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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-01-30

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 30/01/1998 (ANA)


  • Simitis meets with Europarliament's Robles
  • Group claims responsibility for wave of car bombs
  • Protest called against Sixth Fleet
  • One injured in yacht fire
  • Foreigner escapes in jail break-out
  • Police arrest 226 illegal immigrants
  • Greek stocks end up in lacklustre week
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Simitis meets with Europarliament's Robles

Prime Minister Costas Simitis today briefed visiting European Parliament president Jose Maria Gil-Robles on Greece's efforts to meet the Maastricht targets and on the course of Greek-Turkish relations.

Gil-Robles also met with main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis, who also outlined Greece's positions on its relations with Ankara, noting that ND did not agree with the referral of all the issues to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

Karamanlis further briefed the Europarliament chief on his party's positions regarding the political and economic union (EMU) of the European Union.

No statements were made after the meetings.

Gil-Robles later stressed the importance of adopting a joint foreign and defence policy for the protection of the EU's borders and praised Greece's contribution in this direction.

He was addressing a meeting of Parliament's standing committee on European affairs which was specially convened in his honour.

Describing the issue of EU-Turkey relations as "difficult", Gil-Robles said Ankara must fulfil the terms laid down for accession regarding human rights, respect for democratic principles and minorities and put an end to its occupation of the northern part of Cyprus.

Group claims responsibility for wave of car bombs

An organisation calling itself "Conscientious Arsonists" has claimed responsibility for 40 fire-bomb attacks against private and state-owned cars over the past two months, police said today.

A security police spokesman said a leaflet by the group was found by a cleaning woman last night at the entrance to the Piraeus Labour Centre.

The leaflet called for the release of four anarchists, among them 27-year- old Nikos Maziotis, who was arrested two weeks ago on suspicion of involvement in a series of bomb attacks and for illegal possession of weapons, explosives and subversive material.

The group warned that unless the four were released, the "burning nights in Athens will continue", adding that their target was "the agencies of authority".

In the leaflet, the group claimed responsibility for the fire-bomb attacks against and torchings of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) offices, cars of police officers, diplomatic cars belonging to the embassies of Algeria, Brazil, Italy, Austria, France, Syria and the Philippines, on school cars and on cars belonging to a number of television stations.

Protest called against Sixth Fleet

The Thessaloniki Committee for International Detente and Peace (EDYETH) today announced it would stage a demonstration on Saturday to coincide with the arrival of the US Sixth Fleet flagship "USS La Salle" and the ongoing visit of US Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns.

The flagship arrives on Saturday for a five-day port of call, its first to the northern Greek port city.

During the flagship's visit, Sixth Fleet commander Vice-Admiral Charles Abbot will pay courtesy calls on government officials and host a reception on board the La Salle, to be attended by Burns.

In an announcement, EDYETH said the demonstration, being organised in collaboration with the Youth Action for Peace organisation, was "in protest of US intervention in Greece".

"US envoy Burns could not be absent from this fiesta of servility, since, in his recent statements, he made it clear that this is his purpose: even more open governing of our country by the American multinationals and the imposition of the blood-tainted New Order in the Balkans," the announcement said, urging all Thessaloniki inhabitants to join the protest.

The La Salle has been deployed in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, and has engaged in operations in the Middle East, including participation in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm before and during the Gulf war.

One injured in yacht fire

A fire broke out early this morning for as yet unknown reasons aboard the Austrian-flag yacht "Lubud" which was docked at the Aegean island of Kos.

A fire engine immediately rushed to the harbour and put out the blaze.

Austrian national Helfried Auger Schwarz, who was alone on board when the fire broke out, suffered minor burns to his hands and one ear and was taken to hospital on Kos for first aid.

Kos harbour police are conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fire.

Foreigner escapes in jail break-out

A Romanian prisoner escaped from Halikarnassus jail on Crete early this morning while a fellow inmate, an ethnic Greek from the Black Sea region, was captured by guards.

Shortly after midnight, guards discovered that the two men were not in their cell and began to search the prison grounds.

Alexandros Anastasiadis, 29, was found hiding in the exercise yard, but Romanian Kilber Mahaita (phonetic spelling) had already made his escape.

