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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-01-26

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, 26/01/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • 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
  • Weather
  • 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 building's facade.

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," Economou said.

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 withdrawn.

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 changed.

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.

Gov't responds

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 to govern.

"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 and decisions".

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 return.

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 Kos.

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 today.

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.

WEATHER

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 from 2-4C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 282.026 Pound sterling 466.974 Cyprus pd 535.997 French franc 46.977 Swiss franc 192.641 German mark 157.301 Italian lira (100) 15.966 Yen (100) 223.547 Canadian dlr. 194.432 Australian dlr. 186.198 Irish Punt 394.518 Belgian franc 7.626 Finnish mark 51.961 Dutch guilder 139.634 Danish kr. 41.293 Swedish kr. 35.583 Norwegian kr. 37.894 Austrian sch. 22.350 Spanish peseta 1.857 Port. Escudo 1.540

(M.P.)


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