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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-11-19

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, 19/11/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Police to round up children begging at intersections
  • Pro-Ocalan rally slated for Thessaloniki on Thursday
  • Train strike hits northern Greece
  • Minister worries about cost of urban transport reforms
  • No increase in entrance fees for museums, sites
  • Greek equities rally for second consecutive day
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Police to round up children begging at intersections

Thousands of young children who beg from motorists stopping at major road junctions around Greece are to be rounded up over the next few days as part of a government operation coordinated by the ministries of public order and health. The operation will involve rounding up the children and either sending them home or placing them in state care if they have no families or have been abandoned. The decision was taken on Thursday at a meeting attended by Public Order Minister Phillipos Petsalnikos, Welfare Undersecretary Theodoros Kotsonis and officials from the foreign and justice ministries. According to the police, some 3,000 children beg at traffic lights and road junctions daily, very often risking their lives as they weave between vehicles in heavy traffic.

Pro-Ocalan rally slated for Thessaloniki on Thursday

The Greek-Kurdish friendship group in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki has called a protest rally and march for this evening. Thirty Kurds in the city are on the sixth day of a hunger strike in support of Kurdistan Workers Party leader Abdullah Ocalan, currently detained in Italy. The march has been organised to press demands for Ocalan to be granted political asylum and not be extradited to Turkey.

Train strike hits northern Greece

Trains in most of northern Greece ground to a stop this morning due to a three-hour walkout by workers at the Federation of Rail Workers of Northern Greece. All intercity express Athens-Thessaloniki-Athens routes were cancelled from early morning, although the walkout officially began at 12 noon and was scheduled to last three hours. The walkout was called to protest plans to close a number of freight depots in northern Greece, with subsequent cutbacks in staffing levels. Workers have called a 24-hour strike over the same issue for Monday.

Minister worries about cost of urban transport reforms

Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis on Thursday expressed reservations about the philosophy underlying a study on the development of an integrated transport system for Athens and cast doubt on the feasibility of its implementation. The study foresees the creation by 2020 of an extensive communications system for the capital integrating the Metro currently under construction, a tram network, a suburban railway and more road arteries. While describing the study as important, Laliotis said the cost of the interventions proposed would reach 3 trillion drachmas, adding that this was a "frighteningly high amount" which could not be allocated solely to works in Attica.

No increase in entrance fees for museums, sites

Entrance fees for Greece's museums and archaeological sites will stay at present levels for 1999 and the culture ministry is in talks with the tourism industry over introducing a multiple-entry pass, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Thursday. Venizelos made the announcement at a news conference on the ministry's budget for 1999. Funding for cultural events under the 1999 state budget has been cut back but Venizelos said the ministry had other resources. "The state budget is not the only source of financing for the culture ministry and cultural activities," Venizelos said. He said that some bodies, such as the Thessaloniki State Odeon or some smaller museums, were able to receive funds through state regional services. The Archaeological Resources Fund, TAP, expected revenues of some 12 billion drachmas for projects in 1999 while another 15 billion drachmas would be raised through the numbers lottery.

Greek equities rally for second consecutive day

Greek equities rallied for the second consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday pushing the market above the 2,400 level. Traders said speculation that international credit rating agencies, Moody's and Standard & Poor's, would upgrade the country's credit rating boosted sentiment in the market. The general index ended 3.45 percent up to 2, 433.85 points in extremely heavy turnover of 85.7 billion drachmas. Volume was 16,197,000 shares. Buying interest focused on banks and Hellenic Telecoms' shares. Foreign investors were particularly active.

WEATHER

Unstable weather will prevail throughout Greece today with rain and storms forecast in the afternoon and evening. Snow in the mountainous regions of central and northern Greece. Winds variable, moderate to strong, turning gale force in the Ionian Sea. Rain in the evening in Athens with temperatures between 7-15C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 2- 9C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 277.849 British pound 465.030 Japanese yen (100) 229.678 French franc 49.747 German mark 166.899 Italian lira (100) 16.848 Irish Punt 414.656 Belgian franc 8.085 Finnish mark 54.866 Dutch guilder 147.907 Danish kr. 43.864 Austrian sch. 23.725 Spanish peseta 1.960 Swedish kr. 34.706 Norwegian kr. 37.446 Swiss franc 202.542 Port. Escudo 1.626 Aus. dollar 176.774 Can. dollar 178.818 Cyprus pound 564.686

(M.P.)


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