Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-01-26
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 26/01/1998 (ANA)
- Unabomber-inspired group claims responsibility for bomb
- Unions ready to take gov't head-on over changes
- Gov't responds
- Athens informs Council of Europe of citizenship change
- 60 illegal immigrants arrested
- Two foreigners die in Thessaloniki crash
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Unabomber-inspired group claims responsibility for bomb
A hitherto unknown group said to support American 'Unabomber' Theodore
Kacynski today claimed responsibility for a bomb attack against the offices
of multinational computer company Hewlett-Packard in downtown Thessaloniki.
An unidentified caller telephoned the Thessaloniki-based ET-3 state-run
television station and claimed the attack on behalf of the "Revolutionary
Subversive Fraction - Commando Unabomber" group, saying "state terrorism
will not succeed".
Kacynski pleaded guilty in Washington last week to a 17-year bombing spree
that killed three people and maimed several others, and accepted life
imprisonment in a plea deal that spared him the death penalty.
Thessaloniki security police told ANA that the two make-shift bombs, made
of liquid gas cannisters and a slow-buring fuse, exploded within seconds of
each other shortly after midnight on the third floor of a building at the
corner of Papanastasiou and Egnatia streets. The blasts caused damage to
the Hewlett-Packard offices and the video club on the floor and to the
They said a third explosive device, which did not explode, was found on the
fourth floor in the offices of the Interamerican insurance company.
Thessaloniki security chief Brigadier Costas Economou told the ANA that
police patrols had been stepped up around "possible targets" after the
recent spate of car bombs and torchings in Athens. "But after last night's
incident, guarding of the prospective targets will be further beefed up,"
Some 1,000 police officers have been added to patrols in the Athens area,
as police believe the torchings were random attacks by anarchists hoping to
throw police off the trail of accomplices of Nikos Maziotis, arrested on
suspicion of involvement in an urban guerrilla group.
Unions ready to take gov't head-on over changes
A 24-hour strike tomorrow by public utility companies and state-owned banks
is to go ahead, the trade union confederation president said today, warning
that the unions would withdraw from "social dialogue" with the government
if proposed legislative provisions changing the status of workers were not
At a press conference this morning, Christos Polyzogopoulos, president of
the General Confederation of Trade Unions of Greece, spoke of "an anti-
democratic reversal of enormous political significance" and urged National
Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou to consider "where he was
leading the ruling party".
Papantoniou has said the changes had been decided upon by the entire
government, had been approved by the prime minister and would not be
However, negotiations have been continuing on the sidelines and the unions
are hoping for a formula that will defuse the current tension.
Unionists have said they are in favour of improvements to public enterprises,
but based on a modernisation plan and on a 1996 law which they say offers
possibilities that have not yet been tested.
They reject accusations that the strike is aimed at defending vested
interests, claiming that the average wage in public enterprises is no
higher than that in the broader public service and that labour relations
have deteriorated to their lowest point in recent years.
GSEE is to take recourse to the International Labour Organisation and to
the Greek courts to have the proposed legislation declared unconstitutional.
Public transport will also come to a halt for the entire 24 hours tomorrow,
while on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the city bus crews will be on
strike from the beginning of the day's shift until 09.00 and from 21.00
until the close of the night shift.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said later that the government would
continue to defend the institution of 'social dialogue' between government,
employers and unions.
However, he added, its faith in social dialogue did not mean it would cease
"After dialogue, comes the time for decision," Reppas said. "And it is the
government's responsibility (to make decisions)."
Reppas refused to comment on statements by ruling PASOK Secretary Costas
Skandalidis that "some in the government were making surprise initiatives
Athens informs Council of Europe of citizenship change
The Greek government today officially informed the Council of Europe of its
decision to abolish Article 19 of the citizenship code
The head of the Greek delegation to the Council, Constantine Vrettos,
accompanied by Greek Ambassador Prof. Dimitris Konstas, handed over a
letter containing the government's decision to scrap the article to the
Council's Secretary General Daniel Tarschys.
Under the provisions of the article, members of ethnic minorities lost
their Greek citizenship if they travelled abroad intending not to
Cabinet last week decided to abolish the article.
Vrettos told Tarschys that the relevant bill would be tabled in parliament
within the next few days. He said the decision would remove the last point
of contention between Greece and the Council.
60 illegal immigrants arrested
Sixty Iraqi illegal immigrants of Kurdish origin were arrested shortly
after disembarking on the Greek islands of Crete and Kos, Piraeus harbour
authorities said today.
They said a group of 48 Kurds -- 28 men, 6 women and 9 children -- were
unloaded late Sunday from a wooden fishing boat manned by 4 Lebanese, which
brought them from the Lebanese port of Alabda for 1,500 dollars each.
Another group of 17 Kurds -- 14 men, one woman and two children -- were
brought over from the Turkish port of Budrum, opposite the island of
Both groups were turned over to the local police authorities to appear
before public prosecutors.
Two foreigners die in Thessaloniki crash
A Russian and a Bulgarian national were fatally injured in a road accident
on the national highway between Thessaloniki and Kilkis, police said
They said Sergei Pilgasov, 38, from Russia and Mitko Stefanov, 33, from
Bulgaria, were fatally injured last night when their car, driven by
Pilgasov, crossed into the opposite lane and collided head-on with an
oncoming intercity bus.
Police, who are investigating the causes of the accident, said both men
were residing in Thessaloniki. They died later in hospital.
Overcast with local rain in the east parts of Greece with possible storms
in the south. Light snow in the north and low-lying areas. Winds easterly
strong to very strong with local gales in the east and south. Temperatures
will range in the north from -3-5C, in the west from 1-13C and in the
remaining regions from 3-12C. Light rain is expected in Athens with light
snow on Mt. Parnes and temperatures from 4-9C. Thessaloniki will be cloudy
with light snow in the surrounding mountain ranges. Temperatures will range
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