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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-09-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 25/09/1998 (ANA)


  • New police chief named
  • Simitis slams police handling
  • Northern Greece faces fuel shortages
  • Thessaloniki students sit-in
  • Volos bishop among 'Righteous'
  • FM Pangalos: Ankara promotes Cyprus' partition
  • FM pessimistic over Antalya summit
  • Greek reservations over strike in Kosovo
  • Papandreou: Cyprus EU prospects upset Turkey's strategy
  • First-ever Ombudsman's office in Greece opens
  • Parliament debates on the Internet
  • Court rules civil aviation employees strike illegal
  • Gov't launches subscriptions for privatisation bonds today
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


New police chief named

Ioannis Georgakopoulos, one of the police officers injured in Wednesday night's bungled raid on a fugitive holding three hostages, is to take over as the new chief of Greek Police, the government said on Friday. Georgakopoulos was named by the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence, which met immediately after the end of the Cabinet meeting to decide on a successor to Greek Police Chief Athanassios Vassilopoulos, whose resignation was accepted by the prime minister on Thursday. Georgakopoulos was previously first deputy chief to Vassilopoulos. This position will now be filled by his deputy, George Plakas.

Simitis slams police handling

During a four-hour Cabinet meeting prior to the selection of the new Greek police chief, Prime Minister Costas Simitis slammed the Greek Police's handling of Wednesday night's raid on a fugitive holding three people hostage, saying it proved the police's inability to effectively combat criminal activity. Simitis said that the failure of the raid - which resulted in the serious injury of two people, including a hostage, and put another ten police officers, including the chief and deputy head of the force, in hospital - had created serious concerns in Greek society about security and the role of the police.

Northern Greece faces fuel shortages

Residents of the regions of Macedonia and Thrace will face dwindling liquid fuel supplies as of Monday as a strike by drivers of tanker trucks begins to pinch. The drivers are objecting to planned changes which would allow private companies to transport liquid fuel. Strikers were meeting on Friday with a representative from the transport and communications ministry but sources said the meeting had proved fruitless.

Thessaloniki students sit-in

Leftist students at Thessaloniki's Aristotelian University on Friday occupied the offices of the school's rector to protest against the university's decision to allow police patrols of the university grounds. The students say the decision to allow police and judicial officials access to school grounds overnight and during public holidays and weekends is a threat to the institution of university asylum. Police and judicial officials are barred from entering university grounds except on the express approval of university authorities. The university's Senate approved the proposal, following the murder of a man and serious injury of another in a fight between Albanian nationals on the grounds on Sunday.

Volos bishop among 'Righteous'

Israel will include the late Bishop of Volos Ioakeim among the "Righteous among Nations" on Sunday, honouring the bishop's role in saving 762 Jews from the Nazis. Israeli ambassador to Greece Ran Curiel will present the award to the family of the late bishop, during a ceremony to unveil a Holocaust memorial in the central Greek town. Ioakeim was instrumental in saving Volos' Jewry: when the rabbi of the city was instructed by the Nazi occupiers to provide them with a list of the city's Jews, Ioakeim interceded with the German consul, who advised him to help the Jews flee.

FM Pangalos: Ankara promotes Cyprus' partition

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday accused Turkey of promoting the partition of Cyprus by its intransigence instead of contributing to a just and viable solution to the island republic's protracted problem. "The reaction from Ankara, obediently echoed by the Turkish Cypriot leadership has been one of harsh rejection. Either in terms of a flat negation, or by putting conditions, tantamount to cancelling whatever has been so far desired by the international community, prescribed by the UN resolutions and even accepted by the Turkish Cypriot leadership themselves," Mr. Pangalos said in his address to the 53rd United Nations' General Assembly yesterday.

