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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-01-04

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, 04/01/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • New tax bill to be tabled in Parliament on Wednesday
  • Arms cache seized in home of American woman in Dion
  • Body of missing illegal immigrant dragged from Evros river
  • Tourist coach driver transporting illegal immigrants arrested
  • Winter sales begin early, with discounts up to 50 pct
  • Albanian killed in robbery
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

New tax bill to be tabled in Parliament on Wednesday

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou will table the government's new tax legislation in Parliament on Wednesday, according to reports.

The discussion of the bill by the parliamentary committee will begin on January 12 and the bill will be then brought before the Parliament for debate and vote.

Arms cache seized in home of American woman in Dion

A major arms cache has been discovered by police in Dion, Pieria, in the home of a 41-year-old American, the widow of crinminal George Kaltsas who was found dead with 20 gunshot wounds near Lamia last week in what appeared to be a gangland killing, police said today.

The Katerini security police located and seized quantities of anti-tank rockets and launchers, machine guns, kalashnikov rifles, hand grenades, pistols and silencers, ammunition, masks and bullet-proof vests in a pig- sty behind the home of 41-year-old American Donna Wilkins-Kaltsas.

A police spokesman told the ANA the weaponry had been smuggled into Greece from Albania, and was mainly Russian and Chinese made.

He also said 153 sticks of TNT (dynamite), "enough to blow up Mt. Olympus", had also been confiscated, as well as 12 kilos of hashish and a small quantity of heroin.

Earlier, police arrested two Albanians, 20-year-old Skrendi Peirikliou and 27-year-old Ilir Rogi from Elbasan, who lived on Wilkins' grounds claimed they worked in her pig-sty, when they tried to well 11 kilos of hashish to an undercover policeman posing as a buher.

They two told police during questioning that Wilkins had a cache of arms hidden on the grounds of her house.

Police also found two Uzi's when they raided the house, believed to have been stolen from the Greek police.

Police believe the weapons were smuggled into Greece in the fall after George Kaltsas' brother, Vassilis Kaltsas, escaped from Corfu jail and fled to Albania, with the help of the Albanian mafia and Greek accomplices. Vassilis Kaltsas died in a car crash in Halkidiki, northern Greece, last month.

The question remains as to final destination of the weaponry, the police spokesman told the ANA.

He also said the two Albanians arrested appeared to have no implication in the weapons smuggling, and were being charged only with drug possession and dealing.

The police spokesman said all the weapons were in "excellent condition", while the Uzi's were being examined by experts at the Attica Security police laboratories to see if they had been used in hold-ups or killings in Greece.

Body of missing illegal immigrant dragged from Evros river

The body of a 31-year-old illegal immigrant missing since Thursday was dragged from the waters of the Evros River on Saturday.

Police said the woman - identified as Iraqi national Nean Kahaz - was one of the three people reported missing when a boat in which they were being transported illegally from the Turkish side of the river to Greece overturned.

Kahaz was one of a group of 28 put ashore on an islet in the middle of the river by a Turkish boat-runner, who had put up a rope between the islet and the Greek coast for manoeuvering and abandoned the immigrants on the islet with an inflatable raft to make the rest of their way to Greece alone. The immigrants were crossing over in groups of five.

Still missing but presumed drowned are Kahaz's two-year-old son and Nuria Mohamer, 35. Authorities are continuing to search for the two.

Kahaz's husband, Ekrem Barzenze and their four-year-old son Boroa, who were also in the boat that overturned, survived and are being treated at the Alexandroupolis General Hospital.

A rescue operation launched by the coast guard and local fishermen rescued the other immigrants stranded on the islet as the water level of the river was rising dangerously.

Tourist coach driver transporting illegal immigrants arrested

A 43-year-old man was arrested at the Evros border post on Saturday after police found seven illegal immigrants hidden in the tourist coach he was driving.

Police said Timothei Balatof had charged each of the seven -- four women and two men from Armenia and a man from Syria -- 2,850 dollars for their transport to Greece.

Balatof had constructed special compartments in the coach to transport the seven illegal immigrants.

Both Balatof and the illegal immigrants will appear before a public prosecutor in Alexandroupolis.

Winter sales begin early, with discounts up to 50 pct

The winter sales period begins on Wednesday with merchants hoping to shake reluctant shoppers out of their lethargy with discounts of up to 50 percent on current stock.

This year's sales coincides with the opening of the pedestrian mall on Athens' high street, Ermou, which authorities hope will lure more shoppers to the city centre, although store-owners in the area are critical of the move, saying the beautification programme may have bolstered turnover but would also cause rents on business premises to shoot up.

"Sales have shot up but the same is about to happen to rents," one shopowner told the ANA. "Since the Ermou pedestrian mall was opened, traffic on Ermou and surrounding streets has increased a hundred-fold."

Nevertheless, it is hoped that the sales period, which will last until February 28, will provide breathing room for shop-owners, who say that shoppers have been restrained in their purchases for the Christmas and New Year's holidays, in expectation of the sales to come.

Merchants representatives have also called on the development ministry to prosecute those stores that have jumped the gun and are already offering cut-price goods, before the official beginning of the sales.

Albanian killed in robbery

One man was killed and another injured when three masked and armed men robbed four men sleeping in a Drama warehouse.

Police said Gazim Meta, 19, an Albanian, died instantly after being shot in the chest as he attempted to grab a gun off one of the attackers. Another man, Mustafa Yemenli, 37, was seriously injured in the incident.

The four - three Albanians and one Gypsy - were forced to hand over their savings - a total of 86,000 drachmas.

The attackers are being sought by police.

WEATHER

Scattered cloud is forecast for today, increasing with the likelihood of rain in Crete and the Dodecanese islands. Local fog in the morning will clear during the day. Winds will be light to moderate with the temperature ranging from 0-12 in the north of the country and the Ionian, 4-16 in the rest of the country and 8-17 in the Aegean. In Athens the temperature will range from 8-16C and in Thessaloniki from 4-12C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 282.621 Pound sterling 463.700 Cyprus pd 534.688 French franc 46.872 Swiss franc 192.656 German mark 156.805 Italian lira (100) 15.955 Yen (100) 214.371 Canadian dlr. 197.805 Australian dlr. 183.748 Irish Punt 402.117 Belgian franc 7.603 Finnish mark 51.763 Dutch guilder 139.123 Danish kr. 41.182 Swedish kr. 35.520 Norwegian kr. 38.252 Austrian sch. 22.290 Spanish peseta 1.852 Port. Escudo 1.535

(L.G.)


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