Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-07-29
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 29/07/1998 (ANA)
- Government backs FM on role of Turkish consulate in Thrace
- Turk arrested for trafficking immigrants
- Greek youth arrested for clubbing Albanian to death
- Belgrade accepts Greek proposal on more EU observers
- Swedish tourist drowns off Crete
- Bank robber's surrender may help battle against organised crime
- Full-scale probe into arson, land grabbing
- EU approves gov't restructuring plan for Olympic Airways
- National Bank of Greece posts Dr 55.3 billion profit
- Greek stocks end flat
- Banks donate vehicles to police
- Worldbasket Greece '98 opens in Athens tonight
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Government backs FM on role of Turkish consulate in Thrace
The government today backed remarks by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos
on the role of consulates in the country, saying his statements were very
"The role of consulates is very clear. They cannot perform duties which are
outside their competence," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.
During a tour of Thrace on Sunday, Pangalos warned personnel at the Turkish
Consulate in Komotini to restrict themselves to "well-meaning duties and to
refrain from creating problems in the harmonious co-existence of Christian
and Moslem residents" in the region.
Reppas also rejected claims by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem that
Ankara had a "special relationship" with Thrace.
"When foreign diplomatic missions undermine not only the interests of the
country in which they are located but also bilateral relations, then Greece
reacts," Reppas said, adding however that although "all possibilities are
being considered", nothing specific had been decided.
The spokesman announced meanwhile that a meeting was likely in the next few
days between Pangalos and US Ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns.
Turk arrested for trafficking immigrants
A 23-year-old immigrant smuggler from Turkey was arrested today after
disembarking nine Iranian illegal immigrants to the island of Samos, port
authority officials said.
They said Gediz Kavlak was arrested at dawn today after being chased by the
Kavlak, who transported four Iranian men, two women and three children to
Samos on his six-metre-long speedboat, was to appear before the public
Greek youth arrested for clubbing Albanian to death
A 19-year-old youth has been arrested for clubbing to death an Albanian
illegal immigrant in the Aetoloakarnania prefecture, police said today.
They said Husa-Arian Fllamur, 42, from Elbasan and the father of five, was
hit in the head with a wooden log as he was sleeping in his employer's barn
in the village of Embesos on Monday night and died.
The employer's son, Vassilis Dimakis, confessed to the killing during
police questioning today, adding he had also taken 400,000 dr. Fllamur had
on him at the time.
Dimakis said he left for Athens after the killing, where he spent the money
on "having a good time" before returning to the village,
Belgrade accepts Greek proposal on more EU observers
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has accepted Athens' proposal for an
increase in the number of European Union observers in Kosovo on condition
that they will previously be accredited to their embassies in Belgrade,
foreign ministry sources said yesterday.
The message was conveyed to Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos by Foreign
Ministry Secretary General Pavlos Apostolidis, upon his return from
Belgrade where he met with Mr. Milosevic.
The Yugoslav president told Mr. Apostolidis that police forces in Kosovo
have been ordered not to attack, but as a matter of fact they were obliged
to respond to provocations and to protect the lives and economic activities
of citizens in Kosovo.
Greece has notified the European Union Austrian Presidency on the meeting
between Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Apostolidis in light of a visit to Belgrade
by the EU troika headed by Austrian Foreign Ministry Secretary General Mr.
The letter from Prime Minister Costas Simitis to Mr. Milosevic sets out the
Greek government's positions on the crisis in the Serbian province of
Kosovo, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas noted yesterday.
Swedish tourist drowns off Crete
A 69-year-old Swedish tourist drowned while swimming in the sea in Crete,
the local port authorities said.
The man, identifed as Rune Gohansson, bearer of Swedish passport number
54400795, drowned yesterday while swimming in the Platania, Kydonia region
The Hania port authority was investigating the accident.
Bank robber's surrender may help battle against organised crime
The return of a self-confessed bank robber from Germany who has turned
himself in to police in Thessaloniki may help the authorities strike a
serious blow against organised crime in the country.
