Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-09-27
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 27/09/1998 (ANA)
- Defence minister in Cyprus
- Greek-Romanian hostage-taker found dead in prison
- Autopsy begins on sudden death
- Questions need answering
- New police chief named in wake of bungled raid
- Nine drug arrests in northern Greece
- Seismologists record weak quake in western Greece
- Turkish claim of planned Greek military exercise denied
- Council of Europe meeting on Santorini
- Late Metropolitan of Volos honoured as 'Righteous'
- Black Sea Int'l Studies Centre to open Monday
- Pangalos: US still favours Cyprus solution based on UN resolutions
- Majority of Britons favour return of Parthenon Marbles
- Euro-Mediterranean culture ministers' conference begins on Rhodes
- Int'l Union of Olympic Cities unveiled by Samaranch, Avramopoulos
- Four Lebanese sailors get 10-year prison terms
- Majority of Greeks happy with their banks
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Defence minister in Cyprus
Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos arrives in Cyprus on Wednesday
for talks with Cypriot military officials on the joint Greek-Cyprus defence
pact, according to an ANA dispatch from Nicosia. Tsohatzopoulos is also
expected to attend a military parade on October 1. In an interview
published on Sunday with Cypriot newspaper "Fileleftheros", Tsohatzopoulos
said that Greece, and other countries in the region, were concerned about
the military cooperation between Turkey and Israel and said he would be
bringing it up in talks he is due to have soon in Athens with his Israeli
Greek-Romanian hostage-taker found dead in prison
Matei Sorin, the Greek-Romanian criminal whose hostage taking in an Athens
apartment Wednesday ended in a bloodbath after a botched police raid, died
in his prison hospital bed at 11.30 Saturday morning while making a
deposition to an investigating judge, reports say. The government on Friday
accepted the resignation of Athanassios Vassilopoulos as Greek police
chief. Vassilopoulos, several other police officers and one hostage were
injured as a result of a hand grenade explosion during the raid.
Autopsy begins on sudden death
An autopsy and toxicological test to determine the cause of Matei's sudden
death from heart failure on Saturday began at midday Sunday, conducted by
the coroners on duty and in the presence of coroner Mario Matsakis.
Matsakis, a medical coroner who served for short while with the Cypriot
health ministry and is presently a member of the Cyprus House of Representatives,
flew in from Cyprus Sunday morning after being asked to attend by Matei's
Questions need answering
Lawyers for Matei's family said there were many questions that needed
answering. Matei's stepfather, Nikos Kapsopoulos, told reporters that had
Matei lived he could have shed light on the seven minutes prior to the
detonation of the grenade which seriously injured one of the hostages and a
police officer and put another ten people in hospital with lesser injuries.
Amalia Ginaki, the hostage who was severely injured in the incident,
continues to be listed in a stable but critical condition in hospital.
New police chief named in wake of bungled raid
One of the high-ranking police officers injured in Wednesday night's
bungled raid on a fugitive holding three hostages will take over as the new
overall commander of Greek Police (EL.AS), the government decided on
Friday. Ioannis Georgakopoulos' promotion was announced by the Government
Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA), which met immediately
after the end of a Cabinet meeting to decide on a successor to resigned
chief Athanassios Vassilopoulos, whose resig nation 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,
Nine drug arrests in northern Greece
Thessaloniki police arrested four Albanian nationals late on Saturday after
they tried to sell an undercover policeman a kilo of hashish. Police
identified the four as twin brothers Sence and Thami Koukana, 24, their
cousin Ali Koukana, 20, and Gramas Lesi, 19. They were arrested in the
Aridaias region, near Pella, northern Greece. In a related development,
another five people, all Greeks, were arrested near Kilkis after police
found them in possession of small amounts of narcotic substances.
Seismologists record weak quake in western Greece
Seismologists recorded a weak earthquake registering 4.3 on the Richter
scale at 11.55 Sunday morning. The quake had an epicentre of 240 kms west
of Athens, near the western coast town of Kyllini. It was felt in the Ilias
prefecture and the island of Zakynthos but no injuries or damage were
reported. On Saturday, seismologists also recorded an earth tremor
registering 4.2 Richter originating from the Aegean at 2.51 p.m.
Turkish claim of planned Greek military exercise denied
Greek diplomatic sources in Ankara have denied Turkish claims of a
cancellation of a planned Greek military exercise in the eastern Aegean.
"No such exercise had been planned," said the sources. A written statement
by the Turkish foreign ministry on Saturday morning claimed that the Greek
charge d' affaires in the Turkish capital had informed the ministry earlier
this week that the exercise had been cancelled following a Turkish
inistence that Ankara would in no way accept Greek claims of sovereignty
over the area of the Imia islets, where the exercise in question had
allegedly been planned to take place. The area was the scene of a
serious Greek-Turkish stand-off that brought the two countries to the
brink of war in January 1966.
Council of Europe meeting on Santorini
The sessions of the Council of Europe's Political Affairs Committee got
underway on the island of Santorini on Saturday and will last until Monday.
Talks will focus on the enlargement of the organisation and the crisis in
the Serbian province of Kosovo. The meeting, held at the initiative of the
council's Greek presidency, was opened by Alternate Foreign Minister George
Late Metropolitan of Volos honoured as 'Righteous'
Israel will include the late Metropolitan of Volos Ioakeim among its
"Righteous Among Nations" on Sunday, honouring the high-ranking clergyman's
role in saving 762 Greek Jews from the Nazis. Israeli ambassador to Greece
Ran Curiel will present the award to the family of the late metropolitan,
during a ceremony to unveil a Holocaust memorial in the central Greek port
city. Ioakeim was instrumental in saving Volos' Jewry, when the rabbi of
the city was instructed by 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. Ioakeim warned the rabbi that the Jewish
community had to flee immediately but also ordered priests in the region to
help in any way they could.
