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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-11-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 15/11/1998 (ANA)


  • Police on alert around university
  • Greece reiterates support for Kurds
  • Delors addresses seminar in Athens
  • Albanian gangsters on the rampage
  • Greenaway in Thessaloniki
  • Vartholomeos, Stephanopoulos in Venice
  • Spyridon contacts US officials over Halki
  • "Our Europe" two-day event in Athens
  • Albania's Majko continues official visit
  • Greek weightlifting honours
  • 39th Thessaloniki Film Festival opens
  • Athens Foreign Exchange
  • Weather


    Police on alert around university

    Strong police detachments have been deployed in the area of the Athens Polytechnic School, near the National Archaeological Museum, and other university buildings, as a preventive measure against incidents during the three-day events commemorating the 1973 Polytechnic uprising against the military junta.

    Greece reiterates support for Kurds

    Greece has renewed its criticism of Turkey for its military operations against Kurdish autonomists in northern Iraq, and reiterated its support for the self-determination of the Kurds.

    "Greece has systematically supported the right of the Kurds to their national self-determination," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters Saturday, in response to questions on the arrest of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan in Rome Thursday.

    "We have repeatedly and in a more thorough manner than anyone else raised, before international fora, the problem posed by the crude violation of human rights in southeastern Turkey, as well as the problem created by Turkey's military operations in northern Iraq," he said.

    "It is clear that Greece does not support violence as a means of resolving political differences, and neither encourages nor covers armed activities against other countries ... We respect international treaties and legality. This position is the axis and the foundingg stone of our policy," he added.

    Ocalan's arrest and Turkish demands for his extradition has drawn condemnation from Greek political parties.

    The extradition of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan would be a vindication of the murder of thousands of Kurds, of the intervention of the Turkish armed forces in Iraqi Kurdistan, of the threats against Syria, and of a series of other terrorist actions," said the Communist Party (KKE) in a statement.

    Delors addresses seminar in Athens

    The democratic ideal is perhaps the weightiest element that could contribute to the formation of a single European political identity, above cultural or utility criteria, former European Commission President Jacques Delors has said.

    "Of these three criteria, the one I believe should weigh more than the others is that of democracy. Without ignoring local or regional solidarity, the incentives for a European identity are not incentives of kindred relations or geographical proximity, but are based on whether one accepts the basic ideals of the righs of Man and democracy," he said in address to a seminar on the quest for a European identity which ended here on Saturday.

    The seminar, whose attendants included thirty prominent European academics, was organised by the "Our Europe" foundation which Delors heads, and the Greek Centre of European Studies (EKEM).

    The attainment of such a political community required that the EU itself sought greater democracy, greater transparency and that it came nearer its citizens, Delors stressed.

    "The Union must become more effective in order to achieve these goals. I consider it would be simpler if we set a specific number of fields in which the member-states would have an exclusive competence, and leave the exclusive jurisdiction to the Union in other sectors," he said.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who also addressed the seminar, referred to the scepticism regarding the continuation of the course towards European unification.

    "A vision, a plan that excites and mobilises, cannot merely reproduce what already exists, but must supercede it, moving feelings and imagination. But the watershed is not visible. The creation of a single market, a single currency and single institutions does not guarantee that an area with different languages, different religions and different lifestyles will become a single entity and overcome either increasing socio-economic differentials or the deeply-rooted perception of the nation-state," he said.

    Albanian gangsters on the rampage

    Three heavily armed Albanians barged into a coffee shop in the northen Greek city of Kavala late Saturday night and with the use of a shotgun, a knife, and clubs set upon two of their compatriots and seriously beat them up for refusing to hand them over their meagre savings. The victims were rushed to hospital while the assailaints left the scene at their leasure.

    In a similar incedent in the same city, six masked Alanians entered a farm house where they gagged and tied three of their compatriots. With the threat of a shot gun, a knife, planks of wood and iron bars, they not only extracted 31,500 drachmas from them but also made off with their clothes and shoes.

    Greenaway in Thessaloniki

    Pioneering film director Peter Greenaway has said he sees no future is cinema as we know it. "Cinema is dead. There are no longer interesting film directors, having turned to other areas, such as new technologies, which open up new possibilities for a presentation of non-narrative thought. Cinema today is like an video satyrical work or a literary text," he told reporters attending the Thessaloniki film festival. Repeat performances of Greenaway's "100 Objects Representing the World" prop-opera are scheduled for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the theatre of the Macedonian Studies Society in the city.

    Vartholomeos, Stephanopoulos in Venice

    VENICE (ANA)- Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos arrived here on Saturda to participate in three-day events marking the 500th anniversary of the presence of an ethnic Greek community in the canal city.

    The President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis will also participate in the events, which centre on the Orthodox Cathedral of Agios Georgios.

    The Patriarch and Mr. Stephanopoulos visited the Institute of Byzantine and post-Byzantine studies, the Cathedral and the Agios Georgios monastery, which is undergoing extensive renovations.

    During the visit, the Patriarch unveiled a plaque at the Cathedral commemorating the Archbishops of Philadelphia, the Greek community and the Bishopry of Italy, while the Greek president unveiled a plaque marking the anniversary.

    Today, the visiting dignitaries are expected to meet with Venice Mayor Massimo Cacciari, while later they were scheduled to visit the Markian Library.

    Finally, the Greek community of Trieste will host a dinner for the Greek delegation.

