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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-09-14

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, 14/09/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Athens calls for restraint in Tirana
  • Finnish president begins official visit
  • Greek condolences over Iranian diplomats
  • Vessel stopped in Karpathos
  • ND leader sets out party policy
  • Gov't may reduce taxes in 1999
  • Papantoniou calls ND's no-tax pledge irresponsible
  • PM calls for ruling party unity ahead of local elections
  • Tsohatzopoulos says Greece-Israel military dialogue imminent
  • Greece takes first delivery of Atacams missiles
  • Greek First Division soccer results
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Athens calls for restraint in Tirana

Athens today pleaded for a return to law and order in Tirana, saying self- restraint and calm were necessary to overcome the latest unrest in the Albanian capital. "Incidents which we all condemn should not be the starting point for a new crisis," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said, referring to the killing of a leading Albanian opposition figure on Saturday night. Reppas was speaking as reports came in of heightened tension in the Albanian capital as opposition Democratic Party supporters buried Azem Hajdari.

Finnish president begins official visit

Greece and Finland share the same concerns about the tension in the troubled Yugoslav province of Kosovo, Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, beginning an official visit to Greece, said in Athens today. Ahtisaari, speaking after meeting with Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos, said the UN Security Council should have the final word on the issue and that partners had to cooperate to deal with the difficulties facing the European Union. The two presidents discussed European and international issues, including the crisis in Russia.

Greek condolences over Iranian diplomats

Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos today sent a telegram of condolences to his Iranian counterpart Kamal Harazhi over the death last month of nine Iranian diplomats in Afghanistan. "We strongly condemn this act of violence. It is always with repugnance when one is called upon to witness murderous acts and unjustified barbarity," Pangalos's message said. Iran on Saturday started three days of national mourning for the nine Iranian diplomats killed when Taleban Islamic militia forces seized the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif last month.

Vessel stopped in Karpathos

The captain and six members of the crew of the passenger vessel "Valentina" have been arrested on suspicion that the vessel disembarked 81 illegal immigrants on the northeast Peloponnese coast on Sunday. Ten of the illegal immigrants, arrested on Sunday by Drapetsona police, said they were part of a group of 81 Egyptian nationals brought to Greece from Alexandria by the Valentina, for a fare of $2,000 each. Port authorities detected the Valentina sailing 15 nautical miles southeast of the island of Astypaleia and coast guard patrol boats then requested the ship's captain to dock at the port of the island of Karpathos.

ND leader sets out party policy

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Saturday outlined the positions of his party on all major issues and answered Prime Minister Costas Simitis' comments that ND cannot provide an alternative to the PASOK government. In his traditional annual address at the 63rd Thessaloniki Trade Fair, Mr. Karamanlis underlined both ideological and political differences between the ruling PASOK and ND, arguing that his party better represents the political centre. Mr. Karamanlis said the differences focused on issues of economic policy and the public sector, while he strongly disagreed with what he called the government's appeasing policies toward Turkey.

Gov't may reduce taxes in 1999

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday that the government may lower taxes in 1999 in order to help inflation to fall, in turn easing entry into European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). "The possibility of lowering taxes is being examined. If there is room for a reduction in 1999 this will happen so that inflation may fall and the country enter EMU," Mr. Papantoniou told reporters. The minister was apparently referring to indirect taxes on consumer goods. The government has set January 1, 2001 as the latest entry date into the European Union's single currency, but is having trouble meeting convergence criteria on inflation.

Papantoniou calls ND's no-tax pledge irresponsible

Replying to questions, Mr. Papantoniou accused the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party of acting irresponsibly in promising the abolition of some taxes and reduction of others if elected to power in 2000, when national elections are due. He rejected charges by ND leader Costas Karamanlis that the current government had hurt the public by introducing 62 new taxes since 1996 totalling 2.5 trillion drachmas. "The only ones who shouldered the burden of the new taxes were the monied, the stock exchange, that is companies and large real estate (owners), thus leading to a more equitable tax system," Mr. Papantoniou said.

PM calls for ruling party unity ahead of local elections

Prime Minister and PASOK President Costas Simitis on Saturday called on all the ruling party members and friends to rally ahead of next month's local elections, saying they had a "multiple signifigance" for the future of local government institutions. Addressing a PASOK National Council meeting, the premier added that the elections signalled a "confrontation between those who worked for the creation of local government institutions and dared to go through important reforms and those who wanted local administration subjugated to the central government".

Tsohatzopoulos says Greece-Israel military dialogue imminent

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Saturday said that a military dialogue between Greece and Israel was imminent announcing at the same time that his Israeli counterpart Yitzhak Mordechai was expected in Athens, at Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' invitation, for talks within the next two months. Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the "98 Athens Summit" on peace and development, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also said that he expressed to former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres Greece's concern over the Israel- Turkey defence pact.

Greece takes first delivery of Atacams missiles

Greece yesterday took delivery of five ground-to-ground Atacams missiles from the United States, the first consignment of a 19-billion drachma order for 40 of the missiles. The state-of-the-art system for use by the army has a range of 165 kilometres and is launched from mobile M270 units. Aim and launch are carried out electronically. The all-weather missiles are designed to hit high-priority targets including administrative and control installations and munitions depots.

Greek First Division soccer results

Panelefsiniakos AEK 0-0 Veria Olympiakos 0-3 Panathinaikos Ethnikos Asteras 4-1 OFI Iraklion Xanthi 4-2 Aris Salonika Ionikos Piraeus 1-1 Ethnikos Piraeus Proodeftiki 0- 2 Panionios Apollon Athens 4-2 Kavala PAOK 1-1 Paniliakos Pyrgos Iraklis Thessaloniki 2-1 Standings/points: Panathinaikos 9, Olympiakos, AEK Athens, Aris, Ionikos Piraeus 7, Iraklis, Paniliakos, OFI 6, Xanthi, Kavala 4.

WEATHER

Western Greece will see cloudy weather and scattered showers today later turning to gales or storms. Same phenomena will gradually spread to central and northern Greece. Partly cloudy in rest of the country. Athens, sunny to partly cloudy with temperatures from 20-30C. Thessaloniki will be cloudy with rain later in the day and temperatures from 18-26C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 289.743 British pound 487.667 Japanese yen (100) 221.464 French franc 51.118 German mark 171.418 Italian lira (100) 17.361 Irish Punt 429.040 Belgian franc 8.310 Finnish mark 56.294 Dutch guilder 152.004 Danish kr. 44.987 Austrian sch. 24.369 Spanish peseta 2.020 Swedish kr. 36.480 Norwegian kr. 38.331 Swiss franc 208.925 Port. Escudo 1.673 Aus. dollar 173.595 Can. dollar 191.654 Cyprus pound 578.118

(M.P.)


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