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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 24/08/1997 (ANA)


  • Two soldiers killed in mine explosion
  • Passenger hurt in raid of two Greek buses in Albania
  • Turkish national arrested for smuggling Kurdish immigrants
  • Greece, FYROM to begin unofficial culture cooperation
  • Cyprus'accession talks to go ahead as planned, says EU official
  • US ambassador to Athens says Madrid process still alive
  • Tougher measures to combat drink driving
  • Arab League General Secretary to visit
  • Education bill sparks strong reaction
  • Slight damage from earthquakes in Kozani, Grevena
  • European congress on rivers opens in Alexandroupoli
  • Tzoumakas claims torched Seikh Sou forest will be restored
  • Greek stocks shed 1.63 pct, sink below 1,600 pts
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Two soldiers killed in mine explosion

Two soldiers were fatally wounded in northern Greece on Saturday evening when they strayed into a minefield to investigate possible intruders in the area, Army Staff Headquarters said yesterday.

Mine experts from a local army division managed to get the two men out of the designated minefield, located in the Pythio area of Didymotiho, but they were dead on arrival at a local state hospital.

The soldiers were identified as Sergeant Vassilios Moustakas, 27, of Ioannina, and Private Anastassios Verouhis, 20, of Evia.

An investigation is being conducted into the incident.

Passenger hurt in raid of two Greek buses in Albania

Armed bandits in Albania raided two Greek coaches travelling to Tirana from Athens slightly injuring one passenger, the Albanian public order ministry said yesterday.

The bandits stopped the two buses, which belong to state-owned Hellenic Railways Organisation, a few kilometres from Tepelene late on Saturday afternoon and robbed the passengers.

When they protested the theft, the looters began firing in the air.

The ministry's press officer told the Athens News Agency an unnamed male passenger was hurt in the raid but his injuries gave no rise to concern.

Turkish national arrested for smuggling Kurdish immigrants

A Turkish national was arrested in a half-sunken boat near the island of Rhodes for allegedly smuggling five Kurdish immigrants into Greece, port officials said yesterday.

The Turk, identified as Baris Vulceoglu, 23, was arrested by port authority officials on Saturday for reportedly using the boat to take the illegal aliens to the island of Strongyli, near Rhodes.

Vulceoglu told the officials he was accompanied by another Turkish national, who has not been located.

The Kurds, comprising two men, two women and a child, and Vulceoglu were due to be taken to a public prosecutor in Rhodes later in the day to hear charges.

Greece, FYROM to begin unofficial culture cooperation

The Culture Ministers of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia said on Saturday thay intended to launch a lasting and systematic, yet unofficial cooperation in the sector of cultural creativity between the two countries.

Evangelos Venizelos and Slobodan Unkofski, culture ministers of Greece and FYROM respectively, made the joint statement on the fringes of the seventh Prespian 97 cultural festival which they had been invited to attend.

"Culture is the most useful means to create common understanding in the world," Venizelos said.

"It is not a means for national propaganda but a field for cooperation, peace and mutual understanding," he added.

Mr. Unkofski said he had observed "substantial changes" in both countries' policies, adding that "we are both open to continuing communication between the two peoples who share so much in common."

"It will take a long time to solve the name question," FYROM's culture minister said.

"But this should not mean that cultural cooperation should not begin between the two countries,"he added.

Greece and FYROM are locked in an argument over the term Macedonia.

Greece opposes the use of the name Macedonia or its derivative by Skopje on the grounds that it harbors territorial designs against its northern region of the same name.

Cyprus'accession talks to go ahead as planned, says EU official

EU Commissioner for external relations Hans Van den Broek has accused Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash of setting preconditions on talks about Cyprus' future.

In a statement on Friday Mr. Van den Broek expressed "deep concern" following the "disappointing outcome" of the second round of UN-led direct talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash.

He said the preconditions set by Mr. Denktash regarding Cyprus' EU accession were unacceptable, adding that negotiations with Nicosia would go ahead as planned in early 1998.

US ambassador to Athens says Madrid process still alive

US ambassador in Athens Thomas Niles said on Friday that "the process which began in Madrid is alive, and we believe that progress will continue", in referring to the most recent developments in Greek-Turkish relations.

Mr. Niles made the statements to reporters after accompanying a visiting delegation of US Congressmen for talks with main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, focusing on the Cyprus problem and Greek- Turkish relations. "There will be problems along the way. No one believed that this process would be easy and without difficulties, nor that the problems would automatically be resolved," he said.

Tougher measures to combat drink driving

The police have begun implementing tougher measures to combat drink driving, including the confiscation of cars on the spot.

Athens Public Prosecutor Anastasios Kanellopoulos on Friday ordered the traffic police to confiscate cars driven by drunk drivers.

