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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-11-17

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, 17/11/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Tight security at Polytechnic march
  • Anarchist group claims bomb
  • Greek committee to support Ocalan
  • Kurdish refugees begin hunger strike
  • Catarrhal fever detected in Rhodes, Kos
  • Profit-taking halts Athens rally
  • Bond rates fall in state's auction
  • Greece has 65 pct chance of meeting EMU - Morgan Stanley
  • Bonn again rejects Athens' demand for return of occupation loan
  • Karamanlis: PM Simitis oblivious to citizens' problems
  • European week against drugs opens in Athens
  • Roussel perjury, slander trial adjourns
  • Consuls tout western Macedonia's development prospects
  • Greek Parliament President confers with Clerides
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Tight security at Polytechnic march

The entire police force of Attica was on standby as events commemmorating a 1973 students' uprising at Athens Polytechnic against the military junta culminated on Tuesday with a march through the city ending at the US embassy. The march has in previous years been marred by skirmishes between groups of young anarchists and riot police. Prime Minister Costas Simitis and other political figures were jeered and jostled yesterday as they arrived at the Athens Polytechnic to lay wreaths. Five thousand police officers will be on duty for this evening's march along with three public prosecutors. The police have orders to act only if violence breaks out. Government spokesman Yiannis Nikolaou said the government was expecting "a smooth, democratic event of remembrance and sensitivity".

Anarchist group claims bomb

A self-styled anarchist group calling itself the "Children of November" has claimed responsibility for the bomb attack on the office of former public order minister Sifis Valyrakis. An unidentified caller telephoned the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia" newspaper claiming responsibility for the blast at Valyrakis' central Kolonaki office on Monday night, causing extensive damage but no injuries. The blast occurrred just minutes after Valyrakis had left his office, and there was no advance warning.

Greek committee to support Ocalan

Twenty prominent figures from the world of arts and letters, science and politics on Tuesday announced the formation of a committee to support the asylum request of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdistan People's Party (PKK) who is currently being detained in Rome. The members of the committee said they believed Ocalan's request was "morally, politically and legally just and well-founded" while his extradition to Turkey "should unreservedly be viewed as complicity in the humiliation and eventual death of the leader of a movement who is struggling for the right to live, dignity, human rights and individual liberties of his people which are being blatantly violated in Turkey".

Kurdish refugees begin hunger strike

In Hania, 34 of 270 Kurdish refugees saved off the coast of Crete late last month said they had begun a hunger strike to support the campaign to extend asylum to Ocalan, saying the Kurdish leader could not be turned over to Turkey "like a lamb to slaughter". "What we want is for political asylum to be given to our leader," one of the strikers said. The 270 Iraqi Kurds, including 130 children, have been staying at the Xenia hotel in Paleochora, Hania, since the Greek coastguard discovered the group crammed into the hold of Lebanese boat "Santa Maria" as it was sailing off the south-west coast of Crete.

Catarrhal fever detected in Rhodes, Kos

The Dodecanese Prefect today issued a ban on the transportation of livestock to other parts of the country following several incidents of catarrhal fever among sheep on the islands of Rhodes and Kos. The local veterinary service said that this was the first ever appearance of catarrhal fever among animals in the Dodecanese, adding that the virus could not be spread to the human being. The veterinary service has taken every precaution to avoid a spreading of the disease and to wipe it out. Catarrhal fever is a virus spread by insects, chiefly mosquitos, and affects sheep and other ruminants (cud-chewing animals).

Profit-taking halts Athens rally

Profit-taking halted Monday's rally on the Athens Stock Exchange and pushed stock prices slightly lower on Tuesday. The general index ended 0.53 percent off to 2,303.86 points in moderate turnover of 44.3 billion drachmas. Volume was 10,672,000 shares. The market largely ignored a new fall in state bond yields and hopes of a further cut in interest rates by the Bank of Greece on Wednesday. Sector indices ended lower. Banks fell 0.49 percent, Leasing plunged 5.65 percent, Investment dropped 1.17 percent, Construction eased 1.22 percent, Industrials ended 0.52 percent off, Miscellaneous fell 1.26 percent, Holding dropped 2.05 percent, but Insurance bucked the trend to end 0.19 percent up.

Bond rates fall in state's auction

Bond yields fell further in today's auction of three-year state securities by the finance ministry in the domestic market of primary dealers. The average weighted rate fell to 9.36 percent from 9.89 percent in the previous auction of August 18. Bids submitted totalled 324.5 billion drachmas, 2.7 times more than the asked target of 120 billion. The finance ministry finally accepted bids totalling 144 billion drachmas. The bond's average weighted price was 99.85 and the minimum accepted price was 99.81.

