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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-01-23

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, 23/01/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Unions call new strike for Tuesday
  • President meets with WEU's de Puig
  • Embassy car torched
  • U.S. executive quits for Athens 2004
  • Turkish captain arrested
  • Tax office robbed
  • German youth arrested on burglary charges
  • International conference on 2004 Olympics
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Unions call new strike for Tuesday

The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) today decided at a meeting with union representatives of public sector organisations and banks to call a new 24-hour strike next Tuesday over a provision in the government's tax bill.

Yesterday's 24-hour strike was called for the same reason, namely a provision that allows a change in the status of workers at public sector organisations within the framework of their reform.

Workers say that the provision directly undermines their status.

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday told unionists presenting him with their demands that the provision applied only to loss-making or bankrupt public enterprises and corporations (DEKOs).

GSEE also decided today to give a press conference on Monday at which it will present data rebutting the government's view that employees of public sector organisations enjoy special privileges.

In addition, it will in the next few days contact the International Labour Organisation and the Confederation of European Trade Unions to condemn the Greek government for circumventing the International Labour Agreement.

At the same time, GSEE said it was demanding a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and strongly criticised National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.

GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos accused Papantoniou of "consciously choosing to weaken the public sector".

President meets with WEU's de Puig

President Kostis Stephanopoulos today received visiting Western European Union (WEU) parliamentary assembly President Luis-Maria de Puig.

De Puig was accompanied by Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis.

On the first day of his two-day visit yesterday, de Puig met with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and main opposition New Democracy President Costas Karamanlis.

Greece is current holder of the six-month rotating WEU presidency.

Embassy car torched

A car belonging to the Armenian Embassy was torched this morning, causing extensive damange but no injuries, police said.

They said the car, belonging to the Armenian Consul was doused with gasoline and set on fire as it was parked near the Consul's home in the Nea Smyrni residential district.

A nearly-empty gas cannister was found next to the burned car, police said.

A man later claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of an anarchist group calling itself "Arsonists of Conscience", in a telephone call to the radio and TV station "Skai".

Police said yesterday that a recent rash of car torchings and bomb attacks in the Athens area were random attacks by anarchists hoping to throw police off the trail of accomplices of a man arrested last week on suspicion of involvement in an urban guerrilla group.

Five cars were torched and three bombs went off in a three hour period late Wednesday night.

The three bombs caused damage to property in the immediate vicinity.

Police said the sudden increase in such attacks were an attempt to derail police from making any further inroads into their investigation of urban guerrilla groups, following the arrest of Niko Maziotis last week.

Maziotis, 27, was charged with possession of weapons, explosive material and seditious printed material after a police swoop on a number of Athens homes. Police found a significant quantity of explosive material in the raids, including 9.5 kilos at Maziotis's Kamatero home.

The finds, police say, link Maziotis with the urban guerrilla group Militant Guerrilla Formation (MAS), which has claimed responsibility for a number of bomb attacks since its appearance in 1996.

U.S. executive quits for Athens 2004

Costa Bacouris, the 62-year-old executive appointed managing director of the 15-member organising committe for the 2004 Olympic Games "Athens 2004 S.A.", today announced his retirement from the post of Chairman Europe of Ralston Energy Systems Europe S.A., effective February 1, to take up his new post.

A company spokesman told the ANA that Bakouris was "concluding a successful 28-year career with the company", which is the European arm of the St. Louis-based Eveready Battery Company.

"Costa Bacouris has dedicated his life's work to Eveready Battery Company and made innumerable contributions to our business...We congratulate Costa and wish him continued success in his upcoming endeavour," the spokesman said.

Bacouris, who was born in a village outside Tripoli in the Peloponnese and holds B.A. and MBA degrees from DePaul University in Chicago, began his career with Esso Papas in Greece before moving to Eveready in 1970 as finance manager, Greece.

He held numerous positions of increasing responsibility in Europe, including Managing Director-Greece, Director of Marketing-Europe, Director of Operations-Europe, and Vice President, General Manager of Battery Products-Europe, before being named Chairman Europe in 1986.

