperatures from 19-31C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 18-30C.


Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 288.103 Pound sterling 455.529 Cyprus pd 531.999 French franc 46.478 Swiss franc 189.724 German mark 156.679 Italian lira (100) 16.015 Yen (100) 246.867 Canadian dlr. 206.299 Australian dlr. 213.592 Irish Punt 416.048 Belgian franc 7.588 Finnish mark 52.289 Dutch guilder 139.091 Danish kr. 41.146 Swedish kr. 35.892 Norwegian kr. 37.756 Austrian sch. 22.274 Spanish peseta 1.853 Port. Escudo 1.544


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