Greece has 65 pct chance of meeting EMU - Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley yesterday expressed guarded optimism over Greece's entry into European economic and monetary union by the target date of January 1, 2001, rating its chances at 65 percent. In a report on the domestic economy, the international investment house was less bullish than the government on the rise in growth of gross domestic product and budgetary targets. But it said the government's intention was feasible of lowering 1999 consumer price inflation in line with the most recent economic convergence plan it has submitted to the European Union. Inflation could drop to 2.4 percent in 1999, which would meet alignment targets as the average among the EU's EMU countries was predicted at 2.5 percent, the report said.

Bonn again rejects Athens' demand for return of occupation loan

Bonn once again rejected Athens' claim for the return of a forced "loan" that the central bank of Greece handed over to German occupation forces during World War II. However, although the issue appears closed for Bonn, Athens reportedly doesn't share the view. The issue was again taken up by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos last week, when he said the issue of the forced occupation loan remains open for Greece. A German foreign ministry spokesman replied to Mr. Pangalos on Saturday in a statement made to Bavarian Radio's Greek programme, namely, that war reparations to Greece had come to an end with a 1960 agreement. He added that Germany had also aided Greece economically through European Union funds.

Karamanlis: PM Simitis oblivious to citizens' problems

Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday lashed out against government policy, accusing Prime Minister Costas Simitis of being outside the realm of social reality and oblivious to citizens' problems. Addressing a meeting of ND's central committee, the ND leader launched a stinging attack against the ruling PASOK party, describing it as being "politically weaker than ever before, uncoordinated, tired, confused and lacking a political identity." On Greece's course towards Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), Mr. Karamanlis said ND supported the national objective. However, he added, "the matter which arises is what kind of Greece will we place in EMU?"

European week against drugs opens in Athens

The "European Week for Drug Prevention" opened in Athens yesterday, as the simultaneous event took place in all EU member-states. At a press conference given at the health ministry, experts stressed that prevention is probably the most effective way to fight drug abuse. The meeting, which is to last until Sunday, bears the message: "The first step is to talk".

Roussel perjury, slander trial adjourns

An Athens court hearing perjury and slander charges filed against Thierry Roussel, the father of 14-year-old Athina - heir to the vast fortune of late shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis - will adjourn to allow members of the Onassis family to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Athina's mother, Christina. Mr. Roussel, Athina and their family will mark the anniversary on the Onassis private island of Skorpios. Mr. Roussel has been in Athens since early November to stand trial on the charges, arising from a complaint filed by the French national two years ago, accusing the Onassis Foundation board of mismanagement.

Consuls tout western Macedonia's development prospects

Greece provides a very attractive setting for investments which is continuing to improve, according to the general consuls of the US and Germany in Thessaloniki, who added that there are businesses from their respective countries that are interested in ma king investments in the area. The two officials were among 16 other diplomats who participated in a three-day tour of western Macedonia at the initiative of the Association of Northern Greece Industries. The envoys spoke favourably of what they described as the region's "incredible" development, saying they were impressed at changes in the country's investment sector, among others.

Greek Parliament President confers with Clerides

Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday expressed certainty that any problems in Cyprus' accession to the European Union will be overcome as the enlargement process can only be completed with the Cyprus Republic's entry. Speaking after a 90-minute meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, Mr. Kaklamanis also said he has brought a message of solidarity from Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis. The Greek Parliament President said he discussed with President Clerides the present situation in the Cyprus problem, latest developments and Cyprus' EU course.

WEATHER

Overcast weather with rain and storms is forecast throughout Greece today. Snow in the mountainous regions of central and northern Greece. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Partly cloudy in Athens with possibility of rain in the afternoon and temperatures ranging from 12-19C. Rain in Thessaloniki with temperatures be from 8-15C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 278.504 British pound 465.843 Japanese yen (100) 229.797 French franc 49.818 German mark 166.954 Italian lira (100) 16.876 Irish Punt 415.450 Belgian franc 8.094 Finnish mark 54.957 Dutch guilder 148.106 Danish kr. 43.928 Austrian sch. 23.729 Spanish peseta 1.965 Swedish kr. 34.416 Norwegian kr. 37.468 Swiss franc 202.765 Port. Escudo 1.630 Aus. dollar 177.801 Can. dollar 180.068 Cyprus pound 564.527

(M.P.)


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