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

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, 11/11/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Budget heads to Parliament tonight
  • New Chief of Staff named
  • Students, teachers march through Athens
  • Gov't comments on education reforms
  • Cyprus president to visit Athens this month
  • FM Pangalos calls for Germany to pay back wartime loan
  • Greek equities end lower in thin trade
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Budget heads to Parliament tonight

The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, on Wednesday approved the state budget for 1999 which will be presented by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou at a news conference later today. This evening, Papantoniou will table the budget for a debate and voting in Parliament. Workers and pensioners have expressed opposition to the budget and warned of strike action and protests. The General Confederation of Greek Labour (GSEE) has announced a 24-hour strike on the day the budget is put to a vote in Parliament, while pensioners will hold protest rallies in all major towns and cities around the country on November 24.

New Chief of Staff named

Chief of the Army General Staff Lieutenant-General Manousos Paragioudakis was on Wednesday named by the Cabinet as the new head of Greece's armed forces. He is replacing Chief of the National Defence General Staff General Athanasios Tzoganis who will retire with the title of honorary chief of the general staff, after completing the longest permissible term in the post. Paragioudakis will officially assume his new duties on February 15 next year.

Students, teachers march through Athens

Thousands of students and teachers marched through the centre of Athens on Wednesday, causing major traffic snarls in midday traffic. The students - from both secondary schools and universities - and teachers are protesting a number of education ministry reforms to the structure of secondary, tertiary and further education. Also a focus for discontent among university students are moves to lift university sanctuary and allow police and authorities access to university grounds. Similar marches were held in other major Greek cities.

Gov't comments on education reforms

Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis told a Cabinet meeting today that the protests were unjustified and motivated by political point-scoring and by those in the private education sector who stood to lose through the ministry's reforms, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said later. Reppas said that there appeared to be a communication breakdown in relation to the details of the ministry's reforms. He admitted that there were some problems, such as a lack of textbooks, not enough teaching staff and too many students in some schools. He said that an increase in the number of enrolments at private coaching schools or frontistiria was a temporary phenomenon and the trend would reverse once the ministry's reforms were in place.

Cyprus president to visit Athens this month

Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides will visit Greece on November 25-27, government spokesman Christos Stylianides said on Wednesday, according to an ANA despatch from Nicosia. In a written statement by Clerides concerning Nicosia's plans to install Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles on the island, the president said he had quite some time ago been invited to speak at the University of Patras and unveil a number of monuments erected in memory of Greek troops who died in Cyprus. On the opportunity of this visit, Clerides said, he will have the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis to exchange views on current developments in the Cyprus problem and bilateral cooperation in general.

FM Pangalos calls for Germany to pay back wartime loan

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos revived Greece's demand Germany reimburse it for a wartime loan forcibly extracted from the country's central bank by Nazi occupiers in WWII. Bonn has to date refused to consider that Greece has any case in claiming payment of the loan, which Pangalos earlier last year estimated would total $US 10 billion. Bonn has also refused to honour Greek court decisions on paying reparations to Greeks who lost family members or suffered during the occupation.

Greek equities end lower in thin trade

Greek equities ended lower in thin trading conditions on the Athens Stock Exchange. The general index ended 0.29 percent off to 2,246.85 points, with turnover at 37.9 billion drachmas. Volume was 10,298,000 shares. Sector indices were mixed. Banks fell 0.66 percent, Insurance dropped 1.45 percent, Investment rose 0.67 percent, Leasing ended 1.54 percent off, Industrials increased 0.25 percent, Construction eased 1.48 percent, Miscellaneous fell 0.48 percent and Holding dropped 0.74 percent. The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.95 percent up reflecting investors' turn of focus from blue-chips to smaller capitalisation stocks.

WEATHER

Fine weather with scattered cloud in most parts of the country which is expected to gradually worsen from tonight, with rain and storms mainly in the west. Winds moderate northwesterlies. Athens will be sunny with few clouds and temperatures from 9-22C. Thessaloniki will be overcast with likelihood of rain and temperatures between 5-15C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 281.470 British pound 467.411 Japanese yen (100) 229.767 French franc 49.921 German mark 167.504 Italian lira (100) 16.924 Irish Punt 417.731 Belgian franc 8.119 Finnish mark 55.086 Dutch guilder 148.383 Danish kr. 44.037 Austrian sch. 23.792 Spanish peseta 1.974 Swedish kr. 35.514 Norwegian kr. 37.686 Swiss franc 202.685 Port. Escudo 1.652 Aus. dollar 176.938 Can. dollar 183.500 Cyprus pound 565.599

(M.P.)


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