Black Sea Int'l Studies Centre to open Monday
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis will on Monday inaugurate the
Black Sea International Studies Centre (DIKEMEP). The creation of the
centre is anticipated by the charter of the Black Sea Cooperation Pact
organisation. Its mission is to prepare research and studies focusing on
the achievement of the organisation's targets, primarily in the economic,
industrial and technology sectors.
Pangalos: US still favours Cyprus solution based on UN resolutions
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said on Friday that Washington was
still in favour of a Cyprus solution based on UN resolutions for the
establishment of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation on the island republic.
Speaking at a press briefing for Greek reporters focusing on his contacts
on the sidelines of the 53rd UN General Assembly, Mr. Pangalos said that US
special presidential envoy for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke, told him that he
will continue efforts to promote possible negotiations on the Cyprus issue
until his appointment as Washington's permanent representative to the
United Nations next March. "Another two points that we raised, and the US
agreed to work on, are the efforts to find ways to de-escalate the arms
race (on Cyprus), including proposals for the implementation of a 'no-
fly zone' and a reduction of heavy weaponsI as well as possibili ties
and chances for greater communication between the two communities
(on Cyprus)," Pangalos said.
Majority of Britons favour return of Parthenon Marbles
If there were a referendum on whether or not the Parthenon Marbles should
be returned to Greece or remain at the British Museum, the British public
would vote for return, by a margin of more than two to one, according to a
new MORI poll carried our for Regent Productions. The poll is part of
preliminary work being carried out by journalist William G. Stewart for yet
another television programme on the return of the Parthenon Marbles, to be
screened next year. Among Labour supporters, the margin was more than three
to one and even among Tories, three to two. Among members of Britain's
Parliament interviewed in July by MORI, by nearly two to one Labour MPs
said that in the event of a free vote in the House of Commons on whether
or not the so-called Elgin Marbles should be returned to Greece, they would
vote to return them.
Euro-Mediterranean culture ministers' conference begins on Rhodes
The first day of discussion at a Euro-Mediterranean culture ministers'
conference, which opened on Rhodes on Friday, focused on cultural
cooperation in Europe and the Mediterranean basin, with special emphasis on
cultural heritage. Culture ministers from 27 countries are attending the
meeting. "We are mainly interested in promoting culture, rather than simply
preserving it," Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said after the session
on Friday, adding that proposals had already started being submitted with
the EU, so that participants in the Euro-Mediterranean conference jointly
form a television and cinema market. Methods to celebrate the coming of
the new century and the "cultural Olympiad" were also examined during
the conference's first day.
Int'l Union of Olympic Cities unveiled by Samaranch, Avramopoulos
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch and
Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos on Friday unveiled a new Olympic
institution, the International Union of Olympic Cities, designed to
strengthen the ties between host cities of Olympic Games.
"As mayor of Athens, I undertook to create a new independent agency, the
Union of Olympic Cities which aims at exchange of information related to
the organising of the Games, supporting the IOC in disseminating the
principles of the Olympics to the citi es' residents and the strengthening
of the cultural aspect of the Games," Mr. Avramopoulos told a news
conference. Mr. Samaranch would be lifelong president of the association,
the mayor said.
Four Lebanese sailors get 10-year prison terms
The skipper and three crew members of a Lebanese-flagged fishing boat were
sentenced to 10 years in prison on Friday for transporting aliens for
illegal profit and endangering lives, after their vessel was found crammed
with 167 illegal immigrants of Kurd ish origin aboard. A court in Irakleio,
Crete, sentenced Lebanese skipper Hani Hadad Farid, 54, and two other crew
members to 10 years in prison. A fourth was handed nine years and nine and
a half months.
The coastguard had arrested the men at dawn on Wednesday as their vessel
sailed south of Crete and just prior to disembarking the illegal immigrants
on an isolated bay.
The illegal immigrants consisted of 56 men, 31 women and 80 children, all
They had been at sea for almost a week since the vessel sailed from the
Lebanese port of Abta on Sept. 18.
Majority of Greeks happy with their banks
The majority of Greeks have a positive opinion about their banks, according
to a recent survey on attitudes to banking by ICAP, revealed on Friday by
the secretary general of the Union of Greek Banks Ioannis Manos.
The survey on Greece's banking system, conducted in March, was based on
responses given by 2,000 people, aged 18-75, from the general public and
Seventy-five percent of respondents said they were happy to very happy with
the service provided by their main bank, with only 13 percent saying they
were not at all happy.
Cloud will increase in the Ionian and on the mainland tomorrow, spreading
to the rest of the country, with storms expected in the west. Winds will be
southerly moderate to strong. In Athens the forecast is for scattered cloud
increasing in the afternoon with temperatures of 18-30. In Thessaloniki
there will be morning fog, with scattered cloud. Temperatures will be 16-
Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 287.402
British pound 489.116 Japanese yen (100) 213.449
French franc 51.417 German mark 172.420
Italian lira (100) 17.435 Irish Punt 431.222
Belgian franc 8.357 Finnish mark 56.633
Dutch guilder 152.887 Danish kr. 45.291
Austrian sch. 24.497 Spanish peseta 2.030
Swedish kr. 36.525 Norwegian kr. 38.823
Swiss franc 208.439 Port. Escudo 1.679
Aus. dollar 169.344 Can. dollar 190.047
Cyprus pound 581.848