    Spyridon contacts US officials over Halki

    NEW YORK (ANA) - Archbishop of America Spyridon Thursday travelled to Washington for talks with US government officials on the continuing crisis regarding the Halki School of Theology, whose supervisory committee was arbitrarily dismissed by Turkish autho rities last week.

    The Archbishop was accompanied by a delegation of ecclesiastical officials.

    During a lengthy meeting between the Archbishop and White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, discussion focused of the immediate situation surrounding the Halki issue and steps the US administration has taken to alleviate the crisis.

    At a subsequent meeting with Assistant Secretary of State Marc Grossman, a former US ambassador to Turkey, Archbishop Spyridon stressed his particular concerns over what the dissmisal of the supervisory commitee (board of trustees) signaled for the futu re of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Greek Othodoxy in Turkey.

    He emphasized the importance of the Halki academy, noting that its graduates serve around the world in leadership capacities for the Orthodox Church, while he also underlined the broader concerns over implications for religious freedoms for all minoriti es in Turkey.

    Mr. Grossman restated that the policy of the US and his personal desire was to see the Halki school reopened.

    "Our Europe" two-day event in Athens

    A two-day seminar opened in Athens on Saturday on "Seeking the European identity", with participation by 30 European academics.

    The seminar is organised by the institute "Our Europe", which is headed by former European Commission president Jacques Delors, in cooperation with the Greek Centre of European Studies (EKEM).

    Discussions, set to take place behind closed doors, will be divided into three parts: The Nation-Sovereignty and Democracy; The State, Market and In- between Organisations, and finally, the Society of Citizens.

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos inaugurated the seminar.

    Albania's Majko continues official visit

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Friday received Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko, who is on an official visit to Greece.

    Mr. Majko was accompanied by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis afterwards, Mr. Majko apologised for what he called the trouble caused in Greece by "criminal elements" from his country.

    Mr. Majko appealed to the Greek people to care about the Albanians, "who may seem to be poorly dressed, and even appear not to be very cultured but who, believe me, have a rich soul and a culture that cannot be separated from Greek culture.

    "When you read in the front pages of some newspapers bad things (about the Albanians), the people should show understanding and not identify all the immigrants working in Greece with the criminal elements," he said. Mr. Kaklamanis reaffirmed the Greek people's friendly sentiments towards the Albanian people and expressed certainty that the governments of the two countries would see to it "that these exceptions will not be made to seem as creating unease among our peoples" and "poisoning" Greek-Albanian relations.

    Mr. Kaklamanis further stressed the Greek Parliament's support for Albania's efforts "on a difficult but hopeful course" towards a modern, parliamentary democracy and economy, adding that neighbours should stand by each other in good and bad times.

    Greek weightlifting honours

    LAHTI, FINLAND (ANA) - Greek weightlifting champion Pyrros Dimas won one gold and two silver medals in the world weightlifting championships in Lahti, Finland, on Friday.

    Dimas won first place in the total 85 kg category with 387.5 kg, while coming second in the snatch with 177.5 kg and in the clean and jerk with 210 kg.

    Dimas lost the two gold medals because he was heavier than Bulgaria's Georgi Gardev in the snatch and Germany's Mark Huster in the clean and jerk.

    Dimas broke the world record in the snatch by lifting 178 kg but this did not count in final placement ( not being a multiple of 2.5 kg).

    39th Thessaloniki Film Festival opens

    The 39th Thessaloniki Film Festival opened on Friday night in the northern port city with the participation of 169 films.

    In addition to 12 competition entries, 19 Greek films will be shown as well as 12 tributes to independent international cinema. In addition, the "underground" New Horizons section will feature 36 movies from 15 countries, with seven films from Singapo re, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, the Philippines and Taiwan.

    The budget for this year's festival was announced at 460 million drachmas, 400 million of which was granted by the culture ministry.

    Athens Foreign Exchange

    Banknotes Buying Selling

    US Dollar 282.621 289.173

    Can.Dollar 182.310 186.537

    Australian Dlr 179.909 184.080

    Pound Sterling 470.387 481.293

    Irish Punt 415.965 425.610

    Pound Cyprus 565.182 578.286

    Pound Malta 708.976 738.517

    Turkish pound (100) 0.087 0.091

    French franc 49.848 51.004

    Swiss franc 203.087 207.796

    Belgian franc 8.101 8.288

    German Mark 167.261 171,139

    Finnish Mark 54.967 56.241

    Dutch Guilder 148.200 151.636

    Danish Kr. 43.946 44.965

    Swedish Kr. 34.823 3.631

    Norwegian Kr. 37.595 38.466

    Austrian Sh. 23.747 24.298

    Italian lira (100) 16.889 17.280

    Yen (100) 231.642 237.013

    Spanish Peseta 1.965 2.011

    Port. Escudo 1.627 1.665

    European Currency Unit Ecu: Buying: 329.532 Selling: 337.173

    Gold Sovereign (Rates in Drachmas) Old mint: 19940 (b), Elizabeth up to 1973: 20230 (b), Elizabeth of 1974 and onward mints: 20230 (b), 21650 (s).

    Gold (in dollars per ounce): London: 284.75, New York: 295.60


    Light cloud in the west initially tomorrow Sunday, increasing fast and developing into rain and local storms, and spreading to the rest of the country. Winds westerly/southwesterly, gradually increasing to very strong.


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