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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-10-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 25/10/1998 (ANA)


  • Church, state leaders attend Mt. Athos celebration
  • Simitis presents Greek positions at EU summit
  • Papantoniou calls for cut in indirect taxes
  • Papandreou expresses regret over Serb student's murder
  • Justice Minister comments on crime rise
  • Industrial production up by 4.9%
  • More Turkish FIR infgringements over "Toxotis-Nikiforos"
  • Deadly robbery investigation stuck
  • Father, son arrested with arms cache
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Church, state leaders attend Mt. Athos celebration

The leaders of Orthodoxy and the Greek state attended celebrations at the Mt. Athos monastic community of northern Greece, for the millenium anniversary of the famed Xenofontos Monastery.

Celebrations were attended by the Ecumemical Patriarch Vartholomeos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos and New Democracy main opposition leader Costas Karamanlis, among other officials. Prime Minister Costas Simitis is expected to arrive to Xenofontos Monastery on Monday.

Patriarch Vartholomeos in his address stressed the need for the unification of Hellenism, stressing the many divisions it has suffered in the past. He lauded the church's role in promoting Hellenism and Orthodoxy in Greek diaspora communities around the world. The spiritual leader of Orthodoxy planted a cypress tree in the monastery's ground, in a symbolic gesture.

Mr. Stephanopoulos said that Turkey would do well to claim some of the kudos enjoyed by the Patriarchate worldwide, thus eliminating the need for international treaties to secure its continued existence in Istanbul. He too praised the Church and the monastic community of Mt. Athos for promoting the spirit Orthodoxy in the world.

Simitis presents Greek positions at EU summit

Prime Minister Costas Simitis presented a memorandum to his counterparts during an EU summit in Austria, including Greece's positions for the 15- nation-group's future course.

Under the title "The Present and Future of Europe", the seven-point text centres on the question "After EMU What?", attempting to provide answers to developments after the adoption of the euro.

The document covers such issues as the the need for a common vision on the future of the EU, the acceleration of the union's political unification and the need to fight unemployment.

Other issues referred to were the need for the EU to come closer to citizens, establishing an effective common foreign and security policy, strengthening the society of citizens and responding to the changing demands of European societies.

Finally Mr. Simitis pressed the necessity for the establishment of a true social dimesion in Europe, viewing EMU as a means and not an end in itself.

Before departing from Austria the premier called on Greek social partners to join the government in its fight against inflation and contribute to the goal of entering the European Monetary Union.

On the summit's sidelines the premier met new German Chancellor Gerhard Shroeder, new Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. In a press conference today Mr. Simitis called on Greece's social partners to contribute in the fight against inflation and the goal to enter European Monetary Union.

Papantoniou calls for cut in indirect taxes

A marathon inner cabinet meeting yesterday put the final touches to the 1999 budget, which includes a package of lower indirect taxes which will cost state coffers 180 billion drachmas but aid in the fight against inflation.

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said after the 5.5 hour meeting that the government would speed up procedures to present next year's budget in an effort to reassure foreign markets and Greek society that the country was heading safely towards EMU despite turmoil in international markets.

Mr. Papantoniou confirmed that there would be no new taxes in 1999, nor a new tax draft bill.

Final decisions on the exact cuts in indirect taxation will be taken at a Cabinet meeting to be held shortly before the budget is tabled in Parliament, in mid-November.

The cuts proposed include a 20 percent reduction on special consumer charges on vehicles as of 1999 and a reduction in VAT on electricity bills from 18 to 15 percent. An alternative proposal is for a reduction in VAT on medicine and on water bills from 8 to 5.0 percent.

Papandreou expresses regret over Serb student's murder

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Saturday expressed the government's deep regret over the death of Marko Bulatovic, the 18-year-old technical college student shot dead by a policeman in the centre of Thessaloniki.

"For Greece, the tragedy is indeed serious. A young Serb, a student, lost his life while on a college trip to Greece, at a time when the feelings in Greece and Serbia are of deep friendship and affection. I should like to stress that this grief is shared by all Greek citizens. This should be clear not only to Bulatovic's family but to all Serbs," Papandreou said.

Bulatovic had been in Greece with fellow-students for little over a week. The students had arrived in Thessaloniki at midday on Friday, following a week in Corfu. Police officer Kyriakos Vandoulis, who shot Bulatovic, has been suspended from duty following an order by Public Order Minister Giorgos Romeos, and is scheduled to appear before a public prosecutor on charges of murder with intent.