Bacouris also served as President of the European Portable Battery Association from 1988-1992, and on several European business organisations and advisory boards.

Turkish captain arrested

The Turkish captain of a cargo ship was arrested after causing an oil slick in the Aegean between Kea and Makronissos islands, harbour authorities said.

The vessel, identified as the "C Mehmet", was spotted this morning by a Harbour Authorities aircraft patrolling the region.

The authorities said that two Coast Guard patrol boats were dispatched to the area and escorted the ship to Karystos harbour on the island of Evia, to be charged with causing marine pollution.

Tax office robbed

Two masked men robbed a branch of the taxation bureau in Koropi, Attica and made off with 15 million drachmas after threatening staff with a gun.

Eyewitnesses say the men drove off in a Volkswagen Golf which police believe to be stolen.

German youth arrested on burglary charges

A 19-year-old German was arrested in Thessaloniki for a series of hold-ups and burglaries, police said today.

Police said Marcel Nagel, of Lindlar, was arrested Thursday after an early morning attemp to hold-up a taxi driver with an air pistol.

Nagel, who had been staying in a Thessaloniki hotel, confessed during questioning to holding up another taxi driver and attempting to hold up a kiosk owner with an air pistol he stole after breaking into a fishing goods store, police said.

International conference on 2004 Olympics

A two-day international conference entitled "Olympic Games, City and Environment" opened at Athens' Zappeion Hall yesterday, organised by the World Network of Environmental Science and Technology in cooperation with the International Institute of Environmental Research and the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia".

The opening session was attended by Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis, who stressed in his speech that the 2004 Olympics had the potential to create a huge and timeless surplus for Greece in many sectors.

The minister said that many projects were already underway, while the required studies and plans were ready for others.

Mr. Laliotis also replied to a demonstration by the Greenpeace group outside the conference building. "They are not the only ones to have (environmental) concerns", he said.

Some of the banners held by group members read: "To be or not to be...in Athens in 2004", and "New great idea, new great catastrophe".

The environment was also the main theme in a message to the conference by the Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who said that initiatives of global dimensions were needed in order to overcome the ecological crisis.

The premier said that the quality of the Games will not be judged only on minimising the negative impacts, but also on the improvement in the character and infrastructure of Athens through appropriate projects.

EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis, through a message to participants, proposed that a special energy centre for the Games be established in Athens with EU funds to study new energy needs and propose solutions on administration and energy saving.

If his proposal is accepted, said Mr. Papoutsis, then the energy centre could be ready to operate within 1998.

Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras spoke on economic administration for the organisation of the Games, stressing that the relevant draft bill proved the government's insistence on complete transparency.

The government yesterday announced the names of the members of the organising committee of the Athens Olympics.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas announced that Costas Bakouris, director of the European section of a large US firm, was appointed managing consultant.

Members of the committee include Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and International Olympic Committee members (IOC) Nikos Filaretos and Lambis Nikolaou.

According to Mr. Reppas the organising committee will soon be turned into the board of the societe anonyme company to be formed in accordance with a law passed by Parliament.

WEATHER

Unstable weather in most parts of Greece today with snowfall in the north and mainland regions. Winds variable, strong to moderate, turning to gale force in the Aegean Sea. Athens, mostly sunny with possible showers in the evening and temperatures between 7-13C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 3-8C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 283.454 Pound sterling 466.022 Cyprus pd 532.406 French franc 46.807 Swiss franc 192.795 German mark 156.800 Italian lira (100) 15.923 Yen (100) 223.527 Canadian dlr. 195.920 Australian dlr. 186.754 Irish Punt 393.070 Belgian franc 7.600 Finnish mark 51.782 Dutch guilder 139.148 Danish kr. 41.162 Swedish kr. 35.569 Norwegian kr. 37.972 Austrian sch. 22.288 Spanish peseta 1.849 Port. Escudo 1.533

(M.P.)


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