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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-01-05

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, 05/01/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Illegal immigrants swamp offices to register
  • Cypriot FM to visit Athens this week
  • Greece to attend six-nation meeting on Kurdish refugees
  • American woman charged with weapons, drug trafficking
  • National Bank Governor to give press conference
  • New law on conscientious objectors comes into effect
  • Vigilance in the Aegean as Turkish military exercise continues
  • New tax legislation in parliament on Wednesday
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Illegal immigrants swamp offices to register

Hundreds of illegal immigrants besieged the Organisation for the Employment of Human Resources (OAED) today, eager to register for White Cards allowing them to live and work in the country until the end of the year.

Registration of the estimated half a million illegal immigrants in the country will last until May 31. At the end of the year, White Card holders may obtain a Green Card which will be valid from one to three years.

Labour Undersecretary Christos Protopappas made a surprise inspection on the central OAED office.

Applicants must present passports or identification cards, certification from the Alien's Bureau that the applicant has not been designated "persona non grata", certification from the Justice Ministry that he/she does not have a criminal record, and a health certificate from a Greek public hospital.

Cypriot FM to visit Athens this week

Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides will visit Athens and Lisbon later this week for talks with Greek and Portuguese officials on issues related to Cyprus's accession to the European Union, according to an ANA dispatch from Nicosia.

Kasoulides will arrive in Athens on Friday and then visit Lisbon. He is due back in Cyprus on January 13.

Greece to attend six-nation meeting on Kurdish refugees

The Chief of the Greek Police (ELAS) and the Director of State Security will represent Greece at a six-nation meeting in Rome to discuss the recent wave of Kurdish illegal immigrants, it was announced today.

The police chiefs of Italy, Greece, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Turkey are to meet in the Italian capital on Thursday morning to discuss the mass migration of Kurds from Turkey and the problems it is creating in the European Union.

ELAS chief Lt. Gen. Athanassios Vassilopoulos and director of state security Brig. Gen. George Yiannes leave for Rome at noon Wednesday.

It was also announced that two representatives of the Italian police are due in Athens Wednesday to collaborate with the Greek authorities on the problem of Kurdish illegal immigrants from Turkey.

American woman charged with weapons, drug trafficking

Two Albanian men arrested in connection with the discovery of a huge arms cache in Dion, Pieria, on Sunday were today charged with importation and possession of weapons, explosives and narcotic substances.

Skrendi Peirikliou, 20, and Ilir Rogi, 27, from Elbasan told reporters as they left the prosecutor's office that they had nothing to do with the weapons and arms found in the home of 41-year-old American woman, Donna Wilkins-Kaltsas.

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 Wilkins-Kaltsas's home.

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

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

Wilkins-Kaltsas's husband, George, was found dead with 20 gunshot wounds near Lamia last week in what appeared to be a gangland killing. Police believe the weapons were smuggled into Greece in the fall after George Kaltsas's brother, Vassilis, 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.

Wilkins-Kaltsas's lawyer told reporters that his client was innocent and had no idea of the presence of the weapons, explosives and narcotics on her property.

Donna Wilkins-Kaltsas was later charged with possession and trafficking in weapons, armaments, explosive material and narcotics.

She told reporters that she denied all the charges, and that her late husband and his brother had probably transported the arms to the pig-sty on her property, but without her knowledge.

The arms cache has been moved to Athens for ballistics testing to determine whether any of the items have been used in criminal activity.

National Bank Governor to give press conference

Theodore Karatzas, Governor of the National Bank of Greece, the country's largest credit institution, will be the guest speaker at a Foreign Press Association (FPA) luncheon on Thursday, January 8 at 1:00 p.m. at the Grande Bretagne Hotel.

Mr. Karatzas will speak on the Greek economy and banking sector. He will also take questions from the floor.

New law on conscientious objectors comes into effect

Greece has introduced alternative and unarmed conscription, as of the first of the year, for conscientious objectors, putting an end to a long-standing controversial issue that had drawn fire from several human rights organisations.

Defence Ministry sources told the ANA today that under the unarmed military service system, conscientious objectors will serve an additional 12 months to the regular conscription term in the three Arms.

According to legislation passed in June last year, conscientious objectors will serve 30 months in the Army, 32 months in the Airforce, and 33 months in the Navy.

Under the alternative conscription system, conscientious objectors will serve an additional 18 months to the regular conscription term, in public service in the state-owned organisations and local administration.

Conscientious objectors opting for public service will serve 36 months in lieu of the Army, 38 months in lieu of the Airforce, and 39 months in liew of the Navy.

Conscientious objectors choosing either unarmed military service or alternative conscription will not be abled to serve their term in military units or public service in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, Larissa, Herklion Crete and Volos, or in their home town.

Vigilance in the Aegean as Turkish military exercise continues

The Greek armed forces were cautiously monitoring the Turkish air and naval exercise in progress in the Aegean, and are ready to take all necessary measures -such as interceptions of aircraft- in case the exercise is carried out in areas where there is no relevant entitlement, Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis said after a meeting on Saturday.

The Greek Civil Aviation Authority (YPA) on December 28, 1997, described as illegal a Turkish notam, designating eight areas in the Aegean for the exercise, planned for January 2-25, as illegal and invalid, as three of them included areas of the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR).

Mr. Apostolakis noted, nevertheless, that activity related to the exercise, could, up to that point, be described as low key.

At another meeting at the foreign ministry on Saturday, chaired by Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, officials of the defence and foreign ministries and YPA examined the unfolding situation and coordinated their activities on the matter.

Calm also prevailed yesterday, second day of the exercise in the Aegean, while Greek armed forces maintained their readiness to deal with any eventuality. Today is considered a crucial day as the exercise is expected to unfold north of the island of Lesvos, and between Hios and Andros, areas which the Turks have unilaterally engaged for the exercise.

New tax legislation 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.

WEATHER

Fine weather with local scattered cloud is forecast for today throughout the country. Athens will be sunny with few clouds and temperatures from 8- 15C. Same in Thessaloniki with tempereatures between 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

(M.P.)


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