Eyewitnesses said that the youth and his companions had been standing outside a clothing store on Thessaloniki's main shopping street, Egnatia, when police arrived. The eyewitnesses said police attempted to arrest the youths and Buratovic was shot in the head while trying to release himself.

Thessaloniki Police Chief Athanasios Dalamangidis said that a Greek woman had filed a complaint with the police that a "young Yugoslav" had stolen her wallet. Later, police charged one of Bulatovic's classmates with the theft, to appear in court at a later date.

Justice Minister comments on crime rise

There has been a dramatic increase in the incidence of criminal acts in Greece over recent years and effectively dealing with this requires the rallying of a number of different agencies simultaneously, Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos said on Sunday.

Yiannopoulos was speaking during the official opening in Komotini of the 7th National Conference of the Greek Society of Criminal Law, which will focus this year on organised crime.

Yiannopoulos said that what was needed were speedier procedures prevention which, combined with technological advances, could restrict the opportunities for organised crime to operate freely in the country.

Speaking to reporters, Yiannopoulos said calls from the press for the resignation of Public Order Minister George Romeos, following the death of a Serb student on holiday in Thessaloniki on Friday, were "unfair".

A minister, he said, could not be held politically responsible for such an incident and could not submit his resignation because the press called for it. "The attack against him is unfair, and it would also be unfair if he submitted his resignation," Yiannopoulos said.

Industrial production up by 4.9%

Industrial production increased by 4.9 percent in the first eight months of the year compared with the corresponding period in 1997, Greece's National Statistics Service said. Industrial production rose 3.3 percent in August.

More Turkish FIR infgringements over "Toxotis-Nikiforos"

Turkey's Air Force was out in numbers again today over the area between Crete, Rhodes and Cyprus, in another effort to interfere with Greek participation in the Greek-Cypriot joint military exercises "Toxotis- Nikiforos".

Eleven Turkish formations infringed Athens and Lefkosia Flight Information Regions' (FIR) regulations, before being indentified and intercepted by an equal number of Greek fighters. In many instances interceptions escalated into virtual dog fights, without actual use of weapons.

Turkish Air Force activity in the area was relatively low compared to previous days' massive deployment, designed to hamper Greek air operations in "Toxotis-Nikiforos". On every occassion the Turkish aircraft were intercepted and the Greek Air Force went ahead to conduct several training sorties over Cyprus.

Four Greek F-16 fighters participated in a Nikosia military parade for the conclusion of "Nikoforos" exercise, attended by the president of Cyprus Glafkos Klerides. Another four F-16s landed at the "Andreas Papandreou" air base in Paphos to refuel, before flying back to Greece.

Deadly robbery investigation stuck

Thessaloniki police are struggling for leads on the armed robbery at the Commercial Bank's Triandria branch on Thursday, which resulted in the murder of 20-year-old student Vasiliki Katsiani.

Inspite of a 30 million drachma reward posted by the banks' union for any information leading to the arrest of the two masked robbers, no credible leads have been produced so far.

The bank's video suirvellance system failed to capture the robbery, while finger prints recovered from the bank, could not be matched against police records.

Father, son arrested with arms cache

Police in the town of Drama arrested a father and son after finding an extensive hoard of arms in their residence. Police said a search of the home in the village of Kavalari found a 9mm pistol, two rifles, four single- barrelled guns, a double-barrelled shotgun, an air-rifle and two wireless radios similar to those used by police. The two men, Savvas Tsapanidis, 64, and his son Yiannis, 29, will be charged later on Friday.


Cloud, rain and local thunderstorms are forecast for Monday for western and mainland Greece. The rest of the country can expect scattered cloud and the possibility of rain in the easter part of the Aegean. West-southwesterly winds will turn from a northern direction overnight in northern Greece. Scattered cloud expected in Athens, with a chance of an afternoon shower and the temperature ranging from 15 to 23 degrees centigrade. Thessaloniki will be overcast with showers and the temperature between 14 and 19 degrees.


Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 279.248 British pound 472.192 Japanese yen (100) 235.640 French franc 50.640 German mark 169.627 Italian lira (100) 17.155 Irish Punt 423.584 Belgian franc 8.227 Finnish mark 55.838 Dutch guilder 150.506 Danish kr. 44.626 Austrian sch. 24.121 Spanish peseta 1.997 Swedish kr. 36.069 Norwegian kr. 37.803 Swiss franc 207.194 Port. Escudo 1.653 Aus. dollar 174.790 Can. dollar 180.802 Cyprus pound 573.396


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