Mahaita, from Iasio, was serving an eight-year sentence for grand larceny, while Anastasiadis, from Kazakhstan, had been sentenced to 13 years for a series of robberies.

Police arrest 226 illegal immigrants

Police in Epirus, northern Greece have arrested 226 Albanian illegal immigrants in the past 24 hours and sent them back to their country via the Kakavia border post.

Meanwhile, a 29-year-old Albanian was arrested on the Ioannina-Kozani highway for smuggling 64 Albanian illegal immigrants into the country in his lorry.

The Albanian, identified as Amzak Isoufi, from Fieri, was due to appear later today before a public prosecutor, while his 64 compatriots, who told police that they had each paid the driver 65,000 drachmas, were deported.

In separate incidents, police arrested three Greek men - two from Athens and one from Piraeus - for transporting Albanian illegal immigrants in Greece, two in rented cars and one in his taxi.

Greek stocks end up in lacklustre week

Greek equities ended a four-day retreat to end moderately higher in the last trading session of the week on the Athens Stock Exchange, led by strong interest in the construction sector.

Analysts said investor sentiment was dampened by the continued high interest rates on the interbank market to combat monetary turmoil. Today's slight fall in interbank rates provided the market with some breathing space.

The general index closed up 1.11 percent at 1,395.40 points, to show a net loss of 3.64 percent in the week.

The general price index showed losses of 5.69% over the month of January.

Turnover at today's session was moderate at 15.6 billion drachmas.

Banks rose 0.90 percent, Insurance rose 1.23 percent, Leasing rose 0.19 percent, Investments rose 0.62 percent, Constructions increased 2.95 percent, Industrials rose 1.38, Miscellaneous rose 0.92 percent and Holding ended 1.39 percent up.

The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 1.75 percent while the FTSE/ASE index closed up 0.82 percent at 761.39 points.

The week's turnover totalled 69.259 billion drachmas to a daily average of 13.852 billion, down from 16.451 billion the previous week. On a weekly basis, the general price index fell 52.64 points or 3.64 percent.

The sector indices losing the most ground this week were Construction (5.44 percent) and Banks (4.43 percent).

Viosol, Sysware, Athinaia and Parnassos scored the biggest percentage gains, while Inerga, Metalloplastiki Agriniou, Daring and the Greek Biscuit Company suffered the heaviest losses.

National Bank of Greece ended at 19,440 drachmas, Ergobank at 13,215, Alpha Credit Bank at 14,500, Delta Dairy at 2,720, Titan Cement at 12,900, Intracom at 14,865 and OTE at 5,345.

The Athens Stock Exchange general price index lost ground over the month of January, dropping 5.69 percent with turnover also falling significantly in comparison with December.

Turnover for the month amounted to 318,055 billion drachmas with an average daily turnover of 15.9 billion drachmas. In December, total turnover was 615 billion drachmas.

Liquidity on the money market quickly made an impact on the stock exchange. Investor interest has been reserved in the wake of high interbank rates, which are expected to continue until monetary unrest has receded. Reports of an unexpected bank interest rate hike and continuing uncertainty over the cost to banks of the turmoil have also had an impact.

Analysts said however, that reports of a fall in inflation to below 4.4 percent in January and the beginning of the government's programme for a partial float of public corporations on the Athens Stock Exchange could improve the climate in the market.


Cloud and local showers are forecast for most parts of Greece today, with possible light snowfall in the mountainous regions. Winds northerly, northeasterly, moderate to strong, turning to gale force in the southeastern Aegean Sea. Athens, sunny to partly cloudy with possible rain and temperatures from 5-12C. Thessaloniki cloudy with temperatures from 0C- 5C.


Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.555 Pound sterling 467.569 Cyprus pd 533.696 French franc 46.910 Swiss franc 194.616 German mark 157.267 Italian lira (100) 15.927 Yen (100) 227.108 Canadian dlr. 194.829 Australian dlr. 192.091 Irish Punt 393.447 Belgian franc 7.623 Finnish mark 51.937 Dutch guilder 139.525 Danish kr. 41.267 Swedish kr. 35.351 Norwegian kr. 37.767 Austrian sch. 22.343 Spanish peseta 1.853 Port. Escudo 1.537


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