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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-07-04

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, 04/07/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Cities deserted in heatwave, temperature seen falling
  • Police make arrests for transportation of illegal immigrants
  • Greece backs Rugova, Kosovo self-administration
  • Government endorses bill to deregulate electricity market
  • Supreme Court rejects unfair dismissal appeal over politics
  • Turkish patrol boat briefly enters Greek waters off Imia
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Cities deserted in heatwave, temperature seen falling

Athens and Thessaloniki were deserted on Saturday as residents flocked to the beach in order to avoid the worst of a heatwave still sweeping the country, despite some winds and a slight drop in temperature.

Temperatures were around 40C in most parts of the country, expected to slide low into the 30s on Sunday.

A cold front began to bite in the north, where cloud and northerly winds appeared that were likely to turn into storms on Saturday evening, especially in mountainous areas, the National Meteorological Service (EMY) said.

Moderate westerlies in Athens were expected to turn strong by Saturday evening with temperatures falling to 33C on Sunday, EMY said.

Medical authorities were still on full alert to deal with casualties in the heatwave.

Ozone and nitrogen dioxide levels in Athens on Friday rose for the first time in about one year above limits set for the taking of emergency measures and combined with a nationwide heatwave made conditions in the capital and other cities unbearable.

Police make arrests for transportation of illegal immigrants

Police on Saturday arrested four Greeks in the north of the country for allegedly picking up tens of illegal immigrants near the Turkish border in order to transport them to Athens for a fee.

The immigrants - 23 Pakistanis, 22 Bangladeshis and one Indian - were riding in a truck near the town of Alexandroupolis when a police squad specialising in illegal border entries stopped the vehicle and arrested its driver, Harilaos Agapidis, 24, an office worker from Thessaloniki.

After a car chase, they arrested Agapidis' three alleged accomplices in two automobiles whose job was to alert Agapidis of any police surveillance on the road.

The immigrants told police in Alexandroupoli during questioning that they had paid a man in Turkey called Ali 92,000 dollars to cross the border into Greece.

They were then due to pay Agapidis 3,500 dollars for the truck ride to Athens, police said.

The alleged accomplices were identified as Ilias Nikolaidis, 46, a merchant, and Pashalis Tziras, 40, a driver, both from Didymotiho; and Dimitra Kondokolia, 31, from Athens.

Police impounded the three vehicles. The arrested Greeks and the immigrants are due to appear before Alexandroupoli's public prosecutor to hear charges.

Greece backs Rugova, Kosovo self-administration

Greece on Friday placed full backing behind Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova, and called on Yugoslavia to agree to full self-administration for its troubled Kosovo province.

It also criticised Western efforts for rapprochement with the Kosovo Liberation Army, which is fighting for independence from Yugoslavia.

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, in statements in Thessaloniki, urged Rugova to "proceed directly with the establishment of a government".

He also called on Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic to proceed to an "agreed, integral self-administration for Kosovo", reiterating that Greece was "opposed to Kosovo independence or self-determination".

Addressing newly-graduated cadets of the Military School, Tsohatzopoulos said, regarding the KLA, that "those who use violence and terrorism to advance human rights are not useful, and on the contrary compromise those who have doings with them, unless they (the latter) have secured a commitment (from the former) to refrain from the use of violence and military action".

Tsohatzopoulos stressed that Greece's position on the Kosovo problem was "crystal clear", adding that the crisis could not be solved through military means but in a "political, peaceful, diplomatic" manner by granting "the broadest possible autonomy to Kosovo".

He said Greece "fully supports Mr. Rugova to proceed directly in forming integrated institutional support".

"We believe that, in tandem with the commencement of peace talks, Rugova should be supported by the international public opinion to proceed directly in the establishment of a government, institutions, infrastructures and everything else that comprise, in action, an integral self-administration at all levels," Tsohatzopoulos said.

Such a move, he added, would "upgrade Rugova himself and his role, with a simultaneous obligatory abandonment of arms by the so-called Liberation Movement and its subordination to the political leadership".

Government endorses bill to deregulate electricity market

The cabinet yesterday unanimously endorsed a draft bill to liberalise the country's electricity market by February 2001 in line with a European Union deadline.

The bill will also help to prepare the domestic market for tough international competition expected after deregulation when private sector companies will have the right to produce electricity.

Devised by Development Minister Vasso Papandreou, the bill will be discussed in detail with Public Power Corporation (DEI) workers before being submitted to parliament for a vote.

Under the draft legislation, DEI will retain its vertically integrated structure, still handling production, transmission and distribution.

A special authority will also be set up to monitor operation of the newly liberalised electricity market and maintain standards in services and rates, protecting consumers.

Supreme Court rejects unfair dismissal appeal over politics

The Greek Supreme Court has upheld an appeals court ruling rejecting a claim of unfair dismissal by a worker who had been actively involved in setting up an organization promoting political aims in her workplace.

The appellant had asked that her dismissal by the state-controlled Hellenic Armaments Industry (EBO) in 1995 be declared null, and that she be paid appropriate compensation.

The appeals court had ruled that the appellant had been involved in setting up an organisation which did not aim to further trade union interests on behalf of the entire workforce, but had political aims in favour of the ruling PASOK party.

The Supreme Court endorsed the lower court's opinion that the appellant's activity had created problems in the smooth running of the company, despite favourable reports on her professional performance.

Turkish patrol boat briefly enters Greek waters off Imia

A Turkish patrol boat briefly entered Greek territorial waters off the uninhabited Imia islets but left on sighting a Hellenic Navy vessel, sources said on Saturday.

In the incident, which occurred on Friday morning, the Turkish boat was sailing from north to south. It changed course on sighting the Navy's "Panagopoulos" and sailed eastwards, leaving Greek waters, the sources said.

The Greek vessel did not need to intervene, they said.

WEATHER

Hot sunny weather is forecast throughout most of Greece on Sunday with scattered rain or storms in the north by evening. Winds northerly, moderate to strong. Temperatures in Athens expected to drop from the early 40s Centigrade to 22C-33C; and in Thessaloniki to 20C-30C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 301.667 British pound 498.758 Japanese yen (100) 217.000 French franc 49.622 German mark 166.368 Italian lira (100) 16.886 Irish Punt 419.021 Belgian franc 8.067 Finnish mark 54.739 Dutch guilder 147.575 Danish kr. 43.670 Austrian sch. 23.641 Spanish peseta 1.961 Swedish kr. 37.506 Norwegian kr. 38.980 Swiss franc 197.482 Port. Escudo 1.629 Aus. dollar 187.096 Can. dollar 206.019 Cyprus pound 568.416

(C.S.)


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