The tougher measures follow a tragic accident earlier this week in which a 22-year-old girl ran down two women and injured one man as they were crossing the Athens-Sounion coast road outside a nightclub.

An alcotest showed that the driver was more than three times over the legal limit.

Traffic police last night confiscated eight cars after alcotests of the drivers proved positive. In one of the cases, a 25-year-old man had killed an 87-year-old woman as she was crossing the busy Katechaki ringroad.

Arab League General Secretary to visit

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis will meet with Arab League General Secretary, Abdel Meguid, on Monday.

During his stay in Athens, Mr. Meguid will also have talks with Parliament Vice President Panagiotis Kritikos.

Education bill sparks strong reaction

An education ministry bill, introducing several controversial changes, particularly in secondary and tertiary education, has sparked strong reaction especially among unemployed and unappointed educators who have already held protest rallies.

The educators warned that they will escalate their rallies during Parliamentary debate.

The bill, which among others, envisages abolition of entrance examinations for colleges and universities in 2001, as well as of the system of teaching appointments based on seniority in graduation, was tabled in Parliament on Friday.

The teachers' union has left open the possibility of a strike at the start of the school year, and is planning an information campaign to brief parents and students.

Slight damage from earthquakes in Kozani, Grevena

Two earth tremors yesterday caused further minor damage to buildings in villages in Kozani and Grevena, northern Greece, which had been hit by the destructive 1995 quake.

The two tremors, measuring 4 and 4.6 on the Richter scale were recorded at 06.10 and 06.18 local time yesterday. Their epicentre was 295 kilometres northwest of Athens in the area of Kozani and Grevena.

Kozani Prefect Paschalis Mitliagas told the ANA that the tremors caused further minor damage to buildings - in twenty villages of Kozani and Grevena - which had not been repaired since the May 1995 earthquake.

Seismologists did not appear to be concerned by the latest tremors generated by the Rymnio fault, attributing them to normal post-seismic activity in the wake of the 1995 quake.

An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale was recorded in the same region last Saturday.

European congress on rivers opens in Alexandroupoli

The European Congress of the Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN) opened in Alexandroupoli yesterday under the aegis of the University of Thrace.

In opening remarks, National Economy Secretary General Apostolos Fotiadis conveyed a message by the national economy minister, saying the ministry would always remain supportive of initiatives that promote environmental education and sensitivity.

The GREEN Congress, which ends Monday, is being attended by more than 30 scientists and specialists in environmental education from around Europe, most of whom are coordinators of the project on a national level.

Tzoumakas claims torched Seikh Sou forest will be restored

Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas yesterday reiterated that the Seikh Sou forest in Thessaloniki, about half of which was burned in a recent fire, will retain its public character and that its area would be extended with compulsory purchases and re forestation programmes.

He made the statement after touring the area and in the course of a press conference, also attended by Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, who said he had signed a protocol suspending the issuing of building licences in the area, and that any under-construction structures would be automatically demolished.

Greek stocks shed 1.63 pct, sink below 1,600 pts

Greek equities came under strong selling pressure in the last trading session of the week driving the general index below the 1,600 mark.

Traders said the market looked vulnerable following the government's pledge to drastically cut public spending in 1998.

The general index closed 1.63 percent lower at 1,592.82 points to show a 3.22 percent loss on the week. Sector indices lost ground. Banks fell 1.74 percent, Leasing was 0.81 percent off, Insurance eased 0.66 percent, Investment dropped 1.66 percent, Industrials fell 1.37 percent, Construction was 1.96 percent off, Holding eased 1.36 percent and Miscellaneous eased 1.13 percent.

The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.14 percent down.

Trading was moderate and turnover was 9.9 billion drachmas.

Broadly, declining issues led advancing ones by 144 to 51 with another 22 issues unchanged.


Overcast weather is forecast for much of the country today leading to scattered showers or storms in some regions, especially towards evening. Winds will be variable, light to strong, becoming gale force in the Aegean. Athens and Thessaloniki to see increasingly cloudy weather, possibly leading to showers or storms. Temperatures in the capital to range between 20 and 28C, and in Thessaloniki between 17 and 27 C.


Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.099 Pound sterling 453.780 Cyprus pd 530.026 French franc 46.283 Swiss franc 188.381 German mark 155.833 Italian lira (100) 15.979 Yen (100) 242.604 Canadian dlr. 203.162 Australian dlr. 212.080 Irish Punt 415.648 Belgian franc 7.549 Finnish mark 52.209 Dutch guilder 138.419 Danish kr. 40.916 Swedish kr. 35.752 Norwegian kr. 37.383 Austrian sch. 22.142 Spanish peseta 1.848 Port. Escudo 1.538


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