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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-04-13

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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 13/04/1998 (ANA)


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NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece lays head of Greek church to rest

Archbishop Serapheim of Athens, prelate of the Orthodox Church of Greece for the past 23 years, was buried today with honours usually given to a head of state.

The longest-serving Archbishop in the autocephalus Church's 150-year history, Serapheim died Friday at the age of 85 after a respiratory infection compounded by chronic renal failure.

He was laid to rest in the burial ground reserved for Church leaders.

Eulogies were delivered earlier at the funeral mass by prelates of the Holy Synod, ruling body of the Church of Greece,

Further disruption to OA flights today

Olympic Airways (OA) flight services suffered serious disruption today due to a shortage of personnel, nine flights being cancelled and two more being merged into one.

OA management is now considering hiring aircraft with foreign crews to serve passenger needs and will meet with the Supreme Council for the Selection of Personnel (ASEP) to seek approval.

The problem has been compounded by a shortage also of technicians which has resulted in five OA aircraft remaining grounded following extensive maintenance work, while a further five are expected to gradually re-enter service by June.

Three killed at unguarded train crossing

A 26-year-old gypsy and his two young nephews died today when a train hit their pick-up truck at an unguarded level crossing on the Amyntaio-Kozani line in northern Greece.

There are no safety bars or warning lights at the level crossing, only a sign alerting drivers to the railway line.

Mild earthquake recorded in northern Greece

A moderate earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale shook northwestern Greece at dawn today, and first police reports said there were no damages or injuries.

The tremor, recorded at 2:53 a.m. by the Thessaloniki Observatory, came from a distance of 50 kilometres west of Kozani and 30 kilometres northwest of Grevena.

Iraqi blockade focus of conference

A conference calling for an end to the eight-year-old blockade on Iraq will be held in Piraeus next week, the organising committee announced today.

In a statement, the organisers of the "Third Athens Conference Against the Blockade on Iraq" said that the blockade had caused the death of more than 1.5 million Iraqis, "mostly children under five years of age". The conference will take place April 25 at the Municipal Theatre of Athens.

Regional security and stability urged at tripartite Balkan meeting

Bulgaria, Romania and Greece on Saturday stressed the need for security, stability and cooperation in southeastern Europe in a joint declaration issued after two days of talks on the Greek island of Santorini.

Foreign ministers Theodoros Pangalos of Greece, Nadezhda Mihailova of Bulgaria and Andrei Plesu of Romania also proposed the commencement of negotiations between Be lgrade and the Albanian community of Kosovo.

Balkan experts to tackle Danube bridge stalemate

The Greek, Romanian and Bulgarian foreign ministers have agreed to set up a team of experts to break the deadlock over where a bridge across the Danube that would link the region with western Europe should be built.

Bulgaria and Romania have been in disagreement for several years over where a second bridge across the Danube, which separates the two countries, should be built. They are currently connected by one bridge, which is heavily congested.

Elder Karamanlis transferred to ICU after mild heart attack

The health of former president of the republic Constantine Karamanlis appears to be improving after suffering a heart attack early yesterday morning, according to a medical bulletin issued at 8 p.m. last night.

The 91-year-old statesman, who was hospitalised last Tuesday with pneumonia, went into cardiac arrest at 2:25 a.m., before medical staff at Ygeia Hospital restored his cardiac functions 20 minutes later. He was transferred to the intensive care unit.

Firefighting equipment for Aegean islands

Aegean Minister Elizabeth Papazoi said yesterday that the government intends to equip all the islands with fire-fighting equipment by the year 2000 to enable them to gradually acquire their own volunteer firefighting stations manned with local citizens.

Ms. Papazoi was making a brief address at the start of a series of conferences to be held on Aegean islands at the Zimalis Foundation in Samos yesterday.

Simitis says gov't determined to implement its policy

Addressing the ruling PASOK's central committee on Saturday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis sent a clear message to party officials and high-ranking cadres that he is determined to promote the government's policy.

Mr. Simitis said that the government is explicit in its pursuits and will not negotiate its policy, adding that "some think that they can lay down terms but they are mistaken."

Mr. Simitis said that what is necessary is the combined strength of all for these targets to be achieved, with unity and agreement achieved through open processes.

On the question of loss-making Olympic Airways, the country's national carrier, he said that development is unbreakably attached with the transformation of the economy's state sector.

WEATHER

Scattered clouds throughout the country today with the possibility of rain in the northwestern regions. Moderate to strong winds in the east will keep temperatures high for the season. Athens and Thessaloniki can expect light cloud and maximum temperatures of 22 and 19 degrees respectively.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates (buying): U.S. dollar 315.258 British pound 527.982 Japanese Yen(100) 245.401 French franc 51.659 German mark 173.114 Italian lira (100) 17.535 Irish Punt 436.480 Belgian franc 8.393 Finnish mark 57.100 Dutch guilder 153.194 Danish kr. 45.442 Austrian sch. 24.611 Spanish peseta 2.046 Swedish kr. 40.144 Norwegian kr. 41.799 Swiss franc 208.474 Port. Escudo 1.671 AUS dollar 206.911 Can. dollar 221.573 Cyprus pound 593.811

(M.P.)


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