Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-04-29
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 29/04/1998 (ANA)
- Strong quake shakes southern Greece
- PM brushes off talk of new devaluation
- Defence minister to visit Sweden
- Greece nothing to fear from Turkey-Israeli exercises
- Australian minister in Thessaloniki
- Special SWAT operation to arrest merchant
- New Archbishop of Athens and All Greece elected
- Bank of Greece annual report in parliament for first time
- Greece dismisses latest Turkish provocation in the Aegean
- Tsohatzopoulos meets Slovakian parliamentarian
- Skandalidis-Burns meeting
- OTE share sale to institutional investors
- OA, pilots reach agreement on overtime, summer schedule
- Papantoniou rejects talk of new devaluation
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Strong quake shakes southern Greece
A strong earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale jolted the Messinia
region today, but no damages or injuries were reported.
The quake struck at 6:30 a.m. at a distance of 270 kilometres southwest of
Athens and 120 kilometres south of Kalamata, in the sea region, the Athens
Geodynamic Institute said.
PM brushes off talk of new devaluation
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis brushed off media reports that a second
devaluation of the drachma was in the offing. Talk of a fresh devaluation
has been fuelled by speculation that a European Union summit at the weekend
will readjust the parities of currencies in the exchange rate mechanism
(ERM). "(The rumours) are absurdities coming from speculators who want to
regain the money they lost in the March devaluation," Simitis told a
meeting of the ruling PASOK party's parliamentary group.
Defence minister to visit Sweden
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will pay an official visit to
Sweden from May 17-19 at the invitation of his Swedish counterpart Bjorn
von Sydow, according to an ANA despatch today from Stockholm. Tsohatzopoulos
will also meet with Swedish Foreign Minister Lena Hjelm Wallen and visit
the installations of electronics giant LM Eriksson.
Greece nothing to fear from Turkey-Israeli exercises
Israeli's defence cooperation agreement with Turkey is not directed against
Greece or Cyprus, Israel's ambassdor to Greece said on Wednesday.
Ambassador Ran Curiel said Israel understood the reservations expressed by
Greece over the Israeli-Turkish defence cooperation but that this
cooperation was dictated by the country's geographical proximity to Turkey
and the need for good relations with neighbours.
Australian minister in Thessaloniki
Australia's Federal Immigration and Ethnic Affairs Minister Philip Ruddock
met today with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos on issues
related to Greek migrants in Australia. Ruddock is presently in Greece on
an unofficial visit. Petsalnikos underlined the Greek government's interest
in overseas Greek communities, particularly in developing Greek studies
courses and the teaching of the Greek language.
Special SWAT operation to arrest merchant
A special police commando unit early today mounted an operation to arrest a
54-year-old trader in building materials who had threatened the life of the
head of the Krya Vrysi police station with a hand-grenade. Police said the
merchant, Constantine Vezyrianopoulos, had in the past occupied the
authorities due to his aggressive behaviour. They said court sentences were
already pending against him for operating an illegal radio station and non-
payment of social security dues.
New Archbishop of Athens and all Greece elected
Metropolitan Christodoulos of Dimitrias and Almyros (Volos region) was
yesterday elected Archbishop of Athens and All Greece in the third and
final round of voting by the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Greece's Holy
Synod. Christodoulos was elected by the country's 77 Metropolitans to
succeed Archbishop Serapheim, who died earlier this month. Christodoulos
was born in Xanthi in 1939 and studied law and theology in Athens. After
serving for seven years as a secretary for the Holy Synod, he was elected
Metropolitan of Dimitrias in 1974.
Bank of Greece annual report in Parliament for first time
Bank of Greece Governor Lucas Papademos yesterday submitted the Bank of
Greece's annual monetary policy report to Parliament and the Cabinet for
the first time, a move complying with its new autonomous status. "This is
an act of democratic control," said Mr. Papademos, after handing the report
to Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis. Submitting the report to
Parliament marked the beginning, in practice, of the central bank's
autonomous status, in line with European Union regulations, Mr. Kaklamanis
Greece dismisses latest Turkish provocation in the Aegean
Greece yesterday dismissed the latest Turkish provocation in the Aegean as
a continuation of Turkey's policy, aimed at trying to create an issue of
supposed "grey areas" in the Aegean. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas
was commenting on Turkey's dispute of Greek sovereignty of four Greek
islands in the eastern Aegean. About one month ago, Turkish authorities
notified a Greek diplomat assigned in Ankara that they questioned Greece's
sovereignty of the islands Fournoi, Agathonisi, Farmakonisi and Pserimos.
Aegean islands, including a programme of environmental tourism on 14 rocky
islets and partly funded by the European Union.
Tsohatzopoulos meets Slovakian parliamentarian
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos held talks with the president
of the Slovakian Parliament's defence committee, Imrieh Andrejeak, on the
prospect of Slovakia's accession to NATO and the European Union. Other
talks focused on developments in the Balkans and the situation in Kosovo in
Ruling PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis met with US ambassador in Athens
Nicholas Burns yesterday afternoon on the occasion of the former's upcoming
visit to the United States, at the head of a PASOK and government
delegation. In a statement afterwards, Mr. Skandalidis said that Mr. Burns
offered his good services for better organising the delegation's contacts
with US contacts.
OTE share sale to institutional investors
Yesterday's procedure of selling 16 million shares of the Hellenic
Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) to institutional investors with the
block trading method met with difficulties, since the state decreased the
sale price to 8,400 drachmas,instead of 8,700 drachmas which it had
announced as the minimum price possible. Fourteen million shares were
ultimately sold at the above price and the remaining two million will be
provided to the state-run utility's employees.
OA, pilots reach agreement on overtime, summer schedule
Olympic Airways' management and the pilots' union yesterday reached
agreement on the issues of overtime work and on meeting the needs of the
national carrier's summer schedule. It is now expected that the recent
labour unrest will come to an end and that flights will resume as normal.
According to reports confirmed by Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis, the
state-run airline is looking for 25 billion drachmas in order to meet its
payroll and fuel costs.
Papantoniou rejects talk of new devaluation
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday
dismissed speculation of a new drachma devaluation circulating in financial
markets for several days. Speaking at a press conference after a meeting of
the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Mr.
Papantoniou dismissed the talk as purely speculative and lacking any
Scattered showers and rain storms are forecast for most parts of Greece
today. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Athens will be rainy with
temperatures between 15-21C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with
temperatures from 14-19C.
Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 313.472
British pound 521.832 Japanese yen(100) 238.179
French franc 52.132 German mark 174.592
Italian lira (100) 17.692 Irish Punt 440.547
Belgian franc 8.470 Finnish mark 57.605
Dutch guilder 155.446 Danish kr. 45.799
Austrian sch. 24.840 Spanish peseta 2.059
Swedish kr. 40.513 Norwegian kr. 41.991
Swiss franc 210.378 Port. Escudo 1.706
Aus. dollar 201.837 Can. dollar 217.506
Cyprus pound 596.192