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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-05-15

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, 15/05/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Simitis urges united front for government policy
  • Late archbishop's will read
  • Cypriot defence minister in Greece
  • Police make inroads against drug smuggling
  • Man arrested for pirating CDs
  • Demirel statements dismissed
  • Athens welcomes breakthrough in Kosovo crisis
  • Parliament approves NATO expansion bids
  • GSEE, employers agree on two-year labour accord
  • Clarifications on monetary report
  • National Bank of Greece launches Romania branch
  • Drachma hits record high since ERM entry
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Simitis urges united front for government policy

Prime Minister Costas Simitis today urged unanimity and decisiveness as well as the "rallying of vital political and social forces" in an address today to the ruling PASOK party's central committee. The premier said the coming period would be of crucial importance, since decisions would have to be implemented on which there could be no compromise with attitudes and practices of the past. In particular he cited the completion of the revitalisation programme for the national carrier Olympic Airways, the government's measures in the employment sector, share flotations of state enterprises, reforms in education, social security legislation and the fight against crime.

Late archbishop's will read

The last will and testament of the late archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Serapheim, comprising just two paragraphs was published today. In his handwritten will, Serapheim who died last month made his nephew, Christos Dimakis, sole heir to his estate. "I forgive everyone, even those who caused me bitterness," Serapheim wrote in the will, which was drawn up on Sunday, February 18. Serapheim's will was opened today at the Athens Court of First Instance by the president, Constantine Lyberopoulos.

Cypriot defence minister in Greece

Cypriot Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou today dismissed the controversy surrounding the deployment of Russian-made S-300 missiles on the island republic later this year as "immeasurable hypocrisy". "This is an orchestrated campaign to transform the Cyprus issue from a problem of invasion, occupation and violation of international legality," Omirou said in Nicosia, shortly before leaving for Thessaloniki where he is to have talks with his Greek counterpart Akis Tsohatzopoulos. Omirou also said that a proposal by Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos on creating a "flight-prohibition" zone in Cyprus "could be discussed" in the context of a larger demilitarisation of Cyprus.

Police make inroads against drug smuggling

Greek police announced today that they have made a number of arrests for serious narcotics offences and seized approximately 685 kilos of hashish and two kilos of heroin. Police said that among the 13 people arrested is an Albanian who is believed to have shot and killed a British resident of Corfu on September 26 last year. Keith Hendley, 57, was shot dead when he tried to stop a group of men from stealing the inflatable boat tied to his yacht which was anchored in the Gouvia marina on the Corfu's east coast.

Man arrested for pirating CDs

Police today arrested a Greek man after a search of a computer hardware store revealed a makeshift assembly line producing pirated CDs. Police said they confiscated about 206 pirate CDs of Greek and foreign artists, 300 blank CDs and a large number of photocopied CD covers. All the hardware used to produce the pirate CDs in the store, located at 203 Lenorman Avenue, was also impounded during the search. Athanasios Atlas, 35, was arrested pending charges to be brought later today.

Demirel statements dismissed

Greece yesterday dismissed statements by Turkish President Suleyman Demirel that Ankara would use force "at the appropriate time" as purely for domestic consumption. "Turkey is facing enormous domestic problems and the artifice of trying to distract public opinion with foreign policy issues is all too familiar," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. He was commenting on a statement by Mr. Demirel on Wednesday, in relation to the issue of Aegean islets. The Turk president said Ankara "will use its strength at the appropriate time", during an address to a war academy in Istanbul.

Athens welcomes breakthrough in Kosovo crisis

The Greek government yesterday welcomed today's scheduled meeting in Belgrade between Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova. "Greece expresses the hope that both sides will rise to the occasion and fully assume, in the difficult course now beginning, their political responsibility for finding a solution to the issue of Kosovo to the benefit, primarily, of all its inhabitants,the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but also the broader region," read a foreign ministry statement.

Parliament approves NATO expansion bids

The Greek Parliament plenary yesterday ratified the enlargement of NATO with the accession of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic in a majority vote. The membership of the three former eastern bloc countries, which were invited to join the 16-nation Alliance last year, must be ratified by all current member countries.

GSEE, employers agree on two-year labour accord

The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and employers' organisations yesterday agreed on a new two-year national collective bargaining agre ement (EGSSE), set to be signed on Monday. The new agreement includes a 4.7 per cent increase for 1998, which will be allocated in two installments, while for 1999 the two-installment increase is set at 2.8 per cent. This year's first installment of 2.7 per cent will be retroactive as of Jan. 1, 1998 and from July 1 the remaining 2 per cent will be given, while in case of higher than estimated inflation - and up to 4.5 per cent - an additional increase of up to 1 per cent will be added to salaries and daily wages as of Jan. 1, 1999. Two wage hike installments of roughly 1.4 per cent each, one in January and the second in July were agreed for 1999. However, in the case of higher than estimated inflation in 1999 as we ll as in the case of higher than 4.5 per cent inflation in 1998 an additional increase will be added to salaries as of Jan. 1, 2000.

Clarifications on monetary report

Bank of Greece Governor Loukas Papademos, making clarifications for Parliament's economic affairs committee on a monetary report he recently submitted there yesterday, offered assurances that a speedy decrease in interest rates will start in autumn. Replying to relevant questions by deputies, he said that interest rates continue to remain at high levels in the framework of counter-inflationary policy and in the wake of the drachma's devaluation.

National Bank of Greece launches Romania branch

National Bank of Greece governor Theodoros Karatzas yesterday formally inaugurated a new branch of the bank in Bucharest, the Romanian capital. Attending the ceremony were officials from Athens headquarters, diplomats, local authorities and Greek and Romanian businessmen. The branch, which opened in February 1997, will offer standard banking services, supplemented by corporate and investment banking with the aid of global and regional specialists, Mr. Karatzas told a news conference here.

Drachma hits record high since ERM entry

The drachma strengthened again yesterday versus most foreign currencies in the domestic money market. The Greek currency rose to its highest level against the Ecu since a 13.8 percent devaluation on March 14 to ease entry into the European Union's exc hange rate mechanism on the same day. Yesterday, the drachma finished at 340.62 to the Ecu at the central bank's daily fix, up 0.41 percent on the previous day. The drachma was also up 0.56 percent against the US dollar and 0.26 percent higher to the DMark.

WEATHER

Mostly fair weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today with the possibility of scattered showers in the north of the country. Local fog in the morning in mainland Greece. Winds will be variable, light to moderate, turning strong in the Ionian Sea in the evening. Fair to partly cloudy weather in Athens where temperatures will range between 14-29C. Possibility of drizzle in Thessaloniki where temperatures will be from 13-27C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 305.278 British pound 495.365 Japanese yen(100) 227.505 French franc 51.247 German mark 171.804 Italian lira (100) 17.428 Irish Punt 433.306 Belgian franc 8.331 Finnish mark 56.576 Dutch guilder 152.465 Danish kr. 45.128 Austrian sch. 24.419 Spanish peseta 2.024 Swedish kr. 39.654 Norwegian kr. 40.950 Swiss franc 206.653 Port. Escudo 1.677 Aus. dollar 191.456 Can. dollar 210.502 Cyprus pound 581.768

(M.P.)


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