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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-11-24

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, 24/11/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Athens denies Ocalan stopped in Greece
  • Prince of Wales in Crete
  • Croatian president continues official visit
  • Greece, Egypt to hold joint naval exercise
  • Athens-Thessaloniki rail link closed
  • Landing gear problem on domestic flight
  • Financial institutions give economy the thumbs up
  • Equities move higher but stop short of 2,500
  • Thessaloniki hosts cartographers events
  • Police make 106 kilo hash haul
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Athens denies Ocalan stopped in Greece

The government on Tuesday again rejected claims that Kurd leader Abdullah Ocalan had stopped over in Greece on his way to Italy where he has requested political asylum. "The Greek government insists that Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan did not pass through Greece," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said, replying to reporters' questions. Reppas added that the leader of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) had not even passed through Athens aiport "in transit" to Italy, nor had he requested to either stop over or stay in Greece. Asked whether the Greek authorities would have known if Ocalan had entered Greece albeit with forged documents, Reppas replied "most certainly".

Prince of Wales in Crete

Britain's Prince Charles on Tuesday flew to Crete on the last day of a three-day visit on the occasion of the Britain and Greece Festival. The royal aircraft carrying the British heir-to-the-throne landed at Heraklion airport shortly after noon as three Hellenic Air Force Mirage-2000 jets took off in his honour. Prince Charles, accompanied by British Ambassador to Greece Michael Llewelyn Smith, was welcomed at the "Nikos Kazantzakis" airport by National Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis and local government officials. Security was very tight not only at the airport but also along all the roads used by the prince.

Croatian president continues official visit

Croatian President Franco Tudjman and Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis on Tuesday discussed problems in the wider region of the Balkans and relations between the two countries. Kaklamanis told reporters later he had extended an invitation to the members of the Croatian parliament to visit Greece. Tudjman, who is on the final day of a two-day official visit, called on the international community to take immediate measures on the strife in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, saying that there would be "serious" consequences if peace was not maintained.

Greece, Egypt to hold joint naval exercise

Greece and Egypt are to hold a joint naval exercise off the Egyptian coast near the port of Alexandria from November 27 to December 2. The exercise, codenamed "Alexandria '98", is the first held jointly by the two countries and aims to boost relations between the two naval forces and to promote operational cooperation. Two frigates from each country will take part in the manoeuvre with any supplementary vessels or forces to be decided during the exercise.

Athens-Thessaloniki rail link closed

The Athens-Thessaloniki rail link will be shut for up to the next three days because of damage caused by Monday's torrential rains, the Greek Railways Organisation, OSE, said on Tuesday. OSE said in a statement that damage had been noted to the tracks at a number of locations. The Corinth- Tripoli link in the Peloponnese will also be closed for the next two days to allow for repair work to be completed.

Landing gear problem on domestic flight

An Olympic Aviation domestic flight from Samos to Thessaloniki with a scheduled stopover at Lesvos was forced to land shortly after taking off on Tuesday because of a problem with the landing gear. The 70-seat aircraft took off at 9.30 a.m. but re-landed minutes later when the pilot ascertained that the landing gear had not risen into the undercarriage. Another aircraft was flown in from Athens to pick up the stranded passengers who eventually departed Samos at 1.00 p.m. Passengers said they were informed by the pilot of the problem while in the air and there was no panic.

Financial institutions give economy the thumbs up

Three leading international financial institutions affirmed the long-term ratings and recommended an overweight position in Greek banks on expectations of lower interest rates, strong results and good potential in asset management. Fitch IBCA, a London-based rating agency, affirmed the long- term ratings of BBB of both Alpha Credit Bank and Ergobank, the two largest private sector Greek banks. Credit Suisse First Boston recommended an overweight position in Greek banks on expectations of lower interest rates and good potential in asset management, mortgage and retail lending and privatisations. Merrill Lynch recommended accumulation of shares of the National Bank of Greece, which it rated a long-term buy on strong nine-month results, with current fair valuation seen at 55, 000 drachmas a share.

Equities move higher but stop short of 2,500

Greek equities continued moving higher on Tuesday but failed to break the 2, 500 level for the second consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange. The general index ended 0.72 percent up to 2,495.06 points, off the day's highs. Trading was extremely heavy with turnover at 75.4 billion drachmas reflecting strong buying interest in blue-chip shares by foreign investors. Volume was 16,007,000 shares. Most sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 1.77 percent, Leasing increased 1.96 percent, Insurance ended 0.94 percent up, Investment was 1.11 percent higher, Construction rose 0.78 percent, Industrials fell 0.27 percent, Miscellaneous eased 0.26 percent and Holding ended 1.77 percent higher. The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 3.26 percent up.

Thessaloniki hosts cartographers events

Balkan and Black Sea cartographers gather in Thessaloniki this week to trade experiences and information on mapping of cities in a region that has undergone rapid changes over the past few years. Thessaloniki will be the 'capital of Cartography' for three days beginning Wednesday, with one of the highlights being the official presentation of three maps of the city specially designed for the blind. The Braille maps are the first of their kind for Greece but their mass publication will depend on subsidies, Professor Evangelos Livieratos, the head of the Thessaloniki-based National Map Archive, told reporters on Tuesday.

Police make 106 kilo hash haul

Would-be narcotics smugglers abandoned their cache of hashish in northern Greece and fled the stolen car they were riding in when police regulating traffic due to snow signalled them to stop, police said today. They said the passengers of the car fled into the snow-covered mountains after abandoning the car on the snow-covered Kozani-Florina highway. A police search turned up 106.1 kilos of hashish in 111 airtight packages stashed in the car, which had been stolen two days earlier from Amyntaio, Florina.

WEATHER

Rain and local storms are forecast for today in most parts of Greece, but the weather will gradually improve in the course of the day. Unstable weather in the west with the likelihood of rain and storms and spells of sunshine. Winds westerly to southwesterly moderate and occasionally strong. Athens will be partly cloudy with temperatures from 12-17C. Thessaloniki will be overcast and rainy with temperatures from 5-10C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 283.742 British pound 469.295 Japanese yen (100) 233.973 French franc 49.671 German mark 166.587 Italian lira (100) 16.820 Irish Punt 414.656 Belgian franc 8.075 Finnish mark 54.784 Dutch guilder 147.719 Danish kr. 43.807 Austrian sch. 23.679 Spanish peseta 1.958 Swedish kr. 35.061 Norwegian kr. 37.865 Swiss franc 201.961 Port. Escudo 1.624 Aus. dollar 182.042 Can. dollar 183.361 Cyprus pound 563.952

(M.P.)


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