FM pessimistic over Antalya summit

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday appeared pessimistic over prospects for a Cyprus problem solution and possible progress on resolving differences during a planned meeting of the Greek and Turkish prime ministers in Antalya, Turkey, in November. "The strategy of the Turkish military and (Deputy Prime Minister Bulent) Ecevit is to close all doors," he told reporters after 90 minutes of talks with US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Mark Grossman. Discussion, besides Cyprus, involved a series of other issues, including Kosovo, Albania, and the Middle East. Responding to questions on the results of the meeting, Mr. Pangalos said all issues were "making headway".

Greek reservations over strike in Kosovo

Greece continues to have reservations about the possibility of a strike by international forces in Kosovo and would continue to urge a political resolution to the problem, Athens stressed yesterday. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the Greek government doubted the effectiveness of a military intervention but would take part in any operation if the legal framework for it was ensured. He said however that talk of an intervention was still premature, given the UN Security Council had yet to decide on one.

Papandreou: Cyprus EU prospects upset Turkey's strategy

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou expressed the view that the prospect of Cyprus joining the EU has upset Turkey's strategy on the island's political problem, and that Ankara's negative reaction is intensifying its isolation even further. "The course towards EU accession has clearly overturned the established situation of recent years, a strategy of Turkey that aimed to hold the Turkish Cypriots hostage on the pretext that only under its own protection could their integration be realised ," he said, in an interview with Cyprus state radio during his recent visit here in his capacity as current president of the ministerial committee of the Council of Europe.

First-ever Ombudsman's office in Greece opens

Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday officially inaugurated the first- ever Ombudsman's office in Greece, announcing the appointment of an assistant ombudsman to handle issues relating to individuals serving in the armed forces. Mr. Simitis said the assistant ombudsman would contribute to the better protection of the fundamental rights of soldiers and would work closely with Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos and the new Ombudsman, Nikiforos Diamantouros. The office of the Ombudsman will open to the public as of Oct. 1 and is located at 5, Hatziyiannis Mexis St. in Athens.

Parliament debates on the Internet

Parliamentary debates will be broadcast with both image and sound through Internet as of October, while debates of Parliamentary committees may also be broadcast very soon. In a statement yesterday, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis revealed that Parliament is ready to broadcast debates through Internet, adding that the creation of television archives containing debates, speeches and other Parliamentary activities will also commence.

Court rules civil aviation employees strike illegal

An Athens court on Thursday ruled that a four-day, 24-hour rolling strike called by the Federation of Civil Aviation Employees is "illegal and abusive". The court ruling followed recourse by the administration of state- owned Olympic Airways. Following the development, the Civil Aviation Authority has notified all airline companies that flights will continue unimpeded. On Thursday, the first day of the strike, nine flights were cancelled, eight of Olympic Aviation and one of Olympic Airways. Civil aviation employees are protesting against planned changes in the institutional framework of work regulations, being introduced by the government.

Gov't launches subscriptions for privatisation bonds today

The government today opens subscriptions for an equity convertible bond launched to aid its privatisation drive and raise around 350 billion drachmas for state coffers. The bonds, called prometoha, will be convertible into the equity of firms to be privatised through the bourse from January 1, 1999. Handling the issue are National Bank of Greece, Eurobank and Paribas of France - an expert in Balladur privatisation bonds. Finance Undersecretary Nikos Christodoulakis has met institutional investors at home and abroad over the past week in order to promote the securities.


Good weather with scattered cloud will prevail throught Greece today. Rainfal in the northwest of the country in the afternoon. Winds variable, light to strong. Athens will be sunny turning to cloudy in the evening with temperatures between 16-27C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 15- 25C.


Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 287.908 British pound 484.731 Japanese yen (100) 210.740 French franc 51.032 German mark 171.105 Italian lira (100) 17.312 Irish Punt 428.147 Belgian franc 8.295 Finnish mark 56.207 Dutch guilder 151.746 Danish kr. 44.944 Austrian sch. 24.319 Spanish peseta 2.024 Swedish kr. 36.307 Norwegian kr. 38.321 Swiss franc 206.842 Port. Escudo 1.668 Aus. dollar 167.693 Can. dollar 190.643 Cyprus pound 576.828


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