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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-10-29

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, 29/10/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Slovenian, Greek PMs meet in Athens
  • Inner Cabinet to discuss EU monies
  • Greek customs train FYROM, Ukraine colleagues
  • 270 Iraqi Kurds housed in Hania
  • Policeman finds 30,000 dollars
  • Diplomat's car torched
  • Ukrainian crew arrested
  • Neo-Nazis meet in Thessaloniki
  • Companies acquitted of dangerous imports charge
  • Reforestation of Mt. Hymettus on Sunday
  • Drugs haul ... in the mail
  • Greek equities end down
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Slovenian, Greek PMs meet in Athens

Slovenia's efforts to join the European Union and NATO and bilateral relations with Greece were at the centre of talks on Thursday between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Slovenian counterpart Janez Drnovsek. During the talks, Drnovsek, who arrived here on an official visit today, thanked Simitis for Greece's support in Slovenia's bid for EU membership. Replying to reporters' questions after the meeting, concerning the efforts of certain EU member-states to make Cyprus' accession prospects dependent on relations between the EU and Ankara, Simitis said EU enlargement was a joint, political decision which was not open to dispute. Drnovsek spoke of the historical significance of enlargement, saying that responsibility for the final outcome lay not only with the 15 member-states but also with the candidate countries which must make appropriate preparations.

Inner Cabinet to discuss EU monies

Prime Minister Costas Simitis will on Friday chair a meeting of the inner cabinet to discuss the distribution of funds anticipated under the 3rd Community Support Framework. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the meeting would be attended also by Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas, Labour Minister Miltiadis Papaioannou and National Economy Undersecretary Christos Pachtas, who is responsible for the administration of EU funds.

Greek customs train FYROM, Ukraine colleagues

The Greek Customs Authority will hold a week of training next week for 20 employees of the Customs Authority of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and five employees from the Ukraine Authority. The seminars are being held in cooperation with the national economy ministry and in the framework of training extended to Black Sea and Balkan countries hoping to best combat the illegal movement of goods between Greece and other countries.

270 Iraqi Kurds housed in Hania

The 270 Iraqi Kurds discovered Wednesday on a Lebanese-flag fishing boat have been given shelter at the Xenia hotel in Paleochora, Hania on the island of Crete, local officials said today. The Greek coastguard discovered the illegal immigrants, including 130 children, crammed into the hold of the boat after being alerted by the skipper of a Greek trawler who saw a large number of people on the deck of the 25-metre "Santa Maria" as it was sailing off the south-west coast of Crete. The coastguard in Paleochora sent a patrol boat which located the Lebanese vessel shortly afterwards. Apart from the 270 Iraqis, the coastguard arrested two Syrians who were in charge of the vessel and are believed to have arranged for their illegal transportation.

Policeman finds 30,000 dollars

In the midst of a growing furore over recent disclosures of police corruption, a 38-year-old law enforcement officer found a travel satchel containing 30,000 dollars in US currency at Athens' international airport and turned it in, refusing the legal finders' fee. An airport spokesman said officer Constantine Yienerakis cautiously removed the satchel and took it to a remote area in fear it might be a bomb, and opened it to find that it was full of packets of dollars. Yienerakis immediately turned the satchel over to the airport police authorities. A short while later, an employee of a shipping company showed up in search of the satchel, saying he had withdrawn the money from the bank branch at the airport but had lost the satchel.

Diplomat's car torched

Unidentified persons torched the car of a councillor with the Jordanian Embassy in Athens early Thursday, police said. They said the car, belonging to embassy staff member Zahi al Smati, 46, was doused by gasoline and set on fire as it was parked outside the councillor's home in the Halandri residential suburb.

Ukrainian crew arrested

The Greek coast guard on Thursday arrested the crew of a Ukrainian-flag freighter that left Piraeus port last week with a cargo of cigarettes destined for the Ukraine but never reached its destination. The 100-ton "Fedor Antonov" was spotted Wednesday off of Labvrion port, after several sightings in the Evia Gulf over the past few days, and a coast guard search of the vessel revealed that the 1,370 crates of cigarettes were no longer on board. The 8-member crew, all Ukrainians, were taken into custody and the freighter was impounded, while customs authorities imposed a 2 billion dr. fine on the vessel's owners.

Neo-Nazis meet in Thessaloniki

Members of extremist right-wing and neo-fascist groups from Greece and abroad held a meeting in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, local newspapers reported on Thursday. The press reports said the meeting was held in utmost secrecy. Sources from the police confirmed that they kept a "discreet watch" on the meeting, which was held last Saturday in the suburb of Filiro. They said there were no incidents from the participants and that the meeting itself was heavily guarded by the organisers. The police source said some 100 youths and older adherents participated in the meeting, which is thought to have been organised by the Greek right-wing group "Golden Dawn".

Companies acquitted of dangerous imports charge

The representatives of three companies charged with importing to Greece chemical substances which destroy the ozone layer were on Thursday acquitted by a three-member Court of Misdemeanours in Piraeus. The prosecutor in the case, which had been brought by the environmental organisation Greenpeace, had previously proposed the acquittal of the three companies - "T. and P. Papaiordanou and Co.", "P. Trompetas - D. Spiliotis and Co." and "Liakatos S.A.". According to the complaint filed by Greenpeace, the three companies had attempted in 1995 to import seven containers with 7,300 cans of an allegedly dangerous substance, 3,900 of which eventually found their way on to the Greek market while the others were destroyed in Dubai following the intervention of the environmental organisation.

Reforestation of Mt. Hymettus on Sunday

More than 1,000 scouts and volunteers take a small step on Sunday in the enormous task of reforesting land ravaged by forest fires over the summer. The volunteers will meet on Sunday morning to begin planting 100,000 trees on the slopes of Mt. Hymettus. Their work will be carried on on Monday by students from local schools. Three firefighters and a civilian volunteer died in July while trying to contain a forest fire in the area of Kareas on Mount Hymettus, overlooking Athens. The blaze destroyed one of the last areas of forest land near the capital and threatened the Aghios Ioannis Monastery. Two men were later arrested and charged with deliberately lighting the fire.

Drugs haul ... in the mail

The Finance Ministry on Thursday announced the seizure of just over half a kilo of cocaine which had been sent to Greece by post from Ecuador hidden in a decorative plaque. The ministry said the cocaine was seized in Filiatra, Messinia on Monday following a joint operation by officers of the financial crimes squad from Attica and the Peloponnese. So far this year, the financial crimes squad has intercepted twelve packages in the mail which contained narcotics.

Greek equities end down

Greek equities ended lower as short-selling halted a two-day rally on the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday. Traders said the market was disappointed by a Bank of Greece decision not to lower its intervention rate by 25 basis points, as hoped The general index ended 1.65 percent down to 2,105.01 points, with turnover at 38.9 billion drachmas. Volume was 9,823,000 shares. Sector indices suffered losses. Banks fell 1.37 percent, Insurance eased 0.42 percent, Investment dropped 0.84 percent, Leasing plunged 4.49 percent, Industrials fell 1.93 percent, Construction ended 2.22 percent off, Miscellaneous fell 0.33 percent and Holding dropped 3.70 percent.

WEATHER

Fair weather throughout Greece today turning cloudy in the western and northern parts of the country. Winds northerly, moderate to strong and at times very strong in the southeastern Aegean Sea. Athens will be sunny with temperatures from 12-22C. Fair weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 5-19.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 279.873 British pound 466.796 Japanese yen (100) 233.646 French franc 50.334 German mark 168.858 Italian lira (100) 17.053 Irish Punt 420.410 Belgian franc 8.177 Finnish mark 55.532 Dutch guilder 149.574 Danish kr. 44.364 Austrian sch. 23.992 Spanish peseta 1.987 Swedish kr. 36.188 Norwegian kr. 37.043 Swiss franc 206.182 Port. Escudo 1.645 Aus. dollar 171.715 Can. dollar 181.536 Cyprus pound 572.344

(M.P.)


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