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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-11-22

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, 22/11/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • More bad weather forecast for Sunday, Monday
  • Quake recorded near Patras
  • Prince Charles arrives today
  • Greek Prime Minister to visit Germany
  • Franjo Tudjman in Athens on Monday
  • Millennium bug not major threat in Greece
  • "Eternity and a Day" to compete for Oscar
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

More bad weather forecast for Sunday, Monday

Greece braced for another wave of inclement weather on Sunday after wild storms throughout the country on Friday caused flash flooding and power cuts and left dozens of villages snowed in.

The government said all state services were on alert for the forecast strong storms, snowfall and gale force winds.

Government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said on Saturday the weather conditions were "unprecedented" for Greece, with 94mms of rain recorded at the Athens Airport on Friday compared to an annual record for the region of 400mms.

The fire department reported 450 calls for assistance on Friday as basement apartments flooded.

Athanassakis said the government was satisfied at the level of preparedness and coordination between ministries and that anti-flooding programme had markedly improved the situation.

"The government is in constant contact with the Meteorological Service, has placed all services on alert and recommends to the public that it restrict its movements to the minimum," Athanassakis said.

Ferryboat services from Piraeus and Rafina to the Aegean islands, Crete and the Dodecanese resumed on Saturday morning after an improvement in weather conditions enabled the Merchant Marine Ministry to lift a temorary ban.

Sailings were prohibited on Friday with gale force winds prevailing in the Aegean as bad weather swept across Greece, causing floods and transportation havoc in many parts of the country.

The weather conditions continued to keep the Rio-Antirrio crossing closed on Sunday.

Also closed were the Lyxouriou-Agrostoli and Preveza-Aktion crossings.

Scores of villages were cut off by snow up to half a metre deep in parts of northern Greece.

Despite sunshine in western and central Macedonia on Saturday, many of the problems caused by the bad weather remain.

In the prefectures of Grevena and Kozani, 37 villages were still cut off by snow, while conditions on roads throughout the region were hazardous and snow chains were essential.

The sudden drop in temperature has resulted in icy patches on many roads and the traffic police have warned motorists to be extremely cautious.

Quake recorded near Patras

An earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale was recorded at 6.43 p.m. on Saturday, with an epicentre in the sea region of Rio-Antirrio.

The tremor was felt in the northern part of the port city of Patras and in Rio.

Prince Charles arrives today

Prince Charles is expected to arrive in Greece on Sunday for a two-day visit coinciding with the Britain and Greece Festival, during which he will be received by President Kostis Stephanopoulos and may meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Charles will attend a concert by the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields directed by Sir Neville Marriner at the Athens Concert Hall on Sunday evening.

Greek Prime Minister to visit Germany

Prime Minister Costas Simitis will meet with new German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on December 7, during a visit to Germany, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

Simitis will also meet with the German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, on December 4.

Reppas refused to say whether Simitis would broach the issue of German reparations during his talks with the German officials.

Franjo Tudjman in Athens on Monday

Croatian President Franco Tudjman begins a three-day official visit to Greece on Monday, at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Kostis Stephanopoulos.

Tudjman is scheduled to have a private meeting with Stephanopoulos soon after his arrival in Athens. A meeting between the two countries' delegations will follow.

The Croatian president meets with Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday at midday.

Millennium bug not major threat in Greece

Greece is in a better position than its European Union partners in dealing with the problem of the millennium bug because it has been slow in introducing computers, Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said.

Papadopoulos was speaking after a Cabinet meeting to discuss the streamlining of state and ministry services.

The Cabinet ascertained that public services were at a satisfactory stage in relation to the millennium bug, in part because many had not yet gone over to computerised systems.

"Eternity and a Day" to compete for Oscar

Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos announced on Saturday that award winning Theo Angelopoulos' film ''Eternity and a day'' will represent Greece at this year's United States Motion Picture Academy Awards, nominated for the best foreign film category.

The minister, who is in the north Greek capital for the 39th Thessaloniki Film Festival said that he made the decision, instead of the committee of state awards, so as to meet the Nov 2 deadline of the US academy.

"Eternity and a Day" received the top Golden Palm award at this year's Cannes Film Festival in May.

WEATHER

Rain and storms are forecast Monday in most parts of the country, while snow is expected in the mountainous regions of central and northern Greece. Winds will be easterly southeasterly moderate to strong, while later in the day they are expected to abate. Rain is expected for Athens where temperatures will be from 9-16C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki where temperatures will be from 5-10C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 280.538 British pound 466.716 Japanese yen (100) 233.120 French franc 49.650 German mark 166.458 Italian lira (100) 16.815 Irish Punt 414.061 Belgian franc 8.070 Finnish mark 54.788 Dutch guilder 147.664 Danish kr. 43.795 Austrian sch. 23.657 Spanish peseta 1.958 Swedish kr. 34.772 Norwegian kr. 37.527 Swiss franc 202.279 Port. Escudo 1.623 Aus. dollar 180.544 Can. dollar 181.338 Cyprus pound 562.345

x

(L.G.)


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