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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-10-09

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, 09/10/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • No Greek veto on NATO Kosovo strike
  • Greece to buy Patriot missiles
  • Still hope for peaceful solution for Kosovo
  • Progress in Cyprus-EU talks, official says
  • Regular budget revenues up
  • Second quake rocks Zakynthos
  • Vessel fire out, crew safe
  • Injured hostage dies
  • Local protests close down AIDS hostel
  • Greek equities remain under pressure
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

No Greek veto on NATO Kosovo strike

Greece will not use its right to veto if NATO decides to use military force in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Friday. Reppas said Greece would also refrain from sending troops and airplanes to take part in any strike. Any Greeks planning on travelling to Yugoslavia should only do so if the trip is absolutely necessary, Reppas said. Greeks resident in Yugoslavia should judge for themselves if they should leave the region. Greek consular authorities in Yugoslavia, however, will not be recalled and Greece will extend any assistance required if its citizens desire to leave Yugoslavia, he added.

Greece to buy Patriot missiles

The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday decided to purchase US-made Patriot long-range missiles and Russian and French short-range missiles as part of its multi-million dollar five-year armaments programme. The council also decided to buy 45 new - third generation - training aircraft from the US for the Hellenic Air Force and five new Canadair fire-fighting aircraft to combat forest fires. The total cost of the procurements decided today amounts to approximately one trillion drachmas.

Still hope for peaceful solution for Kosovo

There were still "margins for a political solution" to the Kosovo crisis, alternate foreign minister George Papandreou said today, adding that Greece was "very reserved" on all the scenarios regarding a military intervention in the strife-torn Yugoslav province. Papandreou reiterated that Greece was firmly in favour of a peaceful solution, and that the orders for intervention in Kosovo "could be delayed until such a solution is found".

Progress in Cyprus-EU talks, official says

Cyprus' preparations for EU membership have been particularly satisfying to date, the EU's chief negotiator for the bloc's enlargement Nikolaus van der Pas said on Friday. Van der Pas was speaking after meeting with Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou in Athens. Formal talks for accession to the European Union begin with Cuyprus and other candidate countries on November 10, following the decision of the Council of Ministers on October 5.

Regular budget revenues up

Greece's regular budget revenues increased 23.32 percent in September to a 16.44 percent rise in the first nine months of 1998, exceeding a budget target of 10.74 percent. Higher revenues contributed to a surplus of 280 billion drachmas in the state's receipts so far this year, up from 197 bln in August. Finance Undersecretary, George Drys, said budget revenues would continue rising in the next few months, although the surplus could finally shrink to 100 billion drachmas if the government decided to lower taxes in an effort to combat inflation.

Second quake rocks Zakynthos

A strong earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale rocked the Ionian island of Zakynthos this morning, but there were no immediate reports of damage. The Athens Geodynamical Institute recorded the quake at 8:12 this morning, with its epicentre in the sea west of Zakynthos at a distance of 305 kilometres west of Athens. A 5.2 Richter earthquake with the same epicentre rocked Zakynthos on Thursday, while a 5.6 Richter quake was recorded in the same area earlier in the week.

Vessel fire out, crew safe

The 23-member crew of a Malta-flagged freighter that caught fire at dawn today of Gerolimenas in the southern Peloponnese were all safe, and the fire had been extinguished, merchant marine ministry sources said. The Greek-owned 15,548-ton "Beluga" sent out an SOS early this morning as it was sailing 30 nautical miles southwest of Gerolimenas. The Beluga had set sail, without cargo from Sicily headed for Piraeus to undergo minor repairs.

Injured hostage dies

A 26-year-old woman critically injured in a hand-grenade explosion during a standoff between police and a Greek-Romanian fugitive died today of post- surgery complications, hospital doctors said. Amalia Ginaki lost a leg and suffered grave injuries when a hand-grenade exploded when police raided her apartment on Niovis street in downtown Athens on September 23. The escaped convict, 27-year-old Sorin Matei, who put the grenade around the girl's waist while holding Ginaki, her fiance and her mother hostage, also died a few days after the raid in a prison hospital.

Local protests close down AIDS hostel

An AIDS hostel providing information and shelter in Xirokrini, Thessaloniki remained closed on Friday on the initiative of Ambelokipi Mayor Alexandros Stamatoulakis following protests from local residents. The centre was officially opened Thursday night by Health and Welfare Undersecretary Theodoros Kotsonis, who was forced to leave in the face of strong vocal opposition from local residents. Set up by the Health Ministry, the aim of the centre is to provide information, shelter, psychological and social support to AIDS sufferers from the provinces while they are staying in Thessaloniki for treatment at specialised clinics.

Greek equities remain under pressure

Greek equities remained under pressure in the last trading session of a turbulent week on the Athens Stock Exchange. The general index fell below the 1,800 level for the first time in seven months to end ata 1,772.09 points, off 3.14 percent. The index lost 6.37 percent in the week. Trading remained thin with turnover at 37.7 billion drachmas. Volume was 7,926,000 shares. Traders said foreign investors liquidated positions in blue chips in the country's banks sector, following a same pattern in international markets.

WEATHER

Scattered cloud will prevail in most parts of Greece on Friday with the possibility of showers in the northwest in the morning.

Winds will be variable, light to strong. Mostly fair weather in Athens where temperatures will range between 18-30C. Overcast in Thessaloniki where temperatures will be from 15-26C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 276.143 British pound 475.267 Japanese yen (100) 237.088 French franc 51.528 German mark 172.757 Italian lira (100) 17.479 Irish Punt 432.314 Belgian franc 8.370 Finnish mark 56.742 Dutch guilder 153.319 Danish kr. 45.485 Austrian sch. 24.563 Spanish peseta 2.032 Swedish kr. 35.772 Norwegian kr. 37.914 Swiss franc 214.366 Port. Escudo 1.683 Aus. dollar 171.021 Can. dollar 181.536 Cyprus pound 582.284

(M.P.)


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