Vassilios Andreadis, 46 has already confessed to taking part in a robbery
in July 1993 at a branch of the National Bank in Nigrita, Serres, during
which a 25-year-old cashier, George Karagiozis, was shot and killed in cold
Andreadis has told police that he had waited at a short distance from the
bank with the getaway car and after the robbery picked up his brother,
Constantine and their accomplice, Sotiris Kousis.
All three subsequently escaped abroad.
In 1996, Constantine Andreadis and Kousis were arrested in Amsterdam as
they arrived to watch a European Championship soccer match between Ajax and
Panathinaikos of Athens.
Kousis has since been implicated in the murder of prominent gangster
Announcing the return and surrender of Andreadis, Thessaloniki police chief
Costas Economou said today only that he had confessed to taking part in the
Nigrita bank robbery.
According to police documents however, evidence emerged during Andreadis'
questioning linking him with other serious crimes committed in Thessaloniki
and other parts of Greece "in which officers currently serving in the
police force participated".
The investigation is continuing under the supervision of the head of the
public prosecutor's office in Thessaloniki, Charalambos Vourliotis, and it
is believed that warrants will in the next few days be issued for the
arrest of persons implicated by Andreadis.
Full-scale probe into arson, land grabbing
The head of Athens public prosecutors, Giorgos Koliokostas, yesterday
ordered an urgent preliminary investigation into press reports alleging
involvement of arsonists and land grabbers in recent forest fires
He also ordered the probe to investigate possible tolerance, inertia,
procrastination or even assistance offered to arsonists by civil servants.
The investigation has been assigned to four prosecutors, and it is the
first time it is being launched on such a scale.
The reports, carried by several Athens dailies, refer to organised criminal
activity against the public interest by professional arsonists-land
encroachers, who with the direct assistance of public servants enclose
forest areas burned by fires in the past, subsequently building luxury
residences on the sites.
Meanwhile, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas has dismissed charges of a
lack of coordination and personnel in fighting the recent spate of forest
fires, stressing that the same number of fire-fighters were mobilised as
He said a probe so far did not rule out arson, but it would be premature to
say anything before it was completed.
Meanwhile, fires continued to blaze in several regions yesterday, and
authorities urgently evacuated six villages in the greater Corinth region
as a forest fire raging out of control for four days approached the yards
of the first homes.
Twenty-five fire engines and 90 firemen, assisted by the villagers, have
been fighting a losing battle with the blaze, which has several fronts
extending over 12 kilometres and was burning out of control.
At the same time, two of Greece's most wooded mountains, Taygetos and
Olympos, were still blazing and the mountainsides were almost completely
denuded. Land-based firefighters were battling the blaze at Krania, on Mt.
Olympus, alone as the fire was in a n inaccessible region, while 5 fire
eingines and 20 firemen, assisted by 2 firefighting planes, were battling
the blaze at Rovania on Mt. Taygetos.
A two-fronted blaze at Harokopio and Chrysokelaria in Messinia was placed
under control after burning forest and farmland. Another fire was also
burning at Aliveri, in Evia, in an inaccessible area, and 20 firefighters
and a Chinook helicopter were battling the blazes.
EU approves gov't restructuring plan for Olympic Airways
The European Union yesterday approved a government restructuring plan for
Olympic Airways that could make the national carrier profitable in 1998, a
EU source told the Athens News Agency.
The EU's executive Commission is today due to ratify the plan, which takes
immediate effect, with no further debate at its last meeting before the
summer holiday, the source said.
According to a Commission-sponsored study by Deloitte Touche of the UK, the
government's plan is realistic and could lead Olympic Airways to profitability
even within 1998, despite strikes and go-slows early in the year.
The study forecasts that if targets are met, then the company could post
profits of 20 billion drachmas in 1999.
The streamlining plan, which comes in the wake of a failed revitalisation
attempt in 1994, allows 21.8 billion drachmas in state aid to OA for
release in two instalments.
The first instalment of 12 billion drachmas is for immediate disbursement.
The second tranche of 7.8 billion drachmas may be given between March and
June 1999 following an evaluation of progress made in restructuring.
But the Commission ruled that a 75-billion-drachma plan for OA's transfer
to a new airport being built for Athens at Spata cannot be subsidised by
more than 30-35 billion drachmas.
The endorsed plan also includes a wage freeze, alignment of working hours
with international standards, staff cuts in permanent and seasonal staff,
the abolition of selected allowances and a new marketing policy based on
National Bank of Greece posts Dr 55.3 billion profit
National Bank of Greece, a blue chip on the Athens bourse favoured by
foreign investors, posted first-half profits of 55.3 billion drachmas
before tax and after provisions, up 63 percent on the same period of last
The bank said in a statement yesterday that provisions were 21.6 billion
drachmas against 18 billion drachmas in the first-half of 1997.
Additional provisions in the rest of 1998 are expected to be 30 billion
The first-half jump in profits was attributed mainly to progress in a
modernisation plan and portfolio revitalisation in loans and holdings.
Greek stocks end flat
Greek equities ended flat in light trade yesterday after slumping early in
the session on news that the government had called off an international
tender through the bourse to privatise Hellenic Duty Free Shops SA.
The Athens general share index ended 0.07 percent higher to finish at 2,
729.34 points. The FTSE/ASE 20 index gained 0.35 percent, ending at 1,
Summer-season trade was light with turnover edging up to 48.1 billion
drachmas from 42.2 billion drachmas in the previous session.
Sector indices closed mixed. The heavily weighted banking sector gained
0.93 percent, Leasing dived 1.63 percent, Insurance inched up 0.22 percent,
Investment nosed up 0.62 percent, Industrials shed 0.64 percent, Construction
rose 0.84 percent, Holding dropped 0.93 percent, and Miscellaneous slipped
The parallel market index for small cap companies finished 0.11 percent
Of 265 stocks traded, declines led advances at 125 to 123 with 17 shares
The day's biggest percentage gainers finishing at the upper daily eight
percent volatility limit were Shelman, Katselis, Pouliadis, Nikas, Aspis
Pronia, General Trade and Avax.
Banks donate vehicles to police
The Hellenic Association of Banks will tomorrow officially hand over a
donation of 65 patrol cars and 30 motorcycles to the Greek police at a
ceremony in the Zappion Hall in Athens.
The donation will be presented to Public Order Minister George Romeos by
the association's president and Governor of the National Bank, Theodoros
The cars and motorcycles represent part of a total donation worth 2 billion
drachmas to be made by the association to the Greek police.
In late September, a further 270 motorcycles, 515 radios and 300 motorcycle
police uniforms will be handed over.
Worldbasket Greece '98 opens in Athens tonight
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos last night opened the
inaugural ceremony at the Athens Olympic sports complex for Worldbasket
Greece '98, the 13th World Basketball Championship, which will last until
The event was also greeted by Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, outgoing
International Basketball Federation (FIBA) president George Killian and
Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos.
The games begin tonight. Greece's first match is with Canada at 10
Hot, sunny weather is forecast throughout the country with temperatures
ranging from around 23C to 41C. The temperature in Athens will range from
28C to 41C; and in Thessaloniki from 24C to 39C.
Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 294.049
British pound 486.060 Japanese yen (100) 207.229
French franc 49.148 German mark 164.811
Italian lira (100) 16.711 Irish Punt 414.458
Belgian franc 7.993 Finnish mark 54.213
Dutch guilder 146.191 Danish kr. 43.245
Austrian sch. 23.420 Spanish peseta 1.942
Swedish kr. 37.248 Norwegian kr. 38.986
Swiss franc 196.198 Port. Escudo 1.608
Aus. dollar 179.403 Can. dollar 195.622
Cyprus pound 561.968