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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-11-05

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, 05/11/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece insists on stance on EU monies for Turkey
  • Athens hopes for good relations with new FYROM govt
  • No tax relief in 1999, finmin says
  • Greece, Albania sign education cooperation pact
  • Parliament honours ill-fated jet pilot
  • Kurdish illegal immigrants stuck on border
  • Amnesty shakes finger at U.S. human rights record
  • Greek MPs invite Kurd leader Ocalan to visit
  • Profit-taking compresses Greek equities' prices
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece insists on stance on EU monies for Turkey

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said on Thursday that Greece would continue to insist on its positions regarding the disbursement of European Union funds to Turkey, during a wide-ranging press conference on a number of foreign affairs issues. Pangalos said Greece had never rejected EU funding for Turkey but had simply linked it with specific behaviour on the part of Ankara, both in bilateral relations and efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem. Greece said last month that it would refer the Commission to the European Court for its decision to approve a 150-million-ecu package of economic aid to Turkey. The Commission's plan, put forward by External Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek, circumvents a standing Greek veto preventing the release of EU funds to Turkey, by adopting a new regulation terming Turkey a "developing" country, which requires only a special majority for approval by EU foreign ministers.

Athens hopes for good relations with new FYROM govt

Commenting on recent general elections in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Pangalos said Greece respected the domestic political life of the neighbouring country and during the election campaign had maintained contacts with all the parties. On the issue of our bilateral relations, he added, the positions of all (parties) were identical, both with regard to the promotion of these relations and the need for the United Nations to increase its efforts to resolve the problem of the neighbouring country's name. As soon as a government is formed in FYROM, Pangalos added, Greece will try to develop relations of cooperation with it.

No tax relief in 1999, finmin says

Pay rises in the public sector will equal the government's target for the inflation rate in 1999, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told a meeting with public servants' union ADEDY. Papantoniou's comments mean that pay rises in 1999's incomes policy will be around 2.0 percent. ADEDY's officials said the minister dismissed the possibility of tax breaks next year, but he pledged to discuss indexation of the tax scale and increasing tax-free levels in 2000. Papantoniou reiterated that the government would not pay any additional sum in case of inflation overshooting the official target in 1999.

Greece, Albania sign education cooperation pact

Education and Religious Affairs Minister Gerasimos Arsenis on Thursday signed a protocol of cooperation in the education sector with his Albanian counterpart, an ANA dispatch from Tirana reported. Speaking at a news conference after the signing, Arsenis said the agreement opened a new chapter in cooperation between the two countries. Also provided for in the protocol is the extension of Albanian language classes to those Albanian children with their parents in Greece. Arsenis also met with Archbishop of Tirana and All Greece Anastasios, Albanian President Rexhelp Mejdani and Prime Minister Pandeli Majko. He is expected to return to Greece on Thursday.

Parliament honours ill-fated jet pilot

Parliament on Wednesday decided to posthumously award the chamber's Golden Medal of Honour to the Hellenic Air Force pilot killed when his jet fighter crashed during a routine training flight. Parliament also said it would undertake the expenses of bringing up Nikos Parousis's child as well as school fees. Parousis was killed on Wednesday morning when his Mirage 2000 jet fighter went down near Oropos, northeast of Athens. The 26-year-old pilot ejected from the plane after reportedly steering it away from a residential area. An inquiry into the accident is presently under way.

Kurdish illegal immigrants stuck on border

Fifty-seven Kurdish illegal immigrants, including 12 children, were stuck in no-man's-land between the Greek and Albanian borders for a second day on Thursday. The group were brought, on foot, to the Kakavias buffer zone by Albanian police and have not been allowed entry to Greece. The Kurds told Albanian police they had paid the crew of the vessel $40,000 to be taken from the Turkish coast to Italy. But the captain of the vessel disembarked them at the Albanian port of Durres, telling them that they had reached Italy.

Amnesty shakes finger at U.S. human rights record

Members of the Greek branch of the international human rights organisation Amnesty International on Thursday handed U.S. Ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns its report on abuses of human rights in the United States. Amnesty Greece has begun a campaign to highlight human rights abuses in and by the United States. Members of the delegation gave Burns a replica of the Statue of Liberty as a pointed reminder that the U.S. itself has not yet managed to ensure the protection of the rights of all, both within the country and abroad. Amnesty's report focuses on the violation of human rights in the U.S. by police officers and correctional facility employees and the arbitrary and discriminatory use of the death penalty and tendency to imprison those requesting political asylum.

Greek MPs invite Kurd leader Ocalan to visit

Some 109 Greek Members of Parliament on Thursday revived a standing invitation to visit Greece to the leader of the Kurdistan Labour Party Abdullah Ocalan, reportedly in hiding somewhere in Russia. The invitation is signed by the Parliament's three vice-presidents, many ruling party PASOK and opposition Democratic Social Movement deputies, one conservative New Democracy deputy and one independent. The signatures were collected by PASOK MP Christos Kypouros, who noted that a similar invitation had been issued by some 186 MPs 18 months ago.

Profit-taking compresses Greek equities' prices

A wave of profit-taking in the last half-hour of Thursday's session pushed share prices sharply lower on the Athens Stock Exchange. Traders said the market reacted negatively to Bank of Greece governor's disagreement with a recent cut in lending interest rates by Greek commercial banks. The general index ended 1.95 percent off to 2,254.37 points with turnover at 52.8 billion drachmas. Sector indices suffered losses. Banks dropped 3.03 percent, Insurance fell 3.10 percent, Investment eased 1.81 percent, Leasing ended 1.23 percent off, Industrials fell 0.82 percent, Holding ended 0.68 percent down, but Construction and Miscellaneous bucked the trend to end 0.84 and 0.38 percent up, respectively. The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 0.88 percent.

WEATHER

Overcast weather is forecast throughout Greece today with the possibility of light rain in the west and north of the country. Local fog in the morning. Winds southwesterly, moderate. Mostly fair in Athens with temperatures between 15-25C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 12-21C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 278.008 British pound 460.288 Japanese yen (100) 237.435 French franc 49.767 German mark 166.854 Italian lira (100) 16.867 Irish Punt 415.450 Belgian franc 8.090 Finnish mark 54.848 Dutch guilder 147.992 Danish kr. 43.886 Austrian sch. 23.719 Spanish peseta 1.963 Swedish kr. 35.450 Norwegian kr. 37.478 Swiss franc 203.712 Port. Escudo 1.627 Aus. dollar 174.790 Can. dollar 182.548 Cyprus pound 563.476

(M.P.)


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