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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-05-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 27/05/1998 (ANA)


  • Athens comments on Turkish exercises
  • Scuffles between strikers and police
  • No inquiry into Ionian share slump
  • Crew safe after training flight crash
  • Blair invites Simitis to London
  • Three arrested in heroin haul
  • Spanish royal couple opens exhibition
  • Jackpot winner lies low
  • Fossil find in Crete
  • Illegal immigrants arrested in Corfu
  • Parliament rejects fact-finding body for OA
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Athens comments on Turkish exercises

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and government spokesman Dimitris Reppas today responded differently when asked to comment on the reserving by Turkey of 17 sea regions in international waters in the Aegean for military exercises from June 4-20. Tsohatzopoulos described as normal Ankara's move, saying "we too hold exercises from time to time". In contrast, Reppas said that the Turkish exercises in the Aegean and in two areas near the island of Gavdos, south of Crete, "contain an element of provocation which should not leave the international community indifferent". But Tsohatzopoulos also criticised Ankara's reserving of two regions southeast and southwest of Crete, at a distance of 250 miles from Turkey, describing it as a "provocative choice" by the neighbouring country, adding though that it was "within the general political choices of Turkey".

Scuffles between strikers and police

Scuffles broke out between strikers and riot police today as workers staged a 24-hour nationwide strike to protest the government's sweeping privatisation plans. In Piraeus, tension rose when a group of workers attending a protest rally demanded that a site foreman immediately stop two Albanians working, saying that they did not have the necessary permits. The foreman notified the police who arrested the president of the stokers' union, Yiannis Manoussouyiannakis, and another striker and took them to the local police station. Most ports around the country remained closed today as dockworkers began a 48-hour strike to protest the government's plans to change the legal status of authorities that run the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki.

No inquiry into Ionian share slump

The government has no plans to call an enquiry into a new share price slump in Ionian Bank, whose slated privatisation has triggered fierce opposition by unions. On Tuesday, Ionian had slid to 11,670 drachmas on the Athens bourse from 12,680 in the previous session, but recouped some of its losses on Wednesday, edging up to 11,950 drachmas. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said in reply to a reporter's question on Tuesday's decline that it was impossible to penalise market movements stemming from within the bourse and without.

Crew safe after training flight crash

A Hellenic Air Force F-4 jet crashed today while on a training exercise at the Stathouras firing range in Chalkidiiki, northern Greece. The two pilots, flight lieutenant Evangelos Economou and flying officer Charalambos Yiannikos managed to parachute to safety, were picked up by helicopters and taken to the 424 military hospital in Thessaloniki. According to initial reports, the crash at 13.50 local time was due to a mechanical fault.

Blair invites Simitis to London

Prime Minister Costas Simitis has been invited to visit London by British Prime Minister Tony Blair before the EU Cardiff summit gets under way in June, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today. Reppas said the Blair's invitation was "of a social nature" but said there were no details of when it would actually take place.

Three arrested in heroin haul

Three Albanians were arrested today in Athens after being found in possession of 3.5 kilos of heroin and 100 grams of cocaine. The three were named by police as Sefa Siamet, 28, Alfred Sila, 31 and Fatvardi Faroukou, 22. They were arrested in Attica Square. In one of two flats used by the three, police confiscated a precision scale and nearly 1 million drachmas in cash.

Spanish royal couple opens exhibition

Visiting King Juan Carlos of Spain today inaugurated an exhibition titled "The Ancient Greeks in Spain: On Hercules' trail" at the Archaeological Museum of Athens, comprising 250 ancient Greek artefacts dating from the 7th century B.C. to the Venetian era uncovered on the Iberian Peninsula. "Three thousand years later, Spain wished to bring to Greek territory a full witness of the Greek influence in the making of Spain's history. Today, the descendents of those Greeks can stand before a past which is a shared past of the Greeks and Spaniards," Juan Carlos said at the ceremony before departing with his wife, Queen Sophia, for Ancient Olympia.

Jackpot winner lies low

The winner of Greece's biggest numbers lottery jackpot, which netted him 1.6 billion dr. (5 million dollars), was still playing hide and seek with the lottery board and reporters, four days after the draw. The lottery agent, George Sikalos, in the northern Greek city of Serres where the winning numbers were placed, told the ANA that he had received telephone calls from supposed winners, "but no one has shown up so far with the winning 'Joker' lottery stub to claim the prize money".

Fossil find in Crete

Geologists on a training expedition in Crete have discovered a fish fossil believed to be three million years old, proof that the island had once been partially or wholly submerged in the sea. The fossil was found by geologists from the University of Crete's Museum of Natural History while on an expedition on Rokas Mountain in Profitis Ilias (Temenos), Heraklion, at an altitude of about 450 metres above sea level.

Illegal immigrants arrested in Corfu

Corfu port authorities today arrested an Albanian man after he tried to put four of his compatriots ashore on the Ionian holiday island at daybreak. Police said Arian Memousi, 25, had used a boat stolen from Corfu to bring over the four illegal immigrants. All five are to be charged later today.

Parliament rejects fact-finding body for OA

Parliament today rejected a main opposition New Democracy proposal to set up a fact-finding commission on ailing national carrier Olympic Airways. Of the 251 MPs present at the roll-call vote, 142 ruling party PASOK MPs voted against, and 106 deputies from New Democracy, Coalition of the Left and Progress and Democratic Social Movement voted for. Three Communist Party MPs abstained from the vote.


Unstable weather is forecast throughout Greece today with rainfall in eastern Macedonia, Thrace and the north and eastern Aegean. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Fine weather in Athens with few clouds and temperatures betweeen 16-27C. Scattered rain in Thessaloniki in the afternoon with temperatures from 15-24C.


Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 300.993 British pound 492.270 Japanese yen(100) 218.349 French franc 50.759 German mark 170.242 Italian lira (100) 17.252 Irish Punt 429.060 Belgian franc 8.251 Finnish mark 55.971 Dutch guilder 150.968 Danish kr. 44.696 Austrian sch. 24.164 Spanish peseta 2.001 Swedish kr. 38.940 Norwegian kr. 40.263 Swiss franc 204.446 Port. Escudo 1.666 Aus. dollar 187.190 Can. dollar 207.130 Cyprus pound 572.781


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