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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-05-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 25/05/1998 (ANA)


  • Gov't committed to defending Ionian, Reppas says
  • Government meeting reviews foreign, defence policy
  • 21 charged after basketball match violence
  • End to dictionary furore
  • TV station cars torched
  • Spanish royal couple in Athens today
  • Tsohatzopoulos charges Turkey of using 'Hitlerian rationale'
  • Battle of Crete anniversary celebrated
  • Greece shows interest of buying planes from Germany
  • Karamanlis confident ND will win next general elections
  • Int'l media conference opens in Athens
  • Additional funds for major cultural projects
  • Greece's Angelopoulos wins top Cannes film award
  • Iran, Greece, Armenia to expand transport cooperation
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Gov't committed to defending Ionian, Reppas says

The government is determined to protect the interests of the Ionian Bank with all means, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today, after riot police on Sunday removed striking workers from the state-run bank's computer centre. The police early Sunday morning entered the Ionian Bank's central processing offices in Piraeus, arresting two and putting an end to the workers' occupation that had paralysed operation of the bank for days. Workers at Ionian Bank have been on an indefinite strike for some two weeks in protest at the government's decision to sell the bank. The striking employees' blockade of the computer centre had frozen on-line systems and halted ATM transactions.

Government meeting reviews foreign, defence policy

Prime Minister Costas Simitis today chaired a top-level government meeting to review foreign and defence policy. The meeting was attended by National Defence Minister Akis Tsohadzopoulos, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis. Asked after the meeting whether the issue of Greece and Turkey agreeing on confidence-building measures (CBMs) in the Aegean had been discussed, Reppas replied: "Turkey must abandon the role of regional strongman which it has reserved for itself in order to attain its aims because this role is bringing it only constant disappointment."

21 charged after basketball match violence

The twenty-one young fans of Panathinaikos basketball team arrested in incidents in Athens last night after their team won the Greek championship today appeared before the public prosecutor and charged with a number of offences. Eleven were arrested at or near the Olympic Stadium complex where Panathinaikos of Athens beat PAOK Thessaloniki 68-58 in the fifth and final game of the playoff finals. Ten more were detained after celebrations in Omonia Square got out of hand. Riot police had to use teargas to disperse the fans after a car was torched and metro worksite facilities in the centre of the square caught fire.

End to dictionary furore

The government today praised the author of a Greek dictionary who agreed to eliminate from the second edition an explanation of the word 'Bulgarians' which caused a furore when the reference work was recently published. In the first edition of the dictionary, under the entry 'Bulgarians', Professor George Babiniotis' second explanation was "the supporter or player of a (sports) team of Thessaloniki, mainly of PAOK". The entry notes that the term is used as an insult. Fans of Athenian soccer and basketball teams in particular often chant the word pejoratively to goad fans of Thessaloniki teams.

TV station cars torched

Unidentified persons early today set fire to two cars belonging to the small private Tele-City television station in Kallithea near the station's premises. Police said two home-made incendiary mechanisms comprising nine liquid gas cannisters and a bottle of gas had been placed near the cars and were ignited by lit cotton wadding at 2:30 a.m. The damages to the van and semi-truck were estimated at 15 million dr., while lesser damage was caused to a third car owned by the station parked nearby.

Spanish royal couple in Athens today

King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sophia today start a five-day official visit to Greece, at the invitation of President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos. Spanish Foreign Minister Abel Matutes will accompany the royal couple during its first ever visit to Greece. The royal couple will also meet Prime Minister Costas Simitis, inaugurate the "Classic Greece in Spain" exhibition and in a strictly private framework they will visit the Tatoi retreat.

Tsohatzopoulos charges Turkey of using `Hitlerian rationale`

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday charged Turkey with using what he called a Hitlerian rationale in claiming space in the Aegean for itself. "The international law of the sea cannot be applied selectively wherever Turkey wants. It will be applied uniformly in the whole Aegean, in the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, allowing full freedom of movement for all with no restrictions," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

Battle of Crete anniversary celebrated

The 57th anniversary of the Battle of Crete against the Germans in World War Two, was celebrated yesterday in the region of Galatas, which was the area where the most fierce clashes took place between the Allies and the Cretans on the one hand and the Ger man invaders on the other. The celebration was attended by veterans of the Battle of Crete from Australia, Nea Zealand, Great Britain, Cyprus and Greece.

Greece shows interest in buying planes from Germany

Greece is interested in buying at least 50 training Alpha Jets, pulled out of service many years ago by the German air force,according to the weekly magazine Focus to be published today. The French-German made training jets, would replace the old training planes used by the Greek air force,the magazine said. One hundred Alpa Jest are out of use waiting for better bays in an old aidbase near Munich.

Karamanlis confident ND will win next general elections

Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis ended a four- day tour of central Macedonia last night, with a speech at a party gathering in the town of Yiannitsa. Earlier, the ND leader spoke in the town of Skydra, where he announced that if his party won the next election, the ND will form a government of young, uncorrupted people, "who will be able to see the future".

Int'l media conference opens in Athens

A five-day international conference on Media Ownership and Control opened yesterday evening at the central Athens Zappeion Hall, joinlty organised by the Andreas Papandreou Institute and the Andreas Papandreou Institute for Strategic and Developmental Studies (ISTAME). Press Minister Dimitris Reppas referred to the risks lurking in the domination of the mass communication media and new technologies, stressing the need for formulating policies on a Eropean Union level, with the criteria being the maintenance of human qualities and collective goods.

Additional funds for major cultural projects

Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday announced additional funding of 12.5 billion drachmas for uncompleted major projects in the former 1997 European Cultural Capital. The additional sums were part of the 2nd Community Support Framework, and will be used to conclude work on major Cultural Capital projects, such as the Royal Theatre, Moni Lazariston, the Theatre of the Society for Macedonian Studies, etc., making the overall budget for the technical programme to 100 billion drachmas.

Greece's Angelopoulos wins top Cannes film award

"Eternity and a Day" won the Golden Palm for best film at the 51st Cannes film festival, jury president Martin Scorsese announced yesterday. The U.S. movie maestro Scorcese lavished praise on the 22 films competing at Cannes this year but said his jury, made up of directors, actors, actresses and a rap singer, had been unanimous in giving Angelopoulos the top honours. Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos congratulated Angelopoulos on behalf of the government saying that the director was "worthily representing Greek culture and Greek cinema".

Iran, Greece, Armenia to expand transport cooperation

The Islamic Republic of Iran, Greece and Armenia on Saturday signed here a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at expanding and deepening tripartite cooperation in the fields of transport and communications. The memorandum underlines the need for further promotion of trilateral cooperation in land and air transport, transit of goods and passengers as well as in technical and educational cooperation among the three countries, the Iranian Road and Transport Ministry announced.


Cloudy weather in most parts of the country today, turning to rain or storms later in the day. Winds southerly, moderate to gale force. Athens will be partly cloudy with rain forecast in the afternoon and storms in the evening and temperatures from 16-24C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 15C and 22C.


Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 300.685 British pound 489.790 Japanese yen(100) 221.196 French franc 50.830 German mark 170.555 Italian lira (100) 17.290 Irish Punt 429.238 Belgian franc 8.255 Finnish mark 56.086 Dutch guilder 151.275 Danish kr. 44.733 Austrian sch. 24.229 Spanish peseta 2.008 Swedish kr. 39.121 Norwegian kr. 40.364 Swiss franc 204.466 Port. Escudo 1.665 Aus. dollar 189.571 Can. dollar 206.634 Cyprus pound 579.626


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