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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-07-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 16/07/1998 (ANA)


  • NATO HQ to begin operating in 1999
  • Greenpeace warns of smog effects
  • Poet Karelli dies
  • Three die in road accident
  • Gov't defends procurement contracts
  • Rail workers begin 24-hour strike today
  • Jospin to visit Athens in August
  • Papantoniou confident Greece will fulfil convergence criteria
  • Historian St. Clair details Parthenon Marbles' damage
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


NATO HQ to begin operating in 1999

A NATO subregional headquarters in Larissa is slated to begin operation on October 4, 1999, the First Army Corps leadership said today. During a briefing, local authorities were told that the Allied inter-service subregional headquarters' establishment in the town of Tyrnavos, beyond its strategic significance, was also of particular economic importance for the wider Larissa region, which would benefit substantially from the annual 25 billion dr. earmarked for the headquarters' operation. Army officials said the area would also benefit from the stationing of approximately 600 Greek and foreign staff at the headquarters.

Greenpeace warns of smog effects

The environmental organisation Greenpeace claimed today that the cloud of pollution which hangs over Athens was responsible for thousands of premature deaths annually. The head of the organisation's Greek branch, Stelios Psomas, said measurements taken during the past two months showed air pollution in the capital to be at alarmingly high levels. The main problem, he said, was the presence of so-called second- and third- generation pollutants such as ozone, benzoline and micro-particles, some of which are not measured by the Environment Ministry. Greenpeace's measurements at eight locations in Athens over 22 days showed limits set for air pollutants were exceeded on eleven days. The measurements for benzoline and micro-particles were among the highest recorded in Europe.

Poet Karelli dies

One of Greece's most important female poets, Zoe Karelli, died early today at her home in Thessaloniki at the age of 96. Born Chryssoula Argyriadou and the sister of another major literary figure, Nikos-Gavril Pentzikis, Karelli's first work was published in 1935. As a woman writing in the first half of the century in Greece, Karelli became known as the writer who "made women's poetry more muscular". Her poem "Ego, I Anthropos" (I, the Human), written in 1957, placed the feminine article before the Greek word for man and human, and was considered a major step in introducing a feminist voice to Greek literature, at a time when the women's movement was in its infancy.

Three die in road accident

Three Bulgarians died in a road accident early today on the Patras-Pyrgos highway near Kavasila in the northern Peloponnese. According to initial reports, a car driven by Vladimir Lyntaso, 18 moved into the lane of oncoming traffic and collided head-on with a truck driven by Paraskevas Pamazotos, 37 from Keratsini. The three Bulgarians who died in the crash were occupants of the car driven by Lyntaso and identified as Angelos Dubenov, 19, from Oriachavitsa, Yonka Ginkova, 15, from Sevliero and Valentina Nvachova, 21, from Pelovo.

Gov't defends procurement contracts

Development Minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday lashed out against the main opposition New Democracy party for referring to the European Commission's attention the long-term procurement contracts between Greek private sector companies and a number of public utilities and organisations. According to an ANA dispatch from Brussels on Tuesday, the European Commission asked Athens for additional clarifications regarding the agreements - signed in 1997 and totalling one trillion drachmas - to consider whether they were in breach of Community directives. According to Commission sources, the head of Commission's internal market directorate, John Mogg, had sent a letter to the Greek authorities, saying that the clarifications provided to date were insufficient. The utilities in question are mainly in the sectors of energy, transport, telecommunications and water supply.

Rail workers begin 24-hour strike today

Rail workers begun a 24-hour strike today to protest against the government's plan to streamline their company as part of a wider restructuring in the public sector. The workers' union said in a statement yesterday that employees of Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) wanted to see the company revitalised but any changes should keep its basic structure intact. OSE's union recently warned that the changes the government is planning will shrink the company, paving the way for its eventual privatisation.

Jospin to visit Athens in August

French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin will be in Athens on Aug. 31 to attend an event on the future of socialism, it was announced at yesterday's last session of ruling PASOK's executive bureau before the summer recess. The main topic of discussion at yesterday's session was the structural reform in the economy and adoption of positions worked out recently by PASOK's political secretariat.

Papantoniou condident Greece will fulfil convergence criteria

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou reiterated his certainty yesterday that Greece will fulfill all convergence criteria at the end of 1999 and will be ready to join Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Speaking at a conference of the ruling PASOK party's economic development sector, Mr. Papantoniou said that this fact must not lead to complacency, since the major target of economic policy is not only nominal convergence but also the country's economic development with rates amounting to 6 per cent at the beginning of the next decade.

Historian St. Clair details Parthenon Marbles' damage

Noted British historian Willian St. Clair yesterday detailed to an Athens audience the circumstances and machinations behind the "irreparable damage" of the Parthenon Marbles at the British Museum during the late 1930s. "The reputation of the British Museum and of my country has been given a 'knock', " Prof. St. Clair, the author of "Lord Elgin and the Parthenon Marbles", told an audience at the Athens Concert Hall. Prof. St. Clair, a former senior Whitehall treasury official, began his approximately one-hour lecture by explaining how British diplomat Lord Elgin, "through pressures and bribery" between 1799 and 1802 convinced Ottoman authorities in then Constantinople and Athens to allow the taking of the Parthenon friezes. However, he added: "(Elgin) probably thought he was saving the Marbles at that time..."


Fair weather with a drop in temperatures, mainly in the north of the country is forecast for today. Athens will be hot with cloud increasing in the afternoon and temperatures between 24-38C. Good weather in Thessaloniki with possible rain in the afternoon and temperatures from 24-30C.


Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 296.330 British pound 485.644 Japanese yen (100) 211.236 French franc 49.142 German mark 164.672 Italian lira (100) 16.723 Irish Punt 414.656 Belgian franc 7.995 Finnish mark 54.302 Dutch guilder 146.241 Danish kr. 43.212 Austrian sch. 23.461 Spanish peseta 1.944 Swedish kr. 36.053 Norwegian kr. 38.934 Swiss franc 195.766 Port. Escudo 1.614 Aus. dollar 184.889 Can. dollar 200.086 Cyprus